List of best-selling music artists

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The following list of best-selling music artists includes those music acts from the 20th century to the present with claims of 75 million or more record sales worldwide. This information cannot be listed officially, as there is no organization that has recorded global music sales.

The tables are listed with both their claimed sales figure along with their total independently 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 SoundScan, which are sometimes published by Billboard magazine, have not been included in the certified units column.

Definitions

Gold/Platinum certifications issued after 2016, especially on singles, are in some cases more than 50% streaming generated. Some of the 20th century artists can also have significant amount of streaming based certifications. The certified units of the newer artists may sometimes be higher than their listed claimed figures. This is because Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and almost all other certifying bodies count streaming towards Gold and Platinum thresholds required for Digital Single Award certification.[1][2][3] For this reason, some singles and even albums get over certified by hundreds of thousands of units. The over certified figures, however, are often in millions of units for RIAA certifications, one such example is Rihanna's single "We Found Love", which is certified at nine times Platinum by the RIAA, yet during the time of the certification, it had sold 5.4 million downloads.[4][5]

The certified units for some artists/bands who have multi-disc albums can be higher than their listed claimed figures due to the RIAA counting each unit within set as one unit toward certification. The certified units also can be inflated by the redundancy of certifications, because each of tracks downloads and streams contributed to the certifications of both of the single and the respective album. The RIAA counts 10 downloads of individual track as well as 1,500 audio/video streams as an equivalent to one unit of album, including those from singles released prior to the album release.[6] Theoretically, if one song were streamed 1.5 billion times on YouTube, the single would receive Diamond and the whole album could be certified Platinum,[7] thus creating a combined total of 11 million certified units without any sales. Kanye West's album The Life of Pablo achieved Platinum without selling a single copy and was only available for streaming.[8]

Issued certifications for songs which have been recorded by multiple artists including featured artists are added to each artist's total amount of certified units, as all the artists would have played a significant part in a song. For example, "This Is What You Came For" and "Where Them Girls At" include Rihanna and Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj as featured artists respectively, so the certifications issued for these songs are added to the total amount of certified units for all involved artists. However, the certifications issued for songs that have been recorded by four or more artists are not included as the artists involved would have played minor roles, examples of such songs are Kanye West's "Monster" and/or "All Day".[a]

Standards

  • To ensure the highest level of fact checking and editorial control, this list sources sales figures to news organizations and highly regarded music industry related organizations such as Billboard.
  • The figures of total certified units within the tables below are based on certified units of albums, singles (including digital downloads) and videos.
  • Markets' order within the tables is based on Retail Value: each market generates respectively, the largest market at the top and smallest at the bottom.[9][10]
  • The column for certified sales includes markets, the databases of which contain certifications representing figures of 100,000 and more.

Artists by reputed sales

250 million or more records

Artist Country Period active Release year of first charted record Genre Total certified units
(from available markets)[b]
Claimed sales
The Beatles United Kingdom 1960–1970[11] 1962[11] Rock / pop[11]

289.8 million
600 million[43][44]
500 million[45]
Elvis Presley United States 1954–1977[46] 1956[46] Rock and roll / pop / country[46]

231 million
500 million[56]
Michael Jackson United States 1964–2009[57] 1971[57] Pop / rock / dance / soul / R&B[57]

276.6 million
400 million[70]
Elton John United Kingdom 1964–present[71] 1970[71] Pop / rock[71]

207.6 million
300 million[75][76]
250 million[77][78]
Queen United Kingdom 1971–present[79] 1973[79] Rock[79]

184 million
300 million[82][83]
250 million[84]
Madonna United States 1979–present[85] 1983[85] Pop / dance / electronica[85]

181.7 million
300 million[92][93]
250 million[94]
Led Zeppelin United Kingdom 1968–1980[95] 1969[95] Hard rock / blues rock / folk rock[95]

142.4 million
300 million[99][100]
200 million[101][102]
Rihanna Barbados 2005–present[103] 2005[103] R&B / pop / dance / hip-hop[103]

