I got a kick out of this article. Those who argue that rock and roll is nothing more than nostalgia can use 2009's top sales as a centerpiece for their argument. I know that MJ wasn't really white, but he was getting pretty close. I also know that Paul and Ringo are still alive, thanks.
Unsurprisingly, Michael Jackson was the year’s best-selling artist, as the singer’s June 25th death led to a massive resurgence of his catalog. In total, the King of Pop sold 8,286,000 units in 2009, easily beating out the 4,643,000 combined albums Swift sold last year. Jackson’s 2003 compilation Number Ones was also the year’s third-best-selling album, totaling 2,355,000 units sold. Jackson came in at Number Three on the top-selling digital artists chart.
In a year that featured new releases by U2, Green Day and Pearl Jam, it’s surprising that the year’s best-selling band is, well, no longer a band. As Rolling Stone previously reported, the Beatles’ best-of collection 1 was the decade’s top-selling album, and 40 years after the breakup, the Fab Four were amazingly also the top-selling act of 2009. Thanks to their remastered catalog, the Beatles sold 3,282,000 units in 2009 without the aid of digital music services, placing the group third behind Jackson and Swift and in front of Boyle on the 2009 top-selling artist chart. Additionally, Abbey Road was the year’s best-selling vinyl with 34,000 copies, beating out Jackson’s Thriller and Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. Radiohead, however, was the year’s best-selling artists on vinyl with 45,700 records combined.