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The Top Selling Albums of 2005

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Music charts for 2005 illustrate the popularity of bands, and also how much down album sales are in general, compared to best-selling albums of decades past.

  1. Coldplay – X&Y (8.3m)
  2. Mariah Carey – The Emancipation of Mimi (7.7m)
  3. 50 Cent – The Massacre (7.5m)
  4. Black Eyed Peas – Monkey Business (6.8m)
  5. Green Day – American Idiot (6.4m)
  6. Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor (6.3m)
  7. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway (6.1m)
  8. Eminem – Curtain Call (5.5m)
  9. James Blunt – Back to Bedlam (5.5m)
  10. Robbie Williams – Intensive Care (5.4m)

The value of digital music sales jumped to $1.1bn (£633m) last year, up from $400m (£230m) in 2004, according to the IFPI report.

But record company revenues for CDs and music DVDs – which account for most of the market – dropped 6.7%.

The top digital markets were the US, Japan and UK, clocking sales of legal downloads at $636, $278 and $69 million respectively.

Comparing the list with Blogcritics’ Best Albums of 2005 shows zero commonality. We’re uncool, unhip, and lovin’ it!

Interesting analysis can be derived from the format-based revenues.

Format Growth
CD -6%
DVD -4%
Digital +188%
Singles -12%
Cassettes, LP, VHS, etc. -30%

Evidently, the music industry’s future lies in digital, and though they know it, are embracing it while keeping a concealed dagger behind their backs.

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  • Steve

    Although I have over 12,000 songs in my collection, I don’t have any of these albums!! There are a couple I might consider (maybe Coldplay, Clarkson, or Madonna) but the rest I would not bother with. I find the biggest sellers get played on the radio & TV so much, that I get o’ded on them, and lose any desire to buy the albums. If only those that promote records understood about listener fatigue, alas, they seem to be oblivious to it, unfortunately. So much music out there that could be played, but it’s just the same old same old.

  • Vern Halen

    Nope – don’t own any of these – my creds’ intact.

  • Steve

    Glad I don’t have to worry about my ‘creds’. I’m my own person, thank goodness.

  • Vern Halen

    Hmmm…apparently I need to worry more about my implied sense of humor…..

  • Steve

    Sorry, Vern, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard that said seriously by other folks (usually music crtics), alas, the thing with typing is, it’s hard to detect the tone in what someone writes sometimes, which is so key to determining how serious they are. I can see the humor in what you said now…my apologies.

  • Vern Halen

    No problem, Steve, and the error really is mine – one shouldn’t try to be overly familiar in a typeset world where all those subtle tonal clues are much harder to get across.

  • Steve

    Re. the article, I think it should be pointed out, that the increased availability of music on the Internet, and the increasing ghetto-isation of the music listening audience into tightly defined genres means that sales of the biggest albums have been reduced.

    However, this does not mean less music is being bought, all formats combined…it means that music sales are now being spread out over many more titles, thereby reducing the ability of any one album to sell in the huge quantities of time past.

    Though of course, I suppose one could argue, there isn’t a new musical trend in the last 10 years or more, that has taken the music scene by storm, like rock ‘n’ roll in the 50’s, disco in the 70’s, etc., which could overcome these issues. One wonders if it will ever be possible in the current climate.

  • reggie von woic

    That’s more or less accurate…save for 50 cent. The massacre sucked almost as much as his movie did. I had absolutely no idea Robbie had a new album out–American ignorance on British music is catching up with me.

    I blame the Americans i associate with and MTV (American as well).

  • Steve

    Funny, reggie, up here in Canada, Robbie was voted the worst music artist of 2005 somewhere (so I was told). He sure is huge in the UK.

  • too bad LP sales were lumped in with the rest of that stuff. sales were actually UP last year 80-something percent.

  • The numerical quantity is too low, though

    Black Eyed Peas was listenable

    I am convinced incidentally, that the Coldplay album is about waiting for Apple to be born (The hardest part/is letting go/not taking part)

  • Jason

    I bought the Madonna one, I was blow away with how good it really is. The 1st two singles are not even the best the album has to offer. I highly recommend. Madonna won me over with this one, it has no fillers. Its worth the purchase.

  • “X&Y” deserves to be number one in my opinion. “Square One” is such a great song. While not as brilliant as the songs from “Parachutes,” the tracks on “X&Y” are unique and enjoyable. I am surprised that “X&Y” was not nominated for more Grammies. Oh well. Who cares what the critics think; I enjoyed Coldplay’s “X&Y” and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    Matthew Shell

  • BOB



    The best album of 06′ and any year i have been alive goes to Lil Miss Underwood with Some Hearts…. Buy It!!!

  • SlimJim

    I must agree with the most recent commenters…..Carrie Underwood delivered with Some Hearts!

  • Jessica202