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Adele’s 21 Is The Highest-Selling Album Of 2012

January 3, 2013 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Billboard reports that Adele’s album 21 is the best-selling album of 2012.

This is the first time ever that an album has sold the most for two years in a row, as it did the same in 2011. The album wold 4.41 million in 2012 after moving 5.82 million in 2011. It was the 21st album in the SoundScan era of the Billboard charts to sell ten million copies. The 2012 sales tracking year began on January 2, 2012 and ended on December 30. 21 debuted on March 21, 2011 and hasn’t left the BIllboard 200 since. It hasn’t even left the top 40.

The second-highest selling album is Taylor Swift’s Red with 3.11 million. This is the fourth time she has had an album in the top three of the year. 2010’s Speak Now was #3 that year with 2.99 million, while 2009’s Fearless was #1 with 3.22 million. In 2008, Fearless was #3 with 2.11 million.

One Direciton takes two spots on the year-end list as Up All Night is #3 with 1.62 million and Take Me Home is #5 with 1.34 million. Both were released this year. It’s the first time an act has had two of the year’s top five sellers. Taylor Swift came close with #3 and #6 in 2008 (thanks to Fearless and her self-titled debut) and Garth Brooks almost had it in 1992 with #2 (Ropin’ the Wind) and #6 (The Chase). He also had the #7 album that year with No Fences, making him the only act to get three albums in the top ten on a given year.

Mumford and Sons’ Babel is the only rock album to get the top ten this year with 1.46 million at #4. They had the #6 album of 2011 with Sigh No More getting 1.42 million.

No Christmas albums were in the top ten this year for the first time since 2008. 2012’s biggest holiday album was Rod Stewart’s Merry Christmas, Baby, which is at #15 with 858,000. In 2011, both Michael Buble’s Christmas (#2 with 2.45 million) and Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe (#8 with 1.25 million) were in the top ten.

Bieber’s latest album Believe comes in at #6 this year after selling 1.34 million. This is the third straight year Bieber has been in the top ten thanks to Under the Mistletoe in 2011 and My World 2.0 (#4, 2.32 million) in 2010.

The final four spots belong to country albums, giving the genre five of the top ten albums. This is a record for the genre, which previously had four in the top ten in 2002 and 1992.

Overall album sales this year dropped 4% to 315.96 million from 330.57 million in 2011. Physical CD sales were down 13% in 2012 and digital album downloads were up 14% to a record 117,68 million. 37% of all albums sold in 2012 were downloads (up 31% from 2011). 21 is the highest-selling digital album this year too with 1.04 million, after achieving the same thing in 2011 with 1.8 million. It’s the only album to sell a million downloads in either year or any year.

Here are the top ten highest-selling albums of the year:

1. Adele – 21 (4.41 million)
2. Taylor Swift – Red (3.11 million)
3. One Direction – Up All Night (1.62 million)
4. Mumford & Sons – Babel (1.46 million)
5. One Direction – Take Me Home (1.34 million)
6. Justin Bieber – Believe (1.34 million)
7. Carrie Underwood – Blown Away (1.20 million)
8. Luke Bryan – Tailgates & Tanlines (1.10 million)
9. Lionel Richie – Tuskegee (1.07 million)
10. Jason Aldean – Night Train (1.02 million)

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Joseph Lee
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