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2003 Ends With a Bang!

RIAA Announces 2003 Year End Awards

WASHINGTON - Whether it was hip-hop, rock, pop, R&B or country music, artists from virtually every genre contributed to a relatively strong 2003 according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Eminem protégé 50 Cent released his Aftermath/Interscope debut to huge commercial success and closed out the year tied for highest certified record of the year. "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" his blockbuster debut, was certified six times Platinum in 2003. "Beg For Mercy," the debut from 50 Cent's side project G-Unit, also enjoyed huge success in 2003 as it was certified double Platinum in December for sales of more than two million copies.

In addition to providing one of the most infectious radio singles in recent years with "Hey Ya!," the Atlanta-based hip-hop duo Outkast had a great year with the six times Platinum certification of their double album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below." The pair's 1996 release "Atliens" was certified two times Platinum while 2000's "Stankonia" was certified quadruple Platinum. In all, the duo has sold more than 16 million albums since their 1994 debut.

Rock music remained popular as Wind-up's Evanescence earned the distinction of having the best selling debut album of 2003 with "Fallen" which was certified for sales of more than three million copies.

Warner Bros.' Linkin Park saw their sophomore release, "Meteora" also certified triple Platinum in 2003, giving the quintet the second multi- Platinum album of their young career. "Hybrid Theory," their 2000 debut was previously certified for sales of more than eight million copies and their all-remix album entitled "Reanimation" was certified Platinum in 2002.

Five female artists tied for best selling album by a female artist in 2003. Pop sensation Hilary Duff's new album, "Metamorphosis," was certified double Platinum in December and her 2002 recording debut, "Santa Claus Lane," was certified Gold in 2003 for sales of more than 500,000 copies

Inaugural "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson had a big year in 2003 as well with the release of her RCA Records debut, "Thankful." The album closed out the year certified double Platinum, giving her a share of the honor of having the best selling debut by a solo female artist.

Showing that she can be just as successful as a solo artist, Beyonce earned double Platinum honors for her solo debut, "Dangerously In Love," tying it with Clarkson's "Thankful" as the best selling debut from a female solo artist.

"In The Zone," the latest from Jive's Britney Spears, was also certified double Platinum this year giving her a share of the five-way tie and bringing her career sales to more than 28 million.

Rounding out the solo female quintet was Celine Dion whose latest Epic Records release, "One Heart," was also certified double Platinum in 2003. Dion's previous album, "A New Day Has Come," was certified triple Platinum in January.

"American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken's RCA Records debut, "Measure of a Man," was certified double Platinum for sales of more than two million copies, good enough to make it the best selling debut from a solo male artist in 2003. Aiken also earned the distinction of having the only Platinum single of the year with "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Metallica came back with a vengeance in 2003 with the release of their eighth studio album, "St. Anger." The disc was quickly certified double Platinum, giving the heavy metal legends the 10th multi-Platinum album of their career. In June 2003, Elektra added another six million in certified sales with the upgrades of several of the band's catalog titles. Their self-titled breakthrough ended the year certified 14 times Platinum while "…And Justice For All" certified eight times Platinum and "Master of Puppets" six times Platinum. In addition, three more titles ("S&M," "Load" and "Ride The Lightning") moved up a notch to five times Platinum. In all, the band has sold more than 57 million albums.

The metal veterans also earned the distinction of having the highest certified music video in history as 1993's "Binge and Purge" was certified 14 and subsequently 15 times Platinum in 2003. Finally, the video version of "S&M," the band's collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony, was certified six times Platinum.

With the double Platinum certification of "Shock 'n Y'all," (is third album for DreamWorks Nashville) Toby Keith had the highest certified country album of the year. In addition, "Unleashed," his sophomore effort for DreamWorks Nashville, became the best selling album of his career when it was certified triple Platinum in June. Finally, Keith's "Greatest Hits, Volume 1" on his former label, Mercury Nashville, was certified double Platinum.

R&B superstar R. Kelly turned in one the year's top sellers with "Chocolate Factory" which closed out 2003 certified double Platinum. His hits collection, "The R. In R&B Collection, Volume 1," reached Platinum status in November while the simply titled "R." reached the eight times Platinum mark back in August. In all, Kelly has sold more than 28 million albums in the U.S.

Despite more than 30 years of recording and several lineups, the Eagles show no sign of slowing down. The band's "Very Best of the Eagles" finished the year certified double Platinum. In all, the band has sold an astonishing 88 million albums including the best selling album in U.S. history, "Greatest Hits, 1971-75," which is 28 times Platinum.

Building on the success of his self-titled smash debut, which was certified triple Platinum in January, Josh Groban continued to enjoy significant commercial success in 2003 with the release of "Closer" which was quickly certified Gold, Platinum and double Platinum for sales of more than two million copies. Additionally, his "Live In Concert" album was certified Gold while the companion DVD of the same name ended the year certified six times Platinum for sales in excess of 600,000 copies.

Despite his untimely death in 1996, Tupac Shakur maintained his grip as the best selling hip-hop artist in history with the certification of his latest pair of albums. "Better Dayz" was certified double Platinum in January while "Resurrection," the companion album from his biopic, was recently certified Platinum for sales of more than one million copies.

A handful of Johnny Cash's catalog titles as well as his critically acclaimed "American IV: The Man Comes Around" were certified in 2003. Topping the list were "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison" and "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" which were each certified triple Platinum while "His Greatest Hits, Vol. 2" and "Super Hits" each reached Platinum status. "American IV…" was the last studio album before his death in September and also represents his only studio album to ever be certified Platinum.

