Updated: Adele’s ’25’ Has Already Sold 2.5 Million Copies

  • Save

Updated: November 24th, 9:20 am PT (12: 30 ET): Sales of 25 have now surpassed 2.45 million copies and are rapidly approaching 2.5 million after just 4-5 days on the market, according to data now released by Nielsen Soundscan.  Now, one-week sales are projected to hit 3 million (more on that here). 

We’ll keep updating that figure; the original article (published early Monday with a sales figure of 1.5 million after 2-3 days) and subsequent discussion follows. 

Last week, Adele decided to boycott Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and anyone else who wanted to stream her new album for free.  This week, she’s enjoying the fruits of that decision: according to Nielsen Soundscan figures released this morning, 25 sold 900,000 paid downloads on its first day, a one-day digital sales record.

On iTunes, where most of the download action took place, fans were placing pre-orders of the entire album on iTunes, before being able to buy individual tracks after street date.

But that’s just the beginning: according to initial, first-week states from Target, which is carrying an exclusive CD with 3 bonus tracks, physical sales were in the ‘deep’ hundreds of thousands on day one.  OverallCD sales passed the 600,000-mark by Sunday night, per DMN sources.

All of that puts total albums sales at roughly 1.5 million, after just three days.

  • Save

Now, with Thanksgiving and Black Friday approaching, lighter fluid is being splashed on the fire.  According to a projection now being bandied by Billboard, 25 is expected to sell north 2.5 million units in its first week, thanks to healthy download and (yes) CD sales.

That would be the biggest-selling, debut week for any album in history.

45 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Seems like the tracks are available on iTunes though and it’s not bundled as album-only?

      • Do research

        ALL pre-orders are for the full album. Otherwise you’d just be buying a track. Not an exception to their policy. Check the store, all album pre-orders are for the full album.

  2. ronnie

    Adele is smart.

    What artists need to do is use digital streaming as radio and don’t put up full album, just singles on Apple Music, etc.

  3. Anonymous

    Psycho pirates saying “I can’t wait until the music industry dies”. lol

  4. TedBalk

    There are so, so, so many things the music biz can learn from the lesson given by music consumers this week.


    1. Stop trying to sell us crap music. We won’t buy it.

    2. Sell something that exemplifies talent, integrity and creativity.

    3. Window every single one of your new releases.

    Now file your lawsuits against the ISPs and Google and bring the money back to the industry that provides the music- where it belongs.

    • superduper

      Windowing? Who knows if it well ever make it onto streaming services or not? I think the main lesson is not windowing per se, but to sell your music. if it is never available to stream, in my opinion it’s no big loss.

      • Anonymous

        I usually agree with you, but I’m beginning to think that streaming has some anti-piracy potential if you use it the right way.

        If you like Adele without being a super fan, it’ll probably be OK with you to wait a month or so to stream her album. But what if you knew it would never be available on YouTube and elsewhere? You might be tempted to take the chance and steal it instead.

        Windowing works very well for Hollywood, and I think it’s going to work very well for the music industry. Fans will buy, the rest of us will wait.

        • superduper

          Honestly that point is not very strong. Why would you assume that a massive amount of people are going to steal it?

          • Anonymous

            Um, because piracy cut down sales by more than 50% since 1999?

          • GGG

            The thing is is that it’s not just about buying or stealing. Putting the actual payouts aside for a second, what legal streaming allows is all those people who never bought music, or bought very little, a way to be monetized. Let’s say this album sells 10M copies, to purposely aim high. You think there’s only 10M Adele fans? No, of course not. Taylor Swift’s album has sold what, like 5-6M or something? She’s got over 70M Facebook likes, which itself is probably a fraction of people who would say they like Taylor Swift. Sales vs fans has always been a pretty low percentage. So now there’s the potential to monetize that pretty significant non-buyer fanbase. Not to mention random yet to be fans, and hell, people who may end up hating your music.

          • Anonymous

            “So now there’s the potential to monetize that pretty significant non-buyer fanbase.”

