CSPC the best selling artists of all-time
Read me
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 1/6750 for Video stream)
#PICArtistTotal CSPCStudio Albums SalesOther LPs SalesPhysical Singles SalesDigital Singles SalesSales UpdateStreams EAS (Update)
1TheThe Beatles420,548,000160,650,000203,392,000116,080,00035,230,00003/01/1716,398,000
(09/30/22)
2MichaelMichael Jackson335,230,000182,600,000101,997,00079,350,00079,930,00009/27/1714,837,000
(10/01/22)
3ElvisElvis Presley319,321,00053,150,000212,309,000135,210,00037,470,00009/01/187,680,000
(10/01/22)
4QueenQueen275,589,00090,230,000139,348,00049,960,00059,650,00001/25/2022,073,000
(10/01/22)
5MadonnaMadonna246,187,000146,450,00064,420,00075,210,00042,100,00008/13/176,439,000
(10/01/22)
6TheThe Rolling Stones242,835,000113,800,00092,495,00072,770,00046,200,00012/03/167,779,000
(09/26/22)
7PinkPink Floyd236,275,000169,600,00052,025,0008,800,00023,360,00006/18/178,506,000
(10/01/22)
8LedLed Zeppelin205,948,000141,500,00051,200,0006,350,00032,030,00008/08/166,535,000
(10/01/22)
9EltonElton John205,102,00088,630,00082,400,00065,340,00026,250,00002/05/1810,532,000
(10/01/22)
10U2U2199,999,000127,100,00053,051,00022,550,00040,500,00008/31/167,008,000
(09/27/22)
11AC/DCAC/DC199,574,000132,470,00049,349,0007,200,00033,450,00002/20/1810,577,000
(10/01/22)
12EminemEminem198,217,00098,650,00026,757,00014,320,000204,920,00006/22/2141,219,000
(10/01/22)
13CélineCéline Dion198,132,000136,200,00040,424,00039,290,00026,660,00009/28/215,723,000
(10/01/22)
14RodRod Stewart & Faces190,487,000100,150,00066,819,00055,220,00017,420,00011/23/194,329,000
(09/22/22)
15EaglesEagles175,128,00065,425,00096,732,00016,630,00020,440,00012/20/174,917,000
(10/01/22)
16MariahMariah Carey174,984,000116,100,00031,228,00036,890,00050,130,00004/28/179,070,000
(10/01/22)
17MetallicaMetallica164,587,000121,260,00020,164,00015,480,00040,770,00002/13/1912,403,000
(10/01/22)
18ABBAABBA162,125,00045,300,00091,491,00054,400,00017,870,00011/02/166,334,000
(10/01/22)
19BeeBee Gees161,274,00075,525,00056,477,00072,790,00017,230,00004/09/174,850,000
(10/01/22)
20BruceBruce Springsteen160,938,000103,400,00042,176,00021,010,00025,420,00007/07/175,247,000
(10/01/22)
21WhitneyWhitney Houston157,340,000113,600,00017,175,00049,520,00034,250,00005/04/176,570,000
(10/01/22)
22BarbraBarbra Streisand153,406,00091,370,00049,714,00035,250,0003,680,00003/16/181,194,000
(10/01/22)
23PhilPhil Collins151,387,00093,780,00039,905,00029,910,00022,690,00004/11/185,326,000
(10/01/22)
24FleetwoodFleetwood Mac151,068,00084,550,00046,392,00026,060,00032,030,00010/21/217,504,000
(10/01/22)
25BillyBilly Joel150,464,00091,400,00040,235,00036,900,00021,000,00011/03/214,609,000
(10/01/22)
26BonBon Jovi150,387,00089,450,00039,176,00027,980,00038,450,00011/16/167,599,000
(10/01/22)
27SantanaSantana145,958,00089,465,00046,265,00015,380,00016,560,00008/04/203,208,000
(07/31/22)
28BobBob Dylan144,842,00083,350,00047,870,00017,680,00030,410,00010/23/163,757,000
(10/01/22)
29GarthGarth Brooks144,474,00081,605,00062,341,000950,00090,00001/05/19174,000
(10/01/22)
