MANCHESTER, TN – JUNE 09: Eminem performs on What Stage during day 3 of the 2018 Bonnaroo Arts And … [+]
2018 Jeff Kravitz
Despite facing stiff competition from new artists half his age, Eminem emerged the bestselling male artist of the 2010s, according to Nielsen Music’s decade-end report.
The 47-year-old rapper led the pack for male artists in terms of pure album and song sales, which do not include equivalent units derived from streaming. Eminem sold 13.862 million albums over the past decade, third overall behind Adele (23.924 million) and Taylor Swift (22.972 million). Rounding out the top 5 were Justin Bieber (12.098 million) and Drake (10.526 million). Eminem also ranked No. 2 for the decade in song sales with a whopping 63.501 million; Swift dominated that category with 75.893 million.
These stats prove what was already obvious based on sales and chart performance: Eminem is still one of the most commercially viable artists in the business, more than two decades into his career. He sold over 30 million albums in the previous decade, making him the bestselling artist of the 2000s and the bestselling rapper of all time. He has debuted nine consecutive albums atop the Billboard 200, a record that only Kanye West has tied, and he earned two consecutive diamond albums with 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP and 2002’s The Eminem Show.
Eminem also had the fourth-bestselling album of the last decade, with 2010’s Recovery moving 4.867 million copies. Once again, he trails only Adele, who claimed the top two spots with 21 (12 million) and 25 (9.5 million), and Swift, who landed at No. 3 with 1989 (6.2 million). Recovery’s follow-up, 2013’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, is also certified 4x platinum by the RIAA, while 2017’s Revival is certified gold and 2018’s surprise release Kamikaze is certified platinum.
Despite rising to stardom during the CD era, Eminem also proved himself a streaming juggernaut over the past decade, ranking third on the decade-end list with 17.8 billion on-demand streams, behind only Drake (36.3 billion) and Post Malone (18.9 billion). He can attribute much of this streaming success to the three No. 1 hits he earned over the past decade—“Not Afraid,” “Love the Way You Lie” and “The Monster”—and four additional Top 10s. Kamikaze also granted him the best streaming week of his career. These myriad successes helped the rapper become Spotify’s fifth-most-streamed global artist of the decade.
Nearly a quarter-century into his career, Eminem remains a force to be reckoned with in terms of both sales and streams. It remains to be seen how he will fare in the new decade against a fresh crop of talent that heavily utilizes streaming and video apps like TikTok to launch viral hits, but for now, Eminem’s commercial prospects show no signs of waning.
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