Carey, 50 Cent only artists to top five million units this year

Proof that albums just aren’t selling like they used to, the RIAA certified 95 albums multiplatinum — more than 2 million copies shipped — in 2005, a drop of 32 certifications from the year before.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America issued 140 platinum certifications (up from 124) and 244 gold discs for shipping more than a half million. Final figure was down 17 from the year before.

Big winners were Mariah Carey and 50 Cent, both of whom saw their ’05 releases top 5 million units shipped.

Carey’s “The Emancipation of Mimi” (Island) received double- and triple-platinum certifications in June and eventually shipped more than 5 million copies. “Mimi” is her bestselling record since 1997’s “Butterfly.” Carey’s overall numbers — 60 million albums shipped — trail only Madonna (63 million) and Barbra Streisand (71 million) among femme thrushes. Madonna’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor” was certified platinum, her 17th album to earn that distinction.

50 Cent also reached the 5 million mark with his sophomore set for Aftermath/Interscope, “The Massacre.”

The rapper’s protege, the Game, had the bestselling debut of the year with a double-platinum certification of his Aftermath/Interscope album “The Documentary.”

Kenny Chesney was the bestselling country artist of 2005 as his disc “The Road and the Radio” went double platinum and his “Be as You Are” hit platinum.

The Rolling Stones grabbed their 42nd gold record — for “A Bigger Bang” — and now trail the Beatles by one. Album, their first studio disc in eight years, also reached platinum status, their 27th disc to do so.

The RIAA tracks the number of records shipped as opposed to the number sold, which Nielsen SoundScan reports weekly. Carey’s “Mimi,” for example, has sold 4.6 million copies, “The Road and the Radio” 1.5 million.

Receiving diamond awards for topping 10 million shipped were Patsy Cline’s “Greatest Hits” and Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life.” And speaking of Diamond, as in Neil, the singer secured his 39th gold record with his latest album, “12 Songs.”

Green Day, which received a diamond award for “Dookie” in 1999, shipped another 3 million copies of “American Idiot” in 2005, making that disc quadruple platinum.

Coldplay, too, shipped 3 million copies of a disc, “X&Y,” to land between their debut “Parachutes,” currently double platinum, and sophomore effort “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” which is sitting on quadruple platinum.

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