Talk:List of best-selling music artists/Archive 3

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Some notes for everyone in these discussions who cite statistics from the Recording Industry Association of America. Most people do not fully understand how the RIAA's totals are compiled, and their methodology does have an impact on discussions where its numbers are presented as supporting evidence.

1. Are the RIAA totals for actual sales? No. RIAA certifications are for units "shipped." So if a CD is expected to be a huge hit, the record label might produce and ship to retailers 2 million copies, which would result in it being immediately certified as double-platinum by the RIAA, but it might only sell 1 million. This is an extreme example -- the difference in number shipped and number sold is usually nowhere near that large.

2. Are RIAA totals exact? No. RIAA certifications are in multiples: 500,000 for gold, 1 million for platinum, and then in subsequent increments of 1 million. Therefore, if a CD ships and sells 1,999,999 copies, it will only be counted in RIAA totals at 1,000,000 and the remaining 999,999 copies will not be counted.

3. Are RIAA totals for all CDs sold around the world? No. RIAA certifications are for the United States only.

4. Do RIAA totals cover all releases since music started being sold? No. RIAA gold certifications began in 1958 for shipping more than 1 million copies of a 45 single or 500,000 copies of an LP album. Regardless of whether a single sold 1 million copies or 10 million copies, it received the same "gold" status. The RIAA did not begin tallying full-length album sales at the level of 1 million copies until 1976, when it introduced the platinum award. It did not start counting sales in multiples of millions (2 million for double-platinum, 3 million for triple-platinum, etc.) until the mid-1980s. With the drop in single sales in the late-1980s, the single awards were lowered to 500,000 for gold and 1 million for platinum.

5. Do the RIAA totals represent all recordings by an artist? No. They only represent those recordings which reached the minimum sales level to be certified gold or platinum. For instance, let's say an artist released 25 albums between 1976 and 2006. Of these, two sold 1.5 million copies each and received platinum status, three sold 750,000 each and received gold status, and each of the remaining 20 titles sold 250,000 copies, which is below the RIAA minimum to be counted. The artist's official RIAA total would be only 3.5 million copies. However, this artist actually sold 10.25 million copies. The RIAA would not have counted any which sold less than 500,000 units and would have used the 500,000 cut-off on all of his or her gold awards and the 1 million cut-off on all of his or her platinum awards. Consequently, the RIAA would have underreported the artist's actual total record sales by nearly 200 percent. For artists with very long careers, this can be an even larger disconnect. This is especially true for those in the less-popular genres such as country or blues, where albums typically sold 100,000 to 300,000 copies and artists sometimes released three or four a year. Many of these artists sold upwards of 1.5 million albums a year, but because they were spread out over four or five titles that each sold less than the 500,000 RIAA minimum, their official RIAA total for the year was zero records sold.

6. Does the RIAA automatically update an artist's total sales figure? No. The record label which released the CD must pay to have an RIAA auditor travel to its offices and audit its shipping records to determine they are accurate. Once the number of units the label claims to have shipped is deemed correct, the label must pay another fee to file the certification. While most labels are more than willing to do this for current releases, there is no incentive for them to do it for past releases, especially if an artist is no longer actively recording for the label. If the performer is still on its artist roster, then a gold or platinum award can be used to help bring attention to his or her latest CD for the label and consequently result in more sales. If there is no "new" CD to be plugged, there is no real motive in paying the fees and going through the trouble of having a CD certified or its certification updated (although this attitude quickly changes when an artist dies and there is a renewed interest in his or her older work, which can result in even more sales after the publicity surrounding a new gold or platinum certification). For example, John Denver left RCA Records in 1981, which was the last year the label paid to certify any of his albums with the RIAA. Yet, RCA continued to re-release his old albums every year and sell many, many copies of them, but since he wasn't recording any new material for them to promote, there was no reason for them to go through the expense of certifying these additional sales, and consequently his RIAA sales total did not change during that time. Some 20 years later, he died. Very soon thereafter, RCA submitted its sales data to the RIAA to update the certifications on all of his old RCA recordings. The label revealed that he sold more than 19 million albums, cassettes, and CDs during those years. He was posthumously awarded several new and upgraded gold and platinum awards, and his RIAA sales total was increased by 19 million units. So the day before this happened, his RIAA total was off by at least 19 million copies. Likewise, every few years, RCA will add up its Elvis Presley sales for the last few years and submit those to the RIAA to upgrade his awards -- again, a dead artist. Another example is that when the RIAA changed its rules to lower the gold level for singles in the late-1980s to 500,000 copies instead of 1 million, they chose to make the rule retroactive, meaning it applied to all singles released before then, too. However, very few record labels went through their catalogues to determine the thousands and thousands of songs over the years that had sold between 500,000 and 999,999 copies which had previously been too few to count as gold but now met the RIAA's minimum for a gold award. Consequently, those thousands of singles have not been added to the RIAA sales totals of those artists.

