Commentary

Adele's '25' Poised To Set Sales Records Sans Streaming

The phenomenon that is Adele is not only on track to set the one-week record for album sales in the U.S. but also offers hope for smoothing over political rifts at the Thanksgiving dinner table (if a “Saturday Night Live” sketch gone viral be our guide).

In “A Thanksgiving Miracle,” which aired Saturday, the dad at the head of the table “claims that ‘the refugees are all ISIS in disguise,’ and an aunt agrees, saying, ‘I actually saw an ISIS in the A&P today when I was picking up the yams,’” recounts Andrea Park for People.

“And right when this aunt starts asking her niece's African-American boyfriend offensive questions, the youngest member of the family gets up from the table with a sigh and pushes play on a CD player,” Park continues. “As soon as Adele's ‘Hello’ starts blasting out of the speakers, everything changes: All of their differences are put aside in favor of wistfully lip-syncing along to the song that has captivated the world.”

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Adele also performed “Hello” and “When We Were Young” on the show, which was hosted by actor Matthew McConaughey,

“Hello,” a track from the singer’s third studio and first since 2011’s “21,” was released on Oct. 22 with a haunting video in advance of the debut of the full “25” on Friday. It had racked up more than 462 million views on YouTube as of this morning.

The full album made its debut on iTunes and on CD — but not streaming services — on Friday. 

“After one day on sale, Adele's ‘25’ appears set to break NSYNC's long-standing one-week Nielsen-era U.S. album sales record of 2.42 million sold, according to industry forecasters,” writesBillboard’s Keith Caulfield. “Sources say the set is on track to sell at least 2.5 million in pure album sales in its first week, and sold more than 900,000 copies alone through the iTunes Store on its first day of release.”

Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer all said last week that “25” would not be available for streaming and Adele's representatives declined to comment on the decision, Reuters’s Piya Sinha-Roy reports. “Apple said in a statement Friday that ‘Hello’ will continue being available for streaming, and that it was ‘thrilled to offer’ the album to buy on its online store iTunes,” Sinha-Roy writes. 

“She's benefiting from paid subscriptions, but she's using this as an opportunity to try and sell more CDs or downloads,” Deezer CEO Tyler Goldman tells Sinha-Roy. “If all artists did this, we wouldn't have the growth in subscriptions we have.”

“By restricting her new album, ’25,’ from streaming services Apple Music and Spotify, Adele is playing to her greatest strength: wide appeal,” writes Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw. “The British singer is the rare artist whose allure spans demographic groups, from teenagers on YouTube and Spotify to adults who visit record stores or frequent iTunes. Music executives liken her to a four-quadrant movie, the lingo for blockbusters like ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Jurassic World’ that draw in young and old, men and women.”

The power of Adele’s voice can be felt in a isolated mike feed from her “Saturday Night Live” performance that mutes most of the sound of her backing band.

In an interview with Australia’s “60 Minutes,” Adele said that the success of “21,” which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, had “frightened” her, reportsBillboard’s Lars Brandle. She withdrew from the public eye, she tells interviewer Liz Hayes, “for no other reason than to live a real life, to write a real record, that’s the only reason. How am I supposed to write a real record people can relate to if I’m doing un-relatable things? It’s impossible. So that’s why I backed off.”

Meanwhile, actor George Takei and his Broadway musical “Allegiance” earned kudos from Vanity Fair’s Joe Reid “for the year’s best guerrilla advertising” for a :30 on SNL 

The spot begins with a head roll from Takei, who then coos “Hello, it’s me.” Reid’s citation: “The ad was cut to appear like an SNL digital short, complete with canned laughter and applause at the end. And just like SNL, Takei turned to Adele for comedy.”

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