Why has she sold six times as many albums as her competitors in the marketplace?

Last night I went to dinner at BOA with seven others.

For those unfamiliar with the territory, BOA is a steakhouse on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, it sits astride Sunset Boulevard in a high rise housing the Soho House atop its peak and nondescript offices in between, and it’s everything you hate about Los Angeles.

Where Jason Flom said the center of the music business had moved.

Lee Trink said he felt the change seven years ago.

I said it was all about Lucian Grainge deciding to run Universal from the west coast.

And the west coast is different from the east coast. On the west coast it’s not about the mind so much as the body, and the bodies were in evidence. From oldster to youngster, from the truly rich to the wannabe, they paraded in this paragon of excess where the food was good, but not quite good enough to justify the price.

And that’s when Jason asked his question.

Adele’s “21” is closing in on 13 million copies sold in America. We can quibble with Jason’s multiple, but the truth is very few albums sell two million copies, almost none, but Adele has sold an exponentially larger number than the other artists. More than double that of America’s biggest rock star, Taylor Swift, who Bernie said killed at the iHeart Radio festival in Vegas.

Bernie Cahill said Adele triumphed because she was fat. Because she was every woman.

Jason countered that wasn’t good enough for a six times multiple, furthermore, Adele didn’t do any of the usual promotion. She didn’t do the radio shows, she didn’t show up at the station, she did nothing everybody else does and believes is necessary.

So this begs the question of credibility. Which I believe is key.

But Jason and Lee Trink did not believe this was enough to explain it.

Lee spoke about the last decade at Lava, when they had a counter, tallying all the double digit million sales, like those of “Devil Without A Cause.” No one does those numbers anymore, why?

And the truth, which I proffered, is “21” is really not that good. It’s not something that calls out to be endlessly repeated. It’s more about professionalism. But in a world of amateurs, does that stick out?

Or is it the fact that you just can’t get the word out anymore. And Adele’s album is the only one that has sustained in the marketplace long enough that everybody knows about it. Because the truth is we live in silos. And we think that which is mega is not. If the “New York Times” is unaware that Amanda Palmer got castigated for soliciting free performances, never mind Lena Dunham and her publisher Random House, what are the odds most people have even heard of the big records? And if they’ve heard of them, have they checked them out?

But maybe it’s because of the genre. Too much of what we’re purveying is not liked by everybody. Whereas Adele delivered an update on R&B, a more universal sound

Bernie said it was Adele’s authentic voice.

But the truth is most of those songs were cowrites, the unsung hero is Dan Wilson, who had a hit with Semisonic, but his solo album sank like a stone, despite penning those Adele hits.

And Jason started talking about Lorde, who he brought to these shores. She’s successful, but she’s only sold a couple of million copies of her album in America.

So what is it?

Could it be that we’re purveying crap?

The assembled multitude had a hard time denying that. Jason said how the 79th best band of the seventies is better than the best band of today, and it’s hard to argue with that.

And if “21” came out in the eighties, would it have sold six times as many as “Thriller”? No one believed that.

Then again, Lee talked about the phenomenon of Norah Jones, how her debut sold double digit millions.

But Jason countered that that was in an era when multiple people were hitting that number, Norah didn’t supersede everybody else.

And then the conversation wandered, to food and relationships and the desire to see acts live or the lack thereof.

And I’m sitting here now wondering why Adele is closing in on 13 million albums sold in America and no one else is close to double digits, I still don’t know why.

Then again, what’s bigger today is bigger than it ever was. Tracks on YouTube have a billion views. Not yours, but a few. We all gravitate to that which is huge because we want to feel part of society, we want to belong.

And is that the reason we all bought “21”?

Or is it really that good, is it really that credible, is it really that much better than everything else.

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