7. Do RIAA totals count each CD separately? Yes -- even for multi-CD releases. That is to say if an artist puts out a double-CD album, each time a person buys one set of the two CDs, it counts as two CDs. So once 250,000 sets are shipped, the record label may request it be certified and the RIAA will count it as 500,000, give the artist a gold record, and add 500,000 to the artist's sales total (even though only 250,000 sets of that specific title were shipped/sold). So a four-CD boxed set only has to sell 125,000 copies to receive a gold award and be counted as 500,000 by the RIAA.

All of these RIAA rules and practices combine to result in the "totals" given by the RIAA to be highly inaccurate in many instances. More accurate sales figures are compiled by SoundScan, which tracks actual sales by barcodes in nearly all music stores and music sales websites in the U.S. (more than 14,000 of them). These are the sales figures on which Billboard bases its weekly albums charts. However, SoundScan's statistics only cover CDs and cassettes sold in approximately the past 15 years or so, meaning sales prior to that time are not included in any of its calculations, and the ones that are will still be for U.S. sales only.

The Beatles

The Beatles have worldwide album sales of over one billion albums.

Complete rubbish.--Zoso Jade 14:21, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

That's what EMI 'guestimate. However, it's very, very unlikely that they've sold more than 400M. They sold lss than 200M (altogether) in the uS, which was, in their time, more than 50% of the world market. There is no way they can have sold 800M in the rest.
Same applies to Elvis.


Considering that the Beatles broke up in 1970, and that John Lennon died in 1980, there's no case for saying that the Beatles were active in the 70s or 90s. If we're going to count solo careers or continuing album sales, we might as well say "Active: 60s - present". I'm going to change it to "1960 - 70". Tyharvey313 02:56, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I changed around a couple of "Years Active" dates: I reverted Gasenriquez's 15:20, March 5, 2006 edits, with the exception of his Destiny's Child years active edit (which I have no background on and can't dispute). I deleted the "90s" again from Beatles years active based on my earlier argument, and, given that Gasenriquez re-added that without reading my previous comment about it, I reverted the rest of his edits. His others didn't make sense either--Celine Dion was listed as "80s-00s (1990-)". I also changed Bob Dylan's "Years Active" to "60s-00s (1965-Present)", since he's still writing and releasing albums and touring [1].Tyharvey313 03:25, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Well I presume someone changed the Beatles to 90s as they released a 'discovered' single in the 90s at some point I think. But based on other artists, I don't think this does count as active. Robdurbar 11:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)


Because Queen was less popular in the US than in the world as a whole, US figures will tend to under-estimate the number of albums sold by this hugely popular international band. As an example of the US anomaly, although the song "A Kind of Magic" reached the number one position in 35 different countries, it was not even in the US top 40! In fact, Queen is so popular in England that they have actually spent more time on the charts than even The Beatles([2])! Most recently, an Ericsson poll of 600,000 people in 66 different countries found "We Are the Champions" to be the world's most popular song[3]Interestingly, this finding contradicts the findings of a another huge world-wide poll conducted by Guinness World which showed "Bohemian Rhapsody" to be the world's favorite song [4]!!! My point in sharing all of this is that, whether or not Americans are aware of it (after all, "Bohemian Rhapsody" only reached the #9 spot in the US), Queen is actually one of the most popular bands in the world. To this day, Queen still holds the record for the highest concert attendance ever for a single band (Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1981) and there was not a single country in which Queen could not sell out entire stadiums.

