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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Clockingbell

Hello, will you consider updating RHCP also, when they reach 100 million EAS?

L145

how can Lady Gaga have a similar ASR to Rihanna and Taylor when her entire success is concentrated in 3 albums and the others add barely nothing while Rihanna and Taylor’s sales are way more consistent and spread out ???

Sonique

Hello! I just want to commend your team for making this list that accurately reflect worlwide sales and streams for every musical act.

Could you pls make a list of the best selling music artists of this century?

Analord

“Could you pls make a list of the best selling music artists of this century?” 1. Eminem – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by Analord
Sonique

Is this according to worldwide sales or just in USA?

Lala

Both

Al

It should look something like this I think:

1 Eminem
2 Taylor Swift
3 Rihanna
4 Coldplay
5 Drake
6 Adele
7 Linkin Park
8 Beyoncé
9 Britney Spears
10 Justin Bieber
11 BTS
12 Maroon 5
13 Robbie Williams
14 Ed Sheeran
15 P!nk

It’s very likely the Beatles and Michael Jackson should be in here somewhere too but I’m not exactly sure how much they sold since 2000.

Sonique

Hello, CM! I just want to ask you who do you think is the greatest artist of all time based on musical influence, global impact, sales, etc. Hope you, Martin, MJD, and others could answer and share their thoughts on this

Clockingbell

Thanks! It’s close after Eminem, I would think Britney 1 spot lower and Robbie 2 places lower. You’re probably right about MJ and The Beatles, but no Queen here?

Analord

Queen would be close to the top 10 I think, with maybe 80m CSPC.

ROMANN

Update ed sheeran sales

Sonique

I’ve read somewhere on Twitter that the Beatles is the second best selling artist of this century while Eminem took the top spot. Can you pls confirm this

And also what do you mean by Artist Success Rating?

Martin

No, this cannot be confirmed, as there are no official organisations that track exact and precise music sales on a global scale. So nobody could state that with 100% certainty or authority.

The quote you are relating to, is most likely solely about the US and specifically Soundscan sales, who I am sure many years ago stated that they were 1 and 2 in the 21st century, up until that point.

Last edited 26 days ago by Martin
Martin

Soundscan Top Album Sellers Of The 2000’s
1 Eminem 32,241,000
2 The Beatles 30,182,000

This could be what you are referring to, which seems to have been posted in January this year, although The Beatles are 3rd not 2nd https://eminem.news/nielsen-21st-century.html

1 Eminem 72,302,000
2 Taylor Swift 57,040,000
3 The Beatles 50,000,000

Last edited 25 days ago by Martin
Sonique

I get it now. Thank you for the quick response. By the way, could you make a list for the best selling artists of this century? And if there already is, can you pls send me a link thanks ahead

Jaguar23

Hello ! First of all, I wanted to thank you for your qualitative work and for these lists, it really reveals your knowledge in matters of calculation and research. Second, I comment is just to ask you what are the reasons you don’t find a lot of standout rappers like 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G, Nas, DMX or even Jay-Z on this list ? I’m quite sure they sold enough albums to be in that list no ? I am very surprised that this is not the case. So my question is have they already been studied and / or counted in… Read more »

Analord

Nas, DMX and Biggie haven’t sold that much, frankly. Jay-Z would probably be top 100, and 2Pac top 75.

You can vote for the next artist to be studied here :

https://chartmasters.org/cspc-voting-use-your-voice/

Last edited 27 days ago by Analord
HIStory

Is Michael Jackson now officially considered the best-selling solo artist of all time? Did I understand this correctly?

HIStory

I have heard that ChartMasters calculations are considered key, and in general people say that Michael has long surpassed Elvis in terms of sales; the recalculation of all his sales was from 2017 and hasn’t yet been updated, as far as I know.

Can we assume that now the official data on this will change soon? So far, all sources say that Elvis remains the best-selling solo artist. But I also believe that Michael Jackson should take his place, he has enough reasons for this.

Martin

No you can’t assume that, because there is no such thing as official data and there never will be, for artists of yesteryears, total worldwide sales.