Brit rock quartet Coldplay had a breakout year that saw every title in their Capitol Records discography certified at various points throughout 2003. Their latest studio album, "A Rush of Blood To The Head," added several million in sales and finished 2003 certified triple Platinum. "Parachutes," the band's 2000 debut reached the double Platinum mark while "Coldplay Live 2003" was certified as both a Gold album and a five times Platinum music video.

The Dixie Chicks showed why they were one of the most popular artists in the country with several of their albums receiving awards in 2003. "Wide Open Spaces," the trio's debut, was certified 12 times Platinum this year while 2002's "Home" added another two million in sales and reached six times Platinum.

The 'Chicks' earned another Gold album (their fourth) for "Top of the World: Live" and the live concert video of the same name was certified Platinum. They earned an additional music video award for "An Evening With The Dixie Chicks" which was certified two times Platinum.

Norah Jones followed up an incredibly successful 2002 with even greater success in 2003. Her Blue Note Records debut, "Come Away With Me," added another five million in certified sales to end the year certified eight times Platinum. She also earned her first ever RIAA video award for "Live In New Orleans" which was certified double Platinum for sales of more than 200,000 copies.

Alan Jackson continued to show why he's one of country music's elite when he added several million units to his already impressive catalog. His 2002 blockbuster album "Drive" was certified four times Platinum in January while "Greatest Hits, Vol. II" was certified Platinum. In addition, "Let It Be Christmas" was certified Gold and he also earned a Platinum video award for "Greatest Hits, Vol. II." In all, the Alabama native has sold more than 33 million albums.

John Mayer cemented his superstar status with the certification of a pair of new albums. His second Columbia studio album entitled "Heavier Things" was certified Platinum in September while his live album, "Any Given Thursday," was also certified Platinum. His "Any Given Thursday" live concert video reached Platinum status as well. Finally, Mayer's breakthrough debut, "Room For Squares" was certified triple Platinum in May.

As always, the soundtracks to some of America's favorite films post strong sales and 2003 was no exception. The soundtrack to "Chicago" was 2003's big winner. With more than two million copies sold, it ended the year certified double Platinum. Other titles included "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (seven times Platinum), "8 Mile" (four times Platinum), "Shrek" (double Platinum), "Lizzie McGuire Movie Soundtrack" (Platinum), "Lilo & Stitch (Platinum) and "Bad Boys II" (Platinum).

In total, the RIAA certified 271 Gold, 130 Platinum and 136 multi-Platinum albums in 2003. A complete list of certifications for 2003 can be accessed at www.riaa.com.

December Highlights

Shania Twain made music history by becoming the only artist to earn three consecutive RIAA Diamond awards when her latest, "Up!," was certified Gold, Platinum and ten times Platinum. She achieved another milestone with this certification by becoming the best selling female country artist in history with certified album sales in excess of 42 million copies.

The Beatles removed Phil Spector's legendary 'wall of sound' and turned in another Platinum album (their 37th) with the release of Capitol Records' "Let It Be…Naked." The Fab Four remain firmly atop the best selling artist list with career sales of more than 165 million albums in the U.S. alone.

Bruce Springsteen earned another Gold (his 17th) and Platinum (his 16th) award when "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" crossed the one million sales mark in December.

Pink earned her third straight Platinum record with the release of her new album, "Try This" while Arista labelmate Sarah McLachlan picked up her seventh Gold and fourth Platinum awards when "Afterglow" crossed the one million sales mark early in the month.

Alt-rockers Korn earned Platinum record number six for their new Epic Records release, "Take A Look In The Mirror." 1998's "Follow The Leader" remains their best seller at five times Platinum.

Atlantic Records bad boy Kid Rock added another million to his career sales total when his fourth, and self-titled, album crossed the one million sales mark. "Devil Without A Cause," his 1998 smash, earned him an RIAA Diamond award.

Harry Connick, Jr. picked up the 11th Gold record of his career when his latest holiday album, "Harry For The Holidays" was certified for sales of more than 500,000 copies. His 1993 holiday album, "When My Heart Finds Christmas," is currently certified double Platinum.

One half of MTV's 'newlyweds,' Jessica Simpson received her third Gold record for "In This Skin," her latest for Columbia Records.

Alternative rock poster boys The Strokes saw their eagerly awaited sophomore album, "Room On Fire" certified Gold as well.

"Folklore," Nelly Furtado's follow up to her double Platinum 2000 debut "Whoa, Nelly!," was certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000 copies.

Neo-soul artist India.Arie earned her first multi-Platinum award for her Motown debut "Acoustic Soul" which was certified double Platinum.

Elektra's Missy Elliott earned her fifth consecutive Platinum album when her latest, "This Is Not A Test," crossed the one million mark. Her previous album, "Under Construction," continues to be her best seller and is certified double Platinum.

A handful of new artists earned their first ever Gold records including Stacie Orrico ("Stacie Orrico"), T.I. ("Trap Muzik"), Obie Trice ("Cheers"), and Switchfoot ("Beautiful Letdown").

The RIAA awarded a total of 19 multi-Platinum, 22 Platinum and 49 Gold albums in December. All certifications are calculated by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman. Complete lists of all album, single and video awards for December 2003 are attached and can also be accessed at www.riaa.com

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

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