30BobBob Marley142,114,00043,075,00081,593,0009,980,00033,690,00011/21/179,398,000
(10/01/22)
31PrincePrince133,914,00086,580,00027,141,00042,910,00029,590,00010/04/182,808,000
(10/01/22)
32AerosmithAerosmith133,711,00071,710,00048,158,00015,500,00025,550,00006/01/185,359,000
(10/01/22)
33DavidDavid Bowie130,735,00071,500,00036,023,00044,200,00019,830,00001/11/176,976,000
(10/01/22)
34SimonSimon & Garfunkel126,090,00037,820,00075,732,00023,830,00014,350,00005/11/183,186,000
(09/19/22)
35GunsGuns N' Roses124,733,00086,360,00020,134,00011,900,00037,210,00003/01/189,087,000
(10/01/22)
36TaylorTaylor Swift123,803,00051,055,0008,657,000350,000159,560,00007/27/2240,746,000
(10/01/22)
37StevieStevie Wonder123,801,00065,605,00028,070,00065,320,00034,490,00003/17/215,277,000
(09/11/22)
38TheThe Doors117,006,00051,980,00055,480,00013,860,00011,100,00003/03/193,532,000
(09/24/22)
39GenesisGenesis113,956,00078,400,00028,082,00013,910,00010,010,00005/25/221,391,000
(05/25/22)
40PaulPaul McCartney112,276,00061,670,00027,441,00057,970,00011,250,00012/13/184,086,000
(10/01/22)
41DireDire Straits111,642,00071,730,00031,635,0008,380,00010,900,00003/23/184,128,000
(10/01/22)
42BritneyBritney Spears111,594,00068,595,00011,460,00018,600,00083,030,00004/28/1913,505,000
(10/01/22)
43ColdplayColdplay110,314,00060,160,0006,090,0002,060,00095,110,00006/07/2129,170,000
(09/30/22)
44GeorgeGeorge Michael & Wham!109,585,00060,200,00026,150,00049,880,00016,770,00005/07/175,756,000
(10/01/22)
45BTSBTS109,549,00031,845,00017,015,0007,290,00038,880,00006/16/2251,584,000
(10/01/22)
46JimiJimi Hendrix105,583,00029,330,00069,219,0006,210,00015,270,00012/21/212,877,000
(09/30/22)
47DrakeDrake104,381,00015,525,00080,00040,000169,530,00007/02/2169,445,000
(10/01/22)
48RihannaRihanna103,250,00033,480,0001,265,0003,600,000257,560,00006/02/2133,749,000
(10/01/22)
49AdeleAdele102,556,00063,375,0004,133,000570,000100,380,00006/21/2219,822,000
(10/01/22)
50VanVan Halen102,243,00079,620,00014,065,00010,450,00016,810,00012/14/202,896,000
(09/19/22)
51RedRed Hot Chili Peppers100,362,00061,870,00016,881,0004,800,00044,400,00003/29/1813,512,000
(10/01/22)
52TheThe Police99,412,00046,370,00040,183,00023,810,00011,300,00006/06/204,009,000
(09/16/22)
53BackstreetBackstreet Boys98,752,00058,900,00025,685,00018,010,00022,550,00002/09/175,381,000
(10/01/22)
54NirvanaNirvana96,400,00045,000,00037,650,0004,190,00023,250,00007/09/179,005,000
(10/01/22)
55JustinJustin Bieber94,204,00020,725,0008,104,000730,000113,570,00004/27/2249,679,000
(10/01/22)
56CreedenceCreedence Clearwater Revival93,462,00033,135,00045,489,00022,570,00014,600,00001/31/195,554,000
(10/01/22)
57DeepDeep Purple92,972,00045,485,00040,666,00012,180,0009,200,00008/18/211,693,000
(09/26/22)
58NeilNeil Young92,186,00065,210,00021,443,0007,100,00011,870,00005/15/211,615,000
(05/15/21)
59LinkinLinkin Park91,745,00048,350,00014,500,0003,210,00073,710,00006/04/1716,876,000
(10/01/22)
60BeyonceBeyonce91,326,00037,140,0005,946,0003,970,000164,000,00007/16/2224,042,000
(10/01/22)
61R.E.M.R.E.M.90,538,00066,685,00016,347,0008,280,00011,920,00009/24/213,232,000
(09/08/22)