            Yeah, I’m beginning to see the light… 🙂

            I still think streaming from day 1 is another word for suicide — but yes:

            Why ignore 65m non-buying fans? Most of them won’t bother with piracy, if they get used to the idea that they can get what they want, for free, after a month or so.

            It begins to look like a fair deal for everybody:

            Super fans pay for fast delivery, the rest of us get it for free after a few weeks — and artists are paid up front by iTunes and over the years from the streaming services.

          • GGG

            Yea, I definitely think any act who has a chance to sell 6 figures should certainly window. However, below that, it may start to really depend.

            I’ll use one of my bands for example. They aren’t big but they aren’t a baby band, about 6k FB likes. They just released an album two months ago. We didn’t window and looking back, I’m not sure we lost much, if any money, and here’s why: they played out a bunch and sold some physical at every show to the diehard fans/friends/family, so they were covered. Our DLs were a little disappointing but not terrible. So you could certainly argue streaming stole some sales from buys, for sure. BUT the kicker is out of the couple grand we’ve made in 2 months on Spotify, a very big chunk of that came from discovery on the service. We were on a couple bigger playlists that gave us 5 figures (directly, at least) of plays for two tracks, which yielded plays on other tracks I’m sure, though what percentage I don’t think we can find out. Since we and our label were verified, we also started popping up on people’s weekly discovery playlists and got a more streamlined related artists, etc. AND it’s so much easier to drive people via targeted ads to Spotify than it is to iTunes. If for no other reason, they know the endgame on iTunes is a buy, so why click that link with no interest? Our US streaming rate is averaging out to .006, worldwide its still closer to .004, though.

            I don’t want to come to a conclusion/get all sanctimonious just because I’ve supported streaming, so I gotta dig into the numbers more somehow, but I think Spotify plays by curious and/or ad driven and/or playlist listeners, in other words, people who probably had no idea this band existed until that moment, has accounted for a very big chunk of what we lost in sales. Because you also have to take into account that it’s not a clean all or nothing sweep when someone doesn’t buy. Some of them are still streaming, so still generating revenue, however comparatively little.

          • superduper

            To clarify, I still think that streaming in a certain way does have potential, although in a radically different form than what we have now. I believe that streaming has potential to promote music to then sell it, but not be a permanent replacement for buying music.

          • Anonymous

            GGG, I’m really not suggesting that one strategy fits all.

            Also, I would agree about Spotify’s discovery-potential if you could stream and monetize 30 sec. teasers (I haven’t checked for a while, but I’m assuming you still can’t do that).

            At any rate, Spotify discovery would work just as well after 4 weeks of windowing, wouldn’t it?

          • superduper

            I think that the ’30 second snippets’ like (presumably) the ones that iTunes gives is a very flawed concept. You cannot judge a song well by only a small part of it. I would prefer to listen to the whole song to judge whether or not I like. That’s where I came up with my concept of what I like to call radical windowing for streaming. The thing is, you can play a SHORT SNIPPET of a song an UNLIMITED amount of times (like on iTunes); but if you can play a full song a FULL SONG for a LIMITED amount of times that would be far better than the iTunes concept and the current streaming concept – which is playing a FULL SONG for an UNLIMITED AMOUNT of times because it is a balance, or a compromise if you will, between the two.

          • Anonymous

            “if you can play a full song a FULL SONG for a LIMITED amount of times that would be far better”

            History proves that teasers work — what you’re suggesting defies the very meaning of the word.

            Plus, your approach would be impossible on un-walled services like YouTube; e.g. there’s no way to tell how many times you stream a song unless you register with a credit card. And YouTube is after all the world’s largest music site.

  5. Rick Shaw

    That’s it? Sure, it is a large number in today’s industry, but with all the hype and promotions…I would have expected more.

  6. GGG

    Before you start patting yourself on the back all week while she breaks sales records, did anyone besides Lefsetz actually think this was a bad strategy? I don’t think I’ve heard/read one other person legitimately wondering why she isn’t streaming.

  7. Anonymous

    But… I thought her fans would hate her because of her streaming boycott?

