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"Hybrid" Parked on Top of 2001 Charts

Fueled by a December surge in sales and the explosive singles “One Step Closer” and “In the End,” the rookie rockers out of California’s alternametal scene sold more than 4.8 million copies of their debut disc to top the list of best-selling albums for 2001, according to a year-end report from SoundScan, which has been keeping track of these things since 1991.

Hybrid, which also earned the group a Best New Artist Grammy nomination Friday, actually debuted on the charts more than a year ago. But steady sales and word of mouth have since boosted it into the Top 10, where it finished last week at number two, just behind Creed’s Weathered.

All told, Linkin Park has sold 5.5 million copies (and counting) of Hybrid Theory.

Only a few thousand copies separated Hybrid Theory from the runner-up, Shaggy’s Hot Shot, which moved 4.5 million discs thanks largely to the smash single “It Wasn’t Me.” In fact, the five best-selling albums were closely bunched, with the number-five disc, Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor, selling 4.1 million copies.

Meanwhile, Y2K’s champ, ‘N Sync, had to settle for third in 2001, as Celebrity sold 4.42 million. (Compare that to the whopping 9.9 million the band’s previous disc, No Strings Attached, sold in 2000.)

While the guys in Linkin Park are undoubtedly psyched about their finish, the rest of the record industry isn’t ready to pop the Champagne: 2001 sales were down from 2000, the first such drop since the New York-based SoundScan began keeping tabs on statistics in 1991.

Overall album sales in 2001 were about 762.8 million, 3 percent off from the record 785.1 million sold in 2000.

The industry will undoubtedly blame the slumping sales on September 11 and the recession.

Call it a coincidence (we’re sure that’s what nervous record execs are doing), but it’s funny how the sharp decline in sales comes in the wake of Napster’s demise. In 2000, when Napster was at its peak, the recording industry experienced the biggest jump in CD sales ever-and this was after eight years of continuous growth. Now, with Napster virtually extinct, the industry has sold 20 million fewer albums.

In terms of individual record companies, Universal Music Group again was the winner, staking out 27.5 percent of the market share, followed by BMG (17 percent), Sony (15.8 percent), Warner Music Group (14.4 percent) and EMI (10.5 percent).

Meanwhile, SoundScan also updated its list of top-selling albums of the past decade, with Shania Twain’s Come on Over upping its total to 14 million copies to steal the top spot from Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill.

Here’s a quick rundown of the industry tracker’s best-selling albums since 1991:

* Shania Twain’s Come on Over, 14 million

* Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, 13.8 million

* Metallica’s Metallica, 12.9 million

* Backstreet Boys’ Millennium, 11.9 million

* The Bodyguard sountrack, 11.6 million

* Santana’s Supernatural, 10.9 million

* ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached, 10.8 million

* Creed’s Human Clay, 10.49 million

* Celine Dion’s Falling Into You, 10.4 million

* Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time, 10.2 million

Here’s How SoundScan’s Top 10 Of 2001 Shaped Up:

  • Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory, 4.8 million
  • Shaggy’s Hot Shot, 4.5 million
  • ‘N Sync’s Celebrity, 4.42 million
  • Enya’s Day Without Rain, 4.4 million
  • Staind’s Break the Cycle, 4.2 million
  • Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor, 4.1 million
  • Destiny’s Child’s Survivor, 3.7 million
  • Creed’s Weathered, 3.5 million
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, 3.4 million
  • Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 6, 3.1 million
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