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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wtf. Where is Prince? Purple Rain sold 20 millions.


this article hasn’t been updated yet.


What about boy band Take that? They’ve sold more than 15 million albums in the UK alone.


What about British boy band take that? Their salbum sales are north of 15 million in the UK alone.


Hey can someone update all of these lists please?


Hi, can you add Elvis? Probably he is above Michael, I want to know what is the difference between them!


Yes Elvis is above MJ. The current pure album sales figures provided by this site for Elvis Presley is > 244,475,000


Thank you. This in my opinion shows who is truly the best-sellers of all time. No way would i be able to say rihanna or Taylor have outsold Celine and Whitney. Not at all.


Why this isn’t on the data collector


Did they use the formula “album sales + singles sales = total records/units sold” on Big Bang’s 150 million figure?


why BIGBANG of is not in your list. This group have over 150 M selling


I thought it was true but being able to see the figures of Big Bang, it looked like they count 1 digital single sale = 1 album sale. And they countringtones and karaokes too.

Big Bang also have “single albums” which im not sure what it really means. But if they actually sell an album with only one single, then international artists should do the same so the sales of each of their release singles will not be counted as singles but album sales.


Big Bang haven’t been studied so far and I won’t spoil anything if I tell you that they haven’t sold 150 million in pure album sales. They are in fact south of 5 million in this format. On the other hand did they sell a ton of digital singles which is what most of this claim is made up of. And these single albums you’re talking about looks like what you’d call a CD single. We weigh them as 30% of an album sale on this site. You can request them here if you want their sales studied in detail… Read more »


Thanks. I hope MJD prioritizes studying BigBang to end the most ridiculous claimed sales made by their fans so i have the determination to register to kpop sites and show them the more accurate numbers of their fave boy band. Not that i want to start a fight. Im asian too and i would love asians to do well in the music industry.


Wait a minute, when you said the sold a huge ton of digital singles, did you mean they are counted just like how Rihanna’s digital sales were counted which would show why Rihanna is higher than Celine, Mariah And Whitney on the best selling music artists of all time in wiki?


I believe Guinness World Records reports global sales from IFPI.