335.1 million
250 million[107][108]
230 million[109]
Pink Floyd United Kingdom 1965–1996, 2005, 2012–2014[110][111] 1967[110] Progressive rock / psychedelic rock[110]

123.5 million
250 million[115][116]
200 million[117]

200 million to 249 million records

Artist Country Period active Release-year of first charted record Genre Total certified units
(from available markets)[b]
Claimed sales
Eminem United States 1996–present[118] 1999[118] Hip-hop[118]

325.5 million
220 million[119]
Mariah Carey United States 1988–present[120] 1990[120] R&B / pop / soul / hip-hop[120]

201.6 million
220 million[124]
Taylor Swift United States 2006–present[125] 2006[125] Pop / country / rock / folk / alternative[126]

239.7 million
200 million[127]
170 million[128]
Beyoncé United States 1997–present[129] 2002[129][130] R&B / pop[129]

223.2 million
200 million[134]
160 million[135]
Whitney Houston United States 1977–2012[136] 1984[136] R&B / soul / pop / gospel[136]

155.1 million
200 million[140]
Eagles United States 1971–1980, 1994–present[141] 1972[141] Rock[141]

152 million
200 million[143]
Celine Dion Canada 1981–present[144] 1981[144] Pop / Rock[144]

137.3 million
200 million[149]
175 million[150]
AC/DC Australia 1973–present[151] 1975[151] Hard rock / blues rock / rock and roll[151]

130 million
200 million[153]
200 million[154]
The Rolling Stones United Kingdom 1962–present[155] 1963[155] Rock / blues rock[155]

102.7 million
200 million[157]

120 million to 199 million records


Artist Country Period active Release-year of first charted record Genre Total certified units
(from available markets)[b]
Claimed sales
Drake Canada 2001–present[158] 2009[158] Hip-hop / R&B / pop[158]

411 million
170 million[159]
Garth Brooks United States 1989–present[160] 1989[160] Country[160]

165.3 million
170 million[162]
Kanye West United States 1996–present[163] 2003[163] Hip-hop / electronic / pop[163]

253.6 million
160 million[165]
Billy Joel United States 1964–present[166] 1971[166] Pop / rock[166]

134.4 million
160 million[168]
Justin Bieber Canada
United States
2008–present[169] 2009[169] Pop / teen pop / dance pop[169]

268.8 million
150 million[170]
Ed Sheeran United Kingdom 2004–present[171] 2011[171] Pop / folk pop[171]

245.1 million
150 million[172]
Bruno Mars United States 2004–present[173] 2010[173] Pop rock / R&B[173]

201.6 million
150 million[176]
Bruce Springsteen United States 1972–present[177] 1973[177] Rock[177]

126.8 million
150 million[179]
U2 Ireland 1976–present[180] 1980[180] Rock[180]

114.6 million
150 million[184]
Aerosmith United States 1970–present[185] 1973[185] Hard rock[185]

104.6 million
150 million[187]
Phil Collins United Kingdom 1980–2011, 2015–present[188] 1981[188] Rock / progressive rock / adult contemporary[188]

99.4 million
150 million[191]
Barbra Streisand United States 1960–present[192] 1963[192] Pop / adult contemporary[192]

98.4 million
150 million[193]
ABBA Sweden 1972–1982, 2016–present[194] 1972[194] Pop / disco[194]

69 million
150 million[203]
Frank Sinatra United States 1935–1971, 1973-1995[204] 1940[204] Pop / swing / easy listening[204]

28.2 million
  • US: 28.2 million[12]
150 million[205]
Katy Perry United States 2001–present[206] 2008[206] Pop[206]

172.3 million
143 million[207]
Chris Brown United States 2005–present[208] 2005[208] Pop / R&B / hip-hop[208]

198.7 million
140 million[209]
Jay-Z United States 1996–present[210] 1996[210] Hip-hop[210]

136.2 million
125 million[211]
Metallica United States 1981–present[212] 1983[212] Heavy metal / thrash metal[212]

