List of best-selling music artists

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The world's best-selling music artists includes artists with claims of 50 million or more record sales in multiple third-party reliable sources. The sales figures within the provided sources and the total certified sales figures (for each country) include sales of albums, singles, compilation-albums, music videos as well as downloads of singles and full-length albums. The artists in the following tables are listed with both their claimed and certified sales figures and are ranked in descending order, with the highest claimed sales at the top. Artists with the same claimed sales are then ranked by certified units. Sales figures, such as those from Soundscan which are sometimes published by Billboard magazine, have not been included in the certified units column. Currently, The Beatles are listed at the top of the list as they are considered the highest-selling band based both on sales claims and certified units. Elvis Presley, who is listed the second on the list is considered the highest-selling individual artist based both on sales claims and certified units.

All artists included on this list have their lowest available claimed figure(s) supported by at least 15% in certified units. That is why Cliff Richard, Alla Pugacheva, Charles Aznavour, Bing Crosby, Nana Mouskouri, Deep Purple, Tom Jones, The Jackson 5 and A. R. Rahman have not been included on this list. The percentage amount of certified sales needed increases the newer the artist is, so artists that started appearing on the charts before 1975 are only expected to have their claimed figures supported by at least 15% in certified units. However, newer artists such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna are expected to have their claimed figures supported by at least 60% in certified units. Certified units are sourced from available online databases of local music industry associations.

Note: Although this list largely relies on claimed figures by highly reliable sources, some of the figures may need further examination to avoid inflated sales figures which is frequently practiced by record companies for promotional purposes.[1][2] Sources must say records and not albums, unless no such sources are available.

Contents

Artists by reputed sales

300 million or more records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
The BeatlesUnited Kingdom1960–1970[4]1962[4]Rock / Pop[4]&100000000000002500000001 billion[24][25]
600 million[26]
Elvis PresleyUnited States1954–1977[27]1954[27]Rock and roll / Pop / Country[27]&100000000000002033000001 billion[30][31]
600 million[32]
Michael JacksonUnited States1964–2009[33]1971[33]Pop / R&B / Rock / Dance[33]&10000000000000156500000750 million[39][40]
350 million[41]
MadonnaUnited States1979–present[42]1982[42]Pop / Rock / Dance[42]&10000000000000157900000300 million[44][45]
275 million[46]
Elton JohnUnited Kingdom1964–present[47]1969[47]Pop / Rock[47]&10000000000000154000000300 million[48]
250 million[49][50]
Led ZeppelinUnited Kingdom1968–1980[51]1969[51]Hard rock / Heavy metal[51]&10000000000000134099999300 million[52]
200 million[53]
QueenUnited Kingdom1971–present[54]1973[54]Rock[54]&10000000000000090000000300 million[56]
150 million[57][58]
ABBASweden1972–1982[59]1972[59]Pop / Disco[59]&10000000000000054500000300 million[61]
260 million[62]
200 million[63][64]

200 million to 299 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
Pink FloydUnited Kingdom1965–1996[65]1967[65]Progressive rock[65]&10000000000000110200000250 million[66][67]
Mariah CareyUnited States1990–present[68]1990[68]R&B/Pop[68]&10000000000000118599999200 million[73][74]
Celine DionCanada1981–present[75]1981[75]Pop[75]&10000000000000113599999200 million[78][79]
AC/DCAustralia1973–present[80]1975[80]Hard rock/Heavy metal[80]&10000000000000099700000200 million[81]
The Rolling StonesUnited Kingdom1962–present[82]1963[82]Rock / Blues rock[82]&10000000000000089500000200 million[83]
Bee GeesUnited Kingdom1963–2003
2009–2012[84]
1963[84]Pop / Disco[84]&10000000000000063399999200 million[85]
120 million[86]

150 million to 199 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
Whitney HoustonUnited States1977–2011[87]1984[87]R&B / Pop[87]&10000000000000099500000170 million[89][90]
U2Ireland1976–present[91]1980[91]Rock[91]&10000000000000098200000150 million[93][94]
Billy JoelUnited States1964–present[95]1971[95]Pop / Rock[95]&10000000000000097700000150 million[97]
100 million[98]
Phil CollinsUnited Kingdom1980–2011[99]1981[99]Adult contemporary[99]&10000000000000082400000150 million[100]
100 million[101]
AerosmithUnited States1970–present[102]1973[102]Hard rock[102]&10000000000000079099999150 million[103]
GenesisUnited Kingdom1967–1999
2006–2011[104]
1969[104]Progressive rock / Pop rock[104]&10000000000000038600000150 million[105]
Frank SinatraUnited States1935–1995[106]1939[106]Pop / Swing[106]&10000000000000035500000150 million[107]
Stevie WonderUnited States1961–present[108]1962[108]Funk / R&B / Soul[108]&10000000000000029500000150 million[109]
100 million[110]

