CSPC the best selling artists of all-time
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Setting up accurate best selling artists lists

For decades, marketing tricks from labels and lack of education from media led to various myths about the best selling artists of all-time getting repeated so often that the general public assumed it was true.

Today, the same lack of education on the matter continues to be a pain for accuracy lovers. Most of these lists floating around online are either a flat list of RIAA certifications, which are given only on-request, sparsely for many artists, and relate to the US only, or a mere sum of all certifications from all countries, adding together apples and oranges by mixing distinct formats and different national streaming conversion methods.

To solve this flawed answers, we introduced several years ago the Commensure Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC).

If you are not familiar with this concept, it consists in retrieving sales figures from every format and weighting them on par with album sales. That’s what we call equivalent album sales, or simply CSPC units.

In doing so, we grant that comparisons between artists from different periods make sense, unlike lists based on raw records totals.

The method also secures that the same formula is applied to all artists, avoiding issues related to the varying conversion rate used for streaming in different markets as well as by most labels on their communications.

When applying this concept to an artist, our team go into the tank, analyzing all data available, from charts, certifications, internal reports, or official scanning systems. Through the years, we developed various methods to fill the holes, backing all numbers on meaningful indicators. In-between, we also undercover thousands of receipts.

To make everything as transparent as it gets, all figures for sales have been detailed on each artist article, available through the link under their name. Dates of updates, both for sales and for streams, are shown too.

The column ‘Other LPs’ includes long formats made of already released material like greatest hits compilations, box sets, live records, bootlegs, and music videos.

Digital singles include both downloads and ringtones. Streaming units include both audio and video streams.


An ongoing process

Obviously, digging into the catalog of an artist takes time. It would be easy to simply copy/paste RIAA’s most certified artists list in a minute, in our case the largest discographies require several weeks of study, with several people involved.

Most top selling artists have been studied by now, but some are still missing. The main ones are Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and Eric Clapton.

These omissions are listed on this page, which enables users to vote for the next pick. As soon as a new CSPC article is released, the leader of the requests list gets treated. You can vote too.


The automatic update of streams

As part of our process to get all artists treated at the same time, we have been implementing tools to automatically keep numbers up to date every day whenever it is possible.

As we also developed a tool to retrieve updated Spotify streams by artist, we are able to increase accordingly the streaming units of artists part of our all-time best selling artists leaderboard.

For further details, feel free to use the comment section.



Top CSPC – the best selling artists of all-time

The below table presents the best selling artists of all-time using the below ratios.

  • Studio Album: sales of the original album
  • Other LPs: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
  • Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (added to CSPC total with a ratio 3/10 for 2-tracks, 5/10 for EPs and Maxis)
  • Digital Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10 for CSPC total)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/11750 for Video stream)
#PICArtistTotal CSPCStudio Albums SalesOther LPs SalesPhysical Singles SalesDigital Singles SalesSales UpdateStreams EAS (Update)
1TheThe Beatles419,466,000160,650,000203,392,000116,080,00035,230,00003/01/1715,316,000
(05/18/22)
2MichaelMichael Jackson334,174,000182,600,000101,997,00079,350,00079,930,00009/27/1713,782,000
(05/18/22)
3ElvisElvis Presley318,224,00053,150,000212,309,000135,210,00037,470,00009/01/186,583,000
(02/27/22)
4QueenQueen274,224,00090,230,000139,348,00049,960,00059,650,00001/25/2020,708,000
(05/18/22)
5MadonnaMadonna245,630,000146,450,00064,420,00075,210,00042,100,00008/13/175,882,000
(05/18/22)
6TheThe Rolling Stones242,335,000113,800,00092,495,00072,770,00046,200,00012/03/167,278,000
(05/17/22)
7PinkPink Floyd235,738,000169,600,00052,025,0008,800,00023,360,00006/18/177,969,000
(05/05/22)
8LedLed Zeppelin205,501,000141,500,00051,200,0006,350,00032,030,00008/08/166,088,000
(05/15/22)
9EltonElton John204,082,00088,630,00082,400,00065,340,00026,250,00002/05/189,512,000
(04/25/22)
10EminemEminem202,402,00098,650,00026,493,00014,320,000205,790,00006/22/2142,048,000
(05/18/22)
11U2U2199,506,000127,100,00053,051,00022,550,00040,500,00008/31/166,515,000
(05/15/22)
12AC/DCAC/DC198,736,000132,470,00049,349,0007,200,00033,450,00002/20/189,739,000
(05/17/22)
13CélineCéline Dion197,770,000136,200,00040,424,00039,290,00026,660,00009/28/215,361,000
(05/18/22)
14RodRod Stewart & Faces190,181,000100,150,00066,819,00055,220,00017,420,00011/23/194,023,000
(05/11/22)
15EaglesEagles174,675,00065,425,00096,732,00016,630,00020,440,00012/20/174,464,000
(04/26/22)
16MariahMariah Carey174,434,000116,100,00031,228,00036,890,00050,130,00004/28/178,520,000
(05/04/22)
17MetallicaMetallica163,412,000121,260,00020,164,00015,480,00040,770,00002/13/1911,228,000
(05/18/22)
18ABBAABBA161,248,00045,300,00091,491,00054,400,00017,870,00011/02/165,457,000
(04/30/22)
19BeeBee Gees160,882,00075,525,00056,477,00072,790,00017,230,00004/09/174,457,000
(05/07/22)
20BruceBruce Springsteen160,562,000103,400,00042,176,00021,010,00025,420,00007/07/174,871,000
(05/04/22)
21WhitneyWhitney Houston156,876,000113,600,00017,175,00049,520,00034,250,00005/04/176,106,000
(05/18/22)
22BarbraBarbra Streisand153,306,00091,370,00049,714,00035,250,0003,680,00003/16/181,094,000
(04/16/22)
23PhilPhil Collins150,886,00093,780,00039,905,00029,910,00022,690,00004/11/184,825,000
(04/09/22)
24FleetwoodFleetwood Mac150,457,00084,550,00046,392,00026,060,00032,030,00010/21/216,893,000
(04/25/22)
25BillyBilly Joel150,028,00091,400,00040,235,00036,900,00021,000,00011/03/214,173,000
(05/11/22)
26BonBon Jovi149,739,00089,450,00039,176,00027,980,00038,450,00011/16/166,951,000
(05/15/22)
27SantanaSantana145,198,00089,465,00046,265,00015,380,00016,560,00008/04/202,448,000
