Music has been an important part of all cultures throughout time. Some might say that music can even define a civilization or a generation of people. In the United States, things aren’t much different. Every decade, tastes in music change, which leads to shifts in the music industry. Here are the best-selling musicians of this decade.
Justin Timberlake has been a musical superstar for decades. His group NSYNC was one of the biggest musical groups of the '90s, regularly reaching the top of the charts. Almost three decades later, Justin Timberlake is still making waves and setting records — this time, as a solo artist.
He released two albums in the 2010s: “The 20/20 Experience” (2013) and “Man of the Woods” (2018). “The 20/20 Experience” was the best-selling album of 2013 with 3 million copies sold between the original version and “The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2” deluxe version.
Another artist who’s been around since the '90s, Eminem had more than earned his icon status by the 2010s, but that didn’t stop him from continuing his impressive career. Since 2010, Eminem has released four albums, one of which, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” went on to become one of the best-selling albums of the year:
- “Recovery” (2010) – 3 million copies
- “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” (2013) – 4 million copies
- “Revival” (2017) – half a million copies
- “Kamikaze” (2018) – 1 million copies
Ed Sheeran made his first commercial appearance with his first album “+” in 2012, which sold over 2 million copies. Since then, he’s gone on to become one of the most popular artists of the decade and released two more albums: “x” (2014) and “÷” (2017). Both “x” and “÷” went on to sell 4 million copies each with “÷” being a contender for best-selling album of the year.
Drake has been a prominent fixture in American pop culture for decades. That fame hasn’t fizzled since he first appeared on the scene in 2001 as an actor on the popular show “Degrassi.” Over 18 years later, Drake is still setting records as one of the best-selling artists of all time.
In 2016, Drake released his album “Views,” which sold more than 6 million copies and secured him a spot among the best-selling albums of the year. In 2018, he did it again with his newest album “Scorpion,” which sold another 5 million copies.
While “Views” and “Scorpion” were among the best-sellers the respective years they were released, he also put out two more albums this decade entitled “Nothing Was the Same” (2013) and “Take Care” (2011). “Nothing Was the Same” sold 4 million copies and “Take Care” sold 6 million copies.
Adele had her musical debut in 2008 with her first album “19.” It was a massive success and rocketed her career into the global spotlight. Her second, and most popular, album “21” was released in 2011 and began her decade of domination.
Many people thought that Adele’s popularity had fizzled out after her massive success with “21,” but just a few years later, she released her most recent album “25” to another incredible release that sold 11 million copies. It also became the best-selling album for 2015.
One of her albums alone has sold more copies than some artists’ entire catalogue. There is only one other artist who has outsold her in total copies this decade, but it took them five albums to get it done.
With the ridiculous success of everything that she does, the 21st century (at least, so far) might as well be called the Century of Taylor Swift. This decade alone, she released five mega-selling albums:
- “Speak Now” (2010) – 6 million copies
- “Red” (2012) – 7 million copies
- “1989” (2014) – 9 million copies
- “Reputation” (2017) – 3 million copies
- “Lover” (2019) – 1 million copies and counting
Her album “1989” was the best-selling album for the year it was released. There’s no doubt that Taylor Swift has earned her spot among the top-selling musicians not only of this decade, but of the century.
Cover image credit: Vadim Ponomarenko/ Shutterstock