List of best-selling music artists in the United States

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This is the list of the top 100 best-selling music artists in the United States only based on certifications of albums by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[1] (The list may contain more than 100, when the final slot is a tie.)

The RIAA does not deal in sales of albums, only certifications of shipped units. Therefore this best-selling list is based on total accumulated certifications given per artist and may not reflect the true physical sales obtained by these artists.

The RIAA began its certifications in 1958. This list; therefore, excludes artists like Bing Crosby whose sales in the 1930s-1950s were not certified. The list also excludes certifications of albums recorded by artists in collaboration with others as part of a singular artist or group's total.

Table[edit]

No. Name Nationality Years Active Genre Certification
in millions
1 The Beatles UK 60s Rock / Pop 177
2 Elvis Presley U.S. 50s-70s Rock and roll / Pop / Country / Gospel 134.5
3 Garth Brooks U.S. 80s-10s Country 134
4 Led Zeppelin UK 60s-80s Hard rock / Blues rock / Folk rock 111.5
5 Eagles U.S. 70s-10s Rock / Country rock 100
6 Billy Joel U.S. 70s-00s Rock 81.5
7 Michael Jackson U.S. 70s-00s Pop / R&B / Rock / Soul / Dance 75.5
8 Pink Floyd UK 60s-90s Progressive rock / Psychedelic rock / Space rock 74.5
9 Elton John UK 60s-10s Rock 73
10 Barbra Streisand U.S. 60s-10s Pop 71.5
AC/DC Australia 70s-10s Hard rock 71.5
12 George Strait U.S. 80s-10s Country 68.5
13 Aerosmith U.S. 70s-10s Hard rock / Heavy Metal / Blues rock 66.5
The Rolling Stones UK 60s-10s Rock / Blues rock 66.5
15 Bruce Springsteen U.S. 70s-10s Rock / Folk 64.5
Madonna U.S. 80s-10s Pop / Dance 64.5
17 Mariah Carey U.S. 90s-10s R&B / Pop / Hip-Hop 63.5
18 Metallica U.S. 80s-10s Thrash Metal 62
19 Whitney Houston U.S. 80s-10s R&B/Pop 57
20 Van Halen U.S. 70s-10s Hard rock 56.5
21 U2 Ireland 70s-10s Rock 51.5
22 Kenny Rogers U.S. 50s-00s Pop / Rock / Country 51
23 Celine Dion Canada 80s-10s Pop 50
24 Fleetwood Mac UK/U.S. 60s-10s Rock 48.5
Neil Diamond U.S. 60s-10s Pop 48.5
26 Shania Twain Canada 90s-10s Pop country 48
Kenny G U.S. 80s-10s Smooth Jazz 48
28 Journey U.S. 70s-10s Pop / Rock 47
29 Alabama U.S. 70s-10s Country rock 46
30 Guns N' Roses U.S. 80s-10s Hard rock / Heavy Metal 44.5
31 Santana Mexico/U.S. 60s-10s Latin / Rock 43.5
Bob Seger U.S. 60s-00s Rock 43.5
Alan Jackson U.S. 80s-10s Country 43.5
34 Eric Clapton UK 60s-10s Blues / Blues rock / Rock 42.5
35 Reba McEntire U.S. 70s-10s Country 41
36 Prince U.S. 70s-10s R&B / Rock / Funk 39.5
2 Pac U.S. 90s Hip-Hop/Rap 39.5
38 Chicago U.S. 60s-10s Rock 38.5
Simon and Garfunkel U.S. 60s-70s Folk / Pop 38.5
40 Rod Stewart UK 60s-10s Rock 38
