The 5 Best-Selling Albums of 2014
While there was no shortage of notable album releases in 2014, only a select few proved to be both chart-toppers and big sellers. In the last year, only four albums sold more than one million copies — down from 13 in 2013. In the past few weeks, two of those records have been battling to become the No. 1 best-selling album of the year: Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Disney’s Frozen soundtrack. So which record nabbed the title? According to data compiled by Billboard, here are the five official best-selling albums of the year.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack
Disney has a second album among this year’s top five album sellers with the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (released through the company’s Hollywood Records division). The album, which has sold 898,000 copies to date, reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart in August, becoming the first soundtrack in history comprised entirely of previously released songs to top the chart. Its entry on the best-selling albums of 2014 ranking also marks the first time in Nielsen history that two soundtracks have been among the year’s top five.
4. That’s Christmas To Me, Pentatonix
The second studio album by the a capella group is also the fourth best-selling record of the year. The holiday release peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the highest charting holiday album by a group since 1962. That’s Christmas To Me was certified platinum in December, only two months after its October debut. Per Billboard, the album has sold a total of 1.14 million copies in 2014.
3. In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith
The British singer-songwriter’s first album is the third best-selling release of the year, as well as the top-selling debut record of the year. The album spurred two top 10 singles, “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not the Only One,” and has sold 1.21 million copies since it dropped in June. It was also recently nominated for two Grammys, in both the Album of the Year and the Best Pop Vocal Album categories.
2. Frozen soundtrack
Fans of the snowy animated Disney film just couldn’t let it go this year. The Grammy-nominated soundtrack spent 33 weeks in the top 5 on the chart, including 13 weeks at No. 1. Initially released in November 2013, the soundtrack has sold 3.53 million copies this year, although its overall total is about 3.86 million. But though the soundtrack was the top-selling album of 2014 in every single tracking week of the year, it ended up getting edged out of the No. 1 slot by Swift in the very final frame.
Regardless, the album already has plenty of milestones to its name. Frozen is the first soundtrack to reach the top spot on the year-end chart since Titanic in 1998 and the first Disney soundtrack to earn it since Mary Poppins in 1965. In addition to taking the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s final ranking of the best-selling albums of the year, the soundtrack was also named the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014 on iTunes.
1. 1989, Taylor Swift
It’s safe to say 2014 was a banner year for Swift. The pop star managed to overtake Disney darling Frozen for best-selling album of the year in the very final week of the 2014, during which 1989 moved 326,000 copies. That brought the album’s total sales up to 3.66 million copies, which tops the 3.53 million copies Frozen sold this year and makes it 2014’s No. 1 best-selling album.
It’s a pretty impressive feat, given that 1989 has only been on sale for nine weeks. But it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to most, seeing all the records the album has broken since it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in late October. In addition to marking the highest debut sales week since 2002, the release made Swift the first artist to have three albums sell one million or more copies in a week. It also spawned two No. 1 singles, “Shake it Off” and “Blank Space,” which topped the charts consecutively, making Swift the first singer in history to bump herself out of the top spot. 1989 marks Swift’s second album that has debuted atop the Billboard year-end chart, the first being Fearless in 2009.