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Hanboo at UKMix.org:

BESTSELLING ALBUM ARTISTS OF THE SOUNDSCAN ERA

As of 01.01.2007

This is Soundscan's RTD (Release To Date) album artist list.

I've added last year's rankings and the 2006 sales.

Key:

rank, rank 1 year ago, RTD sales 1991-2006, sales 2006, artist name

Sales numbers have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

Code:

1 1 66,031 47 GARTH BROOKS

2 2 53,701 2,813 THE BEATLES

3 3 49,606 1,181 MARIAH CAREY

4 4 48,395 559 CELINE DION

5 5 47,870 904 METALLICA

6 6 37,871 1,851 GEORGE STRAIT

7 9 34,393 2,353 ALAN JACKSON

8 11 34,045 2,658 TIM MCGRAW

9 10 33,394 1,362 PINK FLOYD

10 7 33,291 339 SHANIA TWAIN

11 8 32,676 595 KENNY G

12 12 32,471 1,619 EMINEM

13 14 31,358 1,330 U2

14 13 30,400 86 BACKSTREET BOYS

15 16 29,132 939 TUPAC/2PAC/MAKAVELI

16 17 29,026 1,033 PEARL JAM

17 15 28,484 129 BRITNEY SPEARS

18 19 28,168 723 AEROSMITH

19 22 28,073 1,149 ELVIS PRESLEY

20 20 28,059 717 DAVE BAND MATTHEWS

21 21 27,986 666 ERIC CLAPTON

22 18 27,941 196 N SYNC

23 23 26,405 463 REBA MCENTIRE

24 25 26,147 1,616 ROD STEWART

25 32 25,647 2,163 DIXIE CHICKS

26 24 25,608 484 CREED

27 26 25,139 728 ELTON JOHN

28 29 24,910 902 ENYA

29 28 24,891 858 MADONNA

30 30 24,811 929 FRANK SINATRA

31 27 24,728 632 EAGLES

32 34 24,550 1,352 AC/DC

33 31 24,360 528 SANTANA

34 40 24,125 2,231 TOBY KEITH

35 35 24,007 1,048 JIMMY BUFFETT

36 33 23,884 554 NIRVANA

37 39 23,613 1,656 JAY-Z

38 36 23,046 196 BOYZ II MEN

39 37 22,979 953 ROLLING STONES

40 38 22,923 957 GUNS N'ROSES

41 42 22,480 1,147 GREEN DAY

42 41 21,829 340 MICHAEL BOLTON

43 47 20,820 1,139 BROOKS & DUNN

44 43 20,776 499 NELLY

45 54 20,675 2,334 RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

46 45 20,634 853 LED ZEPPELIN

47 44 20,253 369 R. KELLY

48 46 19,930 223 ALANIS MORISSETTE

49 57 19,880 1,921 KENNY CHESNEY

50 48 19,869 260 BARBRA STREISAND

51 49 19,597 556 MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER

52 51 19,233 455 LEANN RIMES

53 53 19,177 753 JANET JACKSON

54 50 19,170 164 LIMP BIZKIT

55 71 18,958 2,486 MARY J. BLIGE

56 52 18,918 229 USHER

57 90 18,799 894 PRINCE

58 59 18,553 703 FAITH HILL

59 56 18,532 407 MICHAEL JACKSON

60 60 18,532 904 SNOOP DOGG/SNOOP DOGGY DOGG

61 55 18,457 317 BEASTIE BOYS

62 63 18,220 849 LUTHER VANDROSS

63 58 18,132 237 R.E.M.

