Who had the number 1 selling vinyl album–a record, you know–for 2011? Why The Beatles, with “Abbey Road.” They sold 41,000 copies, and beat contemporary acts Adele, Bon Iver, Mumford and Sons, and the Black Keys. And oh yes, Adele: without her, there would not have been a record industry in 2011. She sold 5.8 million copies of “21,” and finished first in almost every category that Nielsen Sound Scan offers except for Holiday Album sales.
Adele was followed on the top 10 best selling albums list by Michael Buble, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Mumford and Sons, Lady Antebellum, Drake, the Glee cast, Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, and Jay Z and Kanye West.(Forty years ago that list would have been Carole King, Rod Stewart, Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Santana, the Eagles, Elton John, the score to “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Just sayin’.)
Here’s something on the SoundScan totals: on digital sales, catalog downloads were up 11% over last year and beat downloads of current music. And for everyone who says digital downloading has knocked off the physical CD, they are wrong: Adele’s total included 1.8 million digital. She sold 4 million shiny silver discs. The CD is still very much alive and kicking, no matter what your IPod says.