62EdEd Sheeran89,735,00023,160,0001,343,000180,00084,500,00010/30/2152,504,000
(10/01/22)
63GreenGreen Day89,489,00058,250,00013,567,0003,050,00044,600,00003/11/1710,069,000
(10/01/22)
64BryanBryan Adams89,391,00042,260,00030,518,00032,090,00017,250,00003/23/194,179,000
(10/01/22)
65IronIron Maiden88,825,00056,820,00025,526,0004,640,0007,100,00011/12/213,768,000
(09/29/22)
66EnyaEnya88,546,00065,480,00017,069,0005,250,0009,610,00002/25/182,934,000
(10/01/22)
67ShaniaShania Twain82,699,00063,200,00011,259,00013,130,00010,700,00012/05/162,696,000
(09/28/22)
68JourneyJourney82,361,00040,250,00031,623,0008,090,00029,770,00009/13/193,596,000
(10/01/22)
692Pac2Pac81,747,00046,290,00017,136,00011,920,00038,060,00001/22/228,567,000
(09/29/22)
70StingSting81,233,00052,360,00017,720,00016,010,00014,160,00006/14/203,964,000
(09/22/22)
71MaroonMaroon 580,289,00026,050,0002,138,0001,600,000149,190,00012/02/1929,203,000
(09/23/22)
72P!nkP!nk79,546,00041,910,00010,590,0007,700,00085,620,00006/23/2211,221,000
(10/01/22)
73BlackBlack Sabbath79,429,00046,280,00027,467,0003,300,00011,280,00003/08/202,959,000
(10/01/22)
74JanetJanet Jackson78,279,00050,500,00012,175,00040,640,00013,350,00004/17/171,423,000
(10/01/22)
75RobbieRobbie Williams77,274,00046,500,00021,770,00011,960,00013,860,00012/15/193,320,000
(10/01/22)
76LadyLady Gaga76,887,00031,215,0004,790,0001,570,000128,860,00012/18/2021,080,000
(10/01/22)
77JohnnyJohnny Hallyday76,203,00026,740,00035,156,00043,740,0001,430,00001/01/18882,000
(10/01/22)
78SadeSade75,778,00051,560,00018,565,0006,270,00011,140,00007/01/202,100,000
(09/25/22)
79JohnJohn Lennon74,401,00031,420,00030,759,00026,780,00012,160,00010/16/182,284,000
(10/01/22)
80CherCher73,925,00034,825,00021,889,00046,220,0009,630,00008/30/171,844,000
(09/30/22)
81BrunoBruno Mars72,859,00017,375,00040,000250,000149,580,00006/27/1932,933,000
(10/01/22)
82SupertrampSupertramp72,259,00048,540,00017,999,00010,070,0006,830,00008/13/191,673,000
(08/23/22)
83ShakiraShakira71,286,00034,780,0006,620,0008,460,00056,350,00006/21/1818,897,000
(10/01/22)
84MichaelMichael Buble68,050,00047,800,0006,344,000770,00035,400,00012/11/168,364,000
(10/01/22)
85UsherUsher68,011,00036,160,0002,201,00012,040,00093,610,00009/04/1711,996,000
(09/28/22)
86MeatMeat Loaf62,606,00048,300,0009,565,00010,850,0003,900,00006/16/18870,000
(10/01/22)
87OasisOasis62,427,00041,050,00010,046,00011,420,00018,800,00012/06/174,997,000
(10/01/22)
88AyumiAyumi Hamasaki61,714,00021,810,00019,339,00025,980,00046,480,00009/27/191,044,000
(10/01/22)
89TheThe Weeknd60,956,0007,215,0003,323,00090,00048,710,00007/03/2243,971,000
(09/30/22)
90Crosby,Crosby, Stills & Nash60,905,00034,420,00021,902,0008,380,0008,310,00005/15/21828,000
(09/11/22)
91EnriqueEnrique Iglesias60,638,00033,900,0005,300,0008,900,00050,110,00009/27/1611,250,000
(10/01/22)
92KatyKaty Perry60,073,00015,880,000300,000870,000135,430,00006/16/1923,317,000
(10/01/22)
93BlackBlack Eyed Peas59,909,00033,350,000251,0006,590,000103,960,00008/03/178,445,000
(10/01/22)
94ArianaAriana Grande59,834,0006,005,000681,000110,00055,140,00009/27/2144,842,000
(10/01/22)