64 62 18,077 570 KID ROCK

65 60 17,927 362 VINCE GILL

66 109 17,812 4,862 JOHNNY CASH

67 66 17,751 993 QUEEN

68 69 17,614 1,050 SARAH MCLACHLAN

69 73 17,538 1,483 BOB SEGER

70 64 17,456 311 VAN HALEN

71 65 17,389 563 ALABAMA

72 80 17,225 1,733 BOB DYLAN

73 67 17,187 482 BILLY JOEL

74 68 17,085 468 LINKIN PARK

75 72 17,051 678 OUTKAST

76 166 16,813 1,196 BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS

77 77 16,803 1,128 KORN

78 70 16,746 187 YANNI

79 78 16,744 1,128 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

80 74 16,584 574 DESTINY'S CHILD

81 87 16,282 1,403 BON JOVI

82 76 16,220 458 DMX

83 75 16,100 336 SADE

84 84 15,929 662 SHERYL CROW

85 88 15,887 1,020 LYNYRD SKYNYRD

86 79 15,881 335 FLEETWOOD MAC

87 86 15,691 577 VAN MORRISON

88 81 15,618 201 OFFSPRING

89 83 15,505 203 SMASHING PUMPKINS

90 110 15,461 2,525 ANDREA BOCELLI

91 82 15,418 66 TLC

92 93 15,415 838 BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY

93 85 15,317 118 NO DOUBT

94 94 15,254 758 DEF LEPPARD

95 92 15,161 537 NEIL DIAMOND

96 96 15,157 832 JAMES TAYLOR

97 89 15,062 296 OZZY OSBOURNE

98 105 15,002 1,470 CHRISTINA AGUILERA

99 91 14,992 307 STING

100 98 14,725 515 DOORS

Notes:

- Totals do not include collaborations with other artists;

- Totals include sales of interview and karaoke albums;

- I've corrected the totals for 2Pac, Prince and Snoop Dogg with sales for albums which Soundscan did not include;

- Sales of Bob Marley's "solo" albums have been added to his group total last year by Soundscan;

- According to Walmart, Garth Brooks sold 2 million "discs" (not necessarily albums) in 2006. As Brooks' albums including catalog are sold exclusively at Walmart since 2005, Soundscan does not track those sales.

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thanks for posting this.

From the numbers, it looks like they count Evita's 1-CD version into Madonna's tally but not the 2-CD album. Or maybe the R&R EP is not counted. Either way it is too bad, she would be #23 if all of her albums were counted.

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What is MADONNA's yearly catalog sales for her albums? Around 250K?

Holidayguy:

2005: The 16 albums/EPs scanned roughly 310,700 units, a drop roughly 27.55%

from 2004's 428,500 units.

1. The Imamculate Collection: 165,070 (-15.1%)

2. GHV2: 29,305 (-29.3%)

3. Ray of Light: 15,855 (-9.75%)

4. Like a Virgin: 13,715 (-3.7%)

5. Something to Remember: 12,460 (-22.6%)

6. American Life: 9,895 (-69.1%)

7. Madonna: 9,745 (+4%)

8. True Blue: 9,460 (-6.1%)

9. Remixed & Revisited (EP): 9,085 (-81.55%)

10. Music: 9,045 (-29.5%)

11. Like a Prayer: 6,895 (-7.7%)

12. Erotica: 5,530 (-18.3%)

13. You Can Dance: 4,450 (-26.9%)

14. Bedtime Stories: 3,835 (-15.35%)

15. Evita: 3,660 (-9.85%)

16. I'm Breathless: 2,680 (+13.1%)

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Holidayguy:

2005: The 16 albums/EPs scanned roughly 310,700 units, a drop roughly 27.55%

from 2004's 428,500 units.

1. The Imamculate Collection: 165,070 (-15.1%)

2. GHV2: 29,305 (-29.3%)

3. Ray of Light: 15,855 (-9.75%)

4. Like a Virgin: 13,715 (-3.7%)

5. Something to Remember: 12,460 (-22.6%)

6. American Life: 9,895 (-69.1%)

7. Madonna: 9,745 (+4%)

8. True Blue: 9,460 (-6.1%)

9. Remixed & Revisited (EP): 9,085 (-81.55%)

10. Music: 9,045 (-29.5%)

11. Like a Prayer: 6,895 (-7.7%)

12. Erotica: 5,530 (-18.3%)

13. You Can Dance: 4,450 (-26.9%)

14. Bedtime Stories: 3,835 (-15.35%)

15. Evita: 3,660 (-9.85%)

16. I'm Breathless: 2,680 (+13.1%)

We will have to wait for the final 2006 number, but it will be around 280k.

