The Unlikely Best Selling Musicians of the 2000s

Jun. 1, 2009
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Here's another fun (or, depending on your predisposition, depressing) exercise that illustrates the dire state of the music industry: Make a list of the best selling artists of the decade. If your list read anything like mine, it would probably include marquee names like Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Green Day, Usher, Lil Wayne and U2none of which are on the actual list Top 20 list.

So what does the actual list look like, according to Yahoo's Chart Watch? It's a mix of non-surprises and big surprises; here's the Top 10:

1. Eminem
2. The Beatles
3. Tim McGraw
4. Toby Keith
5. Britney Spears
6. Kenney Chesney
7. Nelly
8. Linkin Park
9. Creed
10. Jay-Z

So what gives? While it's no shocker that Eninem was a sensation, The Beatles continue to be huge and country music is resilient, how do you explain the inclusion of acts like Nelly and Creed?

Simple: They peaked early in the century, during an industry boom when consumers were still buying records. The list, then, is heavily weighed toward artists like Britney Spears, who hit her zenith with 2000's Oops!...I Did it Again, or Creed, who continued to soar on their 1999 album Human Clay into the new millennium. So for all his solo success, Justin Timberlake will never move the same numbers as *NSYNC (#16) did, and for all his sales power, Lil Wayne will never match a dude who used to wear a band aid on his face (#7).


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