120 million to 149 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
Barbra StreisandUnited States1960–present[111]1963[111]Pop / Adult contemporary[111]&10000000000000093000000140 million[112][113]
David BowieUnited Kingdom1964–present[114]1967[114]Rock[114]&10000000000000022399999140 million[115]
Backstreet BoysUnited States1993–present[116]1995[116]Pop[116]&10000000000000065700000130 million[118]
Bon JoviUnited States1983–present[119]1983[119]Hard rock / Glam metal[119]&10000000000000064099999130 million[120]
Garth BrooksUnited States1989–present[121]1989[121]Country[121]&10000000000000135599999128 million[122]
ChicagoUnited States1967–present[123]1969[123]Pop rock[123]&10000000000000047600000122 million[124]
EaglesUnited States1971–present[125]1972[125]Soft rock / Country rock[125]&10000000000000123900000120 million[126]
Bruce SpringsteenUnited States1972–present[127]1973[127]Rock[127]&10000000000000092700000120 million[128][129]
Dire StraitsUnited Kingdom1977–1995[130]1978[130]Rock / Pop[130]&10000000000000040700000120 million[131]

100 million to 119 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
Neil DiamondUnited States1966–present[132]1966[132]Pop / Rock[132]&10000000000000063200000120 million[133][134]
115 million[135]
MetallicaUnited States1981–present[136]1983[136]Heavy metal / Thrash metal[136]&10000000000000081200000100 million[137][138]
Fleetwood MacUnited Kingdom
United States
1967–present[139]1968[139]Pop rock[139]&10000000000000070299999100 million[140]
Rod StewartUnited Kingdom1964–present[141]1969[141]Rock / Pop[141]&10000000000000067900000100 million[142]
Britney SpearsUnited States1998–present[143]1998[143]Pop / Dance / Dance-pop[143]&10000000000000066599999100 million[145]
Guns N' RosesUnited States1985–present[146]1987[146]Hard rock / Heavy metal[146]&10000000000000061799999100 million[147]
PrinceUnited States1976–present[148]1978[148]Funk / R&B / Pop / Soul / Rock[148]&10000000000000059600000100 million[149]
80 million[150]
Kenny RogersUnited States1958–present[151]1975[151]Country / Pop[151]&10000000000000057700000100 million[152]
Julio IglesiasSpain1968–present[153]1968[153]Latin[153]&10000000000000048200000100 million[155]
Janet JacksonUnited States1982–present[156]1982[156]R&B / Pop[156]&10000000000000048100000100 million[157][158]
George MichaelUnited Kingdom1981–present[159]1984[159]Pop[159]&10000000000000041399999100 million[160]
The CarpentersUnited States1969–1983[161]1969[161]Pop[161]&10000000000000040899999100 million[162][163]
Bryan AdamsCanada1979–present[164]1979[164]Rock[164]&10000000000000039500000100 million[165]
65 Million[166][167]
CherUnited States1964–present[168]1965[168]Pop / Dance[168]&10000000000000036700000100 million[169][170]
Lionel RichieUnited States1968–present[171]1981[171]Pop / R&B[171]&10000000000000036299999100 million[172][173]
Olivia Newton-JohnAustralia1966–present[174]1966[174]Pop[174]&10000000000000034899999100 million[175][176]
Tina TurnerUnited States1955–present[177]1975[177]Rock and roll, Pop[177]&10000000000000031399999100 million[178]
KissUnited States1972–present[179]1974[179]Hard rock / Heavy metal[179]&10000000000000026699999100 million[180]
Depeche ModeUnited Kingdom1980–present[181]1981[181]Synth rock / Electronic[181]&10000000000000023800000100 million[182]
The WhoUnited Kingdom1964–present[183]1965[183]Rock / Hard rock[183]&10000000000000023199999100 million[184]
Johnny HallydayFrance1957–2007[185]1960[185]Rock / Pop[185]&10000000000000022899999100 million[186][187]
80 million[188]
Paul McCartneyUnited Kingdom1957–present[189]1970[189]Rock[189]&10000000000000022199999100 million[190]
Barry WhiteUnited States1972–2003[191]1973[191]R&B / Soul[191]&10000000000000020699999100 million[192]
Luciano PavarottiItaly1961–2006[193]1961[193]Opera[193]&10000000000000019899999100 million[194]
ScorpionsGermany1969–present[195]1979[195]Hard rock[195]&10000000000000018800000100 million[196]
Dolly PartonUnited States1959–present[197]1965[197]Country / Pop[197]&10000000000000014900000100 million[198]