ROMANN

Hey chartmasters, June 26 marks the ariana grande’s 28th anniversary. She sets major records in the music industry and is one of the most successful female artist of all time.

In celebration of that can u please update her career sales and streaming total?

Jazz

She might be in the future but dont think she is right now. In this list alone there are 24 women above her. And that doesnt include acts that havent been studied yet like Diana Ross, Olivia Newton John, Donna Summer, etc. Which would probably pass her too.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jazz
Mikko

Hej. MJD did a comprehensive analysis of Bob Dylan’s sales 20/10.2016, week after Dylan won the Nobel literature prize, background work had probably been done over the years.
The Nobel is the prestigious award in the world. Dylan climbed in one fell swoop with Faulkner, Heminway, Steinbeck, into heavy weight series.
Dylan is said to have earned royalties up to $20 million per year, much from cover versions, Feel my love, Watchtower, Heavens door..

It would be nice to have an estimate of Dylan own current sales.
In “Discogs” Dylan is “most collected” artist before Beatles and David Bowie.

Fanofpop

https://chartmasters.org/2016/10/cspc-bob-dylan-popularity-analysis/
Isn’t this his sales?
I don’t think it would’ve changed by a significant amount since 2016. Especially coz streams are automatically updated.

Mikko

That gets $ 15-20 million royalties per year, needs to sell quite nicely. Dylan made biggest deal ever 12/2020, amount was 400 $ million only publishing rights. Premium-rate stuff. Hardly record company charity does.

Analord

“Update Bob Dylan” is better than “Update Ariana Grande”, that said I don’t see why he should be a priority over The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd…etc.

Clockingbell

I think an update on legacy acts should be done when an artist’s total rises enough to ensure a rise of a couple of places (or just 1 in the top 10) on the all-time best sellers list or a significant rise for a huge album. That would allow Fleetwood Mac (Rumours!), AC/DC, Bob Marley or maybe Nirvana or Oasis to be updated sooner than Beatles, Floyd or Zep, although I would like to see them be updated as well

Mikko

Let me tell you one thing. Led Zeppelin royalties 2011-2016 was 58,5 dollars to 12 million per year. That is 5 year. Dylan royalties was up to 20 million per year. Many of the bands you mentions are dead. Dylan “Rough ways” realisead last year and was number one in USA, UK, Germany.. really global success. Dylan still going strong.

Clockingbell

I’m not denying this (haven’t said anything about Dylan), but in absolute numbers, he’s not increasing that much and doesn’t have really big albums to be updated, that’s all

Analord

So he had one album last year that sold, what, 300k ? Who cares, albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Abbey Road or Rumours sell more than that every year, not to mention their massive streaming numbers.

And Led Zeppelin’s catalog is obviously much more popular than Dylan’s. Those “$58.5m in royalties” have to do with Stairway To Heaven, and as you said yourself Dylan’s royalties have a lot to do with covers (Adele, Hendrix, Guns N Roses…etc.).

Mikko

Red Hot Chilly Peppers sold publishing rights to Hipgnosis Merck Mercuriadis, most hated man business (cause he pay more than others). Chilly Peppers royalties per year was 5-6 million dollars and normal factor is 5-20, but they got 23, and 23×6= 140 million dollars. And remember Led Zeppelin annual royalties is average 12 million dollars. I looked through the European album charts. +UK and Germany, France, Netherland, Italy, Spain Sweden almost every country. Led Zeppelin last entries end just in 2016. Zeppelin Oricon charts was very strong and records was big, expencive boxs. Oasis, almost nothing but Music Week’s UK… Read more »

Analord

ok

ChartGod

wayyy too wrong. Dark Horse sold less than Hot N Cold and I Kissed a Girl 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 Adele with the best-selling single, even digitally, in 2017 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Jazz

https://chartmasters.org/2019/06/katy-perry-albums-and-songs-sales/

Actually no. Dark horse is bigger than hot n cold as per this website. Also Dark Horse is still growing faster than Hot N Cold and it will only move further and bigger than Hot N Cold. Plus, according to Youtube views. I Kissed A Girl total official video youtube views all 220 million while Hot N Cold are at 1 billion already. So if anybody is wrong here it is u.

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