Music

'Now That's What I Call Music!' series releases 50th album

May 8, 2014 at 9:33 AM ET

Now that's what you call success! The long-running CD compilation series "Now That's What I Call Music!" released its 50th album Tuesday, packed with 21 tunes from artists including Lorde, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and others. 

In total, those 50 albums have included 984 songs and 583 artists. Along with sister "Now!" albums in other countries, the series has sold more than 250 million albums around the world.

But based on some research by The Washington Post, not every artist has been treated equally over the years. Turns out Britney Spears is "Now!'s" golden child, with 18 of her songs included in the U.S. catalog. The Backstreet Boys have 11 tunes, and Nickelback is represented more often than Beyoncé and Destiny's Child.

However, "Now!" albums aren't just big in America. The series began in the U.K. in 1983 and spun off very successfully in the U.S. in 1998. Every single one of the first 29 U.S. CDs sold upwards of 1 million copies. Today, localized "Now!" compilations are available in Africa, Asia, across Europe, North and South America and Australia and New Zealand.

Though Spotify and iPods seem to make the idea of a compilation CD feel out of date nowadays, don't underestimate the nostalgic element at work in the "Now!" albums. That's what the TODAY anchors discussed on Throwback Thursday, and each one chose their favorite tune from the 1990s:

  • Carson Daly: Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But a G Thang"
  • Natalie Morales: INXS' "Beautiful Girl"
  • Savannah Guthrie: Radiohead's "High and Dry"
  • Matt Lauer: TLC's "Waterfalls" and U2's "Mysterious Ways"
  • Dylan Dreyer: Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop"

"Eclectic decade, those '90s," quipped Guthrie after everyone finished. 

Meanwhile, viewers had their own response for a favorite song from the decade:

"Now That's What I Call Music! 50" is available online and in stores now.

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