How does Adele keep finding new fans?

Are you one of the almost six million people who’ve bought Adele’s 21? If not, there’s no real hurry. You don’t have to rush into the decision. Adele has somehow managed to find at least 100,000 new people to buy her album every week for 32 (non-consecutive) weeks now.

At the end of last year, Billboard ran a story about the 14 albums that have notched at least 30 weeks of 100,000-plus sales since 1991:

• Alanis Morissette, “Jagged Little Pill” – 64 (1995-1997)
• Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time” – 50 (1999-2000)
• Creed, “Human Clay” – 49 (1999-2001)
• Celine Dion, “Falling Into You” – 43 (1996-1997)
• Shania Twain, “Come on Over” – 42 (1997-2000)
• Hootie & the Blowfish, “Cracked Rear View” – 40 (1995-1996)
• Santana, “Supernatural” – 39 (1999-2000)
• Backstreet Boys, “Millennium” – 34 (1999-2000)
• Usher, “Confessions” – 33 (2004-2005)
• Spice Girls, “Spice” – 32 (1997-1998)
• Billy Ray Cyrus, “Some Gave All” – 31 (1992-1993)
• NSYNC, “No Strings Attached” – 31 (2000-2001)
• Kid Rock, “Devil Without a Cause” – 30 (1999-2000)
• Adele, “21” – 30 (to date) (2011-2012)

That was two weeks ago, and Adele sold 124,000 copies this week and 144,000 copies the week before. So she’s at 32 weeks now, which ties the Spice Girls. If she can find 100,000 new buyers for two more weeks she’ll pass Usher and have the most weeks of 100,000-plus sales since 2001. I hope she does it.

But I don’t get how she’s still managing to reach new people. By now, even Appalachian hermits and the Amish know all the words to “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You.” Is it just that most people are happy to download the singles? (“Rolling” and “Someone” sold 5.81 million and 3.75 million downloads in 2011, respectively.) There’s a new single storming up the charts again, so maybe this one will tip the remaining holdouts over the edge. Maybe this song will convince another huge batch of people that perhaps it’s time to just buy the whole damn album.

Video: Adele – Set Fire To The Rain (Live)

19 thoughts on “How does Adele keep finding new fans?”

  1. I don’t get why Adele’s success continues to blow your mind. I know you’re old enough to remember Thriller. That record was so ubiquitous when it was released that I still can’t listen to it to this day.

  2. This is a much different world for album buying than 1983. Many new releases by major artists sell 100,000 copies total! Adele attracts 100,000 new people every week. It’s just so different from the way most albums sell these days, where they have a big opening week and then fall off the top ten altogether over the next week or two. It’s just weird in today’s climate to have sustained sales like that.

  3. In the world’s biggest Grammy bump, 21 sold another 730,000 copies last week. 21 weeks at #1, 37 weeks of 100K+ sales. Incredible. Keep in mind this was the album’s 52nd week on the chart. Happy birthday!

    21 has sold 7,353,000 copies in the United States. Billboard points out that this means 2.34% of the U.S. population owns it (based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s current population estimate of 313,059,000; and if each “21” owner only has one copy).

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