Revenues from recorded music are still well below their peak around the turn of the 21st century. This is due in large part to consumers turning to digital platforms, such as Spotify, when listening to music. Yet many music lovers are still willing to shell out a few dollars when their favorite artists release a new album.
In the last decade, there have been 50 country music albums released that have sold at least 1 million copies in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The majority of these albums are from America’s most popular country music stars — performers like Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, and Blake Shelton — who have dominated the genre for years thanks to hard work, good songs, and devoted fan bases.
One way for an artist to sell millions of records is to have wide appeal. When it comes to country music, this often means crossing over into pop. Many of the best selling albums have appeared on the Billboard 200 albums chart in addition to the country albums chart, or at least featured singles that appeared on the pop-oriented Hot 100. Some albums are even among the best pop albums ever released, despite being categorized as country.
Not all popular country music, however, is “pop country.” Artists such as Chris Stapleton and Luke Combs have been hugely successful in recent years, releasing albums with more traditional sounding country instrumentation. The fact that these artists — as well as musicians such as Florida Georgia Line, who have scored major crossover hits collaborating with decidedly non-country musicians such as Bebe Rexha and the Backstreet Boys — have all sold at least 1 million records over the last 10 years shows that the music industry is producing something for all different types of country fans.
To determine the best selling country albums of the last 10 years, 24/7 Tempo identified the albums released since May 2009 that have at least 1 million in certified sales according to the Recording Industry Association of America. To be considered, an album had to be categorized as country by the RIAA.