Turd Ferguson wrote: Also, the Bodyguard soundtrack outsold "Come On Over" worldwide (Shania's album sold more in the US), and I doubt many people bought the album for the non-Whitney songs. (I'm not suggesting this makes the question incorrect, since the soundtrack wasn't actually Whitney's album, but nowhere in the clue does it state that they're talking about most albums sold in the US, and one could suggest that even the category only hints that they're talking about US sales only)
To me, the category title "U.S. Top Selling Albums" makes it pretty clear that they're talking about albums sold in the U.S. I guess you could make an argument that you thought they were only meaning albums produced in the U.S., but that seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
One more thing I just realized is that I had quoted several figures in this thread as Billboard figures, which was somewhat inaccurate. The numbers used in the all-time album sales records page on Wiki, which has the 20 million figure for Shania Twain's Come On Over
are actually based on RIAA certifications, not the Nielsen Soundscan figures that provide the data for Billboard's charts. The RIAA certified Twain's album as 20 times Platinum, which means that it had 20 million copies shipped, not necessarily sold. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best-selli ... king_began Come On Over
has sold 15,513,000 copies through 2011. I also found a claim that the SoundScan figures do not count sales from entities like BMG Music Club, which has reportedly sold nearly another 2 million.
That Wiki page I linked above is pretty cool, as for every year since 1999, it has a top 10 list of all-time best sellers in the SoundScan era, which began in 1991. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill
was the all-time leader in 1999 and 2000, before being passed by Come On Over
, which was #1 from 2001-2008, before it was passed by Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, which currently sits at #1 with 15,735,000, followed by Come On Over
at #2 with 15,513,000, and Jagged Little Pill
at #3 with 14,714,000. Metallica
sold an impressive 4 million copies from 1999-2011, and it was already 8 years old at the start of that period.
The album with the highest RIAA certification since 1991 is Garth Brooks' Double Live
from 1998, which has been certified as 21 times platinum, meaning it shipped at least 21 million copies, yet SoundScan only has it credited for a little over 6 million copies sold over the counter. So either a LOT of people ordered that album from BMG, or there are 15 million copies of it still sitting on store shelves. (Or maybe rampant shoplifting and black market sales?) *EDIT* I just answered my own question, as I realized that Double Live
was a double album, meaning the RIAA counts it as two copies shipped, so it actually only shipped 10.5 million units, so a sales figure of 6 or 7 million sounds just about right.