There’s nothing that stans love more than comparing the current record sales of their favorite pop divas and arguing about it until they’re blue in the face, so I went out and got an updated sales tally of the top pop tarts of 2011 so we can separate the fact from the fiction and find out just who has been a hot seller this year, and who’s headed straight for the bargain bin.
Adele, Beyonce, Britney, Rihanna, and Lady GaGa — all the ladies who released albums this year are here, and some of the results are just a teeny weeny bit shocking. One gal sold more than expected, one sold considerably less, and another one has been using inflated shipping figures to try and pass off a faux-Thriller sized smash!
So, without further ado…
Adele – 21 (released: January 19)
Surprise, surprise, Adele’s 21 is the biggest seller of 2011. Released back in January, Adelegend’s sophomore set has already sold an astonishing 14,349,000 copies worldwide, making it the biggest album since… God only knows. And with the holiday spending season currently in full effect, 21 will easily push past the 15 million mark in another week, and after that, the sky’s the limit. The album’s third single “Set Fire to the Rain” is only just now beginning to gain some serious steam on the charts, so there’s no telling how many copies 21 will end up pushing by the end of its run.
All this, and she hasn’t even promoted it in months.
Rihanna – Talk That Talk (released November 21)
There’s been a lot of carrying on about how Rihanna has yet to secure a No. 1 album in America, but with Talk That Talk’s current worldwide sales, it’s Rihanna who will be having the last laugh. In just a month, the disc has sold an impressive 1,303,000 copies, with the majority of the sales coming from outside of the US. It’s not like she’s doing bad in America, though — TTT may be under 400k in the States, but RiRi currently has the longest-running No. 1 single of 2011 over there with her smash hit “We Found Love”.
Sales of TTT will predictably slow down come January after the holiday season is over, but if the slow and steady success of Loud is anything to go by, TTT should reach the finish line as a winner as long as RiRi’s got some more hits up her sleeve to keep the momentum going.
Lady GaGa – Born This Way (released May 23)
GaGa and Interscope have been severely inflating the sales of Born this Way since it dropped.
With exaggerated shipping figures, they’ve tried to pass it off as selling upwards of 8 million copies worldwide, when in reality, the real number is 5,203,000 copies. Still, 5.2 milli is far from abysmal, putting Born This Way on par with Rihanna’s Loud (which also suffered inflated sales of 8 million from Rihanna’s label), but under the circumstances, I still consider Born This Way to be a bit of a flop.
First of all, when you minus the 440,000 copies that it sold from the 99 cent Amazon deal, the disc is technically at 4.8 million. Then take a look at the US sales — despite ‘selling’ 1.1 million copies first-week in the States, Born This Way has only just passed the 2 million mark, seven whole months later, and with the album’s fifth single “Marry The Night” fizzing on the charts, it isn’t likely that BTW is harboring any other big hits to propel the sales’ total much further.
Pretty disappointing for the heavily-promoted and self-proclaimed “greatest album of the decade” and follow-up to the 10-12 million-selling The Fame, don’t ya think?
Beyonce – 4 (released June 24)
Despite every effort under the sun to save this album, Beyonce needs to face the facts: 4 is a total flop. The hit-and-miss disc has only shifted about 1.95 million copies worldwide in six months, with approximately half of them coming straight outta the States. On top of that, Bey can’t even fall back on saying that it produced a hit single like Rihanna’s Rated R, because there simply hasn’t been any. Not to mention that the album was also overlooked at the Grammy Awards, only garnering a Best Rap/Sung collabo nod for “Party” with Andre 3000.
It wasn’t a lack of effort that caused 4 to tank, though. Bey’s promoted it everywhere from the Oprah finale to a headlining slot at Glastonbury, not to mention unveiling her pregnancy at the MTV VMAs while performing a track from the album. Then there were two TV concert specials — one in the UK, and one in the US — and music videos for almost every song on 4, but still nobody bought it.
Better luck next time, Bey.
Britney Spears – Femme Fatale (released March 28)
Britney’s Femme Fatale is my personal favorite on this list, but it’s by far been the biggest bomb of the bunch. In 9 months, the artificial collection of catchy tunes has only sold 1,450,000 copies worldwide, and with the Femme Fatale tour now over and the fourth single “Criminal” stalling on the Hot 100, the album’s future prospects aren’t good.
On the bright side, Femme Fatale has become Britney’s most successful album singles-wise to date. It’s the first in her career to produce three top ten hits on the Hot 100, and gave Brit her biggest radio hit ever. But it’s hardly a good thing when you transition from being an ‘albums artist’ to a singles one, is it?