Nielsen SoundScan has just released its top-selling artists for the year. How do they compare with Pollstar’s top tours?

Photo: John Davisson
Hard Rock Live, Orlando, Fla.

Lil’ Wayne may have had the best-selling album of the year, but he’s not the top- selling artist. Because Taylor Swift had such a surge with her debut album, she tops the list with more than 4 million units sold. AC/DC comes in second, then Lil’ Wayne. Sugarland’s and Nickelback’s catalogs are doing the artists good, too, landing No. 8 and No. 9 respectively on the best-selling artists chart.

Swift wins the No. 3 and No. 6 positions on Nielsen SoundScan’s best-selling albums chart for Fearless and her eponymous debut album. She spent 2008 opening up for Rascal Flatts, which had the No. 8 spot on North American tours.

Photo: Tony Nelson
Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minn.

Next up is AC/DC, which spotted No. 2 for best-selling artist and had the No. 5 album with Black Ice. The band has the 17th top-grossing tour of 2008 but, to be fair, it launched in the fall, goes to Europe in the spring and returns for more dates in the U.S. In other words, AC/DC is raking in the bucks and, if touring and album sales were combined, would likely make them the top-selling artist of the year.

Well, of this bunch. Madonna still raked in $105.3 million in touring alone.

To nobody’s surprise, Lil’ Wayne had the top album of the year, selling nearly 2.9 million units of Tha Carter III. He’s also third on top-selling artists. Lil’ Wayne may not have been a touring phenom but he grossed nearly $2.2 million from just 10 reported shows in 2008.

The same goes for T.I., who landed Nielsen SoundScan’s 8th best-selling album of 2008 with Paper Trail. The rapper has four reported shows, grossing about $638,000.

Photo: AP Photo
Chris Martin, American Music Awards, Los Angeles, Calif.

Coldplay is the fourth best-selling artist, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band launched its tour in December.

Jonas Brothers made an impressive showing and ended up as the 7th top-selling artist, with 2.3 million units sold. The group is No. 13 on Pollstar’s Top 50 North American tours.

Photo: Duane Fernandez
James Hetfield of Metallica, BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla.

Metallica has the seventh top album with Death Magnetic and is the fifth best-selling artist overall. The band has the 38th tour of 2008 but, like AC/DC, hasn’t seen the end of the road and will continue its tour through at least July.

Kid Rock got the last laugh on Bob Lefsetz, landing No. 4 for Rock N Roll Jesus, No. 6 on the top-selling chart and No. 43 on North American Tours.

As mentioned, Sugarland and Nickelback took the eighth and ninth slots.

Jack Johnson got the ninth album of the year with Sleep Through The Static and is No. 10 best-selling artist. The former surfer didn’t play relatively as much as the others on the list. He took a successful jaunt in August but it wasn’t enough to crack the Top 50.

Photo: AP Photo
2008 European MTV Awards, Liverpool, England.

Beyoncé got the 10th best-selling album of 2008 with I Am … Sasha Fierce. It’ll be next year, though, before all the single ladies in the audience can put their hands up.