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Adele's '21' Becomes First Album to Sell Over 3 Million Digital Copies

Singer's breakout smash continues to set sales records nearly three years after its release

Adele performs in Hollywood.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
January 7, 2014 1:40 PM ET

Nearly three years after its release, Adele's smash 21 continues to break sales records, becoming the first-ever digital album to sell over three million copies, a representative from Nielsen SoundScan confirmed for Rolling Stone.

While the milestone is certainly significant, 21 surpassing the three million digital sales mark seems like more of an inevitability than a surprise: The record continued to sell well in 2013, becoming the 21st best-selling album of the year, according to Billboard, after topping the year-end chart in 2011 and 2012. (No other album in the SoundScan era has reigned for two straight years.) Back in 2012, 21 reached another significant sales mark when it became the 21st album to sell more than 10 million copies, reaching diamond status in just 92 weeks.

Go Inside the Making of Adele's Triumphant '21'

Amidst 21's still stunning sales, Adele has remained relatively quiet on the music front: At the end of 2011 she was forced to undergo surgery to repair damaged vocal chords, but the singer quickly bounced back, c0-writing and belting the James Bond theme song, "Skyfall," which picked up the Oscar for Best Original Song.

As for a follow-up to 21Adele is reportedly at work on a new album that could potentially see release this year. Last February – after picking up a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for her live rendition of "Set Fire to the Rain" – the singer said she was taking meetings about the new LP, but admitted she's been out of the loop since giving birth to a baby boy. "I’ve just been singing my baby nursery rhymes, so I don’t really know what’s cool and what's not," she said. "I'm definitely going to visit with [producer] Paul Epworth and talk about doing that again."

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