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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Update Michael Jackson.

He must have sold close to Queen did since his last update.

Michael Jackson Bad album is number 4 all over the world?But in 1993,when Opera interview Michael Jackson,Opera claims that Michael Jackson Bad album is number 2 all over the world,which means Bad album outsells Hotel Canafonia album


No chance


He sold at least 10 million units since his last update.


How do Celine’s albums have higher streams than the Mariah ones? If you look at Spotify, Pandora, etc Mariah’s streams are higher.


I feel like compilations and live albums should be included in some sort of “best selling albums of all-time” list, here are the compilations which I think would be in the top 100 : Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 : 45m Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend : 35m ABBA – Gold: Greatest Hits : 34m The Beatles – 1 : 33m Simon & Garfunkel – Greatest Hits : 32m Madonna – The Immaculate Collection : 28m Queen – Greatest Hits : 26m Céline Dion – All The Way… A Decade Of Songs : 23m The Beatles –… Read more »


What about Queen Live Killers?


Not sure what you mean, Live Killers sold 4.5m…


Best selling live albums (I think) :

Eric Clapton – Unplugged : 25m
Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York : 16m
Phil Collins – Serious Hits… Live! : 15m
AC/DC – Live : 15m
Eagles – Hell Freezes Over : 13m
Peter Frampton – Comes Alive : 13m
Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains The Same : 11m
Carreras Domingo Pavarotti – In Concert : 11m
Simon & Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park : 10m
Garth Brooks – Double Live : 10m
U2 – Under A Blood Red Sky : 10m

Robert Mosley

Nice work on both this and the ‘Best of…’ list!

El Jolito

AC/DC Live did not sell 15 million.


hey MJD, i saw some rumors on Twitter that Tidal will start making their streamind data available for users circa January 2022. if that would be true will you incorporate them into the CSPC formula ?


Tidal to me seems way too irrelevant for 99% of artists as it only got 4m users or so (even that is disputed). The exceptions being Jay-Z or Beyoncé possibly.


Hi Padilla!

We’ll have to wait & see, but as Al stated they will be mainly useful for specific artists, we will no doubt look at the nummbers for Beyoncé, Kanye, Jay-Z, Rihanna, etc. It would be important to cross-check former Billboard/RIAA numbers to make sure they aren’t inflated though as there have been some claims regarding this.


Why have 7 million been removed from bts? It was at 79 million and they have sold millions this year, over 7 million in albums alone this year as well as their single sales???


When we will see the new artist in the list ? Please tell us if you can ! Thanks anyway !


Madonna and David Bowie made deal with Warner.
Madonna returned to Warner. It has hardly any talking about. Cold truth is Madonna’s music sells very little. But they have a planes.
One month later David Bowie sold copyrights to his music. $ 200 million is stated a amount. Bowie seems to endure time.


where are sales something to remenber ‘s madonna?


It’s not a studio album ! It is compilation !


Chartmasters, how true is this? “Beatles sales are about 80% totally accounted for. Elvis is higher at 88%. Michael only has about 50% of his sales calculated in their primary markets(English speaking markets). This has a few meanings. 1) it means the claimed sales of Elvis and the Beatles numbers ranging from 500 million to a billion records is WAY inflated. The problem is there was no certification system in 50’s or 60’s so their claimed sales then become unrealistic when you realized that they managed to calculate 80%-88% of their sales in their main markets. At max, that puts… Read more »


I hope MJD or other cm staff will answer me huhhuhu

Lim Hyunjin

I agree with you


I think this is fake. I didn’t make that piece


Well, The Beatles already got over 500 million records.
All albums + all singles.
It’s not inflated.

Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley is around 450 million.


Adele is about to be #1 2021

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