There are three main things you should know about them. First, none of the five artists involved had ever cracked Billboard’s Hot 100 before. Second, all three hits are nominated for Grammys as Record and/or Song of the Year, which shows an unusual degree of fan and industry agreement. Third, each of the three songs sold more copies than any song had sold before in a calendar year in digital history.
“Call Me Maybe” is #2 for the year (6,472,000). It’s nominated for a Grammy as Song of the Year. Jepsen has a second song in the top 40. “Good Time,” her cheery collabo with Owl City, is #31 for the year (2,249,000)
Maroon 5 also has two songs in the year’s top 10. “Payphone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa, is #4 for the year (4,757,000). This matches Maroon 5’s showing last year, when “Moves Like Jagger” (featuring Christina Aguilera) was #4 for the year. “One More Night” is #10 for the year (3,461,000).
“Rolling In The Deep” held the previous record for greatest calendar-year sales in digital history. It sold 5,813,000 copies in 2011. To find a song that sold more copies in a calendar year than each of this year’s top three hits, you have to go back to Elton John’s pre-digital smash “Candle In The Wind 1997,” which sold 8,111,000 physical copies in the last 14 weeks of 1997, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
One Direction’s effervescent “What Makes You Beautiful” is #6 for the year (3,881,000). It’s the best-selling song by a boy band in digital history.
Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” is #8 (3,823,000). It’s nominated for Grammys for both Record and Song of the Year. It’s the first hit by an American Idol alum to receive a Record of the Year nomination. In addition, it’s the best-selling song by an Idol alum. (More on that in a minute.)
Flo Rida has two songs in the year’s top 15, though neither made the top 10 for the year. “Wild Ones,” featuring Sia, is #11 (3,444,000). “Whistle” is #13 (3,372,000). (fun., Maroon 5 and Flo Rida are the only acts with two songs that each sold 3 million or more copies in 2012.)
The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” is #12 for the year (3,388,000).
Justin Bieber has two songs in the year’s top 40. “Boyfriend” is #15 (3,216,000). “As Long As You Love Me” (featuring Big Sean) is #32 (2,240,000).
Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” is #16 for the year (3,143,000), followed by Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” (3,113,000).
A record 18 songs sold 3 million or more copies during the year. The old record for a full calendar year was 14, set in 2011. Digital song sales have been steadily increasing. There were just two 3 million sellers in all of 2008; seven in 2009; 12 in 2010 and 14 last year.
How does this compare to the latter years of the physical era? Very favorably. There was just one 3 million-selling single in 1992 (Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”), none from 1993 through 1995, one in 1996 (Los Del Rios’ “Macarena”), two in 1997 (“Candle In The Wind 1997” and “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112) and none after that.
The year also set a record for the number of 2-million-sellers (41). The old record was 38, set in 2011.
“Titanium” by David Guetta featuring Sia is the year’s top-selling dance/electronic song, with sales of 2,493,000. Here are the year’s #2 and #3 dance songs: Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close” (2,172,000) and “Turn Me On” by David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj (2,055,000).
Two rock icons appear in the titles of million-sellers. As noted above, Eric Church’s “Springsteen” sold 1,959,000 copies during the year. “Moves Like Jagger,” the 2011 smash by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, sold 1,713,000 copies this year. (Bruce Springsteen’s own song, “We Take Care Of Our Own,” sold just 88K digital copies during the year.)
As noted above, Adele, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna each had five million-selling songs during the year. Big Sean, Flo Rida, Pitbull, and Taylor Swift are tied for second place, with four each. (Maroon 5 is the top group or duo, with three million-sellers in 2012.)
Two other old songs appear on Nielsen SoundScan’s list of the 200 best-selling songs of 2012. Eminem’s 2002 classic “Lose Yourself” sold 806K copies during the year. Journey’s 1981 perennial “Don’t Stop Believin’” sold 607K.
“Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar & Lucenzo is the year’s top-selling Latin song, with sales of 542K.
Happy new year, everybody.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Nicki Minaj
- Carly Rae Jepsen