Best selling artists, albums and singles of all-time

It has been over 2 years since I introduced to you the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept, nicknamed CSPC, in March 2016. This revolutionary concept enables to define accurately the most successful artists ever. During this timeframe I, with the precious help of Hernan Lopez and Anthony Blanchard, studied nearly 100 artists, 1,000 albums plus countless singles and stand-alone tracks worth a gigantic 8,5 billion equivalent album sales combined!

Many of you praised the effort and the ongoing results which really makes us feel great about the website. One recurrent negative feedback though has been the difficulty to navigate the blog. One unique, cross-artist source of data was needed. While I can advise you to use the search function at the top-right, which works really well, an article grouping together the main data is definitely a positive improvement. So, here it is, please say hi to the Data Collector!

This article lists various rankings, with more added frequently, please see the summary on page 2. Top selling singles / albums / artists, per format, per year, per artist type, etc… everything is possible!

Thanks to this Data Collector it isn’t necessary anymore to repeat the comprehensive rankings at the end of each article. It will solve an issue by removing some pages and letting you reach always the same final pages for all acts – CSPC totals, the artist’s singles ranking and their records & achievements. This article will be kept updated which will also prevent us from having lists updated at different moments here and there.

Anthony will handle the updates of this thread from now on and try to answer your questions the best he can. We won’t be answering to lists requests on comments though as it will be impossible to maintain them. Instead, when you request something, and if it is relevant for many people, we will add a page to the article with the said list.

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Nuclear dolphin

You know I think The Rolling Stoned would have come in slightly ahead of Queen if they had had their results done at the same time. I think because theirs was done last year before the release of ‘Lonesome and blue’, they lost out. Don’t get me wrong I love both bands, but…

Nuclear dolphin

Sorry I meant Stones. 😜

Strong91

Hi, thanks for your amazing work. But this is list seems incomplete to me, I mean, where is Avril Lavigne? She should be part of the list with her first two albums. Then, it would be amazing to have an accurate analysis of Avril figures.

Reader123

Why are Beyoncé albums sales so low?
On other websites they are higher. She is also under certified. Did you take that into account?

MJD

Hi Reader123,

All figures are educated with updated data. There is no impact from the lack of certifications. Other sites are simply not accurate.

Reader123

Ok thank you very much for responding. I was looking into her sales and many people were saying they were t accurate because they haven’t been recertified. Same with Janet.
Is it possible that you could do an article explaining how recertifications may not have a big impact on album sales and how you gather your data for your figures?

Michelle

Britney Spears with 4 albums. Yeayyy

Martin

Would it be possible to extend the featured lists to include some or all of the following or any other valuable lists? Top Selling Albums per country (Major Markets) Top Selling Artists per country (Major Markets) Top Selling Singles per country (Major Markets) Top Selling Albums Artists (Pure & EAS) Top Selling Singles Artists (Pure & EAS) Top Selling Music Videos Top Selling Music Video Artists Most Streamed Artists Most Streamed Tracks Also, although I appreciate this might be very time consuming, could the artists that were studied earlier in the process, be updated with all the measurements that have… Read more »

Thomas Christiansen

I’m been streaming music for quite some years already. Not so much on Spotify. I have a TIDAL subscription via my moblie phone (formerly WIMP). So it wasn’t until yesterday I found out you can see streaming figures from Spotify (thanks MJD). After the obvious initial joy I soon found the complications many of you are likely dealing with too. Some recordings/versions of a certain song might be added together, and then maybe not for another song. Take Whitesnake for example. Their song Here I Go Again was a 1982 hit in the UK, but was re-recorded in 1987 and… Read more »

Nathan

With the passing of Johnny Hallyday………..I’d like to see what the “French Elvis” has accomplished.

I’ve never heard a single song of his………….but would be curious to see
(after Rod Stewart of course {Faces/Jeff Beck})

Thomas Christiansen

How do you deal with catalog tracks suddenly getting a new life? Take Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” for example. A hit song in 1981 it was one of many important tracks on their 1988 megaselling GH album (also “Faithfully”, “Open Arms”, “Who’s Cryin’ Now”, “Lights”, “Wheel in the Sky”, “Seperate Ways”, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” and “Anyway You Want It” ) But since 2007 it almost seems “Don’t Stop Believin'” has been the only important track in their catalog. Especially due to the Sopranos finale, then the Glee version as well as a bunch of other covers. The Rock band video… Read more »

MJD

Hi Thomas! I actually answered this exact same question about this exact same song some time ago at SHF, here is the text 🙂 Your point is absolutely valid but the impact is much softer than you may think for various reasons: 1) The streaming ratio on compilations is used only for that compilation part which is only 1 out of the 5 sales avenues. For the huge majority of albums, the largest sales avenue is the original album itself, so those calculations won’t impact too much. 2) All figures are albums-axed rather than singles-axed. Thus, no matter if it… Read more »

Thomas Christiansen

Hi MJD

Vow! That was a thorough reply. Thank you very much 😊
I did not know that Don’t Stop Believin’ was already the most downloaded pre-2000 song before the Sopranos. Impressive!

Keep up the excellent work 👍

Brandon

It could be great to see Elvis and Garth Brooks stats (awa Cliff Richard, Alla Pugatcheva, Rolling Stones).

MJD

Hi again Brandon!

Elvis & Garth will undoubtedly be studied in the near future. The Stones have already been done 😉

Pedro

Where’s Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie”. Its absence makes this list look odd.

MJD

The list is made of equivalent album sales. Hips Don’t Lie hasn’t generated enough album sales, it only has good downloads.