Ladies and gentlemen, the King is about to be overthrown. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, a singer is only 2.5 million copies shy of matching Elvis' record 118.5 million albums sold. A singer named...Garth Brooks.
No. We're not kidding.
So what gives? It turns out that the immensely popular country act has not only sold gazillions of discs but he's also made expert use of crafty marketing and fuzzy math to boost his numbers. Material from his recent release, a five-CD boxed set called The Limited Series, has now been repackaged, goading fans into picking up both versions. And here's the kicker: Series is priced at an absurdly thrifty $25. Says Michael Kurtz, president of the Music Monitor Network, an independent retail marketing firm: ''This is definitely not a moneymaker.''
But, boy, does it move units. Each boxed set sold actually counts as five CDs a trick widely used by other artists like Michael Jackson and even Elvis himself. At this rate, the torch will likely be passed sometime before the end of the year, putting a dude who brags about having ''Friends in Low Places'' in some pretty high company.