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There is no denying that Adele was one of the greatest record releases in recent years. The numbers confirm this. After 79 weeks in the Top 10, and 24 of those at Number One, the album earned nearly $67 million in profits to its record label XL. The 18 million copies that 21 sold on a global scale in 2011 helped XL cash in $181 million in revenue, a nearly 400 percent increase from the $36 million it earned in 2010. Of that number, the record label paid $27.3 million in dividends – half of it to its parent company, Beggars Group, the other half to one of the label founders, Richard Russell.
Beggars chairman Martin Mills states that the share of the XL dividends will “invest in our future.”
“We’ve sold 25 million copies of 21 around the world,” he said, “and when you sell that many records, everyone makes money. Not just Adele and the label but distributors, retail, everyone.” Beggars itself (which holds a partial or full ownership stake in other labels like 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade) reported $138 million in revenue and $37 million in operating profit in 2011.
Despite its tremendous success, don’t expect a followup to emerge anytime soon:
“The next Adele album may not come for some years, and it’s impossible to predict its likely sales… We therefore regard this year’s figures as exceptional,” it stated.