Adele is # 1 with a huge week, but without a million sales

Last year, another change to Billboard’s ranking rules made it harder to get big numbers for opening week. In recent years, it has become common for artists to “bundle” their album, often as a download, with the sale of merchandise or concert tickets. Last year, acknowledging that these practices have distorted “the purpose of graphics to accurately reflect consumer intent,” Billboard stopped count the sales of these transactions on its graph.

Adele’s “30s” have been eagerly awaited by fans since at least the start of last year, when Adele said at a party that her album could be due this fall. And the album’s launch was as publicized as any artist could want, with a special prime-time TV show; special editions of the album sold by Target and Walmart; and a radio single, “Easy on Me,” which was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four consecutive weeks. (“Easy on Me” returns to # 1 on the Hot 100 this week, replacing Swift’s “All Too Well”, which moves up to # 4.) On Tuesday, Adele announced a weekend residency at the Colosseum in the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, January 21 to April 16.

Of the 692,000 copies of “30” that were sold as complete packages – albums, in other words – 205,000 were digital downloads and 487,000 were in physical formats, including 378,000 CDs, 108,000 vinyl records and less than 2,000 cassettes. Vinyl sales for “30” were the second highest recorded in a single week since at least 1991, when SoundScan, MRC’s predecessor, began keeping accurate records of record sales. The best seller? Swift’s new “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, which sold 114,000 copies on vinyl just a week ago, when it opened at No.1.

This week, this version of “Red” drops to second place in the leaderboard. “Certified Lover Boy” is # 3, “An Evening With Silk Sonic”, Silk Sonic’s new project – aka Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak – is # 4, and Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” is in fifth place.

Summer Walker’s “Still Over It” is in sixth place, and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s “Raise the Roof” opens at No. 7.