Back in 1999, Eminem was best known as the slightly screwy, bottle-blond protégé of Dr. Dre. Ten years — and millions of albums — later, he's about to be known as the best-selling artist of the decade.
On Tuesday (December 8), Nielsen SoundScan — which tabulates the Billboard charts — released their lists of the best-selling artists, albums and songs of the '00s. And let's just say the past 10 years have been very good for Mr. Mathers.
Em sold more than 32.2 million albums in the 2000s, edging out the Beatles to claim the title of top-selling artist. The Beatles ended up with the decade's best-selling album (they sold nearly 11.5 million copies of 2000's greatest-hits comp 1,) besting the likes of 'NSYNC's No Strings Attached (11.1 million copies sold) and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, (10.5 million). Eminem was the only artist to place two albums on the list; his The Marshall Mathers LP and Eminem Show records landed at #4 and 5, selling 10.2 million and 9.8 million copies, respectively. Interestingly, of the top 10 albums of the decade, the most recently released is Usher's Confessions, which came out in 2004.
The only areas in which Eminem or the Beatles didn't dominate the decade were songs and radio play. According to Nielsen — which began keeping track of digital sales in July 2003 — Flo Rida's "Low" was the decade's top-selling digital song, having been downloaded more than 5.2 million times. It bested the likes of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" (nearly 4.7 million downloads), Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" (4.6 million) and the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" (4.3 million).
And there was none of that funny downloading stuff when it came to the decade's most-played radio songs (generational divide, anyone?) a list topped by Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" — which was spun more than 1.2 million times since being released in 2001 — and featuring names like Train (whose "Drops Of Jupiter" was racked up more than 1.1 million plays), Lifehouse, 3 Doors Down and Lee Ann Womack.
Nielsen Soundscan created the decade lists using data collected from January 1, 2000-November 1, 2009, and though figures might rise through December 31, they won't alter the rankings.
The top-selling albums of the decade, according to Nielsen SoundScan:
1. The Beatles, 1,11,499,000 units sold
2. 'NSYNC, No Strings Attached, 11,112,000 units sold
3. Norah Jones, Come Away With Me, 10, 546,000 units sold
4. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP, 10,204,000 units sold
5. Eminem, The Eminem Show, 9,799,000 units sold
6. Usher, Confessions, 9,712,000 units sold
7. Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory, 9,663,000 units sold
8. Creed, Human Clay, 9,491,000 units sold
9. Britney Spears, Oops! ... I Did It Again, 9,185,000 units sold
10. Nelly, Country Grammar, 8,461,000 units sold
The top-selling digital songs of the decade, according to Nielsen SoundScan:
1. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, "Low" 5,214,000 units sold
2. Lady Gaga feat. Colby O'Donis, "Just Dance," 4,690,000 units sold
3. Jason Mraz, "I'm Yours," 4,619,000 units sold
4. Timbaland feat. OneRepublic, "Apologize," 4,439,000 units sold
5. The Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow," 4,349,000 units sold
6. Soulja Boy Tell'em, "Crank That," 4,315,000 units sold
7. Lady Gaga, "Poker Face," 4,200,000 units sold
8. Coldplay, "Viva la Vida," 4,140,000 units sold
9. Taylor Swift, "Love Story," 4,005,000 units sold
10. Katy Perry, "Hot N Cold," 3,945,000 units sold