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Hands up if, a year ago, you thought Justin Bieber would debut at #1 on both the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 album chart in 2015. I see n...

The Pop Chart’s Winners & Losers of 2015

Hands up if, a year ago, you thought Justin Bieber would debut at #1 on both the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 album chart in 2015. I see no hands, but Bieber did just that – a feat equaled this year only by the mighty Adele. It was another year of surprises in the always surprising music business. Here are pop’s winners and losers of 2015. (Photos: Getty Images)

Winner: Adele
The British star’s third album, 25, became the first album ever to sell 3 million copies in one week. Her smash single, “Hello,” became the first digital track ever to sell 1 million copies in one week. Welcome back, Adele. (Related: A Look Back: Adele, 2008, in the Studio)

Loser: Coldplay 
By debuting at #2 this week, Coldplay’s seventh studio album, A Head Full of Dreams, breaks a string of four consecutive #1 albums by the British band. It also continues the band’s steady slide in terms of opening-week sales.

Winner: Taylor Swift 
Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, is the year’s #2 album, according to Nielsen, after ranking #1 for 2014. Swift’s consistency is remarkable. She has had one of the three best-selling albums of the year in six of the past eight years. She’s up for seven Grammys, including Album, Record, and Song of the Year.

Loser: Madonna 
When Rebel Heart, Madonna’s 13th studio album, debuted and peaked at #2 in March, it broke a string of five consecutive #1 studio albums by the pop icon. The album also failed to get a Grammy nom for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Winners: Justin Bieber and Nick Jonas 
The music business can be very tough on yesterday’s teen idols. Few would have bet that either of these faded heartthrobs would mount a meaningful comeback this year, but they both did. Bieber had a #1 album and four top 10 singles. Jonas’s comeback was less dramatic, but real nonetheless.

Winner: One Direction 
1D’s fifth studio album, Made in the A.M., lost the most closely watched sales battle in years to Justin Bieber’s Purpose. It debuted and peaked at #2, breaking a string of four consecutive #1 albums. So why are they a winner anyway? Their album started with sales of 402K copies, which is more than any other album by a pop or rock group this year. In all but four other weeks this year, it would have made #1 with ease.

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