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

Ok, here are the top 5 most streamed albums on spotify as of today. Purely the studio albums, without outakes, single versions etc.

1. Nirvana..Nevermind (872,693,719)
2. Guns ‘n’ Roses..Appetite for destruction (841,965,707)
3. Michael Jackson..Thriller (839,922,362)
4. Red hot chili peppers..Californication (820,286,324)
5. Dr Dre..2001 (804,936,178)

If I’ve missed someone please let me know.


Did you see this list? Not the same I know, but similar 🙂


I have updated the list of tracks with 200m + plays on spotify. There are 4 new entries. Bob Marley “Three Little Birds”, Stevie Wonder “Superstition”, Backstreet Boys “I Want it That Way” and AC/DC “Thunderstruck”. It’s the first entries for Stevie and BB, while Bob and AC/DC join an exclusive club of artists with multiple entries (Queen, RHCP, Dr Dre, Marvin Gaye, G’n’R, Nirvana & Michael Jackson (if you include the Jackson 5). Is This Love is the 8th song to pass 300 and Wonderwall will be the first to pass 400m tomorrow!!!! 1 Oasis – Wonderwall – 400m… Read more »

Nuclear dolphin

Hi, where does the extra few million come for Bohemian Rhapsody? On Spotify today it says 363 million. Thanks 😊


The studio version plus all the various live versions.


True. On this list I try to include all versions of the song (but not cover versions of course)


I know you have talked about how album prices vary (for example the difference in an albums price of The Beatles (quite high) to a discount rack artist like Spice Girls (quite low…..i imagine) But what if you did a seperate “Highest selling artists EAS with the consideration of not prices (because those can vary) but of multiple disc’s. For example…….Pink Floyd the Wall sells 33 million worldwide…….but if you consider it a double disc (much like the U.S.’s Riaa double album certification) we consider it selling 66 million albums. You could do that for 3 disc or 4 disc… Read more »

Nuclear dolphin

I’d just like to say MJD this is a massive undertaking if you’re going to include all artists. I was thinking of bands like Pearl Jam, The Cranberries, No Doubt, Prince, Black Sabbath, Elton John and RHCP just to name a few. That top 200 you made is great to see but there are still so many other artists that will make it on there. I wish you the best of luck, you’re doing a great job!


Here is my make shift list of the top 10 artists in terms of album sales. Most of this Data was pulled off this website, there could be a few math errors. For two the the artists I found this info on other websites and estimated. This includes Studio albums, compilations, box sets and live album. Does not include video output. Here it goes. Hope someone besides me enjoys it. 1. The Beatles 340,990,000 2. Micheal Jackson 235,440,000 3. Elvis Presley 230,000,000 est. 4. Pink Floyd 203,010,000 5. Madanna 201,900,000 6. Rolling Stone 196,900,000 7. Led Zeppelin 185,500,000 8. Elton… Read more »

Nuclear dolphin



Yeah, they had 4 or 5 huge albums and I think all of their albums sold well into the millions. Back and Black has got to be close to Dark Side of the Moon in sales. I hope they do them soon. Not sure on there total but it’s got to be well over 150,000,000.


I think it is more around Led Zeppelin IV, say 35m-37m sales, than DSOTM’s.

I’d say they’ve only had the one huge album, Back In Black, Highway to Hell is a good seller but not huge and that would be their second best seller.


A few years ago I read worldwide AC/DC album sales was close to 160m albums.


It’s really remarkable the Pink Floyd is No. 4. They started as a cult underground band, but they ended up as the second most successful group of all time behind Beatles. According to this list. The
achievement is even bigger if we take into account they were almost a ‘faceless’ band during the seventies and eighties.


not sure where you got celine’s total, but from this website’s article her total album sales are 168.625 million


When are you adding Guns N Roses albums into the best selling albums list?


Did you guys hear Def Leppard’s catalog is finally avaible on streaming platforms. It shall be interesting to see how they perform.

Until now there has only been some newer albums, live recordings and a few re-recorded classics. The re-recorded Pour Some Sugar(2012), Rock of Ages (2012) and Hysteria (2013) are no longer available.
Sugar had 104,521,000 plays on Spotify, Rock of Ages had 16,893,000.
I don’t have the number for Hysteria… Anyone got it?


Can I request for Avril Lavigne’s figures?


Guys, did you know which was the first million selling LP by a single artist? And who was the artist? p.s: Try to answer this question without using Google. 🙂


Just repeating a post of mine from a while back but; “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… Read more »

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