95OneOne Direction59,656,00023,900,0006,350,000120,00057,000,00005/14/1720,820,000
(10/01/22)
96JacksonJackson 5 & The Jacksons59,526,00026,400,00019,027,00031,160,00013,720,00009/26/172,676,000
(08/24/22)
97AlanisAlanis Morissette58,117,00047,065,0006,951,0003,340,0009,080,00006/05/181,671,000
(10/01/22)
98NickelbackNickelback57,230,00040,500,0001,824,0003,020,00057,280,00006/28/175,320,000
(10/01/22)
99ChristinaChristina Aguilera56,628,00030,400,0004,375,00012,740,00069,950,00003/18/177,613,000
(08/19/22)
100JustinJustin Timberlake54,962,00023,490,0001,480,0005,330,000102,090,00002/09/1813,080,000
(10/01/22)
101BadBad Bunny53,074,000245,00060,00004,030,00006/07/2252,230,000
(09/30/22)
102AliciaAlicia Keys53,039,00032,960,0002,524,0003,690,00057,750,00011/19/167,784,000
(10/01/22)
103OzzyOzzy Osbourne53,015,00039,370,0007,483,0003,760,00015,180,00003/12/202,733,000
(10/01/22)
104PaulPaul Simon52,559,00034,390,00011,598,00012,820,0003,740,00005/10/182,168,000
(10/01/22)
105MileyMiley Cyrus52,500,00023,050,0002,365,000250,00070,530,00012/06/2016,430,000
(10/01/22)
106NorahNorah Jones52,450,00043,550,0002,825,000300,00018,600,00011/04/163,196,000
(10/01/22)
107TracyTracy Chapman52,250,00043,760,0003,519,0003,480,00012,490,00006/25/192,052,000
(09/22/22)
108BostonBoston50,610,00041,330,0004,803,0005,640,0009,540,00006/01/191,356,000
(10/01/22)
109Destiny'sDestiny's Child50,162,00032,990,0006,735,00011,320,00024,080,00007/16/223,438,000
(10/01/22)
110SpiceSpice Girls49,993,00037,050,0004,349,00020,020,0005,200,00003/23/171,821,000
(09/30/22)
111AvrilAvril Lavigne47,427,00032,290,0001,206,0003,510,00046,160,00002/10/185,200,000
(10/01/22)
112CranberriesCranberries46,878,00037,650,0003,710,0004,120,0008,210,00001/25/182,945,000
(10/01/22)
113JenniferJennifer Lopez46,781,00026,120,0004,811,00010,760,00036,810,00006/24/186,229,000
(10/01/22)
114NSYNCNSYNC45,491,00037,930,0002,669,0006,980,0005,110,00002/09/181,982,000
(10/01/22)
115FooFoo Fighters44,272,00026,750,0006,207,0001,430,00026,610,00010/10/176,814,000
(10/01/22)
116MannheimMannheim Steamroller44,184,00033,305,00010,344,00040,0002,410,00012/24/20153,000
(07/31/22)
117ImagineImagine Dragons42,837,0007,960,000371,00030,00045,410,00009/19/1827,684,000
(09/30/22)
118TLCTLC41,455,00032,195,0001,920,00013,120,0008,350,00004/07/192,047,000
(09/09/22)
119PostPost Malone40,621,0001,970,00010,00050,00016,220,00005/31/2236,317,000
(10/01/22)
120TakeTake That39,387,00019,930,00014,016,0009,210,00010,240,00012/15/191,107,000
(08/28/22)
121KellyKelly Clarkson38,506,00021,600,0001,460,0002,200,00062,010,00005/23/185,225,000
(10/01/22)
122TravisTravis Scott38,118,0001,670,0000100,0009,360,00004/09/2235,013,000
(09/28/22)
123KylieKylie Minogue37,409,00020,320,0007,103,00019,720,00012,150,00004/16/182,207,000
(09/05/22)
124SelenaSelena Gomez36,778,0005,780,000270,00080,00041,610,00003/21/2124,458,000
(09/30/22)
125KendrickKendrick Lamar36,777,0007,530,000115,00010,00042,020,00005/17/2224,866,000
(10/01/22)
126NoNo Doubt35,788,00025,730,0006,058,0004,910,0006,080,00003/29/201,578,000
(10/01/22)
