Local Current Blog

The best-selling Minnesota singles of all time

Owl City, a.k.a. Owatonna's Adam Young, has two singles at the top of the list

This week’s Current Presents special was dedicated to tracking down the numbers and determining the best-selling albums and singles to come out of Minnesota—and as promised, the singles category delivered some surprises.

A few notes about these results: The Andrews Sisters dominated the Gold category here, but their results are a little tricky. Prior to 1975, Gold records were given for $1 million in sales rather than the 500,000-unit bar that needs to be met today. Additionally, their records were sold prior to the presence of the RIAA, meaning that it was up to their own label to track sales. As such, none of their albums are singles are actually certified by the RIAA because it is impossible to verify the results.

Additionally, you’ll notice that the top two selling songs were released digitally. You may remember that last year, the RIAA changed its requirements to include digital streams of songs, awarding 1 unit to every 100 streams of a given song. However, Owl City’s “Fireflies” and “Good Time” were released before this requirement was put into place, so these are pure, hard single sales. To date, “Fireflies” has sold 4.8 million copies.

Thanks for following along with this project as it came together this week. I’ll have more for you on Monday, including transcripts of my interviews with songwriters Dan Wilson and Steven Greenberg and a few more notes from my in-depth research on this topic.

For now, check out the complete list of best-selling singles from Minnesota, laid out splendidly by Leah Garaas.