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Guest Bad Robot

Has Garth Brooks officially retired?

I can't believe he made that deal with Wal-Mart. He must have gotten a huge chunk of change for that, since it so severely limits his sales.

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How are we to read those numbers?

i.e. Madonna- 24.891 million scanned- what's the 858 supposed to mean in terms of 2006 sales? Surely not 858,000.

...And I thought I was the only one confused by those figures.

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Guest Bad Robot

How are we to read those numbers?

i.e. Madonna- 24.891 million scanned- what's the 858 supposed to mean in terms of 2006 sales? Surely not 858,000.

What's wrong with the 858k number?

That seems about right to me -- she sold, what, about 600k of COADF in 2006, plus catalog sales.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 4 months later...

Hanboo at UKMix.org:

BESTSELLING ALBUM ARTISTS OF THE SOUNDSCAN ERA

As of 01.01.2008

This is Soundscan's RTD (Release To Date) album artist list for the end of 2007.

Key:

rank

rank 1 year ago

RTD sales 1991-2007

sales 2007

# of titles tracked

year of artist's debut

artist name

Sales numbers have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

1 1 67,402 1,371 15 1990 GARTH BROOKS

2 2 55,695 1,994 70 1964 BEATLES

3 3 49,937 331 17 1990 MARIAH CAREY

4 4 49,692 1,297 44 1991 CELINE DION

5 5 48,670 800 23 1984 METALLICA

6 6 39,171 1,301 46 1984 GEORGE STRAIT

7 8 36,413 2,369 12 1994 TIM MCGRAW

8 7 35,266 873 21 1990 ALAN JACKSON

9 9 34,453 1,059 28 1967 PINK FLOYD

10 10 33,531 240 12 1995 SHANIA TWAIN

11 11 33,072 396 23 1984 KENNY G

12 12 32,870 399 9 1999 EMINEM

13 13 32,087 730 23 1981 U2

14 15 31,417 492 25 1992 TUPAC

15 14 30,596 196 13 1997 BACKSTREET BOYS

16 19 29,471 1,399 315 1956 ELVIS PRESLEY

17 16 29,373 347 168 1992 PEARL JAM

18 17 29,215 731 8 1999 BRITNEY SPEARS

19 21 28,746 760 72 1970 ERIC CLAPTON

20 18 28,654 486 37 1973 AEROSMITH

21 20 28,571 512 18 1994 DAVE MATTHEWS BAND

22 31 28,311 3,583 25 1972 EAGLES

23 22 27,978 37 6 1998 N SYNC

24 23 27,972 1,567 43 1987 REBA MCENTIRE

25 24 26,901 754 87 1969 ROD STEWART

26 25 26,359 712 9 1998 DIXIE CHICKS

27 26 25,922 314 4 1997 CREED

28 27 25,838 699 59 1970 ELTON JOHN

29 32 25,686 1,136 24 1977 AC/DC

30 34 25,673 1,548 16 1993 TOBY KEITH

31 30 25,610 799 327 1946 FRANK SINATRA

32 29 25,263 372 33 1983 MADONNA

33 28 25,122 213 15 1989 ENYA

34 37 25,094 1,481 18 1996 JAY-Z

35 33 24,896 537 128 1969 SANTANA

36 35 24,623 616 63 1974 JIMMY BUFFETT

37 36 24,312 428 16 1991 NIRVANA

38 40 23,641 718 13 1987 GUNS N'ROSES

39 39 23,576 598 51 1964 ROLLING STONES

40 38 23,429 383 15 1991 BOYZ II MEN

41 41 22,864 385 22 1994 GREEN DAY

42 46 22,056 1,422 23 1969 LED ZEPPELIN

43 42 21,925 97 26 1983 MICHAEL BOLTON

44 49 21,693 1,814 12 1996 KENNY CHESNEY

45 43 21,584 764 15 1991 BROOKS & DUNN

46 45 21,547 872 21 1987 RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

47 47 21,414 1,161 9 1992 R. KELLY

48 44 20,883 107 7 2000 NELLY

49 51 20,848 1,251 37 1984 MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER

50 55 20,598 1,639 19 1992 MARY J. BLIGE

51 50 20,146 278 57 1963 BARBRA STREISAND

52 48 20,041 111 12 1995 ALANIS MORISSETTE

53 52 19,809 576 20 1996 LEANN RIMES

54 74 19,709 2,624 8 2000 LINKIN PARK

55 57 19,690 667 44 1978 PRINCE

56 66 19,503 1,691 240 1958 JOHNNY CASH

57 53 19,304 127 12 1982 JANET JACKSON

58 54 19,264 94 10 1998 LIMP BIZKIT

59 56 19,083 165 8 1994 USHER

60 64 19,073 996 9 1999 KID ROCK

61 59 19,041 509 33 1972 MICHAEL JACKSON

62 58 18,965 412 8 1994 FAITH HILL

63 60 18,901 370 24 1993 SNOOP DOGGY DOGG

64 61 18,827 370 13 1986 BEASTIE BOYS

65 62 18,613 394 37 1981 LUTHER VANDROSS

66 67 18,508 757 49 1973 QUEEN

67 63 18,318 185 27 1983 REM

68 69 18,294 756 18 1969 BOB SEGER

69 79 18,209 1,464 24 1975 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

70 65 18,196 269 26 1989 VINCE GILL

71 72 18,125 899 79 1963 BOB DYLAN

72 81 18,120 1,838 22 1984 BON JOVI

73 68 17,949 335 20 1989 SARAH MCLACHLAN

74 70 17,909 453 17 1978 VAN HALEN

75 77 17,784 982 20 1995 KORN

76 71 17,778 389 51 1980 ALABAMA

77 73 17,481 294 32 1974 BILLY JOEL

78 76 17,376 563 228 1975 BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS

79 -- 17,374 4,835 4 2001 JOSH GROBAN

80 75 17,230 179 9 1994 OUTKAST

81 78 16,828 82 36 1990 YANNI

82 80 16,719 135 10 1998 DESTINY'S CHILD

83 90 16,672 1,211 24 1997 ANDREA BOCELLI

84 85 16,623 736 60 1973 LYNYRD SKYNYRD

85 82 16,459 239 7 1997 DMX

86 -- 16,365 3,129 5 2000 RASCAL FLATTS

87 83 16,364 264 10 1985 SADE

88 -- 16,356 1,952 3 2002 NORAH JONES

89 87 16,245 554 67 1967 VAN MORRISON

90 92 16,220 805 11 1994 BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY

91 86 16,188 307 77 1968 FLEETWOOD MAC

92 -- 16,185 2,169 8 2000 NICKELBACK

93 84 16,121 191 14 1994 SHERYL CROW

94 89 16,051 546 14 1991 SMASHING PUMPKINS

95 96 15,990 833 36 1970 JAMES TAYLOR

96 97 15,791 729 23 1981 OZZY OSBOURNE

97 88 15,759 141 9 1994 OFFSPRING

98 94 15,712 459 14 1980 DEF LEPPARD

99 98 15,534 533 7 1999 CHRISTINA AGUILERA

100 91 15,459 41 7 1992 TLC

Notes:

- Sales of collaborations with other artists are not included in the Soundscan numbers. In contrast, EP's, interview and karaoke albums are included.

- I've corrected the totals for 2Pac, Prince and Snoop Dogg with sales for albums which Soundscan did not include.

- The # of titles tracked exclude EP's, interview and karaoke albums.