127BillieBillie Eilish34,844,0004,250,00023,00070,0007,300,00007/19/2229,454,000
(10/01/22)
128AmyAmy Winehouse34,570,00023,180,0002,411,000580,00021,660,00007/19/195,555,000
(10/01/22)
129SamSam Smith33,394,0006,525,00025,000100,00032,700,00010/11/1721,910,000
(10/01/22)
130JuiceJuice Wrld32,460,000623,000003,010,00008/13/2131,384,000
(09/30/22)
131EvanescenceEvanescence32,105,00022,440,0002,755,0002,170,00018,390,00006/30/193,501,000
(10/01/22)
132DidoDido31,803,00026,630,000420,0005,320,0006,210,00002/18/192,115,000
(10/01/22)
133CarrieCarrie Underwood30,542,00018,050,000839,000500,00054,410,00009/09/183,158,000
(09/30/22)
134LanaLana Del Rey30,415,00010,255,000825,000220,00024,460,00008/05/2215,626,000
(10/01/22)
135DuaDua Lipa30,148,0001,270,00012,00040,00010,370,00005/21/2228,369,000
(09/30/22)
136ShawnShawn Mendes29,713,0002,630,000120,00040,00020,330,00010/08/1923,902,000
(10/01/22)
137JamesJames Blunt29,626,00020,440,0001,020,0002,130,00023,090,00002/05/193,806,000
(07/31/22)
138GorillazGorillaz27,015,00014,830,0001,240,0002,110,00019,000,00005/08/177,396,000
(10/01/22)
139BjörkBjörk26,219,00019,730,0004,372,0002,620,0003,460,00012/23/18767,000
(10/01/22)
140ArcticArctic Monkeys26,040,00010,340,000302,000560,00012,870,00005/14/1813,300,000
(10/01/22)
141DemiDemi Lovato25,789,0004,480,00035,00050,00035,890,00010/09/1815,874,000
(10/01/22)
142AviciiAvicii24,897,0002,200,000170,000250,00036,700,00004/25/1816,947,000
(10/01/22)
143BlackpinkBlackpink23,484,0003,005,0001,069,000350,00012,880,00008/28/2117,374,000
(10/01/22)
144FugeesFugees22,960,00017,310,0001,348,0007,160,0005,240,00002/18/211,367,000
(07/31/22)
145RenaudRenaud22,490,00013,230,0007,667,0002,660,000690,00011/01/17609,000
(10/01/22)
146Ms.Ms. Lauryn Hill22,449,00015,610,0001,734,0003,660,0007,670,00002/18/212,856,000
(08/11/22)
147CardiCardi B22,188,000361,000020,00012,140,00009/07/2120,002,000
(09/30/22)
148GwenGwen Stefani21,152,00012,060,000154,0003,130,00029,040,00004/12/203,590,000
(09/17/22)
149Lin-ManuelLin-Manuel Miranda20,595,0004,977,000591,00010,0008,010,00012/30/2113,824,000
(09/27/22)
150HarryHarry Styles19,642,0003,245,000030,0003,670,00005/18/2215,840,000
(10/01/22)
151MacklemoreMacklemore19,007,0003,225,00045,00080,00039,270,00011/07/179,607,000
(10/01/22)
152AaliyahAaliyah18,540,00012,200,0003,174,0006,350,0003,050,00002/14/17802,000
(10/01/22)
153DojaDoja Cat16,149,000201,000010,0002,350,00008/22/2215,636,000
(09/30/22)
154LittleLittle Mix16,016,0003,670,0000130,00012,020,00002/02/2010,504,000
(10/01/22)
155FergieFergie14,779,0006,450,00025,000750,00036,900,00007/12/172,447,000
(10/01/22)
156Will.i.amWill.i.am13,853,000950,0000750,00053,300,00007/20/174,456,000
(08/20/22)
157LordeLorde13,798,0003,300,000100,000019,250,00006/22/177,414,000
(10/01/22)
158OliviaOlivia Rodrigo11,801,0001,165,0002,00010,0001,250,00008/11/2210,445,000
(09/30/22)
159LilLil Nas X11,518,00058,000003,600,00008/16/2210,920,000
(09/30/22)
160BuffaloBuffalo Springfield11,243,0002,885,0006,698,0001,980,0003,550,00005/15/21540,000
(09/11/22)
161LewisLewis Capaldi9,352,000738,0003,00040,0003,420,00008/31/218,084,000
(08/31/22)