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The Strange World of Music Sales

Just when I think I understand what unites the music-listening masses, I come across something like this 2006 analysis of music sales, released Thursday by Nielsen SoundScan. I'm not saying that everything on this list is puzzling — I fully expect appearances from Justin Timberlake and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" — but it raises many unanswerable questions. Like, how did I miss this whole High School Musical thing? Where did Rascal Flatts come from? And who really buys Nickelback albums? Take a look at these lists and tell me what you think.


  1. Soundtrack, High School Musical
  2. Me and My Gang, Rascal Flatts
  3. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood
  4. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback
  5. FutureSex/LoveSounds, Justin Timberlake
  6. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt
  7. B'day, Beyonce
  8. Soundtrack, Hannah Montana
  9. Taking the Long Way, Dixie Chicks
  10. Extreme Behavior, Hinder

To see the even more interesting digital stats,


  1. "Bad Day," Daniel Powter
  2. "Crazy," Gnarls Barkley
  3. "Over My Head," The Fray
  4. "Temperature," Sean Paul
  5. "Lips of an Angel," Hinder
  6. "Hips Don’t Lie," Shakira
  7. "How To Save A Life," The Fray
  8. "Unwritten," Natasha Bedingfield
  9. "Sexyback," Justin Timberlake
  10. "Dani California," Red Hot Chili Peppers


  1. Rascal Flatts
  2. Nickelback
  3. Fray
  4. All-American Rejects
  5. Justin Timberlake
  6. Pussycat Dolls
  7. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  8. Nelly Furtado
  9. Eminem
  10. Sean Paul
Join The Conversation
bobfet1 bobfet1 10 years
Wow, I didn't realize how out of touch with the mainstream I am.
Padraigin Padraigin 10 years
People don't get kicked out of America for disagreeing with things. Oy. "Bad Day" got a boost for being the American Idol sendoff song last season.
princis11 princis11 10 years
It really is the younger crowd who buys the full albums, by the time you get to college/grad school/whatever-it-is-you're-doing-in-your-late-teens/early twenties you've figured out itunes, or another site where you can download one song at a time, or you just don't buy CD's as often. Just my opinion and experience, but the wholesome music does not suprise or bother me one bit. Nickleback on the other hand...
mmtoto mmtoto 10 years
I like High School Musical, but after a while, it gets kind of irritating since it's so popular and well-known to the young crowd. It's nice to listen to something different, but I am amazed how the soundtrack is the top sellin album of 2006. I expected someone like Justin Timberlake to be at the top.
lilegwene lilegwene 10 years
Yuck! Nickelback is horrible. I'm usually all for people having different tastes than myself, but that band is just pathetic.
juliet juliet 10 years
Yo, the kids I babysit for are CRAZY about High School Musical. It's pretty weird. But hey, I'm not complaining when it comes to kids listening to wholesome music. Let's just all be thankful that the 6-year-old girl I sit for is obsessed with HSM and not Futuresex/Lovesounds, right? So true about the buying power that kids have. I also love that no one really expected HSM to make so much money. Everything else though, I pretty much expected.
arianell arianell 10 years
I think this list proves how much buying power children have. Yeah, High School Musical is a guilty pleasure for some adults, but the vast majority of people buying that album (not to mention the Hannah Montana soundtrack) can't possibly be above the age of 14.
swwonder swwonder 10 years
I really don't understand the 'High School Musical' hype, it was on over Christmas and it was truly awful.
Aggie Aggie 10 years
I've never ever heard of Rascal Flatts... ^^ ______________________________________ \Don't chase the beat of your heart/
Pinkgurl-67 Pinkgurl-67 10 years
I heard the dixie chicks got kicked out of america because they insulted it or something like that. is it true?
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 10 years
Those lists have a lot of stuff that I might expect, with some things that I would never have guessed, ever. I have no particular interest in most of these music choices (and, in some cases, I harbor outright contempt for the artist or song). This corroborates my suspicion that I'm hopelessly outta the loop on most popular music -- perhaps I should just stick with the comfortable home I've made on the low end of the dial. It's fun to read the stats, though. It serves as good fodder for my own inane little daydreams; now I'll imagine strangers I meet singing these songs during their morning showers, with boisterous enthusiasm, gurgling soggy-wet and out of tune. (That kind of thing makes me smile.)
BBDancer BBDancer 10 years
I buy Nickelback CDs, I love Rascal Flatts, and actually, as sad of a fact as it is, I love High School Musical.
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