- The year of the artist's debut refers to the year the artist entered the Billboard album chart for the first time.

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Counting Evita, Madge would be ranked around No. 25.

And, lawdy Whitney should be represented. The Bodyguard and The Preacher's Wife have scanned nearly 14.2 million units between just the two of them.

How does Madonna have 33 titles tracked if EPs, karaoke and interview discs aren't part of the tracked total?

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Haha Probably those and a couple others. But, it only has 17 for Mimi, when she's had just a few less than that. What's weird is that Virgin Voices (the first one) shows up under Madonna's regular report- ain't even her album!

What did he mean that he corrected totals for Prince, Snoop Dogg and 2 Pac that SS didn't include?

(UKMix is not connecting right now, for some reason)

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Whatever...

Her new album will certainly put her on a TOP 25 position again because soundscan sales plus incresing on catalogue sales will surely help...

If Warner would just Re-Release LAP, IB, EROTICA and BS before Christmas '08...

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  • 2 months later...

Update:

Yahoo.com:

But that's only half the story of Carey's dream week. She also becomes only the third artist--and the first woman--to top the 50 million mark in album sales, as measured by Nielsen/SoundScan. As of this week, she has sold 50,004,000 albums since the scanning service set up shop in May 1991. She trails Garth Brooks, who has sold 67,774,000 albums since that date, and the Beatles, whose tally in this period stands at 56,110,000.

Carey will not be the only 50-million selling woman for long. Celine Dion's career total stands at 49,951,000, which puts in her fourth place overall. Dion will top the 50 million mark in three or four weeks. Of course, by then Carey will have added significantly to her total with her new studio album, E=MC2, which is due on April 15.

Metallica is in fifth place on Nielsen/SoundScan's list of top-selling album artists, with cumulative sales of 48,867,000. They'll hit the 50 million mark around the summer of 2009. The rest of the top 10 artists in Nielsen/SoundScan history are, in order: George Strait (39,403,000), Tim McGraw (36,657,000), Alan Jackson (35,654,000), Pink Floyd (34,665,000) and Shania Twain (33,591,000).

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I really don't care for Soundscan numbers because they only tell half the story. Even for 90's artists like Mariah the numbers do not show all her sales, because SS did not track everything in the beginning ( they didn't even came close to). So, for someone who started selling records before the mid-90s SS just don't work.

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http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/chart_wat...he-bar-code-era

Chart Watch Extra: The Top 15 Album Acts Of The Bar-Code Era

Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:07am PDT

by Paul Grein in Chart Watch

To paraphrase the famous subtitle of a 1960 Elvis Presley compilation, 50,000,000 Metallica fans can't be wrong. Metallica this week becomes the first hard-rock band-and only the fifth act overall-to top the 50,000,000 mark in album sales since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking U.S. sales in May 1991.

There were charts before 1991, of course. Billboard first ran an album chart in March 1945. It became a regular weekly feature 11 years later. But precise sales figures weren't authenticated and made public until Nielsen/SoundScan brought the business into the modern bar-code-reading age (for better and for worse).

To mark the occasion, I'm counting down the top 15 acts that have sold the most albums in Nielsen/SoundScan history. Four of the artists on this list are so new that their entire chart careers are contained in the Nielsen/SoundScan era. Eminem debuted in 1999, making him the newest arrival on the list.

At the other extreme, three of the artists in the top 15 released their first albums in the ‘50s or ‘60s. Elvis Presley broke through in 1956, making him the act with the longest history on the list.

Five of the top 15 artists are country music stars, a sign of country's dominance in this period. Five are rock or hard rock acts. Three are pop. Surprisingly, only one, Mariah Carey, has an R&B connection. Eminem is rap's lone representative.

Five of the artists hail from outside the U.S. The Beatles and Pink Floyd both come from England; U2 originated in Ireland; and Celine Dion and Shania Twain were both born in Canada.