(11/23/21)
28BobBob Dylan144,527,00083,350,00047,870,00017,680,00030,410,00010/23/163,443,000
(03/09/22)
29GarthGarth Brooks144,445,00081,605,00062,341,000950,00090,00001/05/19146,000
(03/03/22)
30BobBob Marley141,737,00043,075,00081,593,0009,980,00033,690,00011/21/179,021,000
(02/03/22)
31PrincePrince133,719,00086,580,00027,141,00042,910,00029,590,00010/04/182,613,000
(05/17/22)
32AerosmithAerosmith133,073,00071,710,00048,158,00015,500,00025,550,00006/01/184,722,000
(02/17/22)
33DavidDavid Bowie130,284,00071,500,00036,023,00044,200,00019,830,00001/11/176,525,000
(05/16/22)
34SimonSimon & Garfunkel125,837,00037,820,00075,732,00023,830,00014,350,00005/11/182,934,000
(03/25/22)
35GunsGuns N' Roses123,965,00086,360,00020,134,00011,900,00037,210,00003/01/188,318,000
(05/18/22)
36StevieStevie Wonder123,276,00065,605,00028,070,00065,320,00034,490,00003/17/214,751,000
(02/16/22)
37DrakeDrake118,688,00015,525,00080,00040,000169,530,00007/02/2177,640,000
(05/18/22)
38TaylorTaylor Swift118,371,00049,570,0004,810,000280,000159,420,00005/25/2139,991,000
(05/18/22)
39TheThe Doors116,743,00051,980,00055,480,00013,860,00011,100,00003/03/193,270,000
(04/22/22)
40PaulPaul McCartney112,008,00061,670,00027,441,00057,970,00011,250,00012/13/183,818,000
(04/28/22)
41DireDire Straits111,300,00071,730,00031,635,0008,380,00010,900,00003/23/183,786,000
(05/13/22)
42RihannaRihanna110,522,00033,480,0001,215,0003,600,000257,560,00006/02/2136,528,000
(05/17/22)
43BritneyBritney Spears110,500,00068,595,00011,460,00018,600,00083,030,00004/28/1912,411,000
(05/18/22)
44GeorgeGeorge Michael & Wham!109,154,00060,200,00026,150,00049,880,00016,770,00005/07/175,326,000
(05/17/22)
45ColdplayColdplay107,971,00060,160,0006,090,0002,060,00095,110,00006/07/2126,827,000
(05/16/22)
46JimiJimi Hendrix105,413,00029,330,00069,219,0006,210,00015,270,00012/21/212,706,000
(05/17/22)
47VanVan Halen102,017,00079,620,00014,065,00010,450,00016,810,00012/14/202,671,000
(05/08/22)
48RedRed Hot Chili Peppers99,324,00061,870,00016,881,0004,800,00044,400,00003/29/1812,474,000
(05/12/22)
49TheThe Police99,025,00046,370,00040,183,00023,810,00011,300,00006/06/203,622,000
(04/17/22)
50JustinJustin Bieber98,743,00020,725,0008,104,000730,000113,570,00004/27/2252,656,000
(05/18/22)
51BackstreetBackstreet Boys98,423,00058,900,00025,685,00018,010,00022,550,00002/09/175,052,000
(05/17/22)
52AdeleAdele97,404,00059,860,0003,828,000550,00099,250,00010/15/2118,661,000
(05/18/22)
53NirvanaNirvana95,162,00045,000,00037,650,0004,190,00023,250,00007/09/177,767,000
(04/16/22)
54CreedenceCreedence Clearwater Revival92,897,00033,135,00045,489,00022,570,00014,600,00001/31/194,989,000
(04/29/22)
55DeepDeep Purple92,851,00045,485,00040,666,00012,180,0009,200,00008/18/211,572,000
(05/02/22)
56NeilNeil Young92,285,00065,210,00021,443,0007,100,00011,870,00005/15/211,713,000
(09/02/21)
57LinkinLinkin Park90,635,00048,350,00014,500,0003,210,00073,710,00006/04/1715,767,000
(05/17/22)
58R.E.M.R.E.M.90,227,00066,685,00016,347,0008,280,00011,920,00009/24/212,921,000
(03/21/22)
59BryanBryan Adams89,036,00042,260,00030,518,00032,090,00017,250,00003/23/193,824,000