Note: Several of the Queen references provided by Wikipedia users have been repeatedly vandalised!! 2004 inductees At the introduction they refer to over 190 million albums sold to date. Adding singles sales and downloads this would take them pass the 250 million records mark.

Firstly no source supports the sale of 250 million and if any of this were true, im sure adding in downloads and singles would take many more of the artists currently in the 100 million plus sales column past the 250 million mark. Just as would inclsuions of various artists collections that bands and singers appear on and budget albums that are not accounted for in many acts sales totals.

There has been a lot of changes recently about this band. If we take that they have sold 190 million albums, you still need to prove that they have sold 60 million singles, which I cant find any sources for. For what its worth, I did find a mention that Bohemian Rapisdy has sold 2.4million copies - so only another 57.6million to find :). But please dont keep moving them until you can find a book/website/anything that indicates they sold so many singles Robdurbar 11:23, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

OK here is my rational - 1st The 2,4 million for Bo-rhap you refer to are UK sales only. According to 'as it began' (foreword from Brian May) at the end of 1980 they had sold 25 million singles and 45 million albums worldwide but this is 25 years ago. Single sales have slowed down in comparison with album sales in the last 10 years or so - but sales from huge hits like under pressure and every single on GH2 and GH3 including the 2nd release of Bohemian Rhapsody are not counted in the 25 million. About 40 single releases versus 21 pior 1981. In addition, the downloads worldwide have not been accounted for. FYI 3 singles (digital versions) have just been certified GOLD in the US according to RIAA. According to this list they sold (10,334,713) in the UK alone; the 7th best selling single artist in the UK up to 2000 (above ABBA) (BBC has published this artice too). The UK accounts for roughly 9% of the world market. They where/are popular in all the major markets, fair enough in the US they lost some if not most of their appeal after 1980 but in Latin America they picked up a lot of sales and they remained strong sellers in Europe, Australia and Asia particular Japan. Based on this rational I would say they cruize past the 60 million mark. (I was actually surprised they had sold 190 million albums i thought it would be around 150 million).

While we are on the topic of proof I have just read that ABBA has sold 350 million according to the source. BUT they have sold less singles then queen in the UK and according to this list Their certified tally of album sales in the US account for 10,5 million! They have 2 singles certified gold (US is 38% of the worldmarket). That is 11 million singles sales in the UK and US combined (close to 50% world market) and 10,5 million albums sales in 38% of the worldmarket ... 328 million to go I would be very interested were we can find those (with an almost non existent US market)! No matter how popular you are in Sweden, Norway etc but 6 million people in sweden do not buy 328 million records. The maths simply does not add up.

Alla Pugacheva??? 'had reportedly sold as many as 250 million records' reported by whom?? i never evan heard of her she maybe top of the bill in Russia (but a country in which 90% out of a population of 150 million or so do not have a pot to piss in does not buy 250 million records) this cannot be taken serously surely.

led Zeppelin has released a handfull of singles in the US (1 gold certified) due to pressure of warnerbros but in no other country and although they have sold 107 million album units in the US (and quite rightly as they are brilliant) they where nowhere as polular as in the US a 143 million albums in the rest of the world is an awful lot. FYI their no 4 album was recently certified 5xplat in the UK - their best selling title but that accounts for 1,5 million copies only. Do not get me wrong I love to see them up there. (the source reads 200 milion albums worldwide- but there are hardly any single sales)just food for thought. There are a few more (like sinatra) i got my doubs of but will comment another time perhaps

Well first of all, the ABBA claim is supported by the guiness book of record's 1980 claim (not one that i personally believe) that they were at that time the biggest selling band in the world. Since then they've released 11 compilations, including the 25million seller ABBA gold. You're probably right that the 350million is a bit high; this is why the article format was changed. Oh and Alla Pugacheva? That one comes from some guys called the Enyclopedia Britannica. You may have heard of them. Your point about Led Zepplin is good though; think they should move back down.

