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 Beatles417,091,000160,650,000203,392,000116,080,00035,230,00003/01/1712,941,000
(01/15/22)
2MichaelMichael Jackson331,500,000182,600,000101,997,00079,350,00079,930,00009/27/1711,108,000
(01/15/22)
3ElvisElvis Presley317,043,00053,150,000212,309,000135,210,00037,470,00009/01/185,402,000
(12/13/21)
4QueenQueen271,046,00090,230,000139,348,00049,960,00059,650,00001/25/2017,529,000
(01/15/22)
5MadonnaMadonna244,509,000146,450,00064,420,00075,210,00042,100,00008/13/174,761,000
(01/15/22)
6TheThe Rolling Stones241,312,000113,800,00092,495,00072,770,00046,200,00012/03/166,255,000
(01/12/22)
7PinkPink Floyd234,457,000169,600,00052,025,0008,800,00023,360,00006/18/176,688,000
(01/13/22)
8LedLed Zeppelin204,609,000141,500,00051,200,0006,350,00032,030,00008/08/165,196,000
(01/14/22)
9EltonElton John202,103,00088,630,00082,400,00065,340,00026,250,00002/05/187,533,000
(12/25/21)
10U2U2198,510,000127,100,00053,051,00022,550,00040,500,00008/31/165,519,000
(01/13/22)
11AC/DCAC/DC196,971,000132,470,00049,349,0007,200,00033,450,00002/20/187,974,000
(01/13/22)
12CélineCéline Dion196,612,000136,200,00040,424,00039,290,00026,660,00009/28/214,203,000
(01/15/22)
13EminemEminem194,177,00098,650,00026,493,00014,320,000205,790,00006/22/2133,822,000
(01/15/22)
14RodRod Stewart & Faces189,384,000100,150,00066,819,00055,220,00017,420,00011/23/193,227,000
(12/27/21)
15EaglesEagles174,019,00065,425,00096,732,00016,630,00020,440,00012/20/173,808,000
(01/15/22)
16MariahMariah Carey173,199,000116,100,00031,228,00036,890,00050,130,00004/28/177,285,000
(01/15/22)
17MetallicaMetallica161,041,000121,260,00020,164,00015,480,00040,770,00002/13/198,857,000
(12/29/21)
18ABBAABBA160,283,00045,300,00091,491,00054,400,00017,870,00011/02/164,492,000
(01/15/22)
19BeeBee Gees159,924,00075,525,00056,477,00072,790,00017,230,00004/09/173,500,000
(01/14/22)
20BruceBruce Springsteen159,891,000103,400,00042,176,00021,010,00025,420,00007/07/174,200,000
(01/10/22)
21WhitneyWhitney Houston155,670,000113,600,00017,175,00049,520,00034,250,00005/04/174,900,000
(01/15/22)
22BarbraBarbra Streisand153,129,00091,370,00049,714,00035,250,0003,680,00003/16/18917,000
(01/14/22)
23PhilPhil Collins150,024,00093,780,00039,905,00029,910,00022,690,00004/11/183,963,000
(01/02/22)
24FleetwoodFleetwood Mac149,540,00084,550,00046,392,00026,060,00032,030,00010/21/215,976,000
(01/12/22)
25BillyBilly Joel149,366,00091,400,00040,235,00036,900,00021,000,00011/03/213,511,000
(01/01/22)
26BonBon Jovi148,356,00089,450,00039,176,00027,980,00038,450,00011/16/165,568,000
(01/15/22)
27SantanaSantana144,871,00089,465,00046,265,00015,380,00016,560,00008/04/202,121,000
(11/23/21)
28GarthGarth Brooks144,352,00081,605,00062,341,000950,00090,00001/05/19106,000
(08/08/21)
29BobBob Dylan144,203,00083,350,00047,870,00017,680,00030,410,00010/23/163,118,000
(01/08/22)
30BobBob Marley140,012,00043,075,00081,593,0009,980,00033,690,00011/21/177,296,000
(12/31/21)
31PrincePrince133,324,00086,580,00027,141,00042,910,00029,590,00010/04/182,292,000
(01/14/22)
32AerosmithAerosmith132,441,00071,710,00048,158,00015,500,00025,550,00006/01/184,090,000
(01/07/22)
33DavidDavid Bowie129,431,00071,500,00036,023,00044,200,00019,830,00001/11/175,672,000
(01/15/22)
34SimonSimon & Garfunkel125,494,00037,820,00075,732,00023,830,00014,350,00005/11/182,641,000
(01/03/22)
35StevieStevie Wonder122,630,00065,605,00028,070,00065,320,00034,490,00003/17/214,106,000
(11/25/21)
36GunsGuns N' Roses122,359,00086,360,00020,134,00011,900,00037,210,00003/01/186,713,000
(01/13/22)
37TheThe Doors116,188,00051,980,00055,480,00013,860,00011,100,00003/03/192,905,000
(01/14/22)
38PaulPaul McCartney111,459,00061,670,00027,441,00057,970,00011,250,00012/13/183,269,000
(01/14/22)
39DireDire Straits110,667,00071,730,00031,635,0008,380,00010,900,00003/23/183,153,000
(01/14/22)
40TaylorTaylor Swift109,035,00049,570,0004,810,000280,000159,420,00005/25/2130,655,000
(01/15/22)
41GeorgeGeorge Michael & Wham!108,238,00060,200,00026,150,00049,880,00016,770,00005/07/174,409,000
(12/25/21)
42BritneyBritney Spears108,206,00068,595,00011,460,00018,600,00083,030,00004/28/1910,117,000
(01/10/22)
43DrakeDrake107,804,00015,525,00080,00040,000169,530,00007/02/2166,756,000
(01/15/22)
44JimiJimi Hendrix105,068,00029,330,00069,219,0006,210,00015,270,00012/21/212,362,000
(01/13/22)
45RihannaRihanna103,512,00033,480,0001,215,0003,600,000257,560,00006/02/2129,518,000
(01/15/22)
46ColdplayColdplay103,438,00060,160,0006,090,0002,060,00095,110,00006/07/2122,294,000
(01/15/22)
47VanVan Halen101,617,00079,620,00014,065,00010,450,00016,810,00012/14/202,271,000
(01/13/22)
48TheThe Police98,417,00046,370,00040,183,00023,810,00011,300,00006/06/203,014,000
(12/31/21)
49BackstreetBackstreet Boys97,392,00058,900,00025,685,00018,010,00022,550,00002/09/174,021,000
(01/15/22)
50RedRed Hot Chili Peppers97,208,00061,870,00016,881,0004,800,00044,400,00003/29/1810,358,000
(01/15/22)
51NirvanaNirvana93,837,00045,000,00037,650,0004,190,00023,250,00007/09/176,442,000
(01/14/22)
52AdeleAdele93,437,00059,860,0003,828,000550,00099,250,00010/15/2114,694,000
(01/14/22)
53DeepDeep Purple92,595,00045,485,00040,666,00012,180,0009,200,00008/18/211,316,000
(01/14/22)
54NeilNeil Young92,136,00065,210,00021,443,0007,100,00011,870,00005/15/211,565,000
(09/02/21)
55CreedenceCreedence Clearwater Revival91,949,00033,135,00045,489,00022,570,00014,600,00001/31/194,365,000
(01/03/22)
56JustinJustin Bieber91,113,00019,810,0007,120,000540,000110,890,00008/04/1947,387,000
(01/15/22)
57R.E.M.R.E.M.89,766,00066,685,00016,347,0008,280,00011,920,00009/24/212,460,000
(12/12/21)
58BryanBryan Adams88,298,00042,260,00030,518,00032,090,00017,250,00003/23/193,306,000
(12/31/21)
59EnyaEnya88,290,00065,480,00017,069,0005,250,0009,610,00002/25/182,723,000
(01/11/22)
60LinkinLinkin Park88,000,00048,350,00014,500,0003,210,00073,710,00006/04/1713,131,000
(01/15/22)
61IronIron Maiden87,971,00056,820,00025,526,0004,640,0007,100,00011/12/212,914,000
(01/13/22)