(05/06/22)
60BTSBTS88,899,00027,935,0009,361,0003,630,00036,110,00005/20/2145,092,000
(05/18/22)
61BeyonceBeyonce88,819,00033,430,0004,431,0004,070,000166,890,00005/02/1824,704,000
(05/11/22)
62GreenGreen Day88,800,00058,250,00013,567,0003,050,00044,600,00003/11/179,379,000
(05/16/22)
63IronIron Maiden88,717,00056,820,00025,526,0004,640,0007,100,00011/12/213,659,000
(04/17/22)
64EnyaEnya88,682,00065,480,00017,069,0005,250,0009,610,00002/25/183,070,000
(04/27/22)
65EdEd Sheeran86,171,00023,160,0001,343,000180,00084,500,00010/30/2148,940,000
(05/17/22)
66ShaniaShania Twain82,417,00063,200,00011,259,00013,130,00010,700,00012/05/162,414,000
(05/13/22)
67JourneyJourney81,822,00040,250,00031,623,0008,090,00029,770,00009/13/193,058,000
(01/26/22)
682Pac2Pac81,088,00046,290,00017,136,00011,920,00038,060,00001/22/227,907,000
(05/07/22)
69StingSting80,844,00052,360,00017,720,00016,010,00014,160,00006/14/203,575,000
(04/08/22)
70BlackBlack Sabbath79,157,00046,280,00027,467,0003,300,00011,280,00003/08/202,687,000
(05/02/22)
71MaroonMaroon 578,583,00026,050,0002,138,0001,600,000149,190,00012/02/1927,497,000
(05/18/22)
72JanetJanet Jackson78,185,00050,500,00012,175,00040,640,00013,350,00004/17/171,328,000
(05/18/22)
73RobbieRobbie Williams77,067,00046,500,00021,770,00011,960,00013,860,00012/15/193,113,000
(05/17/22)
74JohnnyJohnny Hallyday76,016,00026,740,00035,156,00043,740,0001,430,00001/01/18695,000
(09/04/21)
75SadeSade75,703,00051,560,00018,565,0006,270,00011,140,00007/01/202,025,000
(12/16/21)
76LadyLady Gaga75,255,00031,215,0004,790,0001,570,000128,860,00012/18/2019,448,000
(05/18/22)
77JohnJohn Lennon74,081,00031,420,00030,759,00026,780,00012,160,00010/16/181,964,000
(02/14/22)
78CherCher73,786,00034,825,00021,889,00046,220,0009,630,00008/30/171,705,000
(05/17/22)
79SupertrampSupertramp72,855,00048,540,00017,999,00010,070,0006,830,00008/13/192,270,000
(04/26/22)
80P!nkP!nk71,343,00037,025,0008,906,0007,270,00081,150,00010/15/1711,059,000
(05/18/22)
81BrunoBruno Mars70,450,00017,375,00040,000250,000149,580,00006/27/1930,524,000
(05/18/22)
82ShakiraShakira69,329,00034,780,0006,620,0008,460,00056,350,00006/21/1816,940,000
(05/18/22)
83MichaelMichael Buble67,693,00047,800,0006,344,000770,00035,400,00012/11/168,008,000
(04/26/22)
84UsherUsher67,610,00036,160,0002,201,00012,040,00093,610,00009/04/1711,595,000
(05/18/22)
85OasisOasis62,842,00041,050,00010,046,00011,420,00018,800,00012/06/175,411,000
(05/17/22)
86MeatMeat Loaf62,526,00048,300,0009,565,00010,850,0003,900,00006/16/18790,000
(05/09/22)
87AyumiAyumi Hamasaki61,612,00021,810,00019,339,00025,980,00046,480,00009/27/19942,000
(05/18/22)
88Crosby,Crosby, Stills & Nash60,902,00034,420,00021,902,0008,380,0008,310,00005/15/21825,000
(05/15/21)
89EnriqueEnrique Iglesias60,140,00033,900,0005,300,0008,900,00050,110,00009/27/1610,753,000
(05/12/22)
90JacksonJackson 5 & The Jacksons59,430,00026,400,00019,027,00031,160,00013,720,00009/26/172,580,000
(05/12/22)
91BlackBlack Eyed Peas59,182,00033,350,000251,0006,590,000103,960,00008/03/177,717,000
(05/17/22)
92KatyKaty Perry58,651,00015,880,000300,000870,000135,430,00006/16/1921,896,000
