Coldplay on course to make history: Adele’s 25 could relegate A Head Full of Dreams to best-selling number two debut
On the week of release, Adele’s 25 sold 5,706,000 units; to give you an idea of what that means, in 2014 Taylor Swift’s 1989 became the best-selling studio album (the absolute number one was Frozen‘s soundtrack) with 4,619,000 copies and it took her seven weeks – including Christmas sales – to achieve that. In the US alone, 25 made history with 3,377,900 units sold in its debut week, an all-time record repeated also in the UK charts with 800,300 copies (a figure greater than the combined sales of the last 19 number one albums).
At the end of its second week, 25 keeps setting new records. It has now become the first album to sell more than one million copies in the US for more than one week (1.11 million) and more than 300,000 in the UK (439,000, outselling the rest of the top-ten albums combined).
Album releases, just like movies, are planned carefully: record labels try to avoid heavyweight clashes in the charts. Considering the drop of sales in the second week – which is on average in the region of 65% – it is relatively easy to plan a number one debut.
The week of release of a Coldplay album used to be a territory to avoid for any artist; this has now changed with the unprecedented popularity of Adele.
A Head Full of Dreams‘ global release was set for 4th December, on 25‘s third week, which was, in theory, a very safe move to score a number one in every major market: the third-week drop ranges between 30% and 50%, depending on the popularity of the album. A Head Full of Dreams’ target is between 1 and 1.5 million sales worldwide, enough to beat any previous record ever released, on its second week. However, with a combined drop across three weeks of 80%, Adele’s 25 could easily score over 1.17 million sales worldwide (20% of the 5.7-million debut week).
Chris Martin’s band now need to dramatically beat the debut week performance of their last two records in the UK (208,000 copies of Mylo Xyloto in 2011, 168,000 copies of Ghost Stories in 2014) and in the US (447,000 copies of Mylo Xyloto, 383,000 copies of Ghost Stories) to stand a chance against 25.
Coldplay are officially on course to make charts history: releasing the all-time best-selling number two album.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor