It was a year of extremes in the music industry, what with digital music on one front presented as the music business’ only hope and on the other as its greatest threat; with the charts reflecting such opposite tastes as teen pop and rap/rock; with hip-hop coming closer than ever to surpassing rock and fulfilling its promise of becoming the biggest genre in music.
With such a polarized year reflected in the charts, leave it to the Beatles, not ‘N Sync or Britney or Eminem, to come along at the end of the year and walk away as the highest certified artist of the year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) tallies for December.
More than thirty years after the group split, their recently released greatest hits collection 1 was certified five times platinum (sales of one million) in December. Along with the eight catalog titles Capitol Records upgraded this year, the Beatles clocked in at eighteen million in sales for 2000, making them the highest certified artists of the year and giving them a firm grip on the top spot for best selling artist of all time with sales of 156 million.
Meanwhile, in the teen pop world, Jive Records proved to have a pretty good year (to say the least) with their triple threat of Britney Spears, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Spears’ sophomore effort Oops! . . . I Did It Again was certified for sales of eight million. The Backstreet Boys’ latest gave the group the distinction of the highest debut certification of the year. The recently released Black & Blue was tallied at eight times platinum on its first certification eligibility. And last but not least for Jive is ‘N Sync. Only nine months after its release, ‘N Sync’s first album for the label, No Strings Attached earned them their second consecutive Diamond Award (sales of ten million), making it the best-selling record of the year. All in all Jive Records walked away with forty million albums sold this year, including sales from other Jive artists like R. Kelly, Mystikal and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s brother Aaron.
In the hip-hop world Eminem reigned supreme as The Marshall Mathers LP was certified seven times platinum, the biggest selling hip-hop record of the year. Dr. Dre came in second and not far behind; Dr. Dre 2001 was certified at six million. The year’s other big hip-hop success story was St. Louis’ Nelly with his debut, Country Grammar, coming in at five times platinum.
Latin pop continued its unprecedented success in 2000 led by Santana. Supernatural sold eight million copies this year, bringing it up to thirteen million albums sold all together. This gives Santana his first Diamond Award, as well as his first certified singles for “Smooth” and “Maria Maria,” both platinum. This also makes Supernaturalthe best selling record by a Latin artist.
Country superstars the Dixie Chicks added another five million in sales to Fly in 2000, bringing totals for that album to eight million. The group also received their first certified single ever with the controversial “Goodbye Earl” going gold (sales of 500,000). And as for rock & roll, Creed did pretty well for themselves in 2000 as well. Human Clay sold six million copies this year, bringing certifications for that album up to eight million.
As for certification activity exclusively in the month of December, the year’s trends held true. Along with the Backstreet Boys’ teen pop success, hip-hop saw Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc la Familia hit double platinum, Latin pop saw Ricky Martin’s Sound Loaded reach the same mark only a month after its release and rap/rock saw Limp Bizkit take Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water to four million sold.
Country music had several certifications this month as well with Shania Twain’s The Woman in Me hitting twelve million albums sold and Come On Over reaching eighteen million. This not only makes the album the best selling country album of all time, but bumps Whitney Houston’s soundtrack to The Bodyguard from the top spot for best selling album by a female solo artist. Tim McGraw earned his fifth consecutive platinum award for his Greatest Hits release, while wife Faith Hill’s Breathe moved up to five million.
Other artists getting certified this month included Sade (for her first album in eight years Lover’s Rock at double platinum), Welsh singer David Gray (the first artist signed to Dave Matthews’ label ATO records, went gold with White Ladder) and Godsmack (who received their second consecutive platinum album for Awake).