Data Collector – Singles (all formats combined)


The list of top sellers in each single-oriented format has been published during this week. It’s time to merge these three rankings to see who has had the most success from a singles perspective. Do Rihanna, The Beatles and Drake, who respectively top Digital Singles, Physical Singles and Streaming lists, lead this one too? Do other well-placed artists in each one beat them to the punch? You will find the answer in the list below!

Please keep in mind some artists with strong results in each single format haven’t been studied so far, e.g. Elvis Presley, Kendrick Lamar or Nicki Minaj. All figures reflect the value as collected at the time of the artist’s respective articles. This precision is very important because of the fast increase of Streaming figures for now.

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 formulas:

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = 0.3 * Physical Single Sales

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

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = 212/132 * Spotify streams / 1500 + YouTube views / 11750

Artists Ranking – Singles (all formats)

1. Rihanna53,246,000 (as of Nov 2017)
2. Drake42,105,000 (as of Aug 2017)
3. Beatles41,695,000 (as of Mar 2017)
4. Michael Jackson39,144,000 (as of Sep 2017)
5. Eminem38,029,000 (as of Aug 2016)
6. Beyoncé31,037,000 (as of Dec 2016)
7. Rolling Stones30,840,000 (as of Dec 2016)
8. Madonna30,264,000 (as of Aug 2017)
9. Bruno Mars30,253,000 (as of Oct 2017)
10. Taylor Swift26,313,000 (as of Oct 2017)
11. Maroon 526,230,000 (as of Oct 2016)
12. Queen25,820,000 (as of Oct 2017)
13. Ed Sheeran25,481,000 (as of Jan 2018)
14. Bee Gees24,872,000 (as of Apr 2017)
15. Katy Perry22,627,000 (as of Jul 2016)
16. Coldplay21,948,000 (as of Jun 2017)
17. Usher21,132,000 (as of Sep 2017)
18. Whitney Houston20,918,000 (as of May 2017)
19. Britney Spears19,993,000 (as of Jun 2017)
20. Justin Bieber19,852,000 (as of Aug 2016)
21. ABBA19,832,000 (as of Nov 2016)
22. Mariah Carey19,821,000 (as of Apr 2017)
23. Lady Gaga19,512,000 (as of Aug 2016)
24. Black Eyed Peas19,120,000 (as of Aug 2017)
25. George Michael & Wham!18,393,000 (as of May 2017)

23 thoughts on “Data Collector – Singles (all formats combined)”

    1. Rihanna is an artist at a time when digital single are king. The Beatles at the end of the day sold way more albums than Rihanna at the end of the day. And has a total CSPC way2 higher than Rihanna.

    2. Streaming. Both r huge there. Much easier to get numbers using streaming than buying single cds as was the case was with beatles

  1. It’s a bit odd to think that Drake guy has sold more singles than ABBA and Mariah Carey combined. Let alone more than the Beatles … I don’t even know a single song from Drake.

    1. For anyone under the age of 40, Drake is a massive act. His randomly released song that he put out on Saturday is currently dominating sales and streaming charts. It makes perfect sense.

    2. Im a filipino and if i dont check the us billboard hot 100, i wouldnt know Drake much so if i were you, check the us billboard hot 100 every week, preferably by monday or tuesday so you can see whose doing well on the charts.

  2. It’s really hard to believe Rihanna and Drake sold more singles than the Beatles! But after all, The Beatles amassed 20 chart-topping singles on the Hot 100 lists over the world, over a SIX YEAR and FOUR MONTH period. Between February 1964 and June 1970. It’s a relatively short period of time.

  3. For all of you constantly commenting “why are Drake & Rihanna higher than the Beatles?”, its because the list is COMBINED digital and physical single sales. Also, there are more modern/21st century artists in here because singles are much bigger in today’s market, just as album sales were MUCH bigger from the 70’s to early 2000’s. You personally not knowing any Drake or Rihanna songs doesn’t factor into their success as they are hugely popular artists today.

    1. Hi Isaiah!

      You got the correct interpretation! That’s the way it is – the market is way, way more singles-axed nowadays so when we point out how many equivalent album sales have been generated by all artists from singles formats, it is natural to see recent glories leading the pack. ‘Old’ music fans often complain about songs’ streams / downloads counting into Album Charts / Certifications, here is a list focusing purely on songs’ performances.

      Obviously, overall the Beatles’ singles were more popular than the ones of Drake for example, but a large chunck of their popularity was expressed into albums / compilations sales. We can’t at the same time critize newer acts because they sell less albums than old glories and then discredit their achievements on the singles front 😉

    2. How we will consume music in the future? What’s the next step? Streams / downloads formats will soon become ‘Old’ as well.

      1. Hi Daydreamer!

        Streams will never get old – this is how we will continue to consume music for decades and decades. Look at how messages evolved. Long, long ago, you had to go and see someone to give him a message, the same way you had to play a music piece with an instrument to get people listenning to it as there was no recording. Then the letter came in. Plenty of formats for delivery existed, from birds to horses to persons to companies. In the same way, we invented the record which used various formats. Then internet arrived and physical letters were replaced by emails and SMS, depending on if you were using a computer or a phone. You had to pay all communications per unit (internet subscriptions used to be per Mo [still are where I live] and each text was paid [ditto]). In the same way, records were replaced by downloads (computer) and ringtones (phone) and you needed to pay for each and every of them. The exact same evolution.

        Now, everybody has a monthly subscription for both internet and mobile communications, nobody would accept to pay for every action they do. In the same way, subscriptions arrived for music thanks to streaming and soon everyone will consider insane to pay $15 for every album you wanna hear.

        As communication is a more fundamental need than listenning to music, its evolutions always happened prior of equivalent music-related changes. For communications, it has been roughly 15 years that the old per-unit model was replaced by all-inclusive subscriptions now and it isn’t going to change anytime soon since it fits the need of all and there is no way to improve it precisely because it is now all-inclusive. Thus, there is really no reason to expect a change in terms of music consumption in the future!

        1. “It’s a radical picture that music theorist Stephen Witt proposes as a 2040 scenario”.
          Even if true, it would still feed on streaming music.

  4. This article means Rihanna has produced more EAS (equivalent album sales) from digital+physical+streams than the others. You need to consider she has 14,5 million EAS just from streams plus 38 million EAS from digital and that gives her a good advantage.

  5. I’ve never heard a single song from this Drake guy. The only conclusion i can get out of this list, is that streaming completely revolutionized the music industry.

    1. Not a fan of Drake, but I wouldn’t at all be suprised if he becomes BB’s artist of the decade. Just a few days ago he randomly released a song that broke the all time US Spotify record on its 3rd day. It is expected to debut at #1 w/ practically no airplay.

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