#1 Usher – Confessions – 12,000,000
If you think about 2004, you think about Usher. The R&B star topped the Billboard Hot 100 more often than not with 28 leading frames inside the calendar year, a total which broke a record that had stood for 64 years. The album also led the chart for an extensive period of 9 weeks over 3 spells.
Confessions was certified 8xPlatinum in December of 2004. The most amazing part is that, just like Norah Jones, it wasn’t an album heavily fueled by Christmas shipments. In fact, it closed the year on 7,978,594 sales to consumers in the US, perfectly in line with the number of shipments certified.
While this insane US number made it look like a local success, its 4 million sales abroad would have put it at #13 for the year worldwide if we discount the US sales. The album sold nearly 1,1 million units in the UK for the year while also hitting 3xPlatinum in Australia. It remained the highest selling album in the US from its release onwards until Adele‘s 21 which was issued 7 years later.