I do believe that Queen have probably sold over 250 milion, but far too much can come into this article based on 'well they have sold x, y and z. Since then they have released a,b and c. Therefore they must have sold q number of records' style logic. The figures we have at the moment are: 190 million albums 10 million singles in the UK Now if we can find a singles figure sales in the USA... (ironically, a search on the RIAA for gold or platinumn singles under 'queen' comes up with no queen singles but Abba's Dancing Queen) Until there is a figure somewhere - and ive done some searching myself - they dont move up the list Robdurbar 10:00, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Ref Alla Pugacheva - Enyclopedia Britannica states 'she had reportedly sold as many as 250 million records - and all of them in the former USSR' - countries where the man in the street has little money to spend' 1st britannica just states that it has been reported but not more then that, hence the words reportedly sold, it has not conducted its own investigation. How credible was the agency that reported it? info from the former USSR is well known for it's inaccuracy and the additional 24 agenda's been pulled! She has according to this site released some 32 albums and 3 singles. The Beatles have a cerified album/units sales of 168,5 (thanks to over 42 album releases)in the US sold to a population of about 300 million people with buying power and PRESLEY, ELVIS a 116.5 million (thanks to over 92 album releases) I have heard of beatles mania etc never from Alla P mania. It is unlikely that elvis sold the same amount of singles (116,6) as he has albums in the US and even if he would he would still be 17 million shy of 250 million (in the US). and this is ELVIS with 92 albums to his name!! USA population was roughly the same as in the former USSR the big diffrence being the amercans had/have spending money. But if you like to believe she has sold so many in the former USSR based on the info currently available then go ahead and leave her up there! but common sense does not support it i would argue.

The Queen singles claim in 'as it began' (foreword from Brian May)that at the end of 1980 they had sold 25 million singles and 45 million albums worldwide is also shown on the official website from queen. surly you do not contest that claim? You must have missed it some how but RIAA listes

QUEEN ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST 11/25/80 ELEKTRA P SINGLE - (4 million sales according to Roger Taylor in a doc & best selling single of 1980 in the US)

platinum used to be for sales in excess of 2 million -currently it is set at 1 million. gold used to be for sales in excess of 1 million - currently it is set at 500,000.

in 2005 the following digital downloads have been certified


Obviously that leaves out all those single releases that have failed to reach the G or P level

you dismiss my rational as you see no hard facts - 45 milion albums have grown by 430% over the years to 190 (i did not make this up). Based on 25 million singles by 1980 (21 releases to-date and still 40 single releases to come) a sales number claim of 60 million now (including down loads seems very reliable. In any event it is a lot more credible that the 250 million claim for ALLE P or the 350 million for ABBA). You write that ABBA claim is supported by the guiness book of record's 1980 claim but this site does to provide the proof. I am unaware of it - but again the maths simply do not add up. Queen has outsold ABBA in the US and UK on both albums and single front but you support the abba claim (and whats her name - Alla Pugacheva) and dismiss the one for queen. I am only trying to ensure accuracy of your web page by providing you data that can be substanciated and being rational. Queen and led Zeppelin are my 2 all time favorite bands and i have merely put things in perspective.

