Eminem, Beatles, Shakira top decade-end sales list

Who wins the record-sale wars of the ’00s? The battle comes down to the Real Slim Shady, the Fab Four, and a perhaps less fab boy-band fivesome.

According to Nielsen SoundScan (via USA Today), Eminem garners the top overall prize for album sales over the last ten years with 32.2 million copies sold, despite having a five-year gap in studio albums between 2004’s Encore and this year’s Relapse.

The Beatles, however, come in a close second with 30 million, and earn the single-album ticket to ride; their greatest-hits compilation 1, released in 2000, sold 11.5 million, edging out ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached from that same year by a mere 400,000. (The latter sold 2.4 million in its first seven days, still a SoundScan record.) Norah Jones’ 2002 debut Come Away With Me wins the bronze, taking third place with 10.5 million.

As for digital music? Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie” is the decade’s most-streamed track by nearly double numbers, with 85.3 million online plays, followed by Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You,” at 43.5 million, and Chris Brown’s “Run It!”

Cross-format rock and country rule the Aughties’ radio-play records, however; Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” was the most spun, followed by Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” Lifehouse’s “Hanging by a Moment,” two Faith Hill songs (“Breathe,” “The Way You Love Me”), 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite,” and Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”

Readers, who were your artists of the decade? And who did you forget even belonged to this decade? Don’t Lie.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Weezer latest: Rivers Cuomo’s condition has ’stabilized’
Who is the one-hit wonder of the decade?
Did Eminem call Adam Lambert a homophobic slur?

Common talks Grammy noms
Weezer bus crash: Photos and chilling details

Comments (70 total) Add your comment
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  • Michael

    You mean 85.3 million I assume?

  • Kyle

    Is there anywhere we can actually see the list of albums? USA Today just names the ones u did…

    • Anthony

      billboard.com will have the list on their site on December 11th

      • Go Adam!

        Surely they’ll have a more accurate count at Billboard. I’m pretty certain that Adam Lambert was the top-selling legend of this decade!!

  • Missy

    Are these figures only for North America? I might be mistaken, but I don’t think they are world-wide sales figures……

    • wWoWw

      U.S. only.

    • fireguy770

      eminem sells international multy platinums too

  • Donknottz

    Where are all of those people that said Em’s career was over in the Em baits Lambert Article????? Nowhere to be found Eh, tough for your career to be over when your the best selling artist of the decade.

    • Rich

      WELL…. Take away Relapse’s total sales (1.5 mil) and he’s STILL the best-selling artist of the decade. Basically, Em sold nearly 31 mil in the first half of the decade, then took a 5-year break. His career’s not over… but the new album IS his worst seller by about 4 million!!!

      He’s still selling better than Lambert, tho…

      • nonny

        not true curtail call (2006) sold 3mil and encore (2004) sold 5 mil.

    • The TwO


  • GinaVera

    Go Slim Shady!!!

    • Mark

      It doesnt say much for the music industry or the public when a bigot like Eminem is the top seller for the decade. Fortunately, he WONT be on the list at all for the next decade. I feel sorry for him that all he can spew is hate and ridicule.

      • Donknottz

        Um your too stoopid to realize that hes far from homophobic and actually is a full supporter of gay rights and says these things to incite the people like yourself that don’t get that he’s being facetious so you’ll react and also so he can get the true homophobic people to expose themselves for the fools they are.

      • t3hdow

        You can’t take all of Eminem’s gay slurs (or much else he says) seriously when he’s under his Slim Shady persona. He’s kind of like satirist Johnathan Swift in that regard. The real Marshall Mathers is much less homophobic than you think. He did his stunt with Bruno to make fun of himself.
        He deserves to be on the list. Beyond all the rage, Eminem is a morbidly funny lyricist, and occasionally drops in biting social commentary about middle America. He’s not the bigot you claim he is.

      • TellyB

        Mark, he won’t be. EMINEM has lost relevance, and that’s why he has to do desperate things like start flimsy “feuds” with the likes of Mariah and Lambert. You can also tell by the ridiculously low number of copies RELAPSE sold in comparison to his last album.

  • Sharlin

    Mine are *NSYNC and Justin Timberlake.

  • chrissy

    Kelly Clarkson rocks this decade!!!!!

  • Hank

    The Beatles broke up 40 years ago and still sell millions..The Biggest band in the universe

    • jodipo

      this exactly. You can talk about eminem or whoever, but the fact that a musical group that stopped making music almost 40 years ago is the second highest selling band of the decade says a lot!

      • shesha

        40 years from now, do you think anyone is going to still be listening to Eminem (let alone understand the cultural references that make his music already sound dated)? Do you think anyone is going to know/care about N’sync. The fact that the Beatles sold 30 million records 40 years after they broke up and had the No. 1 album of the decade speaks to a time when the public was willing to support quality music — unlike most of the crap we hear now. Long live the Beatles!

    • Ehh

      Perhaps they win by default, but they can’t sell a video game to the young folks based on their music. Only the old and the nerdy still have woodys over the Beatles.

      • Brett

        Actually the game has sold very well, but I wouldn’t expect you to know what you’re talking about.

      • Casey

        I’m 19 and the Beatles are easily my favorite band. I guess I’m old.

      • Ehh

        The game didn’t sell very well at all, and Casey you’re not old, just a huge nerd.

      • Blanche

        Ehh, you’re misinformed. My kids love Beatles Rock Band. And it sold very well (for a music game). But not compared to shooter games of course. Sales are down for all music games but Beatles Rock Band outsold Guitar Hero 5. Check the facts, dude, and put them in the correct context.

