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Music

If you bought an album last week, it was probably Adele’s ’25'

Adele

Adele performs on the “Today” show in New York on Nov. 25.

(Heidi Gutman / NBC)

Nearly half the albums sold last week in the United States were by Adele.

That’s an especially dramatic way of looking at the success of the British singer’s “25,” which sold 3.38 million copies in its first seven days of availability, according to Nielsen Music -- an enormous number that few in the struggling record industry likely thought possible in today’s environment.

Adele’s feat breaks the previous one-week sales record, set in 2000 when ‘N Sync sold 2.42 million copies of its album “No Strings Attached.” That means that “25" -- sales of which made up 41% of all U.S. album purchases between Nov. 20 and 26 -- is now the fastest-selling album since Nielsen began tracking music sales in 1991.

It’s also, of course, the biggest seller of 2015 so far, having passed Taylor Swift’s “1989,” which has sold 1.78 million copies this year (in addition to the 3.66 million it sold in 2014).

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“25’s” commercial performance easily landed it at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard 200. But its success also helped bring Adele’s previous two albums back to the upper reaches of the chart: With combined sales and streams of 46,000 units, 2011’s “21" landed at No. 9, while the singer’s 2008 debut, “19,” came in at No. 20 with sales and streams of 27,000 units.

Twitter: @mikaelwood

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