The Secrets to Adele’s Success
赵晨辉 译  

The Secrets to Adele’s Success



By Alan Cross




Adele, the most famous and successful mononymous1 person in music since Prince2, is having yet another moment.




Her 30 album, released in November 2021, set a pre-order record of more than one million on iTunes3. Sony, her label4, put in an order for 500,000 vinyl copies more than six months earlier in order to meet the expected demand. This exacerbated5 the already dire shortage of polyvinyl chloride that’s been dogging the recorded music industry for the last 18 months. The gigantic order from Sony forced an untold number of other artists to seek pressing6 plants overseas, delaying their vinyl plans by months.


她的音乐专辑《30》于2021年11月发行, 在iTunes上创下了超过100万套的预购纪录。过去18个月,聚氯乙烯的严重短缺一直困扰着唱片行业,阿黛尔签约唱片的索尼公司为了满足预期的市场需求,提前6个多月预定了50万张黑胶唱片,加剧了这一困境。索尼公司的巨额订单使无数其他歌手不得不到海外寻找唱片工厂,使他们的黑胶唱片生产计划推迟数月。


Her One Night Only TV special with Oprah Winfrey earlier that month (Nov. 12) drew more eyeballs than both the Grammys and the Academy Awards. We haven’t seen this kind of prime-time attention for a single artist since ABCTV pre-empted7 prime-time programming for the debut of the Scream video from Michael Jackson back in June 1995.


那月早些时候(11月12日), 她与奥普拉·温弗瑞合作的电视特别节目《仅此一夜》比格莱美奖和奥斯卡奖吸引了更多的眼球。自从1995年6月美国广播公司在电视台黄金时段插播迈克尔·杰克逊《尖叫》的首发视频,我们还没有见过哪个艺人在黄金时段受到如此关注。


The white pantsuit she wore for the interview is being hailed as a dress-for-power masterstroke by the chattering fashionistas. If you’ve stood in line at the drugstore recently, you’ll have seen her on the cover of half a dozen magazines looking quite glamorous.




When she does head out on tour, demand for tickets will be as high, if not more insane, than anything that’s come before.




Adele is the biggest anomaly8 in all of recorded music today. Other than Taylor Swift (and perhaps BTS), no one is able to move more physical products in an industry where 85 per cent of all revenues now come from streaming9.




Adele is the kind of artist we used to see in the pre-internet era when you could have a global consensus that someone was worth listening to. It’s a sentiment that crosses all demos10.




She has a divine singing voice that seems at odds with her North London/Cockney accent. And yes, she’s an accomplished songwriter who knows how to pick the perfect collaborators. Her record label gives her space and a chance to gather new experiences to sing about.




But I think the essence of Adele’s popularity is simple. She’s just so bloody likeable.




Whenever the woman appears in public, she’s a sheer delight, bubbly, funny, occasionally self-deprecating, and just profane11 enough to make you wish you could spend a night down at the pub listening to her tell stories. Even though she’s sold over 120 million albums, her public image is one of a relatable12 human being. She comes off as familiar and fun in an intimate sort of way that few artists have ever achieved.




She’s so engaging that you don’t even have to like her music to like Adele.




Here’s something that hasn’t been discussed much: Adele isn’t about extending her brand through product endorsements and other non-music revenue streams. By sticking with just her music, she comes off as more authentic than all of her contemporaries who are shilling13 various products.




Another thing about The Adele Factor: We need to look at what was happening when she broke into the business more than a decade ago. Adele started her career right at the end of the CD era. Many who bought her first record were the kind of music consumers who purchased two or three CDs a year, usually at a department store or off the counter at a coffee shop. And when streaming took off, those early fans continued to prefer buying CDs, perhaps out of habit. Meanwhile, younger fans flocked to download her music from iTunes. (Hello, the first single from 25, sold a million digital tracks14 in a week back in 2015.)




Here’s another thought: After 20 months of COVID-19, the world needs a hero(ine), a good-humoured superstar who can bring everyone together. Maybe Adele is the one to do it.








1. mononymous 单名的;只说一个名字(而不是名字和姓氏)就知道是谁的。


2. 原名普林斯·罗杰斯·内尔森(Prince Rogers Nelson,1958—2016),美国流行歌手、词曲作家、音乐家、演员。


3. 苹果官方推出的数字媒体播放与管理应用程序。


4. label唱片公司。


5. exacerbate 使恶化,使加剧,使加重。


6. pressing 同批次的模压激光唱片。


7. pre-empt 代替,取代(电视节目)。


8. anomaly 异常的人,非常规事物。


9. streaming(音频或视频的)流动式接收,在线收听(或收看)。


10. demo(音乐的)试用版,样带。


11. profane 世俗的。


12. relatable 可明白的,可理解的。


13. shill(尤指假扮顾客)诱人购物。


14. track(光盘、录音磁带等上的)一首歌,一支乐曲。