Country Record Sales Increase in Last Week of 2002

The last week of 2002 was a profitable one for country music, but it did not appreciably help overall record sales. (Sales through Dec. 22 were chronicled last week by

Final year-end album sales reported by Nielsen Soundscan show that country album purchases were up by 12.2 percent over those of last year. Album sales as a whole for the year, however, dropped by 8.7 percent. Sales via the Internet increased for 2002, moving up from 16,684,665 units to 18,079,765. Total CD album sales for 2002, including both current and catalog titles, amounted to 649.5 million. The 2001 total was 712 million.

This year, country albums sold a total of 76,905,000 copies, compared to last year’s 68,489,000. Sales dipped for all other types of music, specifically alternative, classical, jazz, Latin, metal, rhythm & blues, rap, Christian/gospel, soundtrack and new age.

This year’s best-selling album is Eminem’s Eminem Show which sold 7,607,925 copies. It was followed by Nelly’s Nellyville (4,916,073); Avril Lavigne’s Let Go (4,121,396); the Dixie ChicksHome (3,690,413); the soundrack to 8 Mile (3,498,497); Pink’s Missundaztood (3,144,947); Ashanti’s Ashanti (3,099,216); Alan Jackson ’s Drive (3,054,736); Shania Twain ’s Up! (2,909,499); and the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2,736,049). It should be noted that some of these album have been available all year, while others came out relatively late in the year.

Twain’s Come on Over continues to be the best-selling album of the “Soundscan Era,” which runs from 1991 to date. It has sold 14,506,614 copies. The other nine of the Top 10 are Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill (14,089,742); Metallica’s Metallica (13,344,217); Backstreet Boys’ Millennium (12,032,414); the soundtrack to Bodyguard (11,715,408); Santana’s Supernatural (11,176,209); Creed’s Human Clay (11,095,743); ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached (11,028,340); Celine Dion’s Falling Into You (10,530,424); and Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time (10,420,844).

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to