2003 – Beyoncé – Dangerously In Love
During her years with the Destiny’s Child, it was already difficult to miss Beyoncé. Her solo debut was heavily anticipated and it didn’t disappoint. Her first single as a lead artist, Crazy In Love, was #1 during 8 weeks in the US. The second, Baby Boy, during 9 weeks.
She wasn’t anticipated only in this country. The album Dangerously In Love debuted at #1 there indeed, but also in the UK for 5 weeks and Top 20 in all relevant market. Its hits maintained its sales high for one year.
The record sold 9,9 million units, its physical singles nearly 3 million. A cult record in its genre, Dangerously In Love has stunning digital figures. On Spotify, it has 465 million streams to date. It is up to nearly 3 million equivalent album sales from TEA and SEA alone. Beyoncé also sold nearly 2 million live albums and music videos on the back of these songs. The era produced over 15,5 million worth of album sales.
Dido‘s Life For Rent sold about 1 million more units than Beyoncé‘s Dangerously In Love. It did so because it was successful of course, but its advantage is also due to its appeal being concentrated on its album format. Dido never issued compilations so the original album was never cannibalized. It also sold less than 30% equivalent album sales from downloads, ringtones and streaming than Dangerously In Love. It ends at over 11 million still, good enough for #3 of the year.
It isn’t the second biggest album because slightly higher comes Spears‘ In The Zone which enjoyed great sales in all formats to close its counts on nearly 12 million. A fourth album broke the 10 million barrier in comprehensive sales, The Diary of Alicia Keys.
No other album reached 5 million equivalent album sales for the year, let alone 10.