41 Foreigner U.S./UK 70s-10s Rock 37.5
Tim McGraw U.S. 90s-10s Country 37.5
42 Bob Dylan U.S. 60s-10s Folk / Rock 37
Backstreet Boys U.S. 90s-10s Pop / Dance 37
Eminem U.S. 90s-10s Hip-Hop/Rap 37
45 Def Leppard UK 70s-00s Hard rock / Heavy Metal 35
Willie Nelson U.S. 50s-10s Country 35
48 Queen UK 70s-00s Rock / Hard rock 34.5
49 Britney Spears U.S. 90s-10s Pop / Dance 34
Bon Jovi U.S. 80s-10s Hard Rock / Glam Metal 34
51 Phil Collins UK 70s-10s Rock / R&B 33.5
R. Kelly U.S. 90s-10s R&B / Soul 33.5
Dave Matthews Band U.S. 90s-10s Rock 33.5
54 James Taylor U.S. 60s-10s Folk / Pop 33
John Denver U.S. 60s-90s Pop / Country 33
The Doors U.S. 60s-70s Rock / Psychedelic Rock 33
57 Pearl Jam U.S. 90s-10s Grunge / Alternative rock 31.5
58 Boston U.S. 70s-00s Rock / Hard rock 31
59 Dixie Chicks U.S. 80s-00s Country / Country pop 30.5
60 Linda Ronstadt U.S. 60s-00s Rock / Folk / Country 30
61 Tom Petty U.S. 70s-10s Rock 29
Jay-Z U.S. 90s-10s Hip-Hop/Rap 29
63 Ozzy Osbourne UK 60s-10s Heavy metal / Hard Rock 28.75
64 Mannheim Steamroller U.S. 70s-10s New Age / Christmas 28.5
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers U.S. 70s-10s Rock 28.5
66 'N Sync U.S. 90s-00s Pop 28
Michael Bolton U.S. 80s-10s Pop 28
Lynyrd Skynyrd U.S. 60s-00s Southern rock 28
69 John Mellencamp U.S. 70s-10s Rock 27.5
Brooks & Dunn U.S. 90s-00s Country 27.5
Barry Manilow U.S. 70s-10s Pop 27.5
72 Boyz II Men U.S. 90s-00s R&B 27
Frank Sinatra U.S. 30s-90s Traditional pop 27
74 Enya Ireland 80s-00s New Age / Celtic 26.5
Bee Gees UK 60s-00s Disco 26.5
76 Janet Jackson U.S. 80s-10s R&B / Pop 26
Creedence Clearwater Revival U.S. 60s-70s Country / Rock 26
78 Faith Hill U.S. 90s-00s Country 25.5
Kenny Chesney U.S. 90s-10s Country 25.5
80 Rush Canada 70s-10s Hard rock / Progressive rock 25
Nirvana U.S. 80s-90s Grunge / Alternative rock 25
ZZ Top U.S. 70s-00s Rock / Blues rock / Hard rock 25
Luther Vandross U.S. 60s-00s R&B 25
Creed U.S. 90s-00s Post-grunge / Hard rock 25
Toby Keith U.S. 90s-10s Country 25
86 The Carpenters U.S. 60s-80s Pop 24.5
Steve Miller Band U.S. 60s-10s Rock 24.5
88 Vince Gill U.S. 70s-00s Country 24
Green Day U.S. 80s-10s Punk Rock / Pop Punk / Alternative Rock 24
Mötley Crüe U.S. 80s-10s Heavy Metal / Glam Metal 24
91 Earth, Wind & Fire U.S. 70s-10s Funk / R&B / Disco 23.5
The Cars U.S. 70s-10s Rock / New wave 23.5
Kid Rock U.S. 90s-10s Rock / Rap / Country 23.5
Sade UK 80s-10s R&B / Pop 23.5
Jimi Hendrix U.S. 60s-70s Psychedelic rock 23.5
96 Jimmy Buffett U.S. 60s-10s Rock / Pop / Country 23
Lionel Richie U.S. 60s-10s Soul / R&B / Pop 23
Red Hot Chili Peppers U.S. 80s-10s Funk rock / Alt rock 23
99 The Police UK 70s-80s Rock 22.5
Usher U.S. 90s-10s R&B / Pop 22.5
Heart U.S. 70s-10s Rock 22.5
The Beach Boys U.S. 60s-10s Surf rock 22.5

References[edit]

See also[edit]