We already knew Adele's 25, her first new album in nearly half a decade, was a monster hit. The album bested *NSYNC's No Strings Attached single-week US record just a few days after release, when it crossed the 2.4 million mark. Now, 25's first week on sale is finally over, and the tally is in: it sold a massive 3.38 million copies in the US, according to Nielsen Music.
That figure not only crushes the US record for any album sold since Niesen (then SoundScan) started recording sales data in 1991, but it also beats the record for best first-week sales of an album in any territory. The record was previously held by Hikaru Utada, whose 2001 album Distance sold over 3 million albums in Japan.
The whole affair is even more impressive considering the state of the music industry — CD sales have dropped consistently for years, and the money spent in the market is smaller overall than it was at the turn of the millennium. Some blame that on the shift to digital music and all-access services like Spotify. For what it's worth, two of the best-selling albums this year, 25 and Taylor Swift's 1989, were not available on streaming services at launch. Only 20 albums have ever sold over a million copies in a week in the US, according to Billboard.