Let me take you back to January 2011, the month that Adele released her multi-platinum album, 21. It went on to become the bestselling UK album of the millennium, and sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Adele single-handedly changed the industry, revitalising the lagging sales of the UK and the US.
After a three-year hiatus, Adele stormed back onto the scene with the release of her video for ‘Hello’. In the first day it broke the record for single-day views after it was watched 27.7 million times – a record previously held by Taylor Swift. After 48 hours, the video had reached 50 million views. People were listening to Adele’s new single more than one million times an hour. Even in this digital age, these numbers are unprecedented.
The singer’s return has come at just the right time. In an industry overwhelmed by streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, getting fans to actually pay money for the music is becoming more and more rare. Nobody really knows if Spotify is the saviour or the enemy of the artists. It is a huge industry statement that Adele has made by not making ‘25’ available on these streaming services.
Earlier in the year, Taylor Swift famously wrote an open letter, ‘To Apple, Love Taylor,’ where she outlined why she would be withholding her latest album, 1989, from Apple’s new streaming service. Unfortunately, Swift’s good intentions (and a number of controversial law suits) lead to accusations that she’s a money-grabbing diva. She has been the subject of social media criticism ever since.
I’m hoping that Adele, like some musical superwoman extraordinaire, is going to swoop in a give us all the answers – or, at least, start making money for the industry again. With her next album, titled 25 (she’s as original as ever)around the corner, there’s hope that it may give the industry the direction it so desperately needs. But can Adele save the industry again? Only time will tell.
Of course, this is no disrespect to Taylor Swift. After all, who doesn’t love the country songstress turned pop princess after seeing her in Earlham Park earlier this year? (And for those worrying about the somewhat repetitive age-related titles, Adele assured her fans that 25 “will be the last number one”.)