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High School Rules '06 Album Sales

High School Musical officially graduated at the top of its class.
The surprise monster hit soundtrack accompaniment to the
Disney Channel’s tween song-and-dance fest, finished as 2006’s chart
valedictorian, selling more than 3.7 million copies, according to
Nielsen SoundScan figures released Thursday. In the SoundScan era, the
only other soundtracks to finish atop the yearend chart were The
Bodyguard in 1993 and Titanic in 1998.
Remarkably, High School Musical debuted on the charts way
down at number 143 in January 2006. The disc increased its position
each week, eventually hitting the top spot on two nonconsecutive weeks
in March. It was the first TV soundtrack to hit number one since the
Miami Vice soundtrack in the ’80s and the first soundtrack of any kind
to hit number one since Bad Boys II in ’03.
Keeping up the superlative soundtracks theme, Sing-A-Longs
and Lullabies for the Film Curious George and another Mickey-approved
smash, Hannah Montana, also hit number one last year. The Hannah
Montana soundtrack made the yearend list, selling nearly 2 million
copies at number eight, while Curious George was the fourth bestselling
digital album.
(Until last year, a only three soundtracks total had topped
the charts this side of Y2K. The others were Bad Boys II, 8 Mile and O
Brother, Where Art Thou?)
To the Mouse’s good fortune, Disney’s country label, Lyric
Street, held down the year’s number two spot with Rascal Flatts’ Me
& My Gang moving about 3.5 million copies. The country trio’s
catalog albums helped make them the year’s overall top-selling artist
with just under 5 million in total sales, edging out Johnny Cash by
about 140,000 copies.
Though both released in 2005, Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts
and Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons sold enough copies in 2006 to
finish at three and four, selling 3 and 2.7 million copies,
respectively. Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, which is still
a regular on the weekly Top 10, took the number five spot with 2.4
million copies.
James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam finished at six with 2.1
million; Beyoncé’s B’Day celebrated at seven with 2.01 million; the
Dixie Chicks’ cemented their comeback by landing Taking the Long Way at
nine with 1.9 million; and Hinder’s Extreme Behavior claimed the 10
spot with 1.8 million.
The list of digital album bestsellers bore little resemblance
to the record store Top 10. Fray’s How to Save a Life took number one
on 198,000 downloads and John Mayer’s Continuum took number two with
177,000. Rounding out the Top 5: FutureSex/LoveSounds finished at three
(142,000), Curious George at four (135,000) and James Blunt’s Back to
Bedlam at five (131,000). The two top retail sellers, High School
Musical (123,000) and Me and My Gang (106,000), finished at six and 10,
Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” topped the Top 10 Digital Songs
chart, which combines sales for all versions of a given song. Powter
registered more than 2 million downloads, the first digital track to
surpass that milestone. Twenty-two digital tunes cracked the 1 million
mark in 2006, compared to only two in 2005.
Also making the Digital Songs chart: Nelly Furtado’s
“Promiscuous” at two (1.71 million), Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback” at
three (1.66 million), Gnarles Barkley’s “Crazy” at four (1.63 million)
and James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” at five (1.62 million). Overall, a
record 30.1 million digital tracks were sold, smashing the 2005 record
of 19.9 million.
On other yearend charts, Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” was
the most played song at radio, Nickelback was the most played artist,
Cassie’s “Me & U” was the most streamed Internet song, Shakira’s
“Hips Don’t Lie” was the most streamed music video, Akon’s “Smack That”
was the top Mastertones ringtone and the “Super Mario Bros. Theme” was
the top Polyphonic ringtone.
While total album sales were down 5 percent compared to 2005,
overall music purchases–which includes digital downloads and
ringtones–were up: 1.2 billion units were sold in ’06, compared to 1
billion the year previous.

Here’s a recap of the Top 10 bestselling albums of 2006:

  1. High School Musical soundtrack, 3.7 million
  2. Me & My Gang, Rascal Flatts, 3.5 million
  3. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood, 3 million
  4. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback, 2.7 million
  5. FutureSex/LoveSounds, Justin Timberlake, 2.4 million
  6. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt, 2.1 million
  7. B’Day, Beyoncé, 2.01 million
  8. Hannah Montana sountrack, 1.99 million
  9. Taking the Long Way, Dixie Chicks, 1.9 million
  10. Extreme Behavior, Hinder, 1.8 million
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