Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" rolled to a record this year. The song has sold more copies than any other song has sold in a calendar year in digital history. To find the last song that has sold as many copies in a calendar year you have to go back to the pre-digital era for Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997," his tribute to the late Princess Diana.
Here are the stats: "Rolling In The Deep" has sold 5,572,000 copies so far this year. The previous calendar-year sales record in the digital era was set two years ago when the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" sold 4,762,000 copies. "Candle In The Wind 1997" sold 8,011,000 physical copies in 1997, though the rush of emotion connected to Diana's death, and the charity aspect of the single (proceeds went to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund), make it an extraordinary case.
The year's #2 hit is "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock. It has sold 4,878,000 copies (which also breaks the Peas' calendar-year digital sales record). LMFAO consists of Stefan "Redfoo" Gordy, 36, and Skyler "Sky Blu" Gordy, 25, the son and grandson, respectively, of Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.
Pitbull and Bruno Mars each have two of the top 20 songs of 2011.
Collaborations continue to dominate popular music. Four collabos appear in the top 10 for the year-to-date. There were five collabos in the year-end top 10 last year, two in 2009 and three in 2008.
The music industry should be pleased with these numbers. With three chart weeks to go in 2011, 13 songs have sold 3 million or more digital copies, more than in any other year. Twelve songs topped the 3 million mark in 2010. Seven songs crossed that threshold in 2009. Just two hit the mark in 2008.
This was also the year the "F word" gained new acceptability. See #6 and #21.
Here's the low-down on the 25 best-selling songs so far in 2011.
2. LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem," 4,878,000. This is the year's best-selling collabo. The song topped the Hot 100 for six weeks, starting in July. It was LMFAO's first top 10 hit. It also topped the U.K. chart for four weeks.
3. Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T.," 4,728,000. This song topped the Hot 100 for five weeks in April and May. It was Perry's fifth #1; West's fourth. The song sold an additional 131K copies in 2010.
5. Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, "Moves Like Jagger," 3,700,000. This collabo logged four weeks at #1, starting in September. It was Maroon 5's second #1; the fifth for Aguilera.
6. Cee Lo Green, "F**k You (Forget You)," 3,632,000. This smash is the year's best-selling song by a male solo artist. It's also the year's best-selling song that failed to reach #1. (It logged four weeks at #2 in March.) "F**k You" won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and was a finalist for Record and Song of the Year. It sold an additional 1,688,000 copies in 2010. It was that year's #46 song.
8. Lady Gaga, "Born This Way," 3,395,000. This gay-friendly anthem topped the Hot 100 for six weeks, starting in February. It was Gaga's third (and longest-running) #1 hit.
10. Adele, "Someone Like You," 3,264,000. In September, this tearjerker became the first recording that consists of just piano and vocal to reach #1 in the 53-year history of the Hot 100. The song spent five weeks at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It was the first song to spend five or more weeks at #1 in both countries since Katy Perry's 2008 smash "I Kissed A Girl."
12. Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes, "Look At Me Now," 3,051,000. This collabo reached #6 in April. It was Brown's 10th top 10 hit; his highest-charting hit since "Forever" three years ago. It topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for eight weeks.
13. Rihanna, "S&M," 3,005,000. This frisky song hit #1 in April, thanks to an assist from Britney Spears. It was Rihanna's 10th song to reach #1. Rihanna, who is just 23, is one of a select group of artists ever to amass 10 #1 hits at such a young age. (The others: Elvis Presley, two of the Beatles and all three Supremes.)
15. Katy Perry, "Firework," 2,770,000. This firecracker of a hit topped the Hot 100 for four weeks in December and January. It was her fourth #1. It won a VMA Award as Video of the Year and is a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year. "Firework" sold an additional 2,332,000 copies in 2010. It was that year's #28 song. (If its sales hadn't been split between two years, it would have ranked #2.)
16. Bruno Mars, "The Lazy Song," 2,733,000. This laid-back ditty reached #4 in June. It was Mars' fifth top five hit.
18. Ke$ha, "Blow," 2,606,000. This pop-dance smash reached #7 in March, becoming Ke$ha's seventh top 10 hit. It was her follow-up to the chart-topping "We R Who We R."
19. Katy Perry, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," 2,579,000. This song hit #1 in August, making Perry's Teenage Dream only second album in history (following Michael Jackson's Bad) to generate five #1 hits.
21. Pink, "F**kin' Perfect," 2,457,000. This was the year's second-biggest hit with the "F word" in its title. The song, Pink's follow-up to the chart-topping "Raise Your Glass," reached #2 in January. It was her 11th top 10 hit.
22. Britney Spears, "Till The World Ends," 2,439,000. This song, Spears' follow-up to the chart-topping "Hold It Against Me," reached #3 in May. It was her 10th top 10 hit.
24. LMFAO, "Sexy And I Know It," 2,399,000. LMFAO proved they were more than one-hit wonders when this novelty song reached #2 in November. It stayed in the runner-up slot for five straight weeks, the longest run for a #2-peaking song since Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" was runner-up for seven weeks.
25. Hot Chelle Rae, "Tonight Tonight," 2,372,000. This energetic blend of power pop and bubblegum reached #7 in July. It was the group's first top 10 hit.
As a bonus, here are three more songs that achieved distinctions of note.
92. Eminem, "Lose Yourself," 1,007,000. This 2002 smash is the oldest song among the 100 best-selling songs of 2012.This brings its sales to date to 4,241,000 copies, which is impressive because the song was already seven months old when the iTunes store opened in April 2003. The song logged 12 weeks at #1, beginning in November 2002. The motivational anthem is the "Theme From 'Rocky'" of the hip-hop era.
Justin Bieber, "Mistletoe," 420,000. This is the year's best-selling holiday song, though it hasn't yet dented the top 200 for the year-to-date. It debuted and peaked at #11 in October, becoming the highest-charting holiday song since New Kids on the Block's "This One's For The Children," which hit #7 in 1989.
To My Readers: The final numbers will come in on Wednesday Jan. 4. I'll update this post that day to reflect the final rankings and sales tallies. I'll also update last week's post on the year's best-selling albums. (If you missed that one, here's a link.) I'll also write my two weekly blogs, Chart Watch: Albums and Chart Watch: Songs. Other than that, it should be a light day.