Prince and Owl City are Minnesota's best-selling musicians

Categories: Local Music
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These are the faces of commercial prosperity in Minnesota music.
One from Minneapolis and one from Owatonna, Prince and Owl City have both enjoyed significant commercial success in their careers -- with different generations of consumers to thank.

This past weekend, 89.3 the Current revealed the results of some research involving the Recording Industry Association of America's sales data to determine which albums and singles created by Minnesota-bred artists had moved the most units. For some folks, perception gets its bloody guts scraped off the concrete wall of reality after a high-speed collision. Spoiler alert: The Jets' self-titled debut has sold a lot better than, say, the Replacements' Let It Be.

See Also: City Pages in the '80s: Most iconic music covers

Leading the albums pack by a mile is Prince's 1984 soundtrack to Purple Rain. With certification of 13 million units, he's the only diamond artist -- sales of 10 million or more -- on the list. Bob Dylan's first two hits collections -- not too shabby at five million each -- are next. More Prince and Dylan albums are in the multi-platinum range, and then there's Soul Asylum's Grave Dancers Union, and '90s R&B superstars Next's Rated Next. The Current has the entire breakdown of top 80 albums. No Replacements, no Hüsker Dü, no Atmosphere, no Jayhawks, no Walt Mink, etc.

When it comes to singles, it's a young man's game. With sales of four million, Owl City's 2009 single "Fireflies" is by far the best-selling song created by a Minnesotan. And Owl City's duet with Carly Rae Jepsen, "Good Time," is the second with two million sold. "Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc. and Next's "Too Close" are both platinum-sellers. The rest of the list is dotted with a lot of Prince and a ton of the Andrews Sisters! Check out all of the top 31 singles.

As part of a Current Presents report, Andrea Swensson spoke to Semisonic's Dan Wilson, who topped a million in sales of Feeling Strangely Fine, and Lipps, Inc.'s Steve Greenberg. Here's the audio. Any big shocks for you?


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12 comments
Tyler Chip Moody Suter
Tyler Chip Moody Suter

I feel the same way. It's still pretty surprising that Owl City's sold more albums.

Joe Duggan
Joe Duggan

If I recall correctly from the show on the Current, he's had more albums to go (I wanna say) gold, but these guys have just sold more. Whatever, pop always dominates the charts. I can't say I hate either of these guys, but I absolutely love Bob and I think he has a much stronger legacy.

Tune Town
Tune Town

We sell WAY more Dylan than owl city.

Nick Warhead
Nick Warhead

Soul Asylum? Weren't they huge in the mid 90s?

Mark Thein
Mark Thein

More than a little embarrassing...

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