If there were any lingering doubts about Adele’s abiding stature in a marketplace that has evolved considerably in the six years since the release of 25, they were certainly dispelled by the 10/15 arrival of new single “Easy on Me.” The Columbia megastar quickly set new single-day streaming records at Spotify and Amazon and enjoyed the fastest start at radio of any song in 2021. The song has racked up north of 85m worldwide Spotify plays—and if the Spot makes up about 60% of global audio streams, as analysts contend, the total is likely around 140m. Add to that about 100m worldwide YouTube views by week’s end.

The single certainly succeeded in raising awareness well beyond the typical music audience. It would seem that the return of the Jonathan Dickins-managed star’s old-school pop catharsis (not to mention her charmingly earthy public persona on the chat shows and socials and in the entertainment press) offers real comfort food in a decidedly uncomfortable era. She’ll be bringing that vibe to network TV with a two-hour CBS special on 11/14, in collaboration with idol whisperer Ben Winston. An interview with Oprah should by itself guarantee a massive look. The show will put her new music squarely in the upper demo’s lap five days before the drop of her first worldwide release via Sony under her new deal. It’s a major coup for Jack Sussman and Team CBS, who have made several big new content deals that combine broadcast with Paramount+ streaming. Will this be a precursor to a major moment on Grammy night, even though the star won’t be eligible for any hardware this time?

Meanwhile, will “Easy on Me” maintain this momentum? Will album 30, due 11/19, perform as strongly? It’s extremely difficult to compare a present-day release with one from six years ago, but nobody’s expecting 2015 numbers; 25 did 7m+ U.S. in six weeks—without streaming. There is expected to be a very significant retail component this time as well, and Sony, mindful of worldwide production obstacles, has been pressing vinyl for months. One thing’s for certain: The eyes of the biz are glued to this project and its every metric.