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.

4 167 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nuclear dolphin

The link I put up yesterday is fascinating and holds many surprises if you’re a statistics geek like me! The most popular pre 2000 artists on youtube are not quite as obvious as you might think. The most popular is Celine Dion. From what I can find ‘My heart will go on’, is also the most streamed song on Youtube in that era, clocking in 1.719 billion streams. The date only goes back to September 1st 2014!!! There is a graph that you can use to see how the daily, weekly, monthly and annual streams have been doing and what… Read more »


Hi ND! Yes YouTube Insights’ is a Gold mine! I have been using it for a couple of years for my estimates as when you use it cleverly, with proportions, it tells you which markets are good or bad for every artist, including throughout Asia and Latin America! The strong drop of the Beatles from the day when they were made available at Spotify is what convinced me of the need to include YouTube views too. Drake’s One Dance became at some point the most streamed song ever on Spotify in good part thanks to its exclusion from YT. MHWGO… Read more »

Nuclear dolphin

MJD hi, I did notice the numbers in India but I didn’t bother mentioning them as it was just too complex and a market that I really know nothing about. I suppose India’s population, along with Pakistan, Bangladesh and all the other countries that have Indian people living and lovers of Indian music are going to create massive numbers.
One thing I found interesting is there is nothing for China, are there any really big Chinese artists that would have similar numbers?

tom riise

Youtube is blocked in China, so i don’t think there are chinese acts
with big numbers on there.

Nuclear dolphin

Here is a great link that you can find out how many youtube streams an artist has got so far this year. Really interesting.


the name links arent working. 🙁

Agustin Alvarez

Why can’t we click on the artist’s name and be taken to their profile?


Just to confirm, before anyone gets carried away. Queen second biggest selling band ever, behind the Beatles. Wikipedia have been fooling people for years that Pink Floyd and Led Zep were the next biggest to the Beatles!!
Queen always underrated by the music industry. At last some real figures, more accurate and proving Queen are global icons not just reliant on US sales. Queen are more popular today with younger audiences as well as some of the other older artists.


Nobody is getting carried away, except maybe you by the sounds of it!

It could possibly be the Stones that are second best. The Queen article was completed in Oct 17, whereas the Stones one was completed in Dec 16 and as such the Stones total doesn’t include figures from their Lonesome & Blue studio album, On Air BBC album and various other live albums/DVD’s, all released after the article was completed. There is also the increases of their already released & studied material.

Either way though, there is not much in it at all.


I believe, the Stones stuff you have related too hasn’t sold much overall. Queen are far enough ahead of the Stones for these extra sales not to effect there position, but hey who am I to say, the guys at Chartmasters will probably confirm this soon on next update.


Blue & Lonesome I’d say had shipped between 1.5m-2m WW by Oct 17, which would be enough to take them up to or just surpass Queens Oct 17 total but there is also shipments from those other new releases, plus 10 or so months of sales & streams from their previously released material. Also, given that the totals on here are not truly definitive (they are as good as you’ll get though), there is room for a small margin of error, which could result in either band being slightly higher or lower than they are reported. I agree with your… Read more »


I hope Celine can reach 200 million EAS before 2020 ends. 🙂


I’d like to see Creedence Clearwater Revival CSPC done as soon as possible.

Nuclear dolphin

I’m really interested to see totals by The Beach boys, The Doors, Creedence Clearwater revival, Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Van Halen, The Who and Black Sabbath. I think they should all have some pretty good numbers.

Nuclear dolphin

That top 5 list is obviously pre 2000, I forgot to mention that!

Nuclear dolphin

It amazes me when I go on Spotify and I see different artists from the 60’s and 70’s who have hundreds of millions of streams, its an incredible achievement that that music is still being listened to today but there are only a few artists from that era who manage it. The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones are the obvious ones but also Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen also need to be mentioned. I think these artists are multi generational and are remaining very popular. Its also interesting to see… Read more »

1 5 6 7 8 9 68