Sun, Nov 08, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Adele leads music industry hopes in busy end of year

By Shaun Tandon  /  AFP, NEW YORK

British singer Adele performs the song Skyfall from the film Skyfall at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on Feb. 24, 2013.

Photo: Reuters

Adele’s long-awaited album is leading a flurry of major releases in the coming weeks that could determine whether this year marks a rebound for a slow-growing recorded music industry.

Two acts with ecstatic young followings, Justin Bieber and One Direction, are both to put out albums on Friday next week, and more established chart-toppers Coldplay and Rihanna have hinted at releases in time for holiday shoppers.

Industry watchers expect Adele to be this year’s crucial artist when 25, her first album in nearly five years, goes on sale globally on Nov. 20.

The album’s first song, piano ballad Hello, has already smashed records, making the biggest US debut for a single since Candle in the Wind, Elton John’s 1997 tribute to Princess Diana.

The English singer’s last album, 21, which featured heartache anthem Someone Like You, was the top-selling album for two consecutive years in the US and, by a comfortable margin, the biggest album in Britain so far this century.

Adele, a rare artist with passionate fans across the age spectrum, has described 25 as a reflection on the now 27-year-old’s entrance into adulthood.

True to her anti-rock star persona, Adele is rolling out the album through no-drama television appearances including a concert to be taped at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

The recording business, devastated by the advent of online music in the late 1990s, has stabilized in recent years, but has struggled to post net growth.

Online streaming and, on a smaller scale, vinyl have brought in new revenue, but the number of blockbuster albums, traditionally a driver of the industry, has been dwindling.

Country-turned-pop sensation Taylor Swift’s 1989 was the only album released last year to go platinum in the US, defined as selling more than 1 million copies — and industry watchers believe Adele may outdo her.

“I think it [Adele’s album] is certainly going to make a mark on the year, it’s going to make a mark on the fourth-quarter selling season, and I think it will make a mark on the way people look at the future of albums,” said James Donio, president of the Music Business Association, a US-based trade group.

“Granted, every artist isn’t Adele, every artist isn’t Taylor. They are exceptions, but they do underscore the fact that for the right artist at the right time, people do embrace a work of art [in] totality,” he said.

Only one album released this year has gone platinum so far in the US — Canadian rapper Drake’s mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.

The US music industry’s profits were flat in the year’s first half, although several countries saw growth, including Britain, Germany and Italy.

Adele’s return has risked overshadowing Bieber’s Purpose, the first album by the 21-year-old Canadian in three years, during which he has drawn more attention for his personal travails than his music.

Hello quickly crushed a record for first-week streams set by Bieber for What Do You Mean?, his album’s first single that is notable for its smooth tropical-house beat.

Bieber previously sensed greater competition from One Direction, accusing the British boy band of releasing its new album on the same date to piggyback on his publicity.

One Direction has churned out an album every holiday season without fail since 2011 after the young men won fame on television contest The X Factor.

This story has been viewed 2158 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top