Best selling artists in pure album sales

The Beatles are the pure album sales leaders

Until a few years ago, chart lovers followed their fave artists and compared their success to others thanks to pure album sales. Nowadays, physical sales are going down but it doesn’t change the fact that some artists achieved gigantic figures through this format. So, who have been the most sucessful in this area? Have some recent acts been able to do well despite the fall of this market? You will find the answer in the list below!

Please notice that music videos, EPs and singles are not considered here. Records included are studio albums, compilations, live albums and box sets.

Please keep in mind that some artists haven’t been studied so far, e.g. legends like Elvis Presley (who should have similar results to Michael Jackson) or Frank Sinatra (probably in the top 15), so their pure album sales aren’t available so far. All figures reflect the value as collected at the time of the artist’s respective articles.

A lot of lists like this one are available in the Data Collector, so feel free to read them to gauge how your favorite artist charts within it.

Artists Ranking – Pure album sales – All Albums

1. The Beatles333,145,000 (as of Mar 2017)
2. Michael Jackson235,440,000 (as of Sep 2017)
3. Pink Floyd203,010,000 (as of Jun 2017)
4. Madonna201,900,000 (as of Aug 2017)
5. The Rolling Stones201,100,000 (as of Dec 2016)
6. Led Zeppelin182,500,000 (as of Aug 2016)
7. Queen179,295,000 (as of Oct 2017)
8. Céline Dion171,625,000 (as of Sep 2016)
9. AC/DC169,670,000 (as of Feb 2018)
10. U2169,000,000 (as of Aug 2016)
11. Elton John167,640,000 (as of Feb 2018)
12. Eagles153,885,000 (as of Dec 2017)
13. Mariah Carey144,375,000 (as of Apr 2017)
14. Barbra Streisand138,610,000 (as of Mar 2018)
15. Bruce Springsteen138,400,000 (as of Jul 2017)
16. ABBA130,250,000 (as of Nov 2016)
17. Fleetwood Mac129,650,000 (as of Oct 2016)
18. Billy Joel129,075,000 (as of Oct 2016)
19. Whitney Houston128,600,000 (as of May 2017)
20. Bob Dylan128,375,000 (as of Oct 2016)
21. Bee Gees125,795,000 (as of Apr 2017)
22. Metallica124,650,000 (as of Aug 2016)
23. Bob Marley120,150,000 (as of Nov 2017)
24. Bon Jovi115,650,000 (as of Nov 2016)
25. Eminem108,300,000 (as of Aug 2016)
26. David Bowie103,910,000 (as of Jan 2017)
27. Guns N’ Roses102,770,000 (as of Mar 2018)
28. Dire Straits100,350,000 (as of Mar 2018)
29. George Michael & Wham!83,200,000 (as of May 2017)
30. Enya82,500,000 (as of Feb 2018)
31. Backstreet Boys79,850,000 (as of Feb 2017)
32. Nirvana79,800,000 (as of Jul 2017)
33. Red Hot Chili Peppers76,435,000 (as of Mar 2018)
34. Britney Spears76,380,000 (as of Feb 2018)
35. Shania Twain71,750,000 (as of Dec 2016)
36. Green Day70,295,000 (as of Mar 2017)
37. Coldplay62,500,000 (as of Jun 2017)
38. Linkin Park62,100,000 (as of Jun 2017)
39. Janet Jackson59,650,000 (as of Apr 2017)
40. Adele59,110,000 (as of Mar 2018)
41. Johnny Hallyday55,740,000 (as of Jan 2018)
42. Cher53,350,000 (as of Aug 2017)
43. Michael Bublé52,995,000 (as of Dec 2016)
44. Oasis48,720,000 (as of Dec 2017)
45. Norah Jones45,280,000 (as of Nov 2016)
46. P!nk42,100,000 (as of Oct 2017)
47. Taylor Swift41,875,000 (as of Oct 2017)
48. Shakira41,400,000 (as of Dec 2016)
49. Nickelback41,300,000 (as of Jun 2017)
50. Cranberries41,050,000 (as of Jan 2018)
51. Enrique Iglesias39,200,000 (as of Sep 2016)
52. Jackson 5 & The Jacksons39,100,000 (as of Sep 2017)
53. NSYNC38,690,000 (as of Feb 2018)
54. Spice Girls38,400,000 (as of Mar 2017)
55. Destiny’s Child37,950,000 (as of Dec 2016)
56. Usher37,160,000 (as of Sep 2017)
57. Beyoncé35,500,000 (as of Dec 2016)
58. Alicia Keys35,060,000 (as of Nov 2016)
59. Christina Aguilera33,525,000 (as of Mar 2017)
60. Black Eyed Peas33,450,000 (as of Aug 2017)
61. Avril Lavigne33,140,000 (as of Feb 2018)
62. Rihanna33,100,000 (as of Nov 2017)
63. Foo Fighters31,700,000 (as of Oct 2017)
64. Lady Gaga30,870,000 (as of Mar 2018)
65. Maroon 527,550,000 (as of Oct 2016)
66. Miley Cyrus25,050,000 (as of May 2017)
67. Justin Bieber24,500,000 (as of Aug 2016)
68. One Direction24,050,000 (as of May 2017)
69. Justin Timberlake23,370,000 (as of Feb 2018)
70. Amy Winehouse22,700,000 (as of Sep 2016)
71. Ed Sheeran19,790,000 (as of Jan 2018)
72. Renaud19,200,000 (as of Nov 2017)
73. Bruno Mars17,375,000 (as of Oct 2017)
74. Katy Perry15,960,000 (as of Mar 2018)
75. Gorillaz15,770,000 (as of May 2017)
76. Aaliyah15,375,000 (as of Feb 2017)
77. Drake14,775,000 (as of Aug 2017)
78. Lana Del Rey8,500,000 (as of Aug 2017)
79. Sam Smith6,525,000 (as of Oct 2017)
80. Fergie6,450,000 (as of Jul 2017)
81. Kendrick Lamar5,725,000 (as of Jan 2018)
82. Selena Gomez5,705,000 (as of Nov 2017)
83. Ariana Grande4,195,000 (as of Nov 2017)
84. The Weeknd4,150,000 (as of Dec 2016)
85. Demi Lovato4,075,000 (as of May 2017)
86. Lorde3,300,000 (as of Jun 2017)
87. Macklemore (& Ryan Lewis)3,260,000 (as of Nov 2017)
88. Will.i.am950,000 (as of Jul 2017)

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Shaki’s no way lower than P!nk and Norah Jones.She’s such a strong former in Latin America,Europe and Africa,also Middle East and some countries in Asia(like India).Please update Shakira

Chen Si

How about Leona Lewis?o(╥﹏╥)o


She has not been studied yet.


Thanks a lot MJD. I’ve really been requesting for this list for a while. The list makes a lot of things clear like… Among the princes of music, Justin Bieber is way ahead of Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Drake. There’s only about 2 million pure album sales difference between Beyonce and Rihanna. Adele’s total pure album sales shows she still has a long way to go, and if she could be the last music artist to be able to reach 100 million pure album sales. Celine still has a chance to outsell Madonna. Just kidding. Hehehe. But Celine can… Read more »


Please notice that music videos, EPs and singles are not considered here. Records included are studio albums, compilations, live albums and box sets.

There is no way Celine catches Queen / LZ who sell much more than her on a yearly basis.


I was including a “miracle” but anyway, it sounds like Celine might not be able to record songs anymore, nor even see her supposed to be first visit and show in the Philippines. I hope im wrong. But i cant help myself to feel sad and cry. Please let’s pray for Celine’s health.


Just wanted to clarify. Those pure album sales are studio albums only right? like celine’s all the way a decade of songs, my love collection album and her other collection albums are not included right?


Great list. I’ve been waiting for this one. This list seems less likely to move much over the years, compared with the CSPC artists list. Is there enough raw album sales happening anymore to move a band like Zeppelin or Queen to the 200 million mark? If so, at current sales rates how long would that take? Are those in the 200 million plus category still moving enough to keep them ahead? Really puts perspective in what an achievement hitting the 200 million mark is, considering all the propaganda out there saying artists like ABBA Elton John have surpassed this… Read more »


Hi Lance!

To be honest, selling 20m nowadays looks like a huge, huge achievements. With time it is possible, especially since it will always remain a niche market, but that will take a lot of time. The biggest artists (Metallica, Beatles, etc.) sold a bit over 1m WW with their back catalog. At this rate, 20m would require more than 15 years… but obviously the market continues to go down!

Nuclear dolphin

The Beach boys, The Doors, CCR, Aerosmith, Phil Collins, Genesis, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Santana, please! 😀👍


Hi Nuclear dolphin!

One of them is the next one coming 😉

Nuclear dolphin

Nice! 😊


Hey, could yall finally reveal about the best selling singles by foreigners in Japan??? The fact no one knows the updated sales for “To Love You More” there is so agonizing…. because according to a Billboard article of 1996, the single had 1,500,000 copies till that date, and we know later the song was also included on the LTAL album….. would be interesting knowing about its ringtones also


Impressive numbers by MJ with few studio albums.


Hi! Great great work! I have some rock request! Smashing pumpkins, Tool, Pearl Jam, Korn! I know they are not so popular but their physical sales are way over 20 millions!


Awesome. I’ve been waiting for this one. 🙂

p.s. please do a list of best selling artists in Europe (or at least the UK).

Hugueneau Meus

it would be a dream come true

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