62GreenGreen Day87,237,00058,250,00013,567,0003,050,00044,600,00003/11/177,816,000
(01/03/22)
63BeyonceBeyonce84,925,00033,430,0004,431,0004,070,000166,890,00005/02/1820,810,000
(01/15/22)
64BTSBTS83,003,00027,935,0009,361,0003,630,00036,110,00005/20/2139,195,000
(01/15/22)
65ShaniaShania Twain81,905,00063,200,00011,259,00013,130,00010,700,00012/05/161,902,000
(12/27/21)
66JourneyJourney81,490,00040,250,00031,623,0008,090,00029,770,00009/13/192,726,000
(12/31/21)
67StingSting80,171,00052,360,00017,720,00016,010,00014,160,00006/14/202,902,000
(12/26/21)
68BlackBlack Sabbath78,747,00046,280,00027,467,0003,300,00011,280,00003/08/202,278,000
(01/13/22)
69EdEd Sheeran78,229,00023,160,0001,343,000180,00084,500,00010/30/2140,998,000
(01/14/22)
70JanetJanet Jackson78,022,00050,500,00012,175,00040,640,00013,350,00004/17/171,154,000
(01/15/22)
71RobbieRobbie Williams76,546,00046,500,00021,770,00011,960,00013,860,00012/15/192,592,000
(12/26/21)
72JohnnyJohnny Hallyday75,882,00026,740,00035,156,00043,740,0001,430,00001/01/18651,000
(09/04/21)
73SadeSade75,493,00051,560,00018,565,0006,270,00011,140,00007/01/201,815,000
(12/16/21)
74MaroonMaroon 574,514,00026,050,0002,138,0001,600,000149,190,00012/02/1923,428,000
(01/12/22)
75JohnJohn Lennon73,793,00031,420,00030,759,00026,780,00012,160,00010/16/181,756,000
(12/09/21)
76CherCher73,508,00034,825,00021,889,00046,220,0009,630,00008/30/171,484,000
(01/15/22)
77LadyLady Gaga72,013,00031,215,0004,790,0001,570,000128,860,00012/18/2016,206,000
(01/15/22)
78SupertrampSupertramp71,908,00048,540,00017,999,00010,070,0006,830,00008/13/191,323,000
(12/24/21)
79P!nkP!nk69,570,00037,025,0008,906,0007,270,00081,150,00010/15/179,285,000
(01/15/22)
80MichaelMichael Buble66,875,00047,800,0006,344,000770,00035,400,00012/11/167,190,000
(01/15/22)
81UsherUsher65,678,00036,160,0002,201,00012,040,00093,610,00009/04/179,663,000
(01/14/22)
82ShakiraShakira65,509,00034,780,0006,620,0008,460,00056,350,00006/21/1813,120,000
(01/15/22)
83BrunoBruno Mars64,777,00017,375,00040,000250,000149,580,00006/27/1924,851,000
(01/13/22)
84MeatMeat Loaf62,340,00048,300,0009,565,00010,850,0003,900,00006/16/18636,000
(01/08/22)
85OasisOasis62,108,00041,050,00010,046,00011,420,00018,800,00012/06/174,767,000
(11/03/21)
86AyumiAyumi Hamasaki61,519,00021,810,00019,339,00025,980,00046,480,00009/27/19849,000
(01/13/22)
87Crosby,Crosby, Stills & Nash60,836,00034,420,00021,902,0008,380,0008,310,00005/15/21759,000
(05/15/21)
88JacksonJackson 5 & The Jacksons59,152,00026,400,00019,027,00031,160,00013,720,00009/26/172,319,000
(01/15/22)
89BlackBlack Eyed Peas57,923,00033,350,000251,0006,590,000103,960,00008/03/176,751,000
(01/15/22)
90EnriqueEnrique Iglesias57,740,00033,900,0005,300,0008,900,00050,110,00009/27/168,353,000
(01/08/22)
91AlanisAlanis Morissette57,732,00047,065,0006,951,0003,340,0009,080,00006/05/181,352,000
(01/02/22)
92ChristinaChristina Aguilera56,531,00030,400,0004,375,00012,740,00069,950,00003/18/177,441,000
(12/25/21)
