In collaboration with Billboard, MRC Data presented a year-end report that showed Wallen's "Dangerous" was the best-selling album in 2021, and also the most popular across all genres with 3.2 millions equivalent album units.
This is despite Wallen's being rebuked in the music industry for a video showing him uttering a racial slur. His label dropped him and disqualified him from the Academy of Country Music Awards. He was also temporarily removed by streaming and radio stations.
Other top albums for 2021 include Olivia Rodrigo’s "SOUR," Pop Smoke’s "Shoot for the Stars aim for the Moon", and Doja Cat’s "Planet Her." Dua Lipa’s hit single "Levitating" was a huge success with 804.7 million audio and video streams. It was the biggest hit of the year.
Adele's album 30 was released late last year. She recorded the highest album debut sales in four years with first-week sales equivalent to 839,000 units. It was the most-sold album debut since Taylor Swift’s "Reputation" in 2017. Adele's 2015 album "25", still holds the record for selling the most albums in one week with 3.38million copies.
Drake's "Certified Lover Boy", the 2021 most-listened rap album, was worth 1.97 million album units. Masked Wolf's "Astronaut In the Ocean" was the 2021 most-consumed song. Bad Bunny's El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo was the most popular Latin album.
This digital age saw audio on-demand streaming reach a single-year record of 988.1 billion streams. But there was also a step back into the past. Vinyl sales surpassed CDs for the first time since MRC Data began measuring music sales in 1991.
Vinyl was less than 2% of all physical sales in 2011, but ended 2021 with more that half of all physical album records, which amounted to 41.7 million albums.
Data also revealed that streaming new music fell in volume year over year, accelerating a trend that gained steam during the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns.