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, 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 Decades active Genre(s) Certification
in millions
1 The Beatles UK 1960s–70s Rock[2] 178
2 Garth Brooks US 1980s–2010s Country[3] 136
3 Elvis Presley US 1950s–70s Rock & roll / Pop / Country / R&B[4] 135.5
4 Led Zeppelin UK 1960s–80s Rock / Heavy metal / Blues[5] 111.5
5 Eagles US 1970s–2010s Rock[6] 101
6 Billy Joel US 1970s–2000s Rock[7] 81.5
7 Michael Jackson US 1970s–2000s Pop / R&B[8] 76
8 Pink Floyd UK 1960s–2010s Rock[9] 75
9 Elton John UK 1960s–2010s Pop / Rock[10] 73.5
10 Barbra Streisand US 1960s–2010s Pop 72.5
11 AC/DC UK/Aus. 1970s–2010s Hard rock[11] 72
12 George Strait US 1980s–2010s Country 69
13 Aerosmith US 1970s–2010s Hard rock[12] 66.5
The Rolling Stones UK 1960s–2010s Rock[13] 66.5
15 Bruce Springsteen US 1970s–2010s Rock / Folk 64.5
Madonna US 1980s–2010s Pop / Dance[14] 64.5
17 Mariah Carey US 1990s–2010s R&B / Pop[15] 64
18 Metallica US 1980s–2010s Heavy metal / Rock[16] 62
19 Whitney Houston US 1980s–2010s R&B / Pop[17] 57
20 Van Halen US 1970s–2010s Hard rock 56.5
21 U2 Ire. 1970s–2010s Rock 52
22 Kenny Rogers US 1950s–2000s Pop / Country[18] 51
23 Celine Dion Canada 1980s–2010s Pop 50
24 Fleetwood Mac UK/US 1960s–2010s Rock 49.5
25 Neil Diamond US 1960s–2010s Pop 48.5
26 Shania Twain Canada 1990s–2010s Pop country 48
Kenny G US 1980s–2010s Smooth Jazz 48
28 Journey US 1970s–2010s Pop / Rock 47
29 Alabama US 1970s–2010s Country rock 46
30 Guns N' Roses US 1980s–2010s Hard rock / Heavy Metal 44.5
31 Santana Mex./US 1960s–2010s Latin / Rock 43.5
Bob Seger US 1960s–2010s Rock 43.5
Alan Jackson US 1980s–2010s Country 43.5
34 Eric Clapton UK 1960s–2010s Blues / Rock[19] 42.5
35 2Pac US 1990s Hip-hop 41.5
36 Reba McEntire US 1970s–2010s Country 41
37 Prince US 1970s–2010s R&B / Rock / Pop[20] 39.5
38 Chicago US 1960s–2010s Rock 38.5
Simon and Garfunkel US 1960s–70s Folk rock[21] 38.5
40 Rod Stewart UK 1960s–2010s Rock 38
41 Foreigner US/UK 1970s–2010s Rock 37.5
Tim McGraw US 1990s–2010s Country 37.5
Eminem US 1990s–2010s Hip-hop 37.5
44 Bob Dylan US 1960s–2010s Folk / Rock 37
Backstreet Boys US 1990s–2010s Pop / Dance 37
46 Def Leppard UK 1970s–2010s Hard rock 35
Willie Nelson US 1950s–2010s Country 35
48 Queen UK 1970s–2000s Rock 34.5
Bon Jovi US 1980s–2010s Rock[22] 34.5
50 Britney Spears US 1990s–2010s Pop / Dance 34
51 Phil Collins UK 1970s–2010s Rock / Pop[23] 33.5
R. Kelly US 1990s–2010s R&B[24] 33.5
Dave Matthews Band US 1990s–2010s Rock 33.5
54 James Taylor US 1960s–2010s Folk / Pop 33
John Denver US 1960s–90s Pop / Country 33
The Doors US 1960s–70s Rock[25] 33
57 Pearl Jam US 1990s–2010s Alternative rock[26] 31.5
58 Boston US 1970s–2010s Rock 31
59 Dixie Chicks US 1980s–2000s Country / Pop[27] 30.5
60 Linda Ronstadt US 1960s–2000s Rock / Pop / Country[28] 30
61 Jay-Z US 1990s–2010s Hip-Hop / Rap 29
62 Ozzy Osbourne UK 1960s–2010s Hard rock 28.75
63 Mannheim Steamroller US 1970s–2010s New age 28.5
64 'N Sync US 1990s–2000s Pop 28
Michael Bolton US 1980s–2010s Pop 28
Lynyrd Skynyrd US 1960s–2000s Southern rock 28
67 John Mellencamp US 1970s–2010s Rock 27.5
Brooks & Dunn US 1990s–2000s Country 27.5
Barry Manilow US 1970s–2010s Pop 27.5
70 Boyz II Men US 1990s–2000s R&B 27
Frank Sinatra US 1930s–90s Pop / Jazz 27
Bee Gees UK 1960s–2000s Pop / Rock / R&B / Dance 27
73 Enya Ire. 1980s–2000s New age / Celtic 26.5
74 Janet Jackson US 1980s–2010s R&B / Pop 26
Creedence Clearwater Revival US 1960s–70s Rock 26
76 Faith Hill US 1990s–2010s Country 25.5
Kenny Chesney US 1990s–2010s Country 25.5
Taylor Swift US 2000s-2010s Country / Pop[29] 25.5
79 Rush Canada 1970s–2010s Progressive rock[30] 25
Mötley Crüe US 1980s–2010s Rock 25
Nirvana US 1980s–90s Alternative rock 25
ZZ Top US 1970s–2010s Rock 25
Luther Vandross US 1960s–2000s R&B 25
Creed US 1990s–2000s Rock 25
Toby Keith US 1990s–2010s Country 25
86 The Carpenters US 1960s–80s Pop 24.5
Steve Miller Band US 1960s–2010s Rock 24.5
88 Vince Gill US 1970s–2010s Country 24
Green Day US 1980s–2010s Rock / Pop punk 24
90 Earth, Wind & Fire US 1970s–2010s R&B[31] 23.5
The Cars US 1970s–2010s Rock 23.5
Kid Rock US 1990s–2010s Rock / Hip-hop / Country 23.5
Sade UK 1980s–2010s R&B / Pop 23.5
Jimi Hendrix US 1960s–70s Rock 23.5
95 Jimmy Buffett US 1960s–2010s Rock[32] 23
Lionel Richie US 1960s–2010s R&B / Pop[33] 23
Red Hot Chili Peppers US 1980s–2010s Rock[34] 23
Beastie Boys US 1980s–2010s Hip-hop 23
99 Usher US 1990s–2010s R&B[35] 22.5
The Beach Boys US 1960s–2010s Pop/Rock[36] 22.5
The Police UK 1970s-1980s; 2000s Pop/Rock[37] 22.5
Heart US 1970s–2010s Pop/Rock[38] 22.5

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Top Artists' By Certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-beatles-mn0000754032/biography
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/garth-brooks-mn0000798248/biography
  4. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/elvis-mn0000180228
  5. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/led-zeppelin-mn0000139026/biography
  6. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eagles-mn0000144847/biography
  7. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/billy-joel-mn0000085915
  8. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/billy-joel-mn0000467203
  9. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/pink-floyd-mn0000346336
  10. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/elton-john-mn0000796734/biography
  11. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ac-dc-mn0000574772
  12. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/aerosmith-mn0000604852/biography
  13. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-rolling-stones-mn0000894465
  14. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/madonna-mn0000237205
  15. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/mariah-carey-mn0000262255
  16. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/metallica-mn0000446509
  17. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/whitney-houston-mn0000820434
  18. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/kenny-rogers-mn0000069986
  19. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eric-clapton-mn0000187478
  20. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/prince-mn0000361393
  21. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/simon-garfunkel-mn0000038936/biography
  22. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bon-jovi-mn0000069534
  23. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/phil-collins-mn0000337119
  24. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/r-kelly-mn0000319347
  25. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-doors-mn0000114342
  26. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/pearl-jam-mn0000037730
  27. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/dixie-chicks-mn0000162487
  28. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/linda-ronstadt-mn0000686897
  29. ^ https://twitter.com/chartnews/status/630793452486291456
  30. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/rush-mn0000203008
  31. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/earth-wind-fire-mn0000135273
  32. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jimmy-buffett-mn0000350840
  33. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lionel-richie-mn0000243474
  34. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/red-hot-chili-peppers-mn0000883318
  35. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/search/all/Usher
  36. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/search/all/The%20Beach%20Boys
  37. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/search/all/The%20Police
  38. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/search/all/Heart

See also[edit]