105.6 million
125 million[214]
Lady Gaga United States 2005–present[215] 2008[215] Pop / dance / electronic[215]

158.1 million
124 million[216]
Lil Wayne United States 1996–present[217] 1999[217] Hip-hop[217]

188.7 million
120 million[218]
Maroon 5 United States 1994–present[219] 2002[219] Pop rock / funk rock / dance-pop[219]

142.6 million
120 million[220]
Adele United Kingdom 2006–present[221] 2008[221] Pop / soul[221]

133.1 million
120 million[222]
Red Hot Chili Peppers United States 1983–present[223] 1987[223] Funk rock / alternative rock[223]

100 million
120 million[225]
Fleetwood Mac United Kingdom
United States
1967–present[226] 1968[226] Rock / pop[226]

94.2 million
120 million[229]
Bon Jovi United States 1983–present[230] 1983[230] Hard rock / glam metal[230]

88.5 million
120 million[233]
Rod Stewart United Kingdom 1964–present[234] 1969[234] Rock / pop[234]

84.9 million
120 million[237]
Bee Gees United Kingdom
Australia[238][239]
1963–2003
2009–2012[240]
1963[240] Pop / disco[240]

74.7 million
120 million[243]

100 million to 119 million records

Artist Country Period active Release-year of first charted record Genre Total certified units
(from available markets)[b]
Claimed sales
Nicki Minaj Trinidad and Tobago 2008–present[244] 2010[244] Hip-hop / pop[244]

154.8 million
100 million[245]
Coldplay United Kingdom 1996–present[246] 1999[246] Alternative rock / pop rock / pop[246]

106.8 million
100 million[248]
Linkin Park United States 1996–present[249] 2000[249] Alternative rock / nu metal / rap rock[249]

101.8 million
100 million[250]
George Strait United States 1981–present[251] 1984[251] Country[251]

99.8 million
100 million[252]
Pink United States 1995–present[253] 2000[253] Pop / pop rock / R&B[253]

89.3 million
100 million[254]
Britney Spears United States 1998–present[255] 1998[255] Pop / dance / dance-pop[255]

88.7 million
100 million[257]
B'z Japan 1988–present[258] 1988[258] Rock / pop rock / hard rock[258]

86.2 million
100 million[259]
Shania Twain Canada 1993–present[260] 1993[260] Country pop[260]

84.2 million
100 million[261]
Guns N' Roses United States 1985–present[262] 1987[262] Hard rock / heavy metal[262]

80.2 million
100 million[264]
Backstreet Boys United States 1993–present[265] 1995[265] Pop[265]

78 million
100 million[269]
Eric Clapton United Kingdom 1962–present[270] 1970[270] Rock / blues[270]

71.6 million
100 million[272]
Neil Diamond United States 1966–present[273] 1966[273] Pop / rock[273]

71.1 million
100 million[275]
Prince United States 1976–2016[276] 1978[276] Funk / R&B / pop / soul / rock[276]

66.3 million
100 million[277]
Journey United States 1973–present[278] 1975[278] Rock / soft rock[278]

65.2 million
100 million[280]
Paul McCartney United Kingdom 1960–present[281] 1970[281] Rock[281]

66 million
100 million[283]
Kenny Rogers United States 1958–2020[284] 1975[284] Country / pop[284]

64.7 million
100 million[286]
Santana United States 1966–present[287] 1969[287] Rock[287]

62.8 million
100 million[288]
Simon & Garfunkel United States 1956–2004[289] 1964[289] Folk rock[289]

62.1 million
100 million[290]
Janet Jackson United States 1982–present[291] 1982[291] R&B / pop[291]

53.3 million
100 million[292]
George Michael United Kingdom 1981–2016[293] 1984[293] Pop[293]

52.8 million
100 million[295]
Julio Iglesias Spain 1968–present[296] 1968[296] Latin[296]

51.7 million
100 million[299]
Dire Straits United Kingdom 1977–1995[300] 1978[300] Rock[300]

51.7 million
100 million[301]
The Doors United States 1965–1973[302] 1967[302] Psychedelic rock[302]

