Adele, Lady Gaga power music recovery

Wed Jul 6, 2011 9:47pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British soul singer Adele and flamboyant pop singer Lady Gaga have helped the U.S. music industry stage a modest comeback after a decade of decline.

According to data released on Wednesday by tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan, overall album sales rose 3.6 percent to 221.5 million units during the first half of 2011, the first increase since 2004.

While it is too early to judge if the trend will last through the year, an annual increase would be only the second in 11 years.

To be sure, the year got off to a rough start, with overall weekly sales hitting record lows several times. But Adele and Lady Gaga have restored some hope to an industry battered by piracy, label retrenchment and the recession.

Adele sold 2.5 million copies of her second album "21" in the 19 weeks after it went on sale in late February. It spent 10 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 and never dipped below No. 3.

"21" easily outpaced Lady Gaga's second effort, "Born This Way," which has sold 1.5 million copies -- albeit after only six weeks. But Lady Gaga's sales slumped after a record-breaking first week when it sold 1.1 million copies with help from a 99 cent promotion on

"Born this Way" currently ranks at No. 12 on the latest weekly chart, while "21" is at No. 2.


Adele's success has been powered by her chart-topping hit single "Rolling in the Deep," the best selling digital track so far this year with 4.1 million downloads.   Continued...