75 million to 99 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
Gloria EstefanUnited States1977–present[199]1984[199]Latin / Dance / Pop[199]&1000000000000003200000090 million[200][201]
EminemUnited States1998–present[202]1999[202]Hip hop[202]&1000000000000007359999986 million[204]
RihannaBarbados
United States
2005–present[205]2005[205]R&B / Pop / Dance /Hip-hop[205]&1000000000000007520000085 million[206]
Van HalenUnited States1978–present[207]1978[207]Hard rock / Heavy metal[207]&1000000000000006289999980 million [208]
SantanaUnited States1966–present[209]1969[209]Rock[209]&1000000000000005970000080 million[210]
B'zJapan1988–present[211]1988[211]Rock / Pop rock / Hard rock[211]&1000000000000005010000080 million[212]
The DoorsUnited States1965–1973[213]1967[213]Rock[213]&1000000000000004370000080 million[214]
Barry ManilowUnited States1973–present[215]1973[215]Pop / Soft rock[215]&1000000000000003629999980 million[216][217]
Boney M.Germany1975–present[218]1975[218]Disco[218]&1000000000000001309999980 million[219][220]
Shania TwainCanada1993–present[221]1993[221]Country pop[221]&1000000000000007140000075 million[222]
JourneyUnited States1973–present[223]1975[223]Rock / Soft rock[223]&1000000000000005460000075 million[225]
BeyoncéUnited States2003–present[226]2003[226]R&B / Pop[226]&1000000000000004820000075 million[228][229]
Tupac ShakurUnited States1988–1996[230]1991[230]Hip hop[230]&1000000000000004150000075 million[231]
NirvanaUnited States1987–1994[232]1989[232]Grunge / Alternative rock[232]&1000000000000003920000075 million[233]
50 million[234]
Spice GirlsUnited Kingdom1996–2000
2007–2008[235]
1996 [235]Pop / Dance-pop[235]&1000000000000003670000075 million[237]
65 million[238]
EurythmicsUnited Kingdom1980–2005[239]1981[239]New wave[239]&1000000000000001850000075 million[240]