These are the 15 artists who have sold the most albums since May 25, 1991. The tallies don't count any albums sold before that date. Nielsen/SoundScan also maintains a running list of the top 200 albums in its history. I've included the total number of albums each of these artists has on that list, as well as the title of the artist's highest-ranking album.

1. Garth Brooks, 68,051,000. Brooks has seven albums (more than any other artist) on Nielsen SoundScan's running list of the top 200 albums in its history. Four of those albums are listed in the top 100, which is also a record. Brooks' best-selling album is 1991's Ropin' The Wind, which ranks #20. His eponymous debut album hit the country chart in May 1989, but it didn't crack the pop chart until May 1990. Brooks has been voted Entertainer of the Year four times (more than any other performer) by the Country Music Association.

2. The Beatles, 56,683,000. The most impressive aspect of the Beatles' tally is that it doesn't count the group's first 27 years of sales. Even so, the Fab Four has sold more albums since 1991 than any other group and any other rock act. The group first charted in February 1964 with Meet The Beatles! They have one album in the top 200, their 2000 hits compilation 1, which ranks #8. The Beatles were the first rock act to win a Grammy for Album of the Year (for 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) and the first to win an Oscar for Best Original Song Score (for 1970's Let It Be). They were voted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Sadly, only two members of the group are still living. John Lennon was murdered in 1980. George Harrison died of cancer in 2001.

3. Mariah Carey, 51,370,000. Carey is the top-ranking female artist on the list. The pop/R&B star is also the only artist in the top 15 with an R&B base. Carey has five albums in the top 200, topped by 1995's Daydream at #47. Carey first charted in June 1990 with her eponymous debut album. In addition to her album achievements, Carey has two songs-"Touch My Body" and "We Belong Together"-on Nielsen/SoundScan's running list of the top 200 songs with the most paid downloads.

4. Celine Dion, 50,167,000. Dion is the only female artist with three albums in Nielsen/SoundScan's all-time top 50: Falling Into You at #10, Let's Talk About Love at #23 and All The Way...A Decade Of Song at #43. She's behind Carey on this list because Carey has sold more albums overall, partly due to having more releases. Dion has five albums in the top 200. She first charted with Unison in January 1991, four months before Nielsen/SoundScan took over tracking for Billboard.

5. Metallica, 50,111,000. Metallica is the highest-ranking hard rock act on the list. (AC/DC is runner-up at #26.) Metallica is on this year's short-list for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. The band has four albums in the top 200, topped by 1991's Metallica at #2. That album spawned five chart hits, including "Enter Sandman." Metallica first charted in September 1984 with Ride The Lightning. Original bassist Cliff Burton was killed in a bus crash in 1986.

6. George Strait, 40,201,000. Strait is the only artist in the top 15 who has been voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 2006. Strait has one album in the top 200 (1992's Pure Country soundtrack at #168). The Texan first hit the country album chart in October 1981 with Strait Country. He first made the pop album chart in March 1984 with Right Or Wrong. Strait is a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year winner.

7. Tim McGraw, 37,171,000. McGraw debuted in 1994, which makes him the highest-ranking artist whose entire career is reflected in this tally. McGraw first hit the pop and country charts the same week in April 1994 with Not A Moment Too Soon, which illustrates the much greater ease of crossover in this era. That album is #86 on the all-time top 200. It's the highest of three McGraw albums on the list. McGraw's wife, Faith Hill, is #61 on the list. They are the only couple in which both husband and wife rank in the top 100. McGraw was CMA's Entertainer of the Year in 2001.

8. Alan Jackson, 36,201,000. Jackson is a three-time winner of the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year, a total topped only by Brooks. Jackson first hit both the pop and country album charts in March 1990 with Here In The Real World. He has one album in the top 200: 1995's The Greatest Hits Collection at #105. Only one track on the album, the spirited "Chattahoochee," crossed over to the Hot 100.