      • Tony Bailey

        I do not know where you get your facts from, but the Beatles rock game was a huge seller, despite its high price and easily outsold Guitar Hero 5. I am just 17 and I bought the Beatles remasters because like many of my friends I believe the Beatles are still unequalled when it comes to song quality. There is not a band today that in 40 years time are going to still be selling millions all over the planet. The Beatles remain the biggest selling music act in history. They have sold over 250 million more units than Michael Jackson.

      • doug

        I respect the Beatles but I don’t know anyone under 40 that actually listens to them.

      • Blanche

        Doug: My two kids are big Beatles fans. And one of my son’s best friends is a Beatles fanatic. Obviously most kids these days listen to what’s popular now (Gaga, Miley, and assorted other autotuned “singers”) but I’ve been surprised by how many kids know Beatles songs, especially via the movie Across the Universe. Saying “I don’t know anyone under 40 that actually listens to them” only speaks for your circle of friends.

      • Zar

        Ehh you have no idea what you are talking about. The Beatles have not released any new music since the mid 90s, the old have had their music for years, seeing as the cds came out in 1987. In order to sell that many records they have to be reaching a new audience, namely the young. I can’t speak as to what constitutes nerdy but it’s very clear that they are reaching a very wide audience, not to mention the remaster box set was only counted as a single cd. Count it for what it is (14) and they are the best selling artist of this decade, not to mention the best sellers of all time by an enormous margin.

      • Twist and Shout

        I’m 14 and I’m a huge Beatles fan. I own all of the Remasters along with Let It Be…Naked and one of their Anthologys. In fact I am listening to the Please Please Me album at the moment. None of todays band will be selling millions of albums 40 years from now. The songs of today mostly related to violence and antisocial behaviour. I personally find it incredibly difficult to hear what most singers these days are saying.

  • S.O.

    top bands / rock bands of this decade that not only sold millions, but also are critically adored, had a huge buzz when they started & had a major influence in the past 10 years in music….

    Radiohead, Coldplay, The White Stripes (or anything Jack White is in), The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Green Day, M.I.A., U2.

    That’s all I can think of as I could be forgetting a few more rock bands / artists.

    • Souzana

      Sorry for the inconvenience. I’d be cuouirs to know what you were searching for to see how far off it is from what I wrote about. I’m not doing anything extracurricular in terms of search engine optimization. Google’s results should simply be based on the page content and a few keywords that are shown publicly at the bottom of every post.

  • Ed

    Im surpised Britney didnt make the list at all.

    For some reason I thought that Faith Hill was in the 90s lol

    • Kyle

      Toxic, Womanizer, and Oops are the 4th, 5th, and 6th biggest selling singles WW of the decade. That was on Yahoo! a month or so ago.

    • Trent

      that’s the last decade Faith Hill mattered. Her album came out in 99, they played those songs like crazy in 2000.

      • Halina

        Matt, if you want to utilize the site otpamilly, then MWF won’t all necessarily be heavy (DE, for example, is about speed, not weight).Going along with that, put the single-sport workouts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (or Sundays), unless you can make sure you’re separating the endurance workouts 3+ hours from the strength/CrossFit.

    • Jase

      Britney DID make the list, Oops!…I Did It Again is the 9th biggest selling album of the decade. The full list is on mtv.com

  • Adam

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs

  • Scott

    Kelly Clarkson owned this decade.

  • The International Nomad

    Amazing that not only the Beatles can still sell records, but they smash them as well. If that’s not enduring appeal, then I don’t know what is. Also, I noticed that it’s the second time the Beatles’ are tied with a rapper in special milestones. Jay-Z beat out Elvis and came second to the Beatles for the most amount of #1 singles ever by an artist. Huh, I wonder what those closed-minded idiots who said rap would never make it as a valid genre are saying now. As a lover of most genres, I’m proud. Music is music no matter what form it comes in. Just because you don’t like it or understand it doesn’t mean it’s not music. People should remember that rock n roll was branded “the devil’s music” and given the same treatment as rap when it first came out.

  • Marcus

    Actually, Mariah Carey is second to the Beatles for most #1 singles. 18…The Beatles have 20

    • Mariah’s records are fake

      Those Mariah Carey #1s are so shady. The system for tallying that stuff was changed just as she got started and it’s never been accurate since then. Then factor in the fact that she was married to the head of the biggest record company in the world and look at how much he pushed her crap…girlfriend ain’t all that. Never was.

      • Kyle

        Oh grow up. You not liking her doesnt make her #1’s any less legitimate. Her songs were good, and she was/is one of the best female vocalist recording music. She deserves her 18 #1’s.

      • Mark

        Actually since sound scan was initiated, the system is way more accurate than it was 20-30 years ago. People could buy their songs and albums to #1. Mariah has a pure record based on airplay and sales without any other influence. So technically she probably would have beat the Beatles.

  • Ambient Lite

    Ack! Totally forgot that N Sync would have been part of this decade.
    I’m surprised Kanye isn’t up here, would have thought Mr. Fishsticks had a hit or two that would have made the cut – Hips Don’t Lie beat out Gold Digger??

    • Rebekah

      Haha, I know, I totally forgot about NSync too! Oops. Though, I sometimes think looking at domestic US sales creates an incomplete and skewed picture of an artist’s success. It’s much more useful to look at worldwide sales, especially considering how fickle the U.S. music industry and audience can be. For example, NSync outsold the Backstreet Boys in America, but BSB has clearly bested NSync in terms of worldwide sales. Just a thought. ‘Tis all.

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