60 million to 74 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
Kenny GUnited States1982–present[241]1982[241]Smooth jazz[241]&1000000000000005070000070 million[242]
ForeignerUnited States1976–present[243]1977[243]Rock / Hard Rock[243]&1000000000000004520000070 million[244]
EnyaIreland1982–present[245]1987[245]New age / Celtic[245]&1000000000000004400000070 million[246]
Robbie WilliamsUnited Kingdom1996–present[247]1996[247]Pop / Pop rock[247]&1000000000000004320000070 million[248]
Bob DylanUnited States1959–present[249]1962[249]Folk / Rock[249]&1000000000000004010000070 million[250][251]
Meat LoafUnited States1968–present[252]1977[252]Hard rock[252]&1000000000000003810000070 million[253]
Andrea BocelliItaly1994–present[254]1994[254]Pop / Classical / Opera[254]&1000000000000003520000070 million[255][256]
ShakiraColombia1990–present[257]1995[257]Latin / Pop rock[257]&1000000000000003460000070 million[258][259]
New Kids on the BlockUnited States1984–present[260]1986[260]Teen pop[260]&1000000000000003110000070 million[261][262]
Duran DuranUnited Kingdom1978–present[263]1981[263]New wave / Alternative rock[263]&1000000000000002080000070 million[264][265]
60 million[266][267]
UB40United Kingdom1980–present[268]1980[268]Reggae[268]&1000000000000001800000070 million[269][270]
Iron MaidenUnited Kingdom1975–present[271]1980[271]Heavy metal[271]&1000000000000001550000070 million[272]
George StraitUnited States1981–present[273]1981[273]Country[273]&1000000000000007079999968 million[274]
Def LeppardUnited Kingdom1977–present[275]1979[275]Hard rock / Heavy metal[275]&1000000000000004089999965 million[277]
Green DayUnited States1987–present[278]1994[278]Punk rock / Alternative rock[278]&1000000000000004050000065 million[279][280]
UsherUnited States1993–present[281]1993[281]R&B / Pop[281]&1000000000000004029999965 million [282][283]
The Beach BoysUnited States1961–present[284]1962[284]Rock / Pop / Surf Rock[284]&1000000000000002769999965 million[285]
Village PeopleUnited States1977–present[286]1977[286]Disco[286]&1000000000000001300000065 million[287]
Lady GagaUnited States2008–present[288]2008[288]Pop / Dance[288]&1000000000000004820000064 million[289]
Pearl JamUnited States1990–present[290]1991[290]Alternative rock / Grunge[290]&1000000000000003910000060 million[291]
Boyz II MenUnited States1990–present[292]1991[292]R&B[292]&1000000000000003750000060 million[293]
Alanis MorissetteCanada1991–present[294]1991[294]Alternative rock / Pop rock / Post-grunge[294]&1000000000000003429999960 million[295]
Ricky MartinPuerto Rico1984–present[296]1991[296]Pop / Latin pop / Dance pop [296]&1000000000000002560000060 million[297]
Kylie MinogueAustralia1987–present[298]1987[298]Dance pop[298]&1000000000000001930000060 million[299][300]
Luis MiguelMexico1982–present[301]1985[302]Latin pop / Bolero / Ballad / Mariachi[301]&1000000000000001669999960 million[303][304]
Jethro TullUnited Kingdom1968–present[305]1968[305]Progressive rock / Hard rock[305]&1000000000000001250000060 million[306]