9. Pink Floyd, 34,986,000. Pink Floyd has one album in the top 200: 1973's The Dark Side Of The Moon, which ranks #32. The classic, which spawned the progressive rock group's first chart hit, "Money," is the oldest album in the top 200. Pink Floyd first charted in December 1967 with The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The band was voted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Guitarist Syd Barrett died in 1986. Keyboardist Rick Wright died on Sept. 15.

10. Shania Twain, 33,672,000. Twain is the only female country artist in the top 15. (Reba McEntire is runner-up in 22nd place.) Twain has three albums in the top 200. Her 1997 blockbuster, Come On Over, is the #1 best-seller of the Nielsen/SoundScan era, with sales of 15,467,000 (nearly half of her total). Twain, who was born Eileen Regina Edwards, was named CMA's Entertainer of the Year in 1999. Twain first hit the country album chart in July 1993 with her eponymous debut. She first made the pop album chart in March 1995 with The Woman In Me.

11. Kenny G, 33,340,000. The saxophonist is the only instrumentalist in the top 15. (Mannheim Steamroller is runner-up at #51.) Kenny G, who was born Kenny Gorelick, has two albums in the top 200. His 1992 smash Breathless is #39. 1994's Miracles-The Holiday Album, the best-selling holiday album of the Nielsen/SoundScan era, is #56. Kenny G first hit the album chart in March 1984 with G Force.

12. Eminem, 33,078,000. Eminem is the only rapper in the top 15 (Jay-Z is runner-up at #32). Eminem first charted with The Slim Shady LP in March 1999, more recently than any other artist on this list. He has four albums in the top 200, topped by 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP at #14. Like Carey, Eminem has two songs-the Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself" and "Shake That" (with Nate Dogg)-on Nielsen/SoundScan's running list of the top 200 songs with the most paid downloads.

13. U2, 32,473,000. The band from Dublin has won 22 Grammys, more than any other group. The haul includes two awards in each of the "Big Three" categories-Album, Record and Song of the Year. U2 first charted in March 1981 with Boy. The band has one album in the top 200-1991's Achtung Baby at #113. U2 was voted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

14. Backstreet Boys, 30,655,000. Want to stump your friends? Ask them, "Who is the only act in Nielsen/SoundScan history with two albums at or above the 10 million mark in U.S. sales?" You'll get a variety of answers, but I bet nobody brings up this boy band, which indeed holds the distinction. Here are the stats: 1999's Millennium has sold 12,103,000 copies. The group's debut, Backstreet Boys, has sold 10,101,000 copies since its release in August 1997. (The group also has a third album in the top 200.) Backstreet Boys are the top-ranking pop (as opposed to rock) group and the top-ranking boy band. (*NSYNC are runner-ups, at #23.)

15. Elvis Presley, 30,042,000. If Nielsen/SoundScan went all the way back to March 1956, when Presley exploded onto the charts with his eponymous debut album, he would doubtless be #1 on this list. Presley has one album in the top 200-2002's Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits at #200. Presley was named the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971. He was voted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998. Presley died in 1977 at age 42. He's the only solo artist in the top 15 who is no longer living.

A Postscript: I was reading the message boards for Chart Watch the other day and came across a comment that these numbers are only shipment figures, not sales figures. The reader was confusing Nielsen/SoundScan figures with the gold and platinum certifications awarded by the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA).

Let me give you an example of how the two organizations sometimes differ: Rihanna's current album, Good Girl Gone Bad, was certified double-platinum (2 million) on Aug. 14. Yet its current sales total is 1,812,000. How can that be? Because the RIAA counts shipments, while Nielsen/SoundScan measures sales. The great advantage of the Nielsen/SoundScan numbers is that they are so precise and accurate. So don't believe everything you read in the message boards-or anywhere else. (Except here, of course.)

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Five of the top 15 artists are country music stars, a sign of country's dominance in this period. Five are rock or hard rock acts. Three are pop. Surprisingly, only one, Mariah Carey, has an R&B connection. Eminem is rap's lone representative.

uhm, surprisingly? why? everyone knows R&B only dominates radio and NEVER album sales

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