What do Adele and ’N Sync have in common, aside from voluminous hair and a knack for making teenagers cry? If you answered “bonkers sales records,” you are correct. ’N Sync’s No Strings Attached was 2000’s best-selling album at a staggering 9,936,000 copies, but Adele managed to one-up them when 21 snagged the honor two years in a row—in 2011 and 2012. Now, Billboard reports that the singer could be poised for another win: Topping ’N Sync’s current record as the fastest-selling album in Nielsen SoundScan history.
Sources reveal that Columbia Records will ship 3.6 million physical copies of the singer's new album 25 in the U.S., which would probably mark the largest number of new-release CDs shipped in the past decade. The last album to ship more than that would have been *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached, which shipped 4.2 million units back in 2000.
If the digital and CD projections are hit, that means Adele would be selling about 2.5 million units in her debut week, which would make it the largest-selling album in a week in Nielsen SoundScan history, which began monitoring album sales in 1991. That record is currently held by *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached, which sold 2.415 million units back in the week ending March 26, 2000.
The business of album sales has changed a lot since 2000—between both of 21’s best-selling years combined, Adele only managed to beat No Strings Attached’s single best-selling year by 298,000 copies. And now, of course, sales are significantly split between digital and physical copies. So 28 percent of 21 sales were digital, and Billboard reports that digital 25 sales are projected to make up 40 percent of the total. According to Billboard, 25 could move 4 million total copies by Christmas—an accomplishment that would surely position Adele for a happy new year.