50 million to 59 million records

ArtistCountry of originPeriod activeRelease-year of first charted recordGenreTotal certified units
(from available markets)[Notes]
Claimed sales
The Black Eyed PeasUnited States1995–present[307]1997[307]Hip-hop / R&B / Dance[307]&1000000000000004929999956 million[308]
Reba McEntireUnited States1974–present[309]1976[309]Country / Country Pop[309]&1000000000000004220000055 million[310]
Enrique IglesiasSpain/
United States
1995–present[311]1995[311]Pop / Latin pop / R&B / Dance-pop[311]&1000000000000002300000055 million[312]
Dreams Come TrueJapan1989–present[313]1989[313]Pop / Jazz[313]&1000000000000002139999955 million[314][315]
RoxetteSweden1986–present[316]1986[316]Pop / Rock[316]&1000000000000001530000055 million[317]
Taylor SwiftUnited States2006–present[318]2006[318]Country pop[318]&1000000000000004839999952 million[319]
Hikaru UtadaJapan1999–present[320]1999[320]J-pop / Pop / Dance[320]&1000000000000002689999952 million[321]
A-haNorway1982–2010[322]1984[322]Pop / Rock[322]&1000000000000001159999951 million[323]
R. KellyUnited States1992–present[324]1992[324]R&B[324]&1000000000000005000000050 million[325]
AdeleUnited Kingdom2006–present[326]2007[326]Soul / Pop[326]&1000000000000004850000050 million[327]
Red Hot Chili PeppersUnited States1983–present[328]1987[328]Funk rock / Alternative rock[328]&1000000000000004800000050 million[329][330]
Alan JacksonUnited States1989–present[331]1989[331]Country[331]&1000000000000004689999950 million[332]
Bob SegerUnited States1961–present[333]1967[333]Rock[333]&1000000000000004410000050 million[334]
Jay-ZUnited States1996–present[335]1996[335]Hip hop[335]&1000000000000004439999950 million[336]
Linkin ParkUnited States2000–present[337]2000[337]Nu metal / Alternative rock / Rapcore[337]&1000000000000004110000050 million[338]
ColdplayUnited Kingdom1997–present[339]1999[339]Alternative rock / Post-Britpop[339]&1000000000000004050000050 million[340][341]
R.E.M.United States1980–2011[342]1983[342]Alternative rock[342]&1000000000000003960000050 million[343][344]
Michael BoltonUnited States1968–present[345]1983[345]Pop[345]&1000000000000003639999950 million[346][347]
The PoliceUnited Kingdom1977–2008[348]1977[348]Pop rock / New wave [348]&1000000000000003539999950 million[349]
SadeUnited Kingdom1983–present[350]1984[350]R&B / Jazz / Soft rock / Contemporary R&B[350]&1000000000000003389999950 million[351]
Willie NelsonUnited States1956–present[352]1962[352]Country[352]&1000000000000003379999950 million[353]
Christina AguileraUnited States1999–present[354]1999[354]Pop / R&B / Soul / Dance-pop[354]&1000000000000003350000050 million[355]
TLCUnited States1995–present[356]1997[356]Hip-hop / R&B / Dance[356]&1000000000000003200000050 million[357]
NickelbackCanada1995–present[358]1996[358]Alternative rock / Post-Grunge / Hard rock / Alternative metal / Heavy metal[358]&1000000000000003119999950 million[359]
Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersUnited States1976–present[360]1976[360]Rock[360]&1000000000000003089999950 million[361]
Destiny's ChildUnited States1997–2005[362]1997[362]R&B / Pop[362]&1000000000000002950000050 million[363]
Mr. ChildrenJapan1989–present[364]1992[364]Pop rock[364]&1000000000000002930000050 million[365][366]
OasisUnited Kingdom1991–2009[367]1994[367]Britpop / Rock[367]&1000000000000002880000050 million[368]
Jennifer LopezUnited States1999–present[369]1999[369]Latin pop / R&B / Pop[369]&1000000000000002710000050 million[370]
Mötley CrüeUnited States1981–present[371]1981[371]Glam metal[371]&1000000000000002630000050 million[372]
Ayumi HamasakiJapan1994–present[373]1998[373]J-Pop[373]&1000000000000002630000050 million[374]
Johnny CashUnited States1955–2003[375]1955[375]Country / Rock and roll[375]&1000000000000002589999950 million[376][377]
Mary J. BligeUnited States1990–present[378]1992[378]R&B / Soul / Hip hop[378]&1000000000000002580000050 million[379]
The MonkeesUnited States1966–2012[380]1966[380]Pop rock / Psychedelic pop[380]&1000000000000002389999950 million[381][382]
MC HammerUnited States1986–present[383]1988[383]Hip hop / Gospel / Dance[383]&1000000000000002260000050 million[384]
Ace of BaseSweden1987–present[385]1992[385]Europop[385]&1000000000000002219999950 million[386]
Electric Light OrchestraUnited Kingdom1970–2001[387]1971[387]Rock / Progressive rock[387]&1000000000000001980000050 million[388]
Hank Williams, Jr.United States1957–present[389]1964[389]Country / Southern Rock / Country Rock[389]&1000000000000001969999950 million[390]
Anne MurrayCanada1969–present[391]1969[391]Country / Adult contemporary[391]&1000000000000001930000050 million[392][393]
Cyndi LauperUnited States1977–present[394]1983[394]Pop / Pop-rock / New-wave / Dance[394]&1000000000000001619999950 million[395]
Black SabbathUnited Kingdom1968–present[396]1970[396]Heavy metal[396]&1000000000000001630000050 million[397][398]
Pet Shop BoysUnited Kingdom1981–present[399]1984[399]Synthpop[399]&1000000000000001330000050 million[400][401]
Nat King ColeUnited States1936–1965[402]1944[402]Vocal jazz[402]&1000000000000001309999950 million[403]
Alice CooperUnited States1965–present[404]1969[404]Hard rock / Heavy metal[404]&1000000000000001130000050 million[405]
James LastGermany1963–present[406]1963[406]Instrumental / Classical[406]&1000000000000000940000050 million[407][408]
Vicente FernándezMexico1965–present[409]1967[409]Latin / Mariachi[409]&1000000000000000880000050 million[410]
Tony BennettUnited States1949–present[411]1951[411]Traditional pop / Jazz[411]&1000000000000000840000050 million[412]
Ray ConniffUnited States1956–2002[413]1956[413]Pop / Easy listening[413]&1000000000000000779999950 million[414]

See also

Notes

Notes^

  • Certification systems have been established periodically throughout the past half century, thus certification-databases are not able to cover all sales. Some (or all) records released and sold prior to the certification system's establishment year may not be found within the available searchable certification databases. Year of establishment (from largest market to smallest based on Retail Value each market generates respectively):[3]

References

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