Did Adele Disrupt The Music Industry’s Entire Holiday Retail Season?

The Beatles may have claimed to be bigger than Jesus, but only Adele can say she was bigger than Santa.

Or at least only Adele — and her new album, “25” — was big enough to keep any other new releases from even trying for a shot in Santa’s bag.

Which, historically, is unusual, as the holiday season with its focus on gift giving, free time and need to have something playing in your ears other than Christmas music is generally a time that a lot of albums hit.

But not this year.

This year the bigger stars stayed far, far away from Christmas season releases in the fourth quarter, according to Forbes, but not for lack of projects — as early 2016 is chock-full of big releases from marquee names. Projects that one might have assumed those artists would have normally released during the high traffic holiday season. And while there are various music industry answers on tap — the project wasn’t ready, promotional plan wasn’t in line, etc — there is one other possible explanation: Adele.

The operating theory is that while artists generally like to compete for the top spot during the holiday season, they don’t walk into outright slaughter for no reason, and taking on “25” this Christmas was going to be Little Big Horn for any performer.

It is worth noting that Adele has — in the short attention span, Spotified, digital music age — owned the charts for the last six weeks of last year and the first two weeks of this year. The almost universally beloved British singer-songwriter also broke the record for the largest sales week ever, selling 3 million albums in two weeks, before tacking another million onto that during the following two weeks — a feat that has apparently never been managed before.

It’s not hard to imagine why no one wanted to compete with her.


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