'NSYNC, Britney, Backstreet Boys Ruled In 2000

Other success stories for the year include Eminem, Garth Brooks, Nelly, Destiny's Child, Creed, Eagles, Beatles.

The Recording Industry Association of America announced its year-end certifications, and to no one's surprise, teen pop racked up the most sales in 2000.

More specifically, teen pop released by Jive Records — home to best-sellers 'NSYNC, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys — accounted for nearly 31 million of the genre's total units sold.

The RIAA tabulates in terms of units, not actual albums, so a double album counts as two units, a four-CD box set as four units, and so forth. When factoring in totals by other Jive artists — R. Kelly (1.5 million), Mystikal (1.2 million), and Aaron Carter (more than 750,000), among others — the label's total units sold rises to almost 40 million.

"What else can you say about the success of Jive?" RIAA president and CEO Hilary Rosen said in a statement. "Forty million records in a single year for an independent label is astounding and is a testament to both their marketing savvy and true understanding of their audience."

'NSYNC's Jive debut, No Strings Attached, was the best-selling album of the year, having gone 10-times platinum since its release in March. The album gave the group its second consecutive diamond award, an honor presented to albums selling more than 10 million units. 'NSYNC's 1998 self-titled debut reached the 10 million mark in January.

Oops ... Britney Did It Again

Teen phenomenon Spears scored her second multimillion seller this year, as her sophomore album, Oops! ... I Did It Again, was certified eight-times platinum. Her debut, ... Baby One More Time, moved an additional 3 million copies in 2000, bringing Spears' short discography to a whopping 21 million albums sold.

One of this year's more recent releases, Black & Blue, the third album by the Backstreet Boys, certified more than 8 million copies, while the group's 1996 self-titled debut and 1999's Millennium each added another million to their respective tallies.

While those numbers seem steep, they pale in comparison to a band whose youngest member is more than twice the age of any teen popper. The Beatles, 30 years after they disbanded, were recognized as the highest certified artists of 2000, thanks to the five-times platinum award presented to the Fab Four's latest release, The Beatles 1, and eight catalog albums released by Capitol that together certify upwards of 18 million units shipped to retail. All told, the Beatles have moved more than 156 million units in the U.S. alone.

The second-best-selling album of 2000, and best-selling album by a Latin artist, Santana's Supernatural, continues its rise at retail, moving another 8 million units in 2000. This brings the album's two-year certified total to 13 million. Also, the singles "Smooth" and "Maria, Maria" were certified platinum, marking the first time the guitar virtuoso earned any certified singles.

Third place in the certified album race goes to Eminem, whose Marshall Mathers LP also was recognized as the top hip-hop album, with a seven-times platinum award. Slim Shady's mentor, Dr. Dre, finished 2000 with his album Dr. Dre 2001 certified six-times platinum.

Creed Mold Human Clay Into Platinum

Creed unloaded 6 million copies of Human Clay in 2000 to certify the band's second album as eight-times platinum. Meanwhile, the Orlando, Florida, rockers' 1997 debut, My Own Prison, tacked another million to its existing total, bringing it up to 5 million units shipped.

St. Louis rapper Nelly's Country Grammar earned the distinction of the most successful debut, with a five-times platinum certification. No doubt in part to its awards-show successes and omnipresent single, "Say My Name," Destiny's Child shipped 5 million more copies of their sophomore album, The Writing's on the Wall, upping that album's total to 6 million since its release last year.

Two of country's hottest female acts, the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill, saw their respective albums, Fly and Breathe, reach five-times platinum status. The tie endured on the singles front as well, with Hill's "Breathe" and the Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" each receiving gold certifications. Wide Open Spaces, the 1998 debut album by the Dixie Chicks, earned the ladies diamond-award status.

But no country artist compares with Garth Brooks, whose Double Live album's certified 13 million units made him the top-selling artist of the '90s, the first solo artist to ship 100 million units, and the fastest-selling artist in music history. The best-selling record of all time, however, once again goes to the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which regained the top spot with 27 million certified, after topping Michael Jackson's Thriller in November.

For a complete list of the 340 gold, 179 platinum and 255 multi-platinum certifications doled out by the RIAA in 2000, visit www.riaa.com.