93NickelbackNickelback56,078,00040,500,0001,824,0003,020,00057,280,00006/28/174,256,000
(11/20/21)
94OneOne Direction55,321,00023,900,0006,350,000120,00057,000,00005/14/1716,484,000
(12/31/21)
95KatyKaty Perry54,485,00015,880,000300,000870,000135,430,00006/16/1917,730,000
(12/29/21)
96OzzyOzzy Osbourne52,421,00039,370,0007,483,0003,760,00015,180,00003/12/202,138,000
(01/13/22)
97JustinJustin Timberlake52,185,00023,490,0001,480,0005,330,000102,090,00002/09/1810,302,000
(01/15/22)
98PaulPaul Simon52,169,00034,390,00011,598,00012,820,0003,740,00005/10/181,775,000
(12/24/21)
99NorahNorah Jones52,001,00043,550,0002,825,000300,00018,600,00011/04/162,846,000
(01/03/22)
100TracyTracy Chapman51,819,00043,760,0003,519,0003,480,00012,490,00006/25/191,621,000
(01/01/22)
101ArianaAriana Grande51,496,0006,005,000681,000110,00055,140,00009/27/2136,504,000
(01/15/22)
102AliciaAlicia Keys51,157,00032,960,0002,524,0003,690,00057,750,00011/19/165,903,000
(01/15/22)
103BostonBoston50,333,00041,330,0004,803,0005,640,0009,540,00006/01/191,078,000
(01/03/22)
104SpiceSpice Girls49,655,00037,050,0004,349,00020,020,0005,200,00003/23/171,470,000
(01/12/22)
105MileyMiley Cyrus48,413,00023,050,0002,365,000250,00070,530,00012/06/2012,343,000
(01/15/22)
106Destiny'sDestiny's Child48,221,00033,010,0005,800,00011,120,00022,320,00005/02/182,728,000
(01/15/22)
107TheThe Weeknd48,211,0005,235,0003,035,00080,00044,270,00009/10/2028,703,000
(01/15/22)
108CranberriesCranberries46,182,00037,650,0003,710,0004,120,0008,210,00001/25/182,355,000
(01/07/22)
109AvrilAvril Lavigne45,912,00032,290,0001,206,0003,510,00046,160,00002/10/184,071,000
(01/15/22)
110NSYNCNSYNC45,128,00037,930,0002,669,0006,980,0005,110,00002/09/181,669,000
(01/15/22)
111JenniferJennifer Lopez44,770,00026,120,0004,811,00010,760,00036,810,00006/24/185,090,000
(01/15/22)
112MannheimMannheim Steamroller44,147,00033,305,00010,344,00040,0002,410,00012/24/20116,000
(08/09/21)
113FooFoo Fighters42,885,00026,750,0006,207,0001,430,00026,610,00010/10/175,508,000
(01/09/22)
114TLCTLC41,023,00032,195,0001,920,00013,120,0008,350,00004/07/191,719,000
(01/15/22)
115BadBad Bunny39,569,000184,000003,910,00007/24/2138,798,000
(01/15/22)
116TakeTake That39,137,00019,930,00014,016,0009,210,00010,240,00012/15/19857,000
(09/27/21)
117KellyKelly Clarkson37,452,00021,600,0001,460,0002,200,00062,010,00005/23/184,429,000
(01/15/22)
118KylieKylie Minogue36,954,00020,320,0007,103,00019,720,00012,150,00004/16/181,791,000
(12/23/21)
119ImagineImagine Dragons36,339,0007,960,000371,00030,00045,410,00009/19/1821,186,000
(01/15/22)
120NoNo Doubt35,445,00025,730,0006,058,0004,910,0006,080,00003/29/201,273,000
(01/15/22)
121KendrickKendrick Lamar34,859,0005,725,00050,000032,650,00004/12/1924,186,000
(01/13/22)
122PostPost Malone34,706,0001,720,00010,00040,00014,640,00011/26/2030,767,000
(01/15/22)
123AmyAmy Winehouse33,370,00023,180,0002,411,000580,00021,660,00007/19/194,356,000
(01/15/22)
124SelenaSelena Gomez31,367,0005,780,000270,00080,00041,610,00003/21/2119,047,000
(01/15/22)