And I appreciate your rationale; but why did you not provide it in the first place before just moving queen up the list without proof. I must admit that I missed that 25 million sales figure in your first comment; this gives us a total of 225million - plus, as you say, 20 years more of single sales. Adding the figures you provide from the RIAA we can wack that up to 230 million; now I AM willing to accept that there would be 20 million sales in countries around the rest of the globe; but please understand that my reason for questioning your claim was so it could be verified - as I believe you have - because there have been so many false and biased claims here. This is why I brought it up on this talk page; cos I felt it was possible but, in the end, you havnt provided the proof until now. Robdurbar 00:25, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Rob I only recently came accross this site and to be honest initially I did not spot the discussion page. Anyhow the issue is cleared up and I understand your position and wholeheartedly agree that claims need to be supported. Ta ND

Later Discussion, relating to comments from Anonymous user

Please the see the various evidence discussed below {talk sinced move, now situated above}, in the second 'queen' section of this page Robdurbar 20:19, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
i see no "evidence" just talk from Queen fans.
So the 190 million album sales quoted by the UK hall of fame, the 10million singles in the UK quoted by UK charts company, the 25 million global singles sales in 1980 and the further 5 million singles sold in the USA and the 2.5million copies of Bohemian Rapisdy, all proved below, and all of which have convinced me, who originally moved queen from the list, are not evidence? And seeing as you keep adding the cure and morrisey - where is the evidence for them? Robdurbar 14:34, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
 : I didn't add the cure of morrisey at all, so don't try and be a smart alex. For all I care, they could or could not be or the list, i don't know what their sales areand i don't care all to much, No, they are not "evidence", they do not show world sales of 250 million. They only show partial sales, it may have convinced YOU, but that is merley your own POV based on evidence of a partial amount, not solid fact. Also where are the sources for a lot of the sales claims, a lot of them are only say so on this page, and no links are provided.

Also, to add further debate, I doubt that Queen have sold 190 million albums anyway, i doubt their album sales are more than Elton Jonh's album sales, espically as he has had a much bigger carrer as can be seen by the sales charts of the world.

Sorry; it was someone from the same IP address who added the cure and morrisey though. They do show worldwide sales of approaching 240 million. Why are these not evidence? And why - if you must remvoe queen - do you not at lest put them back into the 100million plus category? The reason that I claimed you did not acknolwedge the talk is that you have failed to explain why you do not consider this evidence? Robdurbar 15:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

If someone wants to put them back into the 100 million plus sellers, then they can, I'm just removing the ludicrous claims Queen have sold 250 million. The Rock and Roll Hall Of fame don't say where they get this figure from. Queens best selling album in the UK is their Greatest Hits, which has sold 3-4 million. And that is far more than most of their other albums. In the USA they didn't sell that many albums, throughout Europe and other parts of the world they had similar success than in the UK (but, of course, with much less sales as those markets are much smaller) and in other parts of the world they had little, or no success. Elton John, on the other hand, had a huge global following and no doubt sold a lot more records, yet with singles and albums he's only sold 200-230 million world wide.

I'm sorry, but you've provided no sources there. The UK hall of fame is as good as any source we have on this page. Why on earth should anyone believe your uncited argument over one with the support of the RIAA and The UK Hall of Fame and a published book? Now I would debate over whether we should be very restrictive and keep Queen in the 100 million bit as we can only prove 230million-240million definately, and possibly agree with such an argument; but Im afraid you cannot say 'i dont beleive so and so' without providing at least as reasonable a source to counter it with Robdurbar 20:19, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Amazing that someone feels the need to question this statement from the UK Rock and Roll Hall Of fame. THERE ARE A FEW other sources on the this page that would warrant scrutiny rather then the UK hall of fame i would say. I can only assume it is a joint assesment from Queen productions, EMI and Hollywood. Why would the UK hall of fame make a claim which is false anyway? would their induction not be warranted if they would have sold say a 100 albums? What would be UK RHOF gain? If you do not like Queen that's fine - i think Elton is bollocks but gladly support your claim that he sold that many records (FYI he sold a lot less albums then Queen have in the UK. yes GH has sold 4 million according to QOL and GH2 was certified 8P 2,4 million (about 5 years ago) ANATO has sold in excess of 1 million in 75/76 according to QOL's press statement. PC has sold 1,4 million in the UK alone that accounts for 4,2 million units. In the US at least 35,5 million albums were sold by 2004. Less then Elton i give you that - but there is still the rest of the world FYI i have heard sharon stone during Eltons (BAFTA award i thought it was) mention that he sold 220 million albums I am not questioning that, i have no idea, but as it was said during that high profile event i am willing to support it. Including singles he could well breach the 300 million mark i say - so rather that take queen off put elton there as well. ND

