Eminem’s third album, The Eminem Show, was the best-selling record of 2002, according to SoundScan, the music industry’s record keeper of sales for all music products. The rapper scored a double achievement for the year, as the 8 Mile soundtrack, which featured several of his songs, was the year’s fifth best-seller at 3.2 million, despite only two months of release.
St. Louis rapper Nelly’s Nellyville was the year’s second best-selling record with sales of 4.8 million, strong, but far below his Motor City counterpart. Teen sensation Avril Lavigne sold a hearty 3.9 million copies of her debut album, Let Go, which dropped in at Number Three.
Though industry-wide sales were down for the second year in a row — five percent from 2000 to 2001 and nine percent from 2001 to this year — country music thrived. The genre offered strong entries by Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Faith Hill and proved resilient through thin times with an eleven percent sales increase over 2001. Four country offerings broke into the Top Ten: The Dixie Chicks’ Home sold 3.4 million copies at Number Four, Alan Jackson’s Drive moved 3 million at Number Eight, the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, despite being a 2000 release, sold 2.7 million copies at Number Nine. And Shania Twain’s Up!, which just crept into stores a month ago, still managed to sell 2.6 million copies this year at Number Ten.
The year’s other Top Ten finishers were Pink’s Missundaztood (Number Six, 3 million sold) and Ashanti’s self-titled debut (Number Seven, also 3 million).