Yearly Most Successful Female Album: The New Generation (1999-2017)

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1999 – Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Even artists with a highly successful debut album needed a few singles and a few months to fully break through the general public. Britney Spears was massive instantly. Her album was still unreleased in the UK that it was already Top 200 thanks to imports, a clear evidence of how much hype she created all of a sudden.

How could have it been otherwise? The single Baby One More Time was – and still is – iconic, quickly adopted by an entire generation as their anthem. It shot to #1 in all relevant markets, selling more than 5 million physical units. The following 4 singles sold over 1 million on average in spite of being released only in the US or only abroad.

The album responded to perfection. It debuted at #1 in the US and remained 50 consecutive weeks inside the Top 10. At barely 18 Spears was already a superstar. The LP sold over 14 million units in her native country alone. It was also massive elsewhere, selling large amounts in Canada, the UK, France, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Spain, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, etc. It went on to sell more than 23,75 million units Worldwide while also creating over 7 million equivalent album sales from the exploitation of its songs through the rest of her catalog.


Christina Aguilera


A blonde American, born in early 80s, singing teen pop music and former TV stars on Mickey Mouse Club who became a superstar in late 90s. No, I’m not talking about Spears but about Christina Aguilera. I, just like many people, often blame Medias for their silly comparisons and made up rivalries. Considering how they had everything in common, it was impossible to avoid the Spears vs Aguilera argument though. The latter’s eponymous debut album was led by the single Genie In A Bottle, sold bucket loads. In the US, she moved about 65% as much as Spears which is extremely impressive. Abroad the ratio was closer to 40%, not as good but still very solid. All formats together put Christina Aguilera on nearly 17 million equivalent album sales to date.

The new generation is in full force since the Top 3 is completed by Dido. Her debut album No Angel took more than a year to take off but once it did, it sold tons of units. More than 14 million in its original form, more than Aguilera‘s album. She wasn’t so strong with singles though and sold less compilations too, which lands her at #3 for the year with over 15 million equivalent album sales.

Hikaru Utada (宇多田ヒカル) - This Is the One 3

In Japan, it was time for a revolution too. Hikaru Utada released her proper debut LP, First Love. It went on to become the top selling album ever there with well over 8 million units sold, it reached 10 million globally. Its singles sold more than 4 million collectively and her Singles Collection sold 4 million units, nearly half of which thanks to First Love‘s singles, putting its comprehensive total on over 13 million.

She wasn’t the only Japanese to come for the big numbers. Ayumi Hamasaki sold over 3,5 million copies of her album Loveppears, more than 5 million units with its physical singles and plenty of compilations and remix albums.

The fourth album of Faith Hill was her biggest one. She went from 3xP to 4xP to 6xP to 8xP in the US with her first four albums. This 8 million seller there was Breathe, an album which is over 10 million all told.

Two more newcomers come next with over 9 million sales when accounting for all formats. They are no other than Jennifer Lopez with her album On the 6 and Macy Gray with On How Life Is. Their big hits were If You Had My Love and I Try, respectively.

Mariah Carey dropped below 10 million total units with her release Rainbow. This is still an incredible figure, but we can’t help but hope for career-peaks to be maintained for as long as possible.

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Hello, why are there no female band listed?


The article is solely based on solo female albums, female bands are not included…not that many would feature, even if the scope was extended to female acts in general.


i hope you can update the article! doesn’t Blackpink have a chance in 2020?


Britney’s Greatest Hits, My Perogative sold 6 million albums in 2004, that puts her on this list since you include album sellers from 2004 that were only selling 5 M.
Britney had 5 albums in a row that made this list, plus Circus gives her 6, all in less than 1 decade!

Last edited 3 months ago by Tru

Greatest Hits are included in Studio albums as CSPC’s formula. You can check this in Britney’s article.


Can you do a update on Jennifer Lopezs? Since ya last did her she’s had many more certified sales and streams etc

Cameron Tracy

Can you please update this or re post this article (top female albums 2018-2020) please?


yes please. also would you count gaga’s a star is born


Shouldn’t Britney hold the position for 2003 or 04? In the zone had already sold 8 million copies by the end of 2004


Sorry to bump this old topic but isn’t there a chance that Colbie Caillat’s debut Coco has done 5 million CSPC?

It’s double Platinum in the US, Bubbly did well in 2007 and seems to remain relevant on streaming. Realize did decently if I remember well too.


If I Counted Right the Stream:

In 2017, Right now Both Reputation , Dua Lipa passed 5 Million EAS By Far, and sitting in the 7-8 million area.
. In 2018 Sweetener Is very close.
In 2019, When We ALL Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and Thank U,Next Already Got There, While Lover is Pretty Close.

Could you Please Update this Amazing analysis of women?
By the way, I Love This Website It Is So Well Thought and interesting.


The Sweet Escape By Gwen Stefani may reach 5m CSPC 2006
The Album Sold at least 3.5m WW I Thought
Digital Song Sales should be around 4m in united states (The Sweet Escape 3m digital downloads in U.S.)
WW Digital song sales at least 6m
And some other formats
5M is enough for it

djdj Avex reported LOVEppears by Ayumi Hamasaki shipped 2.8 million copies by June 2000. Then, recently, since the 20th anniversary version of LOVEppears is going to release, Avex updated that LOVEppears shipped 3.2 million copies up to date. That is huge improvement at 400k! So, I doubt whether the 400k comes from catalog sales. Maybe the 3.2 million figure also include Southeast Asian sales? LOVEppears actually released in very few countires in Asia, for example, a google book said that all Ayumi Hamasaki’s CDs were only legitimately available since 2004 in Indonesia. I think 400k catalog sales in 19… Read more »

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