Test Your 1994 Music Knowledge With Our Quiz
As you can see in the graph below, it's a stark contrast -- although not at first. Ace of Base's North American debut The Sign sold 3.8 million copies, while this year's bestseller, the Frozen soundtrack, isn't too far behind with a little more than 3 million copies (as of 9/7/2014), according to Nielsen SoundScan.
But after that, the shift brought on by the Internet becomes painfully clear. Let's put it this way: The second best-selling album of 2014, Beyonce's self-titled, hasn't sold more than one million copies in this calendar year. But back in 1994, 38 albums had already sold more than a million copies by Sept. 4.
Here's another startling comparison: Counting Crows' August & Everything After -- the second best-selling album from the first eight months of 1994 -- sold more than three times what Beyonce did in a comparable time period.
Was 1994 the Best Year for Movie Soundtracks?
It's not just that hit albums sold more back then -- it's also that there were more platinum-selling albums in the U.S. each year. In 1994, dozens of records went platinum every year. These days, not so much.
By the time 1994 came to a close, Nielsen SoundScan reports that The Lion King soundtrack trumped Ace of Base's The Sign to become the year's best-selling album. And hey, the Frozen soundtrack is 2014's bestseller! Which, in a way, is reassuring -- despite a sea change in the music industry over the last two decades, you can still count on Disney to come out on top.