Adele's '21' Claims 14th Week At No. 1 on Billboard 200


As predicted, Adele's 21 album returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking its 14th nonconsecutive week at the top of the tally. The news comes on the heels of Nielsen SoundScan's 2011 year-end charts, which showed "21" as the top-selling album in the U.S. with 5.82 million units sold, and her "Rolling in the Deep" as the best-selling song, with 5.81 million downloads.

The set sold 144,000 copies last week (down 64%, according to Nielsen SoundScan) and continues to be the album with the most weeks at No. 1 since the Titanic soundtrack sailed with 16 weeks at No. 1 in 1998.

Among all albums by women, 21 now ties Whitney Houston's self-titled 1986 debut for the third-most weeks at No. 1. Only Houston's own soundtrack to The Bodyguard (20 weeks in 1992-1993) and Carole King's Tapestry (15 weeks in 1971) have earned more among the ladies.

Last week's No. 1 album, Michael Buble's Christmas, drops to No. 24 with 21,000 (down 96%). It's the fourth album to fall from No. 1 to outside the top 20 in the past year, following Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park (1-23), Amos Lee's Mission Bell (1-25) and Cake's Showroom of Compassion (1-24).

A sudden drop for Buble's holiday effort isn't surprising -- even if it did spend five straight weeks at No. 1. Once Christmas has passed, all holiday albums suffer greatly.

As is often the case in the week after Christmas, few albums post a sales gain. The entire top 25 this week all decline. So, those sets with the smallest fall in sales often post big positional leaps up the tally.

Keeping in tradition with hip-hop and rock albums generally performing well post-Christmas (as iTunes gift cards are redeemed for what kids really wanted), Drake's Take Care moves 5-2 (72,000, down 45%) and Young Jeezy's T M: 103 Hustlerz Ambition is steady at No. 3 (67,000; down 71%).

Lady Antebellum's Own the Night rises 6-4 (54,000; down 51%) while LMFAO's Sorry for Party Rocking reaches the top 10 for the first time, zipping 16-5 with 49,000 (down 34%).

Florence & the Machine also jump into the top 10 with Ceremonials (20-6 with 47,000 -- down 25%). It's the first time the album has been in the region since its debut week on the tally -- Nov. 19, 2011.

Florence, LMFAO and Lady Antebellum's albums were all discounted to $6.99 in the iTunes Store last week and prominently promoted, which is no doubt the main reason for their moves up the chart. In terms of download album sales, Ceremonials, "Sorry" and "Own" are up by 35%, 81% and 377%, respectively.
 

The Black Keys' El Camino rises 9-7 (45,000; down 51%), Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto moves 12-8 (44,000; down 48%), and Rihanna's Talk That Talk falls 7-9 (42,000; down 58%). Rounding out the top 10 is the Now 40 compilation, holding at No. 10 with 41,000 (down 53%).

iTunes' promotions also impact a number of sets outside the top 10, as Foster the People's Torches and Michael Jackson's Number Ones both make mighty jumps. The former rises 35-14 with 32,000 sold (down 24% overall but up 94% in download sales) while the King of Pop's hits set zooms 156-27 with 19,000 (up 79% overall and 681% in downloads). Also, Kelly Clarkson's Stronger, which received front-of-store placement and $7.99 sale pricing, bounds 39-17 with 25,000 (down 40% overall, but up 232% in downloads).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, unlike the albums tally, all but three songs on the 75-position list sport sales increases. In fact, the top 33 songs all sold at least 100,000 last week.

LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" continues to party at No. 1 with 417,000 sold (up 6%) -- the tune's biggest sales week yet. LMFAO also has the No. 4 download this week with "Party Rock Anthem" rising four slots (296,000; up 38%). It's not unusual to see older hits -- like "Anthem" -- climb in sales in the week after Christmas, as consumers fill up newly gifted electronic devices with the year's most popular tunes.

Adele almost nabbed two top 10 sets this week, as "19" bounds 17-11 with 35,000 (down 50% overall, but up 225% in downloads). It was also included in iTunes' limited-time $6.99 sale, which ran from Dec. 29 through Jan. 1.

Rihanna's "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris) rises 3-2 (319,000; up 16%), Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" falls 2-3 (308,000; up 4%), and Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" slips 4-5 (280,000; up 5%). Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" marches 7-6 (267,000; up 23%), Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" moves 6-7 (257,000; up 18%), and Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Ni**as in Paris" descends 5-8 (244,000; up 8%). Adele's "Someone Like You" (10-9 with 215,000; up 18%) and Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa's "Young, Wild & Free" (11-10 with 210,000; up 16%) round out the top 10.

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 1, 2012) totaled 7.7 million units, down 49% compared with the sum last week (15.1 million) and down 1% compared with the comparable sales week of 2010 (7.4 million). 2011 finishes with 330.6 million albums sold, up 1% compared with 2010's tally of 326.2 million. It is the first year where there has been a gain in album sales since 2004.

Digital track sales this past week totaled 46.4 million downloads, up 21% compared with last week (38.3 million) and up 10% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (42.1 million). 2011 concluded with 1.3 billion tracks sold, up 8.5% compared with 2010's sum (1.2 billion).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Taylor Swift's Speak Now was No. 1 for its sixth and final week atop the chart, selling a rather low 52,000 (down 32%). The chart's highest debut was the More Music From Country Strong sequel soundtrack at No. 48 (9,000).

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