Data Collector – Biggest Digital Singles Sellers

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Things I like: Rihanna

One week ago, the CSPC analysis of Ed Sheeran has been published. We saw that he makes wonders in several formats, including digital sales. How big is his success compared to the like Rihanna, Eminem or Drake? You will find the answer in the list below!

Please keep in mind some artists with strong results in this format haven’t been studied so far, e.g. Nicki Minaj or Kanye West. All figures reflect the value as collected at the time of the artist’s respective articles.

A lot of lists like this one are available in the Data Collector, so feel free to read them to gauge how your favorite artist ranked in it.

Reminder of the formula:

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = 0.15 * Digital Single Sales

Artists Ranking – Digital Singles SAles

1. Rihanna251,130,000 units (37,670,000 EAS)
2. Eminem157,350,000 units (23,603,000 EAS)
3. Taylor Swift149,820,000 units (22,473,000 EAS)
4. Bruno Mars149,490,000 units (22,423,000 EAS)
5. Beyoncé144,200,000 units (21,630,000 EAS)
6. Drake137,310,000 units (20,596,000 EAS)
7. Maroon 5129,900,000 units (19,485,000 EAS)
8. Katy Perry122,700,000 units (18,405,000 EAS)
9. Lady Gaga111,200,000 units (16,680,000 EAS)
10. Black Eyed Peas103,960,000 units (15,594,000 EAS)
11. Usher93,610,000 units (14,041,000 EAS)
12. Coldplay93,080,000 units (13,962,000 EAS)
13. Justin Bieber87,850,000 units (13,178,000 EAS)
14. P!nk81,150,000 units (12,173,000 EAS)
15. Britney Spears80,270,000 units (12,040,000 EAS)
16. Michael Jackson79,930,000 units (11,990,000 EAS)
17. Adele75,300,000 units (11,295,000 EAS)
18. Linkin Park73,710,000 units (11,056,000 EAS)
19. Miley Cyrus70,300,000 units (10,545,000 EAS)
20. Christina Aguilera69,950,000 units (10,493,000 EAS)
21. Ed Sheeran69,770,000 units (10,466,000 EAS)
22. Queen58,370,000 units (8,755,000 EAS)
23. Alicia Keys57,750,000 units (8,663,000 EAS)
24. Nickelback57,280,000 units (8,592,000 EAS)
25. One Direction57,000,000 units (8,550,000 EAS)

33 thoughts on “Data Collector – Biggest Digital Singles Sellers”

  1. The gap between number 1 and 2, WOW. Rihanna really was everywhere during the iTunes age, she put out like 8 albums and dozens of features, and it shows!

  2. 23 relatively new artists, only 2 oldies (Queen and MJ) made it in.
    Nice addition to the site, keep on rocking, Chartmasters!

    1. In digital sales, yes Beyonce sold more but overall, if you’ll check the top selling artists list, Britney has sold more than 99 million equivalent album sales while Beyonce has sold more than 69 million equivalent album sales. Almost 30 million difference. Huge difference.

      1. No. Britney was overtaken by Beyoncé in general sales according to Chartmasters

        Album Sales: 34 million
        Singles Sales: 150 million
        Other Sales (including GH, remixes, Dvd’s, etc): 4.5 milliom
        Total: 188.5 million

        Britney Spears
        Album Sales: 69 million
        Singles Sales: 100 million
        Other Sales: 11.3 million
        Total: 180.3 million

        Beyoncé sold 8 million more than Britney. And her career is at its peak. Britney is slowed down. The advantage will increase haha

        1. According to CSPC results produced by chartmasters, Britney is 99 million and Beyonce is 69 million. Albums carries more weight than singles. A 14 dollars CD album should have more weight than a 1.99 dollars digital single. So it really aint a fair comparison. At the end of the day Britney still has a way higher CSPC. Lol. And it really3 is funny because Beyonce fans always2 wanted to discredit Britney 24/7. Even on Britney page, Beyonce fans will keep making stupid remarks. It really sounded so desperate and pathetic. Lol.

          1. What the album’s price matter with the overall sales? Is it about money? Because Beyoncé has the double of Britney’s fortune. The fact is Beyoncé sold more units than Britney. By the way she wins more awards too. Sorry about that, Britney’s fans.

          1. Bey’s Overall sales: 188M and will increase a lot.

            Britney’s Overall sales: 180M and she sells poorly.

            Kisses :p

    1. To think that Miley’s last two previous albums didnt do well, her numbers might be stuck there.

      Also, Justin Bieber is 23 (turning 24 this March 1, 2018) and when updated, total might be more than 120 million units. Now that IS amazing!

  3. The reason why I consider Rihanna a legend already is not just because she is the top digital singles seller but because there’s a HUGE gap between her numbers and the number 2. Nearly 100,000,000 in difference. Again, nearly 100 MILLION difference. I believe most people dont consider her as one because it’s not physical album sales. But again, please think again about the huge gap between her and The number two. It’s extraordinary!

    And to think that she’s not old yet and still relevant, it only means her numbers will keep on growing and i really dont think anybody can beat her numbers. Her numbers will continue to go higher and the gap between her and the number 2 will become bigger.