  8. Me2

    I’m not really a fan of the term “boycott” in this story. I know that by definition it’s an acceptable description. But I still feel, because of the way the word is used these days, that it characterizes Adele’s decision to not utilize streaming services as some grand political stance, as opposed the logical business move that it actually was.

    • Anonymous

      Agree, there’s nothing controversial about windowing.

      The movie industry has used it since forever for obvious reasons.

  9. Anonymous

    “Overall, CD sales passed the 600,000-mark by Sunday night, per DMN sources”

    Guess, the CD ain’t dead, then…

  10. FarePlay

    In the take no prisoners attitude of music streaming proponents, chew on this for awhile MFs.

    First how dare the streaming community attack any artist because they don’t want to support ‘their’ cause. And yes GGG there have been many others beside Ari and Lefsetz. Go to Medium and check out these ‘cuepoint’ clowns. As far as Lefsetz goes, he’s like the badly behaving adolescent who was given probation too many times. I’m sorry Bob, but your screed on Adele was vicious and mean spirited. Let us know when you write your apology

    The public has been pounded by this constant ‘free’ music ‘marketing’ for so long, that people stopped caring about music and buying it. They’re confused. What streaming’s done for music goes beyond destroying sales, they’ve made it so people have lost interest. They’ve bombarded us with 20 million tracks of whack*.

    There’s no context, no connection, nothing. Your killing music dudes.

    * Apologies to Walter Becker and “11 Tracks of Whack”. Couldn’t get ‘Book of Liars’ out of my mind

    • Me2

      He just posted a second screed imploring everyone that to remember it’s not about the numbers, but the music. What a prick.

    • GGG

      Fair enough, though I tend to think most Medium articles sound like they’re written by someone who interned at a record label once and took a music business class and think they know what they’re talking about.

      I do strongly disagree with your lost interest comment, though. Nobody is “bombarded” with 20M songs. You still have to find, or discover what you’re looking for, IF you even want to look. Don’t get how it’s THAT different from walking into Amoeba and seeing more music than you could listen to in your lifetime (and yes, you can bring up the physical connection argument, though think we covered that last time). You an log onto Spotify and listen to the same 5 artists for the rest of your life. Nothing forces random music on you. Not to mention, if you DO want to discover, between Weekly Discovery, Related Artists, various playlists, etc I’ve come across a ton of awesome songs/artists, some of whom I absolutely love now. It’s not any less of a love than if a record store guy told me.

  11. RayMiller

    Actually, her updates numbers as of 11/23/15 are 2.3 Million. Smart move for her.

  12. Real Talk From Literati X

    Comments on top of comments ; how many people that has something to say about an artist of any kind actually goes out and buy their product so they can make their living ? I don’t know too much about , Adele , because my deep south community don’t deal with too much white music or people period ! But whatever she’s doing I hope she’s a songwriter. . .

  13. Literati X

    Black people don’t fuck with , Adele . That’s complete cracker shit ! I don’t think they bought my shit either ; but if you’re a songwriter and a record label the only customer you need is Microsoft and Google . And the very best thing about being inside the music industry with no fans inside the popular deep millions is that when you get paid you don’t have to give nothing back to the community. Go find your favorite artist that you love so much for the donations inside your community – Poets don’t get respect inside this business. But you will learn to respect this ‘ Terror Poet ‘ in the literary artist realms of artistic value and financial worth. As a song writer I can write as well as any songwriter inside the industry and I have 100 billion in cash to prove it !

  14. Name2

    Since girls can’t find music, that must mean a lot of guys are picking up Taylor Swift and Adele albums. Interesting.

  15. Ariel

    “If we just cling hard enough….”

    Not giving people what they want IS bad strategy. Adele isn’t representative.

    • Me2

      I think this misses the point. The sales decisions aren’t about “clinging” to a model. It’s just business. If immediate streaming was of best interest to this particular release, then that’s what we would be seeing.

      Sure, breaking a sales record will result in a lot of attention. As it should. Not many albums have this kind of steam.

      Well played, Adele. I’d say. Credit where credit is due.

  16. MarkH

    There are 676 holds on 15 copies at my library. I guess that’s my “window”.