7 Surprising Facts About Music Sales Last Year
RJ Shaughnessy

There are few certain things in the music business. While no one thought Taylor Swift's 1989 was going to flop, it wasn't until just days ahead of its release that industry forecasters realized just how massive it was going to be. And who would have predicted that one of the year's best-selling soundtracks -- Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 -- would essentially be a mixtape of '70s radio staples?

But you already know those things. As we begin 2015, we've rounded up a few strange chart facts from last year that may have passed under your radar.

1) For most of last year, Iggy Azalea's The New Classic was the best-selling rap album released in 2014, and Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was the best-selling rap album of 2014, according to Nielsen Music. Until J. Cole dropped 2014 Forest Hills Drive on Dec. 9. In less than a month, his latest album surpassed The New Classic and MMLP2 to become the best-selling rap album of 2014, period.

2) Of the 10 best-selling albums in 2014, only two of them notched No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100. Taylor Swift's 1989 earned two No. 1s (so far) with "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space," and Lorde's Pure Heroine lodged a single in the top slot last year with "Royals." Of the remaining 10 best sellers, only three scored recent top 10s on the Hot 100: Beyonce's Beyonce, Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour and the Frozen soundtrack (the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack includes several hit singles, but they're all from the '70s). Barbra Streisand's Partners, Pentatonix's That's Christmas To Me, One Direction's Four and Eric Church's The Outsiders complete the top 10 best-selling albums list -- but none of them earned top 10s (although Church scored three top 20 singles on the Hot Country Songs chart).

3) Adele's 21, which came out in 2011, continued to be a blockbuster in 2014. 21 sold more copies than new albums from Mariah Carey, Sia, Future and Skrillex.

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4) Eighteen of the year's 25 best-selling albums were actually released in 2014. Five came out in 2013, and two -- Florida Georgia Line's Here's to the Good Times and Imagine Dragons' Night Visions -- dropped in 2012.

5) Barbra Streisand's 34th studio album Partners outsold One Direction's new album Four in 2014. Of course, Streisand's album dropped Sept. 16 and 1D's hit Nov. 17, but it's still funny to think that Babs outsold the world's hottest boy band last year.

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6) While the Frozen soundtrack was the best-selling album for most of 2014, Taylor Swift's 1989 surpassed its 2014 sales total with just days to go before 2015 arrived. Swift's pop triumph moved ahead of the Disney soundtrack for the week ending Dec. 28.

7) The best-selling 'best of' compilation in 2014? Bob Marley and the Wailers' essential comp Legend, released 30 years ago. The reason is simple enough: A high school education isn't complete without it.

Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield.