Adele’s “30” is a good news, bad news story.
The new album sold 838,000 copies in its first week, most of them CDs and downloads. That’s all good news. It’s the biggest opening week of any album in 2021.
The bad news is, that’s 75% fewer albums than she sold in the first week for “25,” released exactly six years ago. Sorry, but it’s true. “25” was a phenomenon with much better songs. “30” is a marketing tool, and the public sensed it.
So here is the breakdown: 678,782 in CDs and downloads. Streaming came to 152,690. Here’s the thing with streaming, I am tired of press releases trumpeting “so many million streams, broke a record.” Etc. A zillion streams adds up to 5,000 actual equivalent sales. Just because someone’s pushing the button over and over on Spotify doesn’t mean you made money or sold copies. It means Spotify made money from their subscription. Ouch! It hurts.
Adele can still be proud of the 678,782, according to hitsdailydouble.com. But it’s far cry from the 3.8 million copies she sold of “25” the week of November 15, 2015. “25” went on to sell 18 million copies over 12 months, and it’s sold a total of 22 million according to different sources. “30” isn’t going there. It’s Adele’s “Bad” album. It’s what happened to Michael Jackson after “Thriller,” except Michael didn’t six years.
They key to “30” will be getting more singles out of it. I’m not sure about that. Streaming eats up album tracks so that by the time you aim for a second or third single, they’ve been squeezed like a lemon. By the end of February, “30” is going to be lemon juice. That’s my prediction. I might be wrong, but I can’t see it sustaining interest over 12 weeks. The public moves on.
Adele should not have waited six years. Three, tops. There should have been a couple of duets, some interesting people playing instruments, and more hooky songs with choruses. (The instrumentation on this album is a bore, just the same thing over and over.) Somewhere, Paul Epworth is shaking his head. Can you imagine if Gary Clark Jr. had played a lick? Or Adele had dueted with Sting? Or somebody with a cool new voice like Aloe Blacc? Or Lady Gaga had played piano somewhere?
Adele may be rolling in the dough on this one, but not rolling in the deep. And PS I don’t want to hear any more about her divorce or what she was like when she misses about being a child.