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Adele, Taylor Swift, Drake Dominate RIAA’s Decade-End Albums Chart

UPDATED: Adele, Taylor Swift and Drake dominated the decade’s top 10 albums chart, accounting for some 8 of the top 10 titles of the 2010s, according to the RIAA, which tweeted out several statistics on Monday from what is apparently a forthcoming decade-end report.

Adele’s “21” and “25” topped the list at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by Taylor Swift’s “1989” and “Red” at 3 and 4, respectively, with Drake’s “Views” rounding out the Top 5.

Swift’s “Speak Now” came in at No. 6, followed by the “Hamilton” soundtrack, Drake’s “Take Care,” Bruno Mars’ “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” and Drake’s “Scorpion.”

Exact numbers are not available: Sales figures, always an imprecise and at-times-shady science, have grown even less specific in the streaming age; now called “consumption,” the figures are based on a complex combination of streams and physical and download sales that varies depending upon the source. Also, the RIAA certifies releases upon request from the label or artist, which can take place long after the releases have passed a certain threshold — sometimes years later — thus, many if not all of these albums are due for bigger certifications, some for significantly bigger ones. The RIAA’s system awards gold status to more than 500,000 units, platinum to more than 1 million, and diamond to more than 10 million.

Specific numbers and details on methodology were not available at the time of this article’s publication, although some specifics can be found in the organization’s previous year-end reports. A rep for the RIAA told Variety there was no further information to share at the time of this article’s publication.

That being said, the RIAA database shows that Adele’s 2011 album “21” was certified for 14 million U.S. units in September of 2016, and her 2015 album “25” was certified for 11 million units in August of 2017.

Swift’s 2014 album “1989” was certified for 9 million units in December of 2017, her 2012 effort “Red” for 7 million in July 2018, and 2010’s “Speak Now” for 6 million in December 2017.

Drake’s 2016 album “Views” and his 2011 effort “Take Care” were both certified for 6 million units in September 2019 (apparently the former racked up significantly more than the latter), while his most recent album, 2018’s “Scorpion,” was certified for 5 million units in October.

Rounding out the list with the two non-Adele/Swift/Drake albums, 2015’s “Hamilton” was certified for 6 million units in April, and Mars’ 2010 album “Doo Wops & Hooligans” for 5 million units in June of 2016.

The RIAA also singled out five female artists for achieving diamond status for songs: Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” Lorde’s “Royals,” Megan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

The statistics also showed that paid streaming subscriptions rocketed from 1.5 million to an incredible 611 by the middle of 2019, and vinyl sales soared from just over $50 million in revenue in 2010 to just under $450 million in the same period — in other words, they were nine times greater.

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