Although the Billboard 200 albums chart is calculated using “multi-metric consumption” – including sales, “track equivalent albums” and “streaming equivalent” albums, the total Billboard cites for sales of 25 so far is a staggering 5.98m. So far, Swift’s 1989 has sold 5.57m copies. For comparison, 21 has sold 11.37m copies.
Adele’s chart performance is being driven by sales, justifying her decision not to rush 25 on to every available streaming site. In the week to 17 December, 25 recorded 825,000 “equivalent album units”, of which 790,000 were sales. The album has sold more than 695,000 copies in four different weeks – the first album to do so since Nielsen Music, which compiles the US charts, began to record point-of-sales purchases in 1991.
Adele’s popularity is unrivalled in the live arena, too. According to an internal memo from Ticketmaster, obtained by Billboard, more than 10 million people came to the ticketing site when the 750,000 tickets for her US tour went on sale. Billboard says four million people in New York alone tried to get tickets.