(05/10/22)
93OneOne Direction58,203,00023,900,0006,350,000120,00057,000,00005/14/1719,366,000
(05/18/22)
94AlanisAlanis Morissette57,996,00047,065,0006,951,0003,340,0009,080,00006/05/181,550,000
(04/24/22)
95ArianaAriana Grande57,446,0006,005,000681,000110,00055,140,00009/27/2142,455,000
(05/18/22)
96ChristinaChristina Aguilera57,324,00030,400,0004,375,00012,740,00069,950,00003/18/178,310,000
(05/11/22)
97NickelbackNickelback56,786,00040,500,0001,824,0003,020,00057,280,00006/28/174,876,000
(04/09/22)
98TheThe Weeknd54,595,0005,235,0003,035,00080,00044,270,00009/10/2035,087,000
(05/18/22)
99JustinJustin Timberlake54,165,00023,490,0001,480,0005,330,000102,090,00002/09/1812,282,000
(05/17/22)
100OzzyOzzy Osbourne52,793,00039,370,0007,483,0003,760,00015,180,00003/12/202,510,000
(05/12/22)
101NorahNorah Jones52,610,00043,550,0002,825,000300,00018,600,00011/04/163,356,000
(05/03/22)
102AliciaAlicia Keys52,496,00032,960,0002,524,0003,690,00057,750,00011/19/167,241,000
(05/14/22)
103PaulPaul Simon52,343,00034,390,00011,598,00012,820,0003,740,00005/10/181,952,000
(02/25/22)
104TracyTracy Chapman52,110,00043,760,0003,519,0003,480,00012,490,00006/25/191,912,000
(04/30/22)
105BadBad Bunny51,486,000184,000003,910,00007/24/2150,715,000
(05/18/22)
106MileyMiley Cyrus51,338,00023,050,0002,365,000250,00070,530,00012/06/2015,268,000
(05/18/22)
107BostonBoston50,461,00041,330,0004,803,0005,640,0009,540,00006/01/191,207,000
(02/14/22)
108SpiceSpice Girls49,854,00037,050,0004,349,00020,020,0005,200,00003/23/171,682,000
(05/13/22)
109Destiny'sDestiny's Child48,898,00033,010,0005,800,00011,120,00022,320,00005/02/183,234,000
(03/18/22)
110AvrilAvril Lavigne47,007,00032,290,0001,206,0003,510,00046,160,00002/10/184,780,000
(05/18/22)
111CranberriesCranberries46,551,00037,650,0003,710,0004,120,0008,210,00001/25/182,618,000
(03/13/22)
112JenniferJennifer Lopez46,351,00026,120,0004,811,00010,760,00036,810,00006/24/185,799,000
(05/10/22)
113NSYNCNSYNC45,387,00037,930,0002,669,0006,980,0005,110,00002/09/181,877,000
(05/17/22)
114MannheimMannheim Steamroller44,183,00033,305,00010,344,00040,0002,410,00012/24/20153,000
(04/25/22)
115FooFoo Fighters43,809,00026,750,0006,207,0001,430,00026,610,00010/10/176,352,000
(05/16/22)
116TLCTLC41,345,00032,195,0001,920,00013,120,0008,350,00004/07/191,937,000
(05/10/22)
117ImagineImagine Dragons40,388,0007,960,000371,00030,00045,410,00009/19/1825,236,000
(05/12/22)
118TakeTake That39,223,00019,930,00014,016,0009,210,00010,240,00012/15/19943,000
(09/27/21)
119PostPost Malone39,220,0001,720,00010,00040,00014,640,00011/26/2035,282,000
(05/18/22)
120KendrickKendrick Lamar39,076,0005,725,00050,000032,650,00004/12/1928,403,000
(05/18/22)
121KellyKelly Clarkson38,232,00021,600,0001,460,0002,200,00062,010,00005/23/184,951,000
(05/13/22)
122KylieKylie Minogue37,248,00020,320,0007,103,00019,720,00012,150,00004/16/182,046,000
(04/08/22)
123TravisTravis Scott36,334,0001,670,0000100,0009,360,00004/09/2233,229,000
(05/18/22)
124NoNo Doubt35,678,00025,730,0006,058,0004,910,0006,080,00003/29/201,468,000
(05/15/22)
125SelenaSelena Gomez35,013,0005,780,000270,00080,00041,610,00003/21/2122,693,000
