Well, the final numbers have been crunched and the end result is something we pretty much suspected all along: 2009 was a very big year for [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist], [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] and the late, great King of Pop, [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist].
On Wednesday (January 6), Nielsen SoundScan released their sales figures for 2009, and while some of the data is downright depressing — total album sales (including digital) dropped more than 12 percent — we prefer to focus on the positive: Swift, Gaga and Jackson (not to mention Susan Boyle, the Black Eyed Peas and the Kings of Leon) moved a whole lot of units over the past 12 months.
Swift's Fearless was the year's top-selling album, moving more than 3.2 million copies, holding off a late-year charge from Boyle, whose I Dreamed a Dream sold some 3.1 million copies to land at #2 (though Boyle had the best-selling album released in 2009, since Fearless actually came out in November 2008). Michael Jackson's Number Ones was #3, selling more than 2.3 million copies, and Lady Gaga's The Fame (2.23 million) and Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas (2.2 million) round out the top five.
Jackson was 2009's top-selling artist by a mile. He sold more than 8.2 million albums, doubling his nearest competitor, Swift, who sold 4.6 million. Some group called the Beatles landed at #3, selling more than 3.2 million albums, followed by Boyle (3.1 million) and Gaga (2.8 million).
Gaga was named the top-selling digital artist of the year — a category based on total digital track sales — as fans downloaded more than 15 million of her songs. The Black Eyed Peas were next, selling nearly 13 million digital tracks. Jackson stood at #3 (12.35 million), Swift came in at #4 (12.3 million) with Beyoncé at #5.
The Peas held the top two spots on the top-selling digital songs list with "Boom Boom Pow" (4.7 million downloads) and "I Gotta Feeling" (4.4 million), followed by Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" (4.3 million), Flo Rida's "Right Round" (4.1 million) and Gaga's "Just Dance" (3.2 million).
The Nielsen SoundScan numbers were based on the 52-week period of January 5, 2009 -- January 3, 2010.