'NSYNC Album A Shoo-In For Biggest-Selling Record Of 2000

No Strings Attached easily outdistances the pack; Eminem, Britney Spears, Metallica, Beatles, Santana also have strong showing.

Heading into the final week of 2000, 'NSYNC have locked down the best-selling album of the year with their No Strings Attached, according to SoundScan sales figures through December 24.

No Strings Attached, released in March, has sold 2 million more copies than the next closest album, virtually assuring it the #1 spot on SoundScan's forthcoming year-end list, which won't be finalized until next week's sales figures (which run through December 31) are tallied and released.

A look at SoundScan's audited year-to-date sales figures for albums, singles and videos shows who's sitting pretty and who's left to jockey for position. Here's how the numbers are shaping up:

  • Despite lingering concerns about career longevity for boy bands, Orlando, Florida's 'NSYNC undoubtedly ruled Y2K. Their No Strings Attached is poised to be the top-selling record of the year, with more than 9.83 million copies sold to date.

    Along the way, the album set a new first-week sales record by moving more than 2.4 million copies during its initial week in stores — smashing the previous mark of 1.13 million set by rivals the Backstreet Boys with their Millennium in 1999. Millennium was also the best-selling LP of 1999, with more than 9.44 million sold.

    Eminem, the rapper many critics and the media love to hate, and teen singer Britney Spears will vie for the #2 album of 2000. Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP has sold 7.82 million copies to date and is currently edging out Spears' Oops! ... I Did It Again, which is at 7.78 million, although Spears outsold Eminem by more than 258,000 copies last week and will likely overtake the rapper in the home stretch.

    Creed's second album, Human Clay, and Santana's career-reviving Supernatural appear to be next in line, with 6.39 million and 5.83 million copies sold to date, respectively.

    Rounding out the current SoundScan year-end top 10 are Nelly's Country Grammar (4.88 million), the compilation album Beatles 1 (4.61 million), the Backstreet Boys' Black & Blue (4.11 million), Dr. Dre's Dr. Dre 2001 (3.96 million), and Destiny's Child's The Writing's on the Wall (3.73 million).

    However, Christina Aguilera's self-titled album (3.71 million), 3 Doors Down's The Better Life (3.71 million) and Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish & the Hot-Dog Flavored Water (3.48 million) could make a jump into the top 10 — likely bouncing out Dre or Destiny's Child — with a strong post-Christmas sales bump.

  • Metallica remain rock music's biggest catalog seller, with more than 3.31 million copies sold of their various albums in the past year, underscoring what Metallica obviously feel is at stake in the band's continued legal battle with music-swapping service Napster.

    Catalog kudos also go to the Beatles, whose Beatles 1 provided the group with a #1 record on the Billboard albums chart more than 30 years after the Fab Four disbanded. In 1995 and '96, all three volumes in the Beatles Anthology series also debuted in the top spot during their respective chart run, and CDs from the entire Beatles catalog (aside from Beatles 1) have sold more than 2.12 million copies during 2000 alone.

    Among the other perennial sellers whose catalogs moved more than a million in 2000 were Pink Floyd (2.01 million), the Dave Matthews Band (1.40 million), Elvis Presley (1.33 million), Frank Sinatra (1.32 million), Led Zeppelin (1.32 million), AC/DC (1.23 million), Bob Dylan (1.19 million) and the Eagles (1.03 million).

  • The biggest-selling soundtrack of the year was the "Mission: Impossible 2" soundtrack, which boasted an arsenal of cuts from Metallica ("I Disappear"), Limp Bizkit ("Take a Look Around"), Rob Zombie ("Scum of the Earth") and Godsmack ("Going Down"), and tallied 1.33 million in sales.

    Other notable soundtracks included the Aaliyah-laden "Romeo Must Die" album, which has sold 1.26 million copies, followed by the recently released "Charlie's Angels" soundtrack, which has sold 1.09 million copies in just nine weeks and stands to move past "Romeo" in the last week of the year. Uncoincidentally enough, Destiny's Child contributed songs to both the "Romeo Must Die" soundtrack ("Perfect Man") and the "Charlie's Angels" CD ("Independent Woman Part 1").

  • Santana, whose "Smooth" collaboration with Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas was the fifth best-selling single of 1999, is expected to nail down the #1 single of 2000 with another Supernatural track — the salsa-tinged "Maria Maria" has tallied 1.33 million in sales to date, easily outdistancing all others.

    Madonna's dance club anthem, "Music," looks to be the only other single to reach the million-selling plateau, as the Mirwais-produced track has sold just more than 1 million copies so far in 2000. The only other single with a chance at cracking the million mark this year is Sisqó's "Incomplete," which has garnered more than 975,000 in sales.

  • The top music video sellers of 2000 will closely mirror the top albums roster. 'NSYNC's "Live at Madison Square Garden" is currently at #1 (207,000 copies sold), followed by Spears' 1999 video, "Time Out With Britney," which has registered just more than 168,000 in sales.

    Though only in stores for the past two weeks, Tool's Salival CD and video set has already latched onto the third highest-selling video spot (151,000 copies sold), and might end up at #2 by year's end — Salival sold more than 55,000 copies just last week, 49,000 more than "Time Out With Britney."