It might not be a hot new release, but Adele’s “21″ continues to be a reliable background performer, and the Grammy-winning album has parlayed that longevity into diamond status with ten million copies sold in the United States.

Billboard announced this week that the album, released 92 weeks ago, became the 21st album to cross the ten million mark since the SoundScan era began in 1991.

It is the fastest to reach that milestone since ‘N Sync’s “No Strings Attached” did so in an impressive 43 weeks back in 2001.

The Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” still holds the record; it reached diamond status after just 39 weeks.

Usher’s “Confessions” and Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory” both crossed ten million this year, although they did so with significant more (as in significantly more years) lead-time.

– On the new release front, Rihanna will indeed score her first number one album with “Unapologetic.” The set moved 238,000 units in its first week, another personal milestone for the superstar.

Aided by Black Friday shopping, Taylor Swift’s “Red” appears poised to hold off Phillip Phillips’ new release “World from the Side of the Moon.” Hits Daily Double, which releases its sales data prior to Billboard’s more “official” report on Wednesdays, says Swift’s set moved 180,547 to Phillips’ 172,192. One Direction’s “Take Me Home” (165,325) and Kid Rock’s “Rebel Soul” (147,093) follow.

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