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.

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It would also be nice if there was a page posting each screenshot of an artist’s CSPC results. Since as you said there has been 69 artists done, one doesn’t have time to read every single artist’s analysis entirely. It’s a bit tiring sometimes to scroll through each artists CSPC analysis to find their screenshot breakdown, especially if you’ve actually read it before but are just going back to look at something specific!


Barbra is “lost” in the list, some of other female’s stans use this list to claim fake top3, top5, top10… I think she must be above Whitney even Mariah


She is slightly above Whitney but definitely not above Mariah. She came at a time when the music market was extremely weak and it was really2 hard for female singers to go global. She already had fantastic results considering the era she was in.


Pink Floyd & Michael are the two that really impress me. Michael in a way is obvious, he’s a truly global icon and the furore about his releases post Thriller was immense but Floyd, a kind of underground act in many respects, I think is more impressive, the sustained popularity of their two (maybe three) biggest albums is amazing and while I’m no fan of Celine Dion, respect to her and having two albums above 40m. Another two acts that impress me are The Eagles and Garth Brooks, certainly in the US, fantastic certification totals, although Garths label seems to… Read more »


I think the fact that Madonna managed to get in the top 15, 3 decades in a row and so does Barbra Streisand should be more amazing than Celine Dion. Michael Jackson is the biggest of them all, and had he produced more albums at his peak, I have no doubt he should took over beattles sales. And Garth Brooks? Hmm, super big in the US but kind of suck when it comes to worldwide sales.


What does that have to do with me thinking two 40m+ plus albums in a row, is impressive!? I’m impressed by that, especially as MJ (2 x 60m+), Pink Floyd (2 x 50m+) & Celine Dion are the only three musical acts ever to achieve this & only Celine & Michael back to back. Lot’s of acts have sustained periods of success, it may not put them Top 15, 3 decades in a row, but acts like Queen (70’s-90’s), U2 (80’s-10’s), Rolling Stones (60’s-90’s) & AC/DC (70’s-00’s) were still very successful over 3 or so decades and as we see… Read more »


Your comment about “if” arguments is very true! The example of the Beatles is perfect for that. Their discography is immaculate, they kept being seen as “the biggest thing ever”, because they stopped before the competition of new generations arrived. Had they released 3 more albums in 72, 75, 79, people would have start debates about who’s the best between them and Led Zep, Floyd, Queen, ABBA. It would have been easy to hear from teenagers that these latter acts at their popularity peak were better than the aging Beatles. Had it become uncool to support them in 1975, all… Read more »


Yes, IMO “If” arguments are futile in this kind of environment, it maybe fun to surmise potential “if” scenarios , but it’s just pointless supposition at the end of the day.


I wouldn’t agree that Barbra’s achievements are more impressive than Celine considering the 40 million EAS difference on the total EAS. Celine is popular worldwide while Barbra sales rely mostly in the USA. Of course I didn’t forget Barbra’s awards as a director and actress but the awarding bodies are also from America and her movies didn’t really made an impact outside America. Celine on the other hand may have not entered on acting but she is known to make several movie theme songs popular worldwide and it really helps when the movies she sing for are very successful worldwide-wise.… Read more »


I get your point, but I don’t see Pink Floyd as a “kind of underground” act. I mean, they’re a staple from rock, specially 70’s rock. They had top 40 hits back in the day. But still impressive for a psychodelic band.

Eagles numbers surprises a lot of people because they never really blew up outside the US and a lot of people see them as a one hit wonder. Many get surprise when they discover that Hotel California isn’t on the Greateast hits album


Yes, I am not saying that Pink Floyd are not enormously popular, just that they are kind of under the radar to your average person in the street, same with Led Zeppelin & possibly AC/DC. I’d say acts like The Rolling Stones, Guns n Roses, Queen, Elton, Michael, Madonna, Elvis, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, ABBA etc are far more recognisable to the general public. The majority of people I’d say know of these acts, know who they are, know some if not many of their songs, they seem to be far more mainstream/household names. In the UK for example,… Read more »


Do these updated figures include additional sales from the original article, or is it the same sales with a new formula?


Hi Jake!

It is the same figures, from the same date, with the new formula in order to put all acts on par. Several acts still have the old ratio for streaming, but it isn’t a relevant different since streams achieved since then make up for the gap.


By the way,your sales figures are pretty fake.Prism had not sold 2m in US as of 2016.It had sold 1.7m in US according to Billboard as of February this year


Clearly you don’t know what a shipment means. The RIAA certified PRISM 2x Platinum before streaming was included for albums.



There is obviously a ton of things you are unaware of in the charts & sales area. I would suggest you to learn first before claiming someone is fake. Soundscan doesn’t collect 100% of sales, especially some special offers. Prism was officially certified 2xP in the US before the inclusion of SPS, so that’s every claim under the 2 million mark which is obviously fake.


If you’re counting Katy Perry’s Prism’s shipments over sales for her overall total, shouldn’t you do the same for Britney’s Femme Fatale, which you have down as having 850,000 sales even though it has a platinum certification from the RIAA for one million copies?


Hi Jase! The case of Prism and Femme Fatale are very different. The Platinum award of Britney Spears arrived just 1 month after the release of the album, the minimum required time frame to apply for a certification. It is a clear case of an album hitting a certification with the initial shipment and then fail to reach it. Prism’s 2xP award was certified in mid-2015, nearly two years after the release of the album. Very few copies were still available on retailers at that point meaning that indeed 2 million copies were sold. When I built Katy’s article, I… Read more »


Thank you, MJD!


What I don’t here is the wiki page of Linkin Park’s Meteora implies that 27 million copies have been sold, but here it says 13.3 million. So is this sales in the USA? If it is, then Greed Day’s American Idiot sold 15.2 million according to this but on the wiki page, it says 6 million. So how do they place certifications?


TD and TF have simiar digital tracks sales(and TD sold more in US),check on wiki.I think there’s nearly no difference between TD’s digital tracks sales and TF’s.TF digital tracks did sold more except US,but TD sold more in US,and they have similar certified numbers,so I think WW numbers would be similar


Why don’t update Katy’s sales figures?Why just use 1.5:10 ratio to update TEA?She has 6 singles with over 10m downloads WW and Teenage Dream is the best selling digital era of all time!


Ahead of The Fame, you are sure about that?


Thankyou very much!


Hey there, I noticed you still have The Fame/Monster at 28 M on this list but updated it to 32 M on her main article.


Also do you mind pinning this article on the side bar so it is easy to access when browsing around? Maybe under the “Categories” section?

Thanks for all your hard work! Much appreciated. Looking forward to Elvis and the Chili Peppers!


Nirvana link is broken. You don’t have to make this comment public, just letting you know 🙂


Hi Kris!

Thanks for the help 🙂 Nirvana’s link is fixed, so are Lady Gaga’s figures. A widget is added to the sidebar too, “Useful Links”, with both the Data Collector and the requests’ article. Hope it helps 🙂


I really congratulate you very much for your excellent work, so perfect, meticulous, it is a really brilliant site, sincere congratulations to all three.
I just have a question to ask:
I just wanted to know if the artists you have updated today, then there will also be integration of YouTube video views and for some artists already analyzed such as Lady Gaga and Rolling Stones beyond YouTube integration, will be added their 2 respective albums “Joanne” and “Blue & Lonesome”!!

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