Among rock & roll’s hottest record sellers in 1992 were Pearl Jam‘s Ten (3.6 million), Nirvana‘s Nevermind (2.8 million) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Blood Sugar Sex Magik (2.5 million), according to SoundScan, the company whose computerized sales-data system is used to put together Billboard’s weekly Top 200 chart. The year’s biggest winner, however, was cowpoke Garth Brooks, all of whose five albums charted in ’92, selling a total of 12 million units. Overall, recorded-music sales rose by 3.1 percent last year as compared with 1991. According to SoundScan’s CEO, Mike Fine, sales at retail outlets totaled 675 million units (Fine believes that more than 125 million were also sold through record clubs, although that information won’t be available till later in the year). Although the industry appears to be on the rebound, sales for ’92 did not exceed 1990’s record-business high-water mark; that year 866 million units, including record-club sales, were sold.
This story is from the February 18th, 1993 issue of Rolling Stone.