Top 10 selling Music Artists of All Time
The best-selling music artists include artists with claims of 75 million or more record sales. The artists in the following tables are listed with both their claimed sales figure along with their total of certified units and are ranked in descending order, with the artist with the highest amount of claimed sales at the top. If two or more artists have the same claimed sales, they are then ranked by certified units. The claimed sales figure and the total of certified units (for each country) within the provided sources include sales of albums, singles, compilation-albums, music videos as well as downloads of singles and full-length albums. Sales figures, such as those from Sound scan, which are sometimes published by Billboard magazine, have not been included in the certified units column. Currently, based on both sales claims and certified units, The Beatles are considered the highest-selling band and Elvis Presley is considered the highest-selling individual artist.
10. Rod Stewart – 76 Million
With six consecutive number one albums, six number one singles on the UK charts and sixteen top ten singles in the US (four reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100), Rod Stewart is one of the most successful chart-topping British solo artists ever.
9. Phil Collins – 85+ Million
Phil Collins had a decorated music career during the course of which he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010. Even though Collins’s worldwide sales as a solo artist are estimated to be over 150 million, his official certified units are just a little over 85 million.
8. Barbra Streisand – 97 Million
With fifty-one gold, thirty platinum, and thirteen multi-platinum albums and 71.5 million albums sold in the United States alone, Barbra Streisand is the biggest-selling female artist in US history and one of the very few artists who have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. However, her claims of a worldwide total of over 250 million is wildly exaggerated, especially when taking into account that her commercial success has never been as strong abroad as it has been domestically.
7. Billy Joel – 100+ Million
Billy Joel, even though widely unknown among millennials, is the third biggest-selling artist in the US behind Elvis and Garth Brooks and his Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 has gone platinum twenty-three times, which makes it the third best-selling album of all time in the United States. A member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Billy Joel is also one of the biggest-selling artists ever with official certified sales of over 100 million.
6. Queen – 105+ Million
With eighteen number one albums and eighteen number one singles in the US, UK, and European charts combined and classic hits such as “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “We Are the Champions,” Queen’s place in music history is secure. Furthermore, their Greatest Hits (1981) album is the biggest-selling album in UK history with 6 million and their estimated total sales vary from 150 to 300 million, so we will stick with the accurate number of over 105 million certified copies sold.
5. Eminem – 115 Million
Eminem is the best-selling hip-hop artist of all time and the best-selling artist of the 2000s with total official album sales reaching 45 million in the United States alone. His worldwide album and single sales (including digital) stand at more than 155 million, but we counted only the physical sales as we have done for the rest of the artists on our list.
4. Mariah Carey – 130 Million
Let’s take a deep breath and start with Mariah’s commercial achievements: her duet with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” spent a record sixteen weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and remains the longest-running number one song in US chart history; she was the best-selling recording artist of the 1990s; she has eighteen number one singles in the US, which makes her the female artist with the most number one singles in history, and to top it all off, she has a five-octave vocal range and her signature use of the whistle register made her famous worldwide.
3. Garth Brooks – 145 Million
Garth Brooks is statistically the biggest-selling music artist in US history and overall third behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley. He’s the solo artist with the most diamond albums in RIAA’s history, with six of his albums achieving sales of over 10 million copies. As of now his albums continue to break records and according to Nielsen Sound scan, his albums sales up to 2014 are about 70 million, which makes him the best-selling artist in the United States since the advent of the Sound Scan era (1991 to the present). Simply put, Garth is Country’s absolute king.
2. Madonna – 166 Million
Madonna is one of the very few artists in history who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. Her record company claims that the phenomenal artist has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. She has also been recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records and knowing Madonna’s global impact in the music world we have no reason to doubt any of these facts. However, her certified sales via the available official markets hardly reach 170 million.
1.Michael Jackson – 175 Million
Despite Michael Jackson and his record labels always exaggerating to a great extent about their sales and achievements, there’s no doubt that the “King of Pop” set numerous records during the course of his epic career including the best-selling album of all time (Thriller), the best-selling music video of all time, and winning more music awards than any other musician or band in history. However, his claim of 750 million records sold is inaccurate and his certified sales don’t surpass 175 million at the moment, while his fans make claims of estimated total sales of about 350–400 million globally.