Home Music 2011 Album Sales Were Up! Beatles Had the #1 Vinyl Record! CD...

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.


Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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