Not including Queen in the 250 plus league based on the argument that no absolute proof is submitted above 230/240 sales level seems very far fetched. The fact that sales of 40 single releases (versus 21 pior 1981) inlc Borhap global sales(outside the US and UK) have not been captured in this total alone should suffice. Love of my Life (live version) spend over a year in the single charts in Argentina. I want to Break free was no 1 in South Africa for about 11 weeks to name but a few examples. In addition, the ALBUM releases of on fire, ROTC (Gold in the UK 100K - On Fire Platinum in germany etc) and Queen jewels II (top 10 album) in Japan are not accounted for within the 190 million albums sales(end 2004). Not their best selling albums but still all those are to be added to their overall sales level. Not to mention the backsales of Plat. Coll. which was in the charts in Italy, Spain, UK, Germany, Ireland, France, Australia and the netherlands - to name a few - for most or a considerable period of 2005. And GH was the no 7 best selling album in the Pop catoloque chart over 2005 in the US In BPI's Quarterly Review - July 2005 : 11:7:2005 they listed an art. heading 'Top 40 UK Artist Albums in USA 2004, Sales ' with at no 15 : Greatest Hits, Queen, (Hollywood), 399,572. GH was the no 19 top selling album in the US TOP POP catoloque chart for that year. based on that for 2005 i would argue it has sold even more during 2005 and it is currently still shifting about 7.500 units a week in the US. In conclusion Queen has had extensive coverage on this page and i would argue that if we agree that the 190 million albums mark by autumn 2004 is accepted then the 250 million records mark is a very very safe assumption)(safe as houses is the expression i believe). If not then let us discuss every other single entry on the list top to bottom but come with credible references. Best, ND
 : Elton John has not sold less albums than Queen in the UK, he's had lower sales per album, but the total sales of his albums is the UK is more than Queen. Also the UK RNR Hall Of Fame would have nothing to gain, nothing to loose, by just taking ANY figure. Doesn't mean they checked it by looking at world charts, list of back catalogue sales, etc. Where in my text did I say I didn't like Queen?? Wheatear or not I like them, tolerate them or hate them has nothing to do with it, there is NO source that says "Queen have world sales of 250 million". You can't take a bit from one and a bit from the other, you can only use one source. However my point stands, looking at global sales charts, and other sales lists, Queen have not sold 190 million albums, their best selling albums globally are Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits 2 which combined sold 35 million as of now, they havent sold another 155 million besides.
Why can you not take from various sources? Indeed, the addition of claims from various sources might well be considred more 'in depth' than a single sources claim. THere is no need to have one website saying '250 million records' if there is a compilation of claims. I think, also, you might be a bit mis-guided about the general availability of sources on this topic; look at other bands and you'll see that Queen are as well sourced as many of ther others Robdurbar 22:38, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Queen's official website 'queenonline' issued a GREATEST VIDEO HITS 1 - OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE on **Fri 20 Sep 02** stating '..Compiled directly from the band’s phenomenally successful Greatest Hits 1 album, which has to date sold in excess of 25 million copies worldwide'. based on the my arguements above - 400k in the US alone to add and 2003 and 2005 plus additional global sales from other regions; 27 million? maybe even more by now. Accumulated sales (GH II and Classic Queen for the US and Canada combined) are in excess of 16 million worldwide - i have sales records provided my Universal for canada, emi spain etc and some website from IFPI counties have dbases with certification levels. with still sales records for numerous countries missng for GH2 like italy, japan, Korea etc etc. where is your proof that Elton has sold more albums then queen in the UK. You fail to provide any references. this art was published not to long ago QUEEN OVERTAKE THE BEATLES AS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ALBUMS ACT IN UK CHART HISTORY according to the book of BRITISH HIT SINGLES & ALBUMS! Top 10 Most Successful Acts of All Time on the UK Albums Chart