125DidoDido31,178,00026,630,000420,0005,320,0006,210,00002/18/191,600,000
(01/11/22)
126EvanescenceEvanescence31,146,00022,440,0002,755,0002,170,00018,390,00006/30/192,542,000
(01/09/22)
127SamSam Smith29,860,0006,525,00025,000100,00032,700,00010/11/1718,375,000
(01/15/22)
128CarrieCarrie Underwood29,832,00018,050,000839,000500,00054,410,00009/09/182,632,000
(01/06/22)
129JamesJames Blunt28,843,00020,440,0001,020,0002,130,00023,090,00002/05/193,279,000
(12/23/21)
130BjörkBjörk26,028,00019,730,0004,372,0002,620,0003,460,00012/23/18621,000
(01/13/22)
131BillieBillie Eilish25,994,0002,270,0002,00010,0005,920,00007/04/2022,812,000
(01/15/22)
132GorillazGorillaz25,360,00014,830,0001,240,0002,110,00019,000,00005/08/175,807,000
(01/12/22)
133ShawnShawn Mendes25,182,0002,630,000120,00040,00020,330,00010/08/1919,371,000
(01/14/22)
134JuiceJuice Wrld24,673,000623,000003,010,00008/13/2123,597,000
(01/15/22)
135LanaLana Del Rey23,807,0007,950,000565,000210,00020,200,00008/24/1712,199,000
(01/15/22)
136DuaDua Lipa22,939,000945,0006,00020,0007,020,00001/05/2120,929,000
(01/15/22)
137DemiDemi Lovato22,636,0004,480,00035,00050,00035,890,00010/09/1812,722,000
(12/28/21)
138FugeesFugees22,604,00017,310,0001,348,0007,160,0005,240,00002/18/211,011,000
(09/04/21)
139ArcticArctic Monkeys22,595,00010,340,000302,000560,00012,870,00005/14/189,855,000
(01/15/22)
140RenaudRenaud22,238,00013,230,0007,667,0002,660,000690,00011/01/17439,000
(08/07/21)
141Ms.Ms. Lauryn Hill21,867,00015,610,0001,734,0003,660,0007,670,00002/18/212,275,000
(01/08/22)
142AviciiAvicii21,795,0002,200,000170,000250,00036,700,00004/25/1813,845,000
(12/31/21)
143GwenGwen Stefani20,428,00012,060,000154,0003,130,00029,040,00004/12/202,919,000
(01/15/22)
144BlackpinkBlackpink18,529,0003,005,0001,069,000350,00012,880,00008/28/2112,419,000
(12/30/21)
145AaliyahAaliyah18,302,00012,200,0003,174,0006,350,0003,050,00002/14/17564,000
(01/15/22)
146CardiCardi B18,179,000361,000020,00012,140,00009/07/2115,992,000
(01/15/22)
147MacklemoreMacklemore17,326,0003,225,00045,00080,00039,270,00011/07/178,142,000
(12/12/21)
148Lin-ManuelLin-Manuel Miranda16,663,0004,977,000591,00010,0008,010,00012/30/219,891,000
(01/10/22)
149FergieFergie14,432,0006,450,00025,000750,00036,900,00007/12/172,197,000
(10/15/21)
150LittleLittle Mix13,703,0003,670,0000130,00012,020,00002/02/208,191,000
(01/15/22)
151Will.i.amWill.i.am12,882,000950,0000750,00053,300,00007/20/173,713,000
(12/30/21)
152HarryHarry Styles12,298,0002,820,000010,0003,480,00007/15/218,955,000
(01/15/22)
153LordeLorde12,244,0003,300,000100,000019,250,00006/22/175,957,000
(11/10/21)
154BuffaloBuffalo Springfield11,130,0002,885,0006,698,0001,980,0003,550,00005/15/21428,000
(12/24/21)
155DojaDoja Cat10,937,00096,000010,0001,650,00008/25/2110,589,000
(01/15/22)
156LilLil Nas X8,193,00048,000003,220,00009/29/217,661,000
(01/14/22)
157LewisLewis Capaldi7,857,000738,0003,00040,0003,420,00008/31/216,590,000
(01/14/22)
158OliviaOlivia Rodrigo7,356,000485,0001,0000900,00008/24/216,734,000
(01/15/22)