100 Best-Selling Albums of the SoundScan Era

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    Usher Mariah Eminem TheLavaLizard
    Usher, Mariah Carey and Eminem

    Yesterday, we looked at the top-selling albums of the 2010-2019 decade to date but let’s go even further back in time for some special Sunday fun. As we continue to bring a clearly perspective on the standing of artists in the music industry today, it’s time to highlight the 100 best-selling albums of the SoundScan era.

    Since March 1991, Nielsen SoundScan began tracking the retail sales of albums across the US. That information was soon included into the methodology of the Billboard 200 in May of that year, thus bringing an end to the faulty ‘store-calling method’ upon which the system was previously based. As such, the SoundScan era introduced a new age to the music industry that boasts a higher level of transparency.

    Before we get to the list of the top-selling albums, let’s enjoy a few quick facts! Garth Brooks leads all artists of the SoundScan era with over 68.7 million albums sold and he is closely followed by The Beatles, who sold 64.4 million, obviously not including their sales prior to 1991.

    Mariah Carey tops the list of female acts – she is ranked third overall – with 54.1 million albums sold and is closely followed by Celine Dion with 51.8 million. Among rappers, Eminem is the clear winner with 42.3 million while Jay-Z only recently outsold Tupac with a new total of 29.1 million, thanks to his Magna Carta Holy Grail release. Finally, Beyonce failed to make the list.

    Note: Unlike the statistics provided above, the following list only reflects sales up to the week of July 7 2013 and do not comprise club sales. Check out the figures below and be sure to credit me for my work if you post this information anywhere else:

    1. Metallica – Metallica – 15,896,753
    2. Shania Twain – Come On Over – 15,529,216
    3. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill –  14,856,788
    4. Backstreet Boys – Millennium – 12,227,551
    5. The Beatles – 1 – 12,214,533
    6. Various Artists – The Bodyguard (Soundtrack) – 12,068,527
    7. Santana – Supernatural – 11,751,712
    8. Creed – Human Clay – 11,657,587
    9. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend – 11,359,409
    10. ‘N Sync – No Strings Attached – 11,145,749
    11. Norah Jones – Come Away with Me – 10,941,533
    12. Celine Dion – Falling Into You – 10,820,519
    13. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP – 10,716,292
    14. Adele – 21 – 10,672,624
    15. Britney Spears – …Bay One More Time – 10,591,214
    16. Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View – 10,290,251
    17. Eminem – Eminem Show – 10,202,522
    18. Various Artists – Titanic (Soundtrack) – 10,179,288
    19. Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys – 10,133,209
    20. Usher – Confessions – 10,106,572
    21. Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory – 10,088,818
    22. Pearl Jams – Ten – 10,023,878 ( 35,871 )
    23. Celine Dion – Let’s Talk About Love – 9,609,743
    24. Garth Brooks – Ropin’ the Wind – 9,570,940
    25. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Side of the Moon – 9,538,154
    26. Bob Seger – Greatest Hits – 9,279,677
    27. Kid Rock – Devil Without a Cause – 9,279,302
    28. Britney Spears – Oops!…I Did It Again – 9,211,809
    29. Nirvana – Nevermind – 9,070,716 ( 38,741 )
    30. Garth Brooks – No Fences – 9,010,912
    31. ‘N Sync – *NSYNC – 8,843,434
    32. Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces – 8,823,473
    33. Eagles – Hell Freezes Over – 8,791,124
    34. Boyz II Men – II – 8,592,721
    35. Nelly – Country Grammar – 8,542,690
    36. Dixie Chicks – Fly – 8,383,780
    37. Journey – Greatest Hits – 8,368,616
    38. Christina Aguilera – Christina Aguilera – 8,251,101
    39. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom – 8,219,892
    40. Matchbox Twenty – Yourself or Someone Like You – 8,216,426
    41. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 8,209,005
    42. Green Day – Dookie – 8,145,615
    43. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits – 8,121,583
    44. Kenny G – Breathless – 8,062,874
    45. Celine Dion – All the Way…A Decade of Song – 8,007,060
    46. Various – The Lion King (Soundtrack) – 7,853,636
    47. Garth Brooks – Greatest Hits – 7,822,400
    48. Various  Soundtrack – O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack) – 7,808,587
    49. Shania Twain – Woman in Me – 7,742,978
    50. Evanescence – Fallen – 7,739,948
    51. Nickelback – All the Right Reasons – 7,708,106
    52. Dr. Dre – 2001 – 7,665,922
    53. Mariah Carey – Daydream – 7,654,415
    54. Eric Clapton – Unplugged – 7,641,902
    55. Limp Bizket – Significant Other – 7,578,271
    56. Billy Cyrus – Some Gave All – 7,505,501
    57. TLC – CrazySexyCool – 7,465,341
    58. Jewel – Pieces of You – 7,461,534
    59. Spice Girls – Spice – 7,451,270
    60. Carrie Underwood – Some Hearts – 7,329,685
    61. Kenny G – Micacles: The Holiday Album -7,285,103
    62. Mariah Carey – Music Box – 7,274,841
    63. Lauryn Hill – Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – 7,198,477
    64. James Taylor – Greatest Hits – 7,131,918
    65. Queen – Greatest Hits – 7,104,182
    66. Janet Jackson – janet. – 7,041,206
    67. Ricky Martin – Ricky  Martin – 7,015,465
    68. Boyz II Men – Cooleyhighharmony – 6,972,868
    69. Enya – Day Without Rain – 6,957,711
    70. Avril Lavigne – Let Go – 6,827,049
    71. Shaggy – Hotshot – 6,824,560
    72. Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish & The Hot Dog Flavored Water – 6,761,286
    73. Taylor Swift – Fearless – 6,750,978
    74. Michael Bolton – Time, Love & Tenderness – 6,731,452
    75. Jimmy Buffett – Songs You Know By Heart – 6,603,315
    76. Faith Hill – Breathe – 6,539,340
    77. Nelly – Nellyville – 6,504,969
    78. Ace of Base – Sign – 6,503,604
    79. Creed – Weathered – 6,456,650
    80. Creed – My Own Prison – 6,442,865
    81. Sublime – Sublime – 6,387,744
    82. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle Vol. 1 – 6,375,428
    83. Destiny’s Child – Writing’s on the Wall – 6,342,929
    84. Alicia Keys – Songs in A Minor – 6,311,019
    85. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway – 6,290,377
    86. Tim McGraw – Greatest Hits – 6,273,368
    87. Michael Jackson – Thriller – 6,266,491
    88. Offspring – Smash – 6,250,570
    89. Natalie Cole – Unforgettable…With Love – 6,195,443
    90. Green Day – American Idiot – 6,142,309
    91. Fugees – The Score – 6,098,882
    92. Counting Crows – August & Everything After – 6,095,148
    93. Tim McGraw – Not a Moment Too Soon – 6,078,907
    94. Dixie Chicks – Home – 6,053,753
    95. Bush – Sixteen Stone – 6,043,370
    96. Will Smith – Big Willie Style – 6,041,788
    97. Various – Grease (Soundtrack) – 6,025,563
    98. LeAnn Rimes – Blue – 6,024,169
    99. Linkin Park – Meteora – 6,020,606
    100. Garth Brooks –Double Live – 6,016,909

    Watch the video for Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” from her Daydream album below:

    Thoughts?