    Beyonce is not a legend. Her album sales arent extraordinary as well as her digital singles sales are also not extraordinary. She’s just a great performer.

    1. Beyonce is an r&b/pop artist who has transitioned over 3 decades of music. She has outlasted and outsold the bulk of her then more popular contemporaries as a solo artist.

      For Beyonce to only have 5 #1s, with urban radio support vs Rihanna with 14 #1s and pop radio, she exceeds in her lane as a top 5 digital seller,fair album seller, top streamer and tour act.

      1. Beyonce for 3 decades? She started as a solo music artist in 2003 and if we include her being part of a girl group, Destiny’s Child started in 1997. so it’s 2 decades, not 3.

        Beyonce’s biggest rival is Rihanna.

        Sorry but Beyonce never exceeded at anything. Nothing extraordinary. If you havent realized, the BIG FOUR female music artists have something in common and that’s not just being four of the biggest selling artists album sales-wise, but they have been extraordinary in one thing or two. Madonna is Queen of Pop as the best selling female music artist and biggest net worth among female music artists, Whitney has the best selling movie soundtrack, has one of the biggest selling singles of all time “i will always love you” Celine Dion manages to be one of the best selling artists in both english and french album sales, Queen of Vegas for best-selling Vegas shows and longevity among female music artists, the only non american among the BIG FOUR who still managed to be big in the USA, also has one of the biggest singles of all time “my heart will go on” which the song also showed reentering on itunes every April due to Titanic commemoration, Mariah Carey is the only huge female music artist who can impress us with whistles and has been the Queen of Xmas due to her song “all i want for christmas is you” and would reenter the us billboard hot 100 every year. And she has 18 #1 songs in the US Billboard Hot 100 history.

        Where is Beyonce queen of? her figures arent extraordinary either in digital, physical singles, pure album sales, etc She is even being beaten by Taylor Swift and Katy Perry on some fields. But look at Rihanna. She is the Queen of Digital Sales and her being on top is not just being a million singles sold ahead, but almost more than 100 million singles sold ahead of the second best selling artist in digital single sales. And she’s on top of that list even if we include bands and male music artists. And she’s not even an American, and like Celine, she’s one of the few non american music artists who manages to make it big in the USA. And if you’ll check us billboard hot 100 achievements in wiki, you will see a lot of Rihanna’s name on different top lists, making her name to be beside names of music legends.

        And if Rihanna is compared to her peers and the newer generations, she still manages to keep be one of the best on a lot of things. Rihanna already has 14 #1 singles. Even Adele, Taylor and Katy are far behind her.

        The only list I have in mind that Beyonce is in the lead is having the most wins at the Grammys. But it’s not enough to make her a legend. She has to show extraordinary numbers, but she hasnt and will never get one.

        At least, among the male music artists, the competition is close between Drake, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran.

        But among female music artists, Rihanna is on a level which we think other female artists would not be able to outdo. Adele is the clear winner when it comes to album sales, but that’s among the newer generations only. Adele hasnt been extraordinary on other categories.

        But Rihanna is doing so well that she has already surpassed other number of huge music artists and even some music legends. She’s the only female among her peers and the newer generations who has a chance to beat numbers (has beaten numbers )made by female music legends. Rihanna is currently the third music artist with the most #1 in us billboard hot 100, behind Mariah and The Beatles, is on the list of most number 1 singles in a calendar year and #4 artist with most top 10 singles, which means she has beaten the numbers of obtained by Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, etc.

        And Rihanna is still young, turning 30 this year, I can actually see her being on top on the list of most top 10 singles as well as beating Mariah’s record of 18 #1s in the future.

  4. No. Britney was overtaken by Beyoncé in overall sales according Chartmasters.

    Album Sales: 34 million
    Single Sales: 150 million
    Other Sales (Inc. GH, Remixes, Dvd’s, etc): 4.5 million

    Total Sales: 188.5 million

    Britney Spears
    Album Sales: 69 million
    Single Sales: 100 million
    Other Sales: 11.3 million

    Total Sales: 180.3 million

    Beyoncé sold 8 million more than Britney and her career has longevity. Britney is slowed down and don’t sell like before. The gap between Beyoncé and Britney will increase.

  5. *Checks the sales total of Linkin Park on this site*

    Woah, if you add the amount of albums and digital singles they sold worldwide – It’s almost a total of 156 million and they’re (or maybe were) one of a very few bands who have/had a real success in this era of music for almost two decades. This list needs an expansion.

  6. Rihanna will have sold 100 million albums in three or four years. Other artists will need ten more years of career and another three albums of success at least.

  7. Michael Jackson has an almost 50/50 split in his single stats between digital and physical sales. Truly remarkable to have nearly 80M of each.

  8. If someone downloads an entire album from say iTunes is that recorded as multiple single sales based on the number of tracks on the album or is that counted as an album sale?

    1. Hi Lance,

      If you buy an album on iTunes, it counts for albums. If you download like 3 singles, then press “Complete My Album” on iTunes, it will count for 1 album and sales of the 3 singles get removed (in the US – they will be double-counted in other markets, still have no solution for that issue). If you download all songs one by one without ever completing the album, each song will be one single sale.

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