Hello: Adele's 25 expected to give industry much-needed boost
Singer's crossover appeal expected to drive atypical fans to purchase new music
Hello, it's Adele, and she's going to give the music industry a much-needed boost this year with 25.
The singer's hotly anticipated album is projected to sell over a million units in its debut week after it is released Friday, helping the ailing record business in the final quarter of the year.
"So far the fourth quarter numbers have been pretty tough," said David Bakula, Nielsen Entertainment's senior vice president of industry insights.
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Bakula noted that Taylor Swift's 1989, which was released last October and sold more than three million albums in roughly two months last year, helped 2014 close on a strong note.
"We're down about 20 per cent year-over-year because we are going up against that Taylor Swift record with nothing at this point, but once the Adele record comes out, I don't think there's anybody that doesn't doubt that this thing can sell very comparably, if not a little better on a week-over-week basis than Taylor Swift did last year," he said.
Some insiders are predicting 25 will sell 1.5 million units in its first week. And the album will easily become the top-selling release of 2015 (so far that title goes to 1989, which has sold 1.7 million units this year, and overall has moved 5.4 million albums).
Adele's widespread appeal
25 is the follow-up to 2011's 21, which has sold 11.23 million albums in the United States. As the anticipation builds for Adele's new album, 21 and the singer's 2008's debut, 19, are currently No. 24 and 66 on Billboard's 200 albums chart, respectively.
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"Her manager played me a couple songs and it's very exciting to hear something of that quality doing that well. And at the same time, it's concerning that there aren't many more things of that quality," Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine said in an interview.
There's a lot of great artists in the world right now, but [Adele] sets the bar as far as quality and commerciality.- Jimmy Iovine, Apple Music
"She came in and did something pure, simple and just plain ole great, and that works. There's a lot of great artists in the world right now, but she sets the bar as far as quality and commerciality."
Iovine added that part of Adele's success is because her sound is unique among those heavily played on the radio.
"A lot of people conform their records to fit a radio format because they're afraid they won't get played. This girl came in and just said, 'I'm doing something great,"' he said.
It's as if there isn't a format Adele doesn't qualify for: She appeals to those millions and millions of fans who have bought Susan Boyle and Michael Bublé albums, but she also shares the same fans as Kanye West, One Direction and the Black Keys. And her songs have appeared on just about every Billboard chart, from adult contemporary to R&B to dance. She hasn't sung in Spanish, but she's appeared on the Latin pop charts.
Nielsen's Bakula says 25 will get atypical music fans to stores and online to buy music, driving sales for Adele's albums and others.
"This is bringing people out that don't typically buy music, and when you put that in the fourth quarter, a gift giving time ... I think you're just going to multiply [album sales]," he said.