MADONNA HITS APEX

2 mil 'Evita' discs spin off record title

With the certification of 2 million copies of her “Evita” soundtrack, Madonna has tied with Barbra Streisand as the female artist with the most multiplatinum albums in the industry. The pair each has 10 multiplatinum discs, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

During April, the RIAA awarded eight platinum (1 million units), 23 gold (500,000 units) and 13 multiplatinum certifications along with 14 singles, which were awarded the first double-platinum certs of the year. The trade org measures albums shipped by distributors to retail, but not yet sold through to consumers.

Whitney Houston nabbed her 15th career gold single with “Step by Step.” The cert puts her one gold single behind Madonna and two shy of the record 17 held by Janet Jackson.

Bruce Springsteen picked up his eighth multiplatinum certification with his “Greatest Hits” package, which was released in 1995 and has been certified at more than 3 million units. Other multiplatinum winners include Celine Dion as her Epic Records disc “Falling Into You” crossed the 9 million-unit threshold and marked her third multiplatinum certification.

George Strait earned his 19th career platinum certification with his MCA Records album “Strait From the Heart;” while the late Miles Davis earned his first. The trumpeter’s Columbia Records disc, released in 1959, crossed the 1 million-unit mark during the month.

First-time gold certification recipients included the Verve Pipe, whose RCA Records disc “Villains” has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past year, and Universal success story Erykah Badu, whose debut “Baduizm” disc crossed the 500,000 mark at the beginning of April.

Badu’s disc also reached the platinum threshold near the end of the month and joined the Spice Girls and Offspring as artists who picked up both gold and platinum nods during the certification period.

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