Adele's 21 finished 2012 as the best selling album in the United States for the second year in a row. The effort sold 4.41 million copies in 2012, after finishing 2011 with 5.82 million sold. The feat also means that for the first time since NielsenSoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991, the same album finishes as the United States' best-seller for a second year. Also in 2012, 21 aptly became the 21st album in the SoundScan era to sell 10 million copies. The year's second-biggest selling album is Taylor Swift's Red, with 3.11 million units sold. It's the fourth time Swift has had an album ranked among a year's top three sellers. Meanwhile, One Direction's debut album, Up All Night, is 2012's third-biggest set with 1.62 million sold. The quintet's second album, Take Me Home, also is on the chart as the year's #5 seller with 1.34 million. It's the first time in the SoundScan era that an act has had two of the year's top five sellers. At #4 for the year is Mumford & Sons'Babel, which shifted 1.46 million copies.
Justin Bieber saw his latest album, Believe, become the #6 best-selling effort of 2012 with 1.34 million, while the rest of the Top 10 are all Country offerings. Carrie Underwood's Blown Away is #7 with 1.20 million, Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines is #8 with 1.10 million, Lionel Richie's Tuskegee is #9 with 1.07 million, and Jason Aldean's Night Train is #10 with 1.02 million.
Digital singles had a landmark year in 2012 as a record 1.336 billion tracks were sold, which is up 5 percent over 2011. Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" (featuring Kimbra) is 2012's top seller with 6.80 million downloads, while Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" finishes in second place with 6.47 million. Fun.'s "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) is the third best-selling single with 5.95 million. Maroon 5's "Payphone" (featuring Wiz Khalifa) is #4 with 4.76 million, and Nicki Minaj's "Starships" is #5 (3.98 million).
SoundScan also revealed that overall album sales in the U.S. fell by 4 percent in 2012 to 315.96 million, which is down from 330.57 million in 2011. Physical CD sales also were down 13 percent, however, digital album downloads increased by 14 percent to a record 117.68 million sold. Vinyl continued its comeback for the fifth consecutive year, as 4.55 million vinyl LPs were sold, which is up 18 percent over 2011's haul. The year's top selling vinyl was Jack White's Blunderbuss with 34,000 vinyl copies, followed by The Beatles'Abbey Road with 30,000.