50.5 million
100 million[303]
Foreigner United States
United Kingdom
1976–present[304] 1977[304] Rock / hard rock[304]

50.4 million
100 million[305]
Chicago United States 1967–present[306] 1969[306] Rock / pop[306]

48.5 million
100 million[308]
Bob Dylan United States 1959–present[309] 1963[309] Folk / rock[309]

47.9 million
100 million[310]
The Carpenters United States 1969–1983[311] 1969[311] Pop[311]

46.7 million
100 million[313]
Meat Loaf United States 1968–2022[314] 1977[314] Rock / hard rock[314]

46.6 million
100 million[315]
Earth, Wind & Fire United States 1969–present[316] 1971[316] Funk / R&B / soul[316]

44.1 million
100 million[319]
Cher United States 1964–present[320] 1965[320] Pop / rock / dance / folk[320]

43.1 million
100 million[326]
Def Leppard United Kingdom 1977–present[327] 1979[327] Hard rock / heavy metal[327]

42.6 million
100 million[329]
Genesis United Kingdom 1967–1999
2006–present[330]
1969[330] Progressive rock / pop rock[330]

40.3 million
100 million[331]
David Bowie United Kingdom 1962–2016[332] 1967[332] Art rock / glam rock / pop[332]

41.5 million
100 million[333]
Stevie Wonder United States 1961–present[334] 1962[334] Funk / R&B / soul[334]

38.9 million
100 million[335]
James Taylor United States 1968–present[336] 1970[336] Rock / pop[336]

36.5 million
100 million[337]
Tina Turner United States 1958–2009[338] 1960[339] Rock / pop[339]

36.4 million
100 million[340]
Olivia Newton-John Australia 1966–2022[341] 1966[341] Pop[341]

36.1 million
100 million[343]
Linda Ronstadt United States 1967–present[344] 1968[344] Rock / folk / country[344]

33.2 million
100 million[345]
The Beach Boys United States 1961–present[346] 1962[346] Rock / pop / surf rock[346]

32.7 million
100 million[347]
Donna Summer United States 1968–2012[348] 1974[348] Pop / disco / R&B[348]

31.3 million
100 million[349]

80 million to 99 million records

Artist Country Period active Release-year of first charted record Genre Total certified units
(from available markets)[b]
Claimed sales
Alicia Keys United States 1996–present[350] 2001[350] Hip-hop / R&B / pop[350]

85.8 million
90 million[351]
Lionel Richie United States 1968–present[352] 1981[352] Pop / R&B[352]

43 million
90 million[354]
Johnny Cash United States 1954–2003[355] 1956[355] Country / rock and roll / gospel[355]

32.2 million
90 million[356]
Justin Timberlake United States 1992–present[357] 2002[357] Pop / R&B / neo soul[357]

82.8 million
88 million[358]
Ariana Grande United States 2008–present[359] 2013[359] Pop / R&B[359]

143 million
85 million[360]
R.E.M. United States 1980–2011[361] 1983[361] Alternative rock[361]

45.3 million
85 million[362]
Post Malone United States 2013–present[363] 2015[363] Pop / R&B / hip-hop[363]

174.1 million
80 million[364]
Flo Rida United States 2007–present[365] 2007[365] Hip-hop / hip house /EDM[365]

85 million
80 million[366]
Usher United States 1991–present[367] 1994[367] R&B / pop[367]

76.4 million
80 million[368]
Tim McGraw United States 1990–present[369] 1994[369] Country[369]

72.3 million
  • US: 80.650 million[12]
  • UK: 200,000[15]
  • CAN: 1.535 million[18]
80 million[370]
Shakira Colombia 1988–present[371] 1995[371] Latin pop / pop / pop rock[371]

69.7 million
80 million[372]
The Black Eyed Peas United States 1995–present[373] 1998[373] Hip-hop / R&B / dance[373]

69.7 million
80 million[374]
Van Halen United States 1978–2020[375] 1978[375] Hard rock / heavy metal[375]

65.2 million

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