Adele album top US seller for second year

Adele has wowed US music fans for two years running and set a record, with her 2011 album '21' becoming the nation's top seller in 2012 as well.

The British songstress' feat, according to 2012 sales figures released by Nielsen SoundScan today, is a first in the SoundScan era.

Adele sold 4.4 million copies of the album in 2012 after selling 5.8 million in 2011.

She crossed the 10 million threshold in November and was rivalled only by Taylor Swift, whose Red was second on the list with 3.1 million albums sold.

Swift led a record five country artists into the top 10 last year.

Gotye scored the year's top-selling song with 'Somebody That I Used To Know', featuring Kimbra. The song was downloaded a record 6.8 million times.

If Adele's album sales continue apace in 2013, 21 will move into the top 10 list for sales since 1993, when SoundScan began current tracking methods.

Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' was behind Gotye at 6.5 million. Both songs are the first to cross the six million digital sales mark, while fun. Came close with 5.9 million downloads of 'We Are Young', featuring Janelle Monae.

Forty-one songs crossed the two million download mark, helping drive digital and overall sales to a new high even as album sales began to drop again after a momentary gain.

A record 1.65 billion music units - combining physical albums, digital albums and digital songs - were sold in 2012, fuelled by an increase of 9.1% in total digital sales and a 14.1% increase in digital album sales.

Overall, however, album sales declined 4.4%. That continues a downward trend since 2004 that was only briefly halted by last year's 3% gain - mostly due to the surprise success of '21'.

Only two genres showed album sales gains in 2012. Rock gained by 2% and country jumped 4.2%.

Swift led a record five country artists into the top 10, selling 3.1 million copies of 'Red' in just over two months.

Other country artists on the list included Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' at No 7 (1.2 million) followed by Luke Bryan's 'Tailgates & Tanlines' (1.1 million), Lionel Richie's duets album 'Tuskegee' (1 million) and Jason Aldean's 'Night Train' (1 million).

One Direction nearly matched Swift's sales total, but did it by placing two 2012 releases in the top 10 - 'Up All Night' placed at No 3 with 1.6 million sold and 'Take Me Home' was fifth with 1.3 million.

Mumford & Son's 'Babel' was at No 6 (1.4 million) and Justin Bieber's 'Believe' (1.3 million) round out the top 10. Only 10 albums reached one million in sales.

Katy Perry received the most radio airplay for the second year in a row with 1.4 million spins, while Swift was the most streamed artist at 216 million streams.

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