LOS ANGELES • British singer Adele's new album 25 sold at least 2.3 million copies in its three days of release in the United States, a record-setting pace that positions the album to smash even the highest sales projections, Nielsen Music said on Monday.
Mr David Bakula, senior vice- president of analytics and client development at Nielsen, forecast 2.9 million units sold for 25 in its first week.
That would break the current single-week sales record of 2.42 million copies set by 'N Sync's No Strings Attached in March 2000.
The numbers suggest Adele, 27, and her independent British label XL Recordings will profit from a decision not to release the album on streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify.
Keeping 25 off those services, which pay less than outright sales, had risked alienating younger fans who do not tend to buy CDs.
Instead, fans are pushing sales of the album to a record and above estimates which ranged as high as 2.5 million units the first week.
25 earned more than 900,000 sales in Apple's US iTunes store on its first day, Billboard said.
It would be the fastest-selling album since at least 1991, when Nielsen started to track weekly music sales in a methodical way.
Besides 'N Sync's No Strings Attached, the other fastest-selling albums of the digital music era are rapper Eminem's The Eminem Show in 2002 and pop star Taylor Swift's 1989 last year.
It is increasingly rare for an artist to top one million sales in the opening week. Swift's 1989 was the last record to reach the milestone when it opened with nearly 1.3 million copies.
On Monday, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, 21, edged out British boyband One Direction in a battle to the top of the US Billboard 200 album chart, but his reign will be shortlived as Adele, who released her album last Friday, will enter the chart next week.
Purpose, the fourth studio album by Bieber, sold 520,000 albums and 602,000 songs and was streamed 100 million times in its first week, totalling 649,000 units, according to figures from Nielsen.
It is Bieber's best-selling debut in his career so far. One Direction's Made In The A.M. sold 459,000 units in its first week, landing at No. 2.
Adele also looked to set a record in Britain, where 25 sold 538,000 copies in its first three days. The record is held by Oasis' Be Here Now, which sold 696,000 copies in its first week in 1997.
BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE