Most successful artists by decade

Most Successful Artists By Decade

Since the summer of 2016 dozens of artists have been analyzed using the CSPC method.

Some of them destroyed the competition during a short time thanks to only one album, while others have proven longevity through the years.

In the end though, who has really dominated each of the last six decades? Is it the former or the latter kind of artists? You will find the answer in the list below!

The figures written here are not the equivalent album sales during the decade, but the equivalent album sales up to date from all the material released during that decade by an artist.

Please keep in mind some artists with strong results in several decades haven’t been studied so far, e.g. Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys or Nicki Minaj. All figures reflect the value as collected at the time of the artist’s respective articles. The list of studied artists is available here.

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

Most successful artists by decade (as of May 2021)

1950s
1. Elvis Presley127,149,000

1960s
1. The Beatles376,924,000
2. Elvis Presley131,658,000
3. The Rolling Stones110,801,000
4. Simon & Garfunkel89,796,000
5. Bob Dylan72,934,000
6. The Doors72,455,000
7. Led Zeppelin57,592,000
8. Creedence Clearwater Revival52,246,000
9. Barbra Streisand31,384,000
10. Johnny Hallyday29,793,000
11. Bee Gees27,358,000
12. Pink Floyd21,773,000
13. Stevie Wonder17,580,000
14. Santana16,834,000
15. Cher14,854,000
16. Cher14,854,000
17. Fleetwood Mac14,807,000
18. Jackson 5 & The Jacksons13,281,000
19. Buffalo Springfield11,061,000
20. David Bowie8,481,000

1970s
1. Pink Floyd171,695,000
2. Eagles163,422,000
3. Led Zeppelin138,828,000
4. Queen129,623,000
5. Elton John129,344,000
6. Abba125,972,000
7. Rod Stewart & Faces108,674,000
8. Bob Marley107,997,000
9. Bee Gees104,914,000
10. Fleetwood Mac95,398,000
11. Santana75,660,000
12. The Rolling Stones73,368,000
13. Billy Joel72,103,000
14. David Bowie68,914,000
15. AC/DC67,824,000
16. Paul McCartney65,482,000
17. Stevie Wonder63,036,000
18. Black Sabbath62,946,000
19. Aerosmith60,765,000
20. Supertramp58,979,000
21. Barbra Streisand57,359,000
22. Elvis Presley54,499,000
23. Neil Young53,662,000
24. John Lennon47,679,000
25. Michael Jackson46,469,000

1980s
1. Michael Jackson181,681,000
2. Madonna131,613,000
3. Phil Collins119,105,000
4. U2111,861,000
5. Queen107,789,000
6. Prince93,149,000
7. AC/DC84,857,000
8. Bruce Springsteen82,382,000
9. Bon Jovi79,146,000
10. George Michael & Wham!69,617,000
11. Dire Straits67,720,000
12. The Police64,978,000
13. Metallica64,948,000
14. Billy Joel62,280,000
15. Journey61,102,000
16. Van Halen60,076,000
17. Guns N’ Roses58,419,000
18. Whitney Houston56,494,000
19. Sade46,991,000
20. Bryan Adams46,495,000
21. Barbra Streisand43,186,000
22. The Rolling Stones37,912,000
23. Elton John37,330,000
24. Stevie Wonder36,782,000
25. David Bowie35,564,000

1990s
1. Céline Dion160,090,000
2. Mariah Carey144,462,000
3. Garth Brooks108,309,000
4. Whitney Houston88,381,000
5. Nirvana80,179,000
6. Michael Jackson78,755,000
7. Metallica75,261,000
8. Backstreet Boys74,905,000
9. Madonna66,562,000
10. Shania Twain65,863,000
11. Guns N’ Roses56,524,000
12. Red Hot Chili Peppers55,552,000
13. Alanis Morissette50,237,000
14. Oasis47,347,000
15. Spice Girls47,339,000
16. Green Day44,616,000
17. The Cranberries42,810,000
18. U242,021,000
19. TLC38,447,000
20. Sting37,855,000
21. Bon Jovi37,185,000
22. Bryan Adams36,037,000
23. Aerosmith35,248,000
24. Santana33,069,000
25. Enya31,849,000

2000s
1. Eminem123,624,000
2. Linkin Park67,608,000
3. Coldplay66,326,000
4. Britney Spears62,135,000
5. Beyoncé50,503,000
6. P!nk48,326,000
7. Norah Jones48,153,000
8. Robbie Williams47,775,000
9. Nickelback46,375,000
10. Black Eyed Peas45,631,000
11. Alicia Keys43,142,000
12. Michael Bublé42,346,000
13. Ayumi Hamasaki40,263,000
14. U238,338,000
15. Madonna37,931,000
16. Avril Lavigne36,931,000
17. Rihanna36,818,000
18. Lady Gaga35,949,000
19. Usher34,775,000
20. Shakira34,227,000
21. Justin Timberlake33,379,000
22. Green Day32,386,000
23. Taylor Swift29,445,000
24. Miley Cyrus28,856,000
25. Evanescence28,339,000

2010s
1. Adele73,356,000
2. Justin Bieber66,066,000
3. Taylor Swift64,282,000
4. Ed Sheeran61,066,000
5. Rihanna55,886,000
6. BTS55,749,000
7. Bruno Mars52,339,000
8. Drake52,256,000
9. One Direction44,466,000
10. Eminem38,691,000
11. Maroon 537,803,000
12. Katy Perry35,012,000
13. The Weeknd34,942,000
14. Ariana Grande33,108,000
15. Lady Gaga30,122,000
16. Post Malone28,844,000
17. Coldplay28,500,000
18. Kendrick Lamar26,660,000
19. Imagine Dragons24,676,000
20. Selena Gomez23,749,000
21. Beyoncé23,194,000
22. Michael Bublé19,821,000
23. Shawn Mendes17,365,000
24. Billie Eilish16,709,000
25. Sam Smith16,045,000

2020s
1. BTS16,701,000
2. Taylor Swift7,851,000
3. The Weeknd4,070,000
4. Justin Bieber3,462,000
5. Dua Lipa2,884,000
6. Lady Gaga2,249,000
7. Selena Gomez1,958,000

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popolucax

Missing p!nk on 2010’s decade.

pedro

Please update the sales of 2020s 🙏

Ahmed

Michael should be a little higher on the 90s list and way higher on the 2000s list. All in all he is the most famous artist and entertainer ever so yeah

MJD

Hi Ahmed!

These list present sales up to date of products first released during a decade, not the top seller during that decade. For example, sales of Thriller now add to the 80s, and even sales of ‘Scream’ (the compilation) add in part to Thriller (according to the share of Thriller songs on it). You can see these lists as the most valuable catalogs per decade rather than the top selling artists.

Jay

You have been planning;putting off;calculating and discussing Frank Sinatra as a general top 10 all around all time sales leader.I see he has an album again in the top 20 on the Billboard 200 and 5 on the other charts right now, 24 years after his passing and his cultural impact and that on todays artists is stronger then ever and scores have done tributes.How about in your 5th year finally adding the most enduring caree and artist ever.Thank you and Happy New Year!!

Awais

Please upload it for now 🙏🏽

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