Adele’s new album, 30, has finally arrived and the reviews have been positive.
The industry is now abuzz with big expectations for the sales and streams of the album, which is her first for Columbia in the UK after a long spell with XL Recordings.
Any concerns that Adele might not actually be a streaming artist were soon allayed. The singer may have held off 2015’s 25 album from DSPs for several months, but her catalogue has since established itself on the platforms and new single Easy On Me has been a streaming smash. Her monthly Spotify listeners now stand at 61,636,504.
Patrick Clifton, head of music at Amazon Music UK, highlighted the role of smart speakers in the comeback single’s success.
“Easy On Me received the most first day Alexa song requests in Amazon Music history, and the track now has the global record for the most first-day streams of any song in the history of Amazon Music,” he told Music Week. “We gave the song extensive programming and marketing support, but it looks like we didn’t need to. Probably due to consumption via Alexa, which amplifies cultural moments, the percentage of on-demand streams was significantly above the average for a new song.”
Easy On Me propelled Adele to the most streamed artist on Deezer in the UK (based on weekly figures) following the release.
“We have playlisted the song extensively in the likes of our new releases playlist, Brand New UK, through to our main hits playlists both locally and globally, as well as in relevant mood offerings,” said Deezer’s UK music editor Adam Read. “It is performing extremely well in all featured playlists. The song was added to 100% Adele, with the streams of the playlist experiencing an 85% stream boost the day the track was released.”
So far, Easy On Me has more than 272 million Spotify streams. The single is chasing a fifth week at No.1 and currently has 466,880 sales according to the Official Charts Company (a number that will swell above 500,000 today).
The challenge now is whether 30 can smash UK streaming records.
The total one week streaming figure to beat is 78,944 equivalent sales, which was set by Ed Sheeran’s ÷ in March 2017 and, after nearly five years, is starting to look unassailable. Despite big streaming openings from Sheeran, Dave and Olivia Rodrigo this year, no one has come close to matching that record.
Of course, there’s no available comparison with Adele’s own 25, which was held off DSPs for several months. But that’s all changed for the 30 campaign, a move described by ERA’s Kim Bayley as “progressive”.
“On the 25 campaign, fans had to head to their local record shop or supermarket to get the album, whereas this is not the case for 30,” said Deezer’s Adam Read. “In terms of the effect on volumes, you only have to look at the huge increase in her catalogue since the release of Easy On Me. Adele's total daily streams have increased by 200% since the track came out, and that was not starting at a low base.
“Now that the album is available on all streaming platforms on release day, it will allow her to maximise streaming volumes. We expect her streaming figures to break records in the first week. The high streams will more than likely continue throughout the whole campaign. It's safe to say we will not be avoiding Adele any time soon.”
Making 30 available on all platforms on release day will allow Adele to maximise streaming volumes
When it comes to playlisting of 30 tracks, Read said that the album could benefit from Adele’s slightly broader range of styles, including collaborations with producer Inflo.
“If an artist explores a wider range of sounds and styles with their project, it will provide additional opportunities in playlist ecosystems,” he explained. “Obviously, super-hits such as Easy On Me have a large number of playlist fits, but a ballad will always have its limitations. If there are tracks that are different tempos or genres, then we can increase the reach of Adele's music, resulting in her connecting with even more potential fans.”
Amazon’s Patrick Clifton noted the evolution of the streaming market in the last six years, including the launch of Amazon Music in 2016.
“Given this is the first time Adele’s releasing an album straight on to streaming services, that will have an obvious impact in terms of fan engagement on streaming services,” he said.”It’s also six years since the release of her last album, and a lot has changed, including Amazon Music becoming a popular music service for the kind of mainstream audience that bought 25 on CD or vinyl – many of whom will have bought those on Amazon, of course.
“We’re putting together a global campaign to support the album, taking in streaming and physical music, as befits an artist of Adele’s stature. The song has already had a significant impact on her catalogue, driven both by on-demand Alexa listening and the impact of our dedicated catalogue programmes such as [Re]Discover.”
The news of Adele’s return immediately boosted her catalogue and sent the albums back up the UK chart. Even before 30 was released today (November 19), Adele had sold 186,643 copies of her three studio albums so far this year - already ahead of last year’s combined total of 160,679.
Among her catalogue albums, the biggest seller of 2021 so far is 25 (83,482 sales - including 75,825 from streams), followed by 21 (69,665 sales - 61,978 from streams) and 19 (29,083 sales - 24,373 from streams)
“We can see the impact this release is having on discovery of her music on streaming services – her last two albums have jumped up our album charts since the announcement, as fans ask Alexa to play Adele on Amazon Music,” said Clifton. “A generation of younger music fans will be discovering her catalogue of classic songs using Alexa, or on mobile, through some of our programmed content such as the [RE]Discover Adele playlist.”
Read said that embracing streaming will help Adele reach a wider audience.
“Adele is one of only a few artists that connects with almost every generation,” he said. “There is scope for her to gain even more fans through the streaming space as she and her team lean into it more, and acquire the younger fans that may know her, but have not fully connected with her music yet.”
And he suggested that Adele could even boost subscriber numbers across the streaming market.
“With a superstar like Adele that has a notable section of her audience who buy physical, it does present opportunities for streaming services to acquire more users,” said Read. “This can be achieved by working with her whole team to explore great content, promotional, and marketing opportunities that will give her fans additional reasons to become a subscriber.”
Click here to read Music Week’s review of Adele’s 30.