(05/18/22)
126AmyAmy Winehouse34,196,00023,180,0002,411,000580,00021,660,00007/19/195,182,000
(05/10/22)
127SamSam Smith32,228,0006,525,00025,000100,00032,700,00010/11/1720,743,000
(05/18/22)
128EvanescenceEvanescence31,854,00022,440,0002,755,0002,170,00018,390,00006/30/193,251,000
(05/15/22)
129DidoDido31,595,00026,630,000420,0005,320,0006,210,00002/18/191,907,000
(05/17/22)
130CarrieCarrie Underwood30,318,00018,050,000839,000500,00054,410,00009/09/182,933,000
(05/14/22)
131BillieBillie Eilish30,140,0002,270,0002,00010,0005,920,00007/04/2026,958,000
(05/18/22)
132JuiceJuice Wrld29,718,000623,000003,010,00008/13/2128,641,000
(05/17/22)
133JamesJames Blunt29,414,00020,440,0001,020,0002,130,00023,090,00002/05/193,594,000
(02/25/22)
134ShawnShawn Mendes28,366,0002,630,000120,00040,00020,330,00010/08/1922,555,000
(05/11/22)
135DuaDua Lipa27,427,000945,0006,00020,0007,020,00001/05/2125,417,000
(05/18/22)
136GorillazGorillaz26,379,00014,830,0001,240,0002,110,00019,000,00005/08/176,760,000
(05/18/22)
137LanaLana Del Rey26,264,0007,950,000565,000210,00020,200,00008/24/1714,656,000
(05/18/22)
138BjörkBjörk26,155,00019,730,0004,372,0002,620,0003,460,00012/23/18704,000
(05/11/22)
139DemiDemi Lovato24,889,0004,480,00035,00050,00035,890,00010/09/1814,974,000
(05/18/22)
140ArcticArctic Monkeys24,593,00010,340,000302,000560,00012,870,00005/14/1811,853,000
(05/14/22)
141AviciiAvicii23,919,0002,200,000170,000250,00036,700,00004/25/1815,968,000
(05/03/22)
142FugeesFugees22,886,00017,310,0001,348,0007,160,0005,240,00002/18/211,293,000
(04/19/22)
143RenaudRenaud22,349,00013,230,0007,667,0002,660,000690,00011/01/17469,000
(08/07/21)
144Ms.Ms. Lauryn Hill22,269,00015,610,0001,734,0003,660,0007,670,00002/18/212,677,000
(04/27/22)
145CardiCardi B21,264,000361,000020,00012,140,00009/07/2119,077,000
(05/17/22)
146BlackpinkBlackpink21,173,0003,005,0001,069,000350,00012,880,00008/28/2115,062,000
(05/18/22)
147GwenGwen Stefani20,904,00012,060,000154,0003,130,00029,040,00004/12/203,343,000
(05/07/22)
148Lin-ManuelLin-Manuel Miranda18,552,0004,977,000591,00010,0008,010,00012/30/2111,780,000
(05/18/22)
149MacklemoreMacklemore18,501,0003,225,00045,00080,00039,270,00011/07/179,101,000
(04/26/22)
150AaliyahAaliyah18,447,00012,200,0003,174,0006,350,0003,050,00002/14/17709,000
(04/30/22)
151LittleLittle Mix15,466,0003,670,0000130,00012,020,00002/02/209,954,000
(05/07/22)
152HarryHarry Styles14,719,0002,820,000010,0003,480,00007/15/2111,376,000
(05/18/22)
153FergieFergie14,600,0006,450,00025,000750,00036,900,00007/12/172,268,000
(05/18/22)
154DojaDoja Cat14,451,00096,000010,0001,650,00008/25/2114,102,000
(05/17/22)
155Will.i.amWill.i.am13,608,000950,0000750,00053,300,00007/20/174,212,000
(05/13/22)
156LordeLorde13,375,0003,300,000100,000019,250,00006/22/176,990,000
(05/18/22)
157BuffaloBuffalo Springfield11,204,0002,885,0006,698,0001,980,0003,550,00005/15/21502,000
(05/18/22)
158LilLil Nas X10,416,00048,000003,220,00009/29/219,884,000
(05/18/22)
159OliviaOlivia Rodrigo9,551,000485,0001,0000900,00008/24/218,928,000
(05/18/22)
160LewisLewis Capaldi8,957,000738,0003,00040,0003,420,00008/31/217,690,000
(05/16/22)