If you came anywhere near a radio this year, it should be no surprise that Usher's Confessions was named the most-shipped album of 2004. The Recording Industry Association of America gave the singer credit for shipping (but not necessarily selling) 8 million copies of his third album, two million more than his six-times platinum My Way from 1997, according to Billboard magazine.
The smash single "Yeah!" also took honors in the RIAA's digital-awards program, earning a digital platinum certification for more than 200,000 downloads. "Burn" and "My Boo" were awarded digital gold for more than 100,000 downloads.
Country star George Strait came in just behind Usher with a five-times platinum certification for his 50 Number Ones album and Norah Jones was the leading female in the group, shipping 4 million copies of her second album, Feels Like Home; her song "Sunrise" also won a digital gold award.
Ashlee Simpson's debut, Autobiography, tied with Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party for top female debut at 3 million shipped, and Kanye West had the best debut by a male with 2 million shipments of The College Dropout.
Outkast were given a Diamond Award for shipping 10 million copies of Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below, in addition to a multi-platinum digital award for "Hey Ya!" and platinum nods for "Roses" and "The Way You Move."
Just weeks after former lead guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was gunned down at a Columbus, Ohio, nightclub (see "Dimebag Darrell, Four Others Killed In Ohio Concert Shooting"), Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power was certified double platinum.