1. Queen (1,322 weeks)
2. The Beatles (1,293 weeks)
3. Elvis Presley (1,280 weeks)
4. U2 (1,150 weeks)
5. Dire Straits (1,136 weeks)
6. Simon and Garfunkel (1,114 weeks)
7. Madonna (1,032 weeks)
8. David Bowie (1,005 weeks)
9. Elton John (989 weeks)
10. Michael Jackson (966 weeks)

Weeks on chart do not mean they are the best sellers. Albums can spend countless weeks at a low postion and get greater total weeks. The Beatles spent a lot longer in the top of the charts than Queen! Also, when the beatles started in the 1960s the chart was a smaller list, so therefore they didn't have as much an oppitunity in thr 60s to soend weeks and weeks at a lower postion in a top 75, something they surley would have done, than Queen did in the 70s! The proof that Elton sold more albums in the UK than Queen is in the very chart book you talk about - more hit albums, more time spent in the higher postions than Queen. In the 1970s Elton was the #1 single and albums act in the UK, as well as the entire world. In the 1990s he had the biggest selling single of all-time, and has continued to enjoy new hit singles and albums. His sales totals therefore are much, much higher. You may think you cna pick and choose the chart facts you like to beef up Queen, but you can't. Queen aren't and never have been bigger than the beatles in the United Kingdom, or anywhere else.

Right, both of you, I think here I do see a claim for Queen to be in the 250million section, but I'd like a clear, bullet pointed, list of the sources perhaps (no Wikipedia pages) and the amount of sales each of them claims. Oh and apologies for putting them in the best sellers bit, i didnt notice that in the revision i did. Unfortunately such things happen when you have repeated pov edits to a page - its hard to find a netural version to revert to Robdurbar 08:27, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Cos I see at the moment:

This gives a running total of 230 million - which is not enough to put them in the 250 million band. Now what this figure doesnt include is:

  • the total singles sales outside the UK and USA
  • the total from all non-gold and platinum singles in the USA

Now what I'm not sure about is whether we should be strict and say 'You can't show 250million, so they're not in'. Or whether we should be more flexible and say 'You have shown 230 million with certain sales missing; a reasonable estimate might be 250million sales'. Robdurbar 08:36, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

This is a claimed figure of 230 million and no, you can't be more "flexible", because the totals for the other acts are only what is shown, no other artists total are given such flexibility, so neither should Queen! Like I said, from what I have seen, I doubt the 190 million albums to be true anyway, but that's neither here nor there for this list. However, the fact Queen fans have been adding there name in as "the biggest selling act of all-time" is enough to show they are trying to beef them up to somewhere they don't belong, cause no source ever has said that, just like no source says 250 million! Also you can't count world sales and add in us sales, cause surley the usa is a part of the world, so really this claim is only good for up to 215 million, not 230, not 250!

Sweetheart i just put the article up not as a claim that they are bigger then the beatles just that they have had a great chart record better then elton apparently. You kept refering to charts no me(charts in it self are also not conclusive, album sales have significantly gone up since the 70ties - no 1 in 1970 on average sells less then no 3 today) If I look at certified sales BPI they come out better then elton and the beatles but these are also not up-to-date. The only reason he sold more singles in the Uk then queen is because of tearjerker "candle in the wind" otherwise his totals would be a 1.5 - 2 million less then queen - get a perspective. Also that did not have a knock on effect on his albums sales. NO ONE band or artist is bigger then the Beatles in terms of sales! And to be honest I do not give a rat's arse if Elton is a bigger seller than Queen! I was just building case that they should be in the 250 m box. Your arguement that you do not believe the 190 million is not relevant! it is an accepted source better then most. Cliff has apparently sold 250m according to his webside i personaly doubt that with a non US market and the only proof 20 million singles in the UK - but as it is stated on his website OK i can go along with it. I keep seeing Queen in and out of the 250 m box i have not touched that page. Robdurbar you are the 'custodian' as far as i am concerned. There are a few others I would like to see removed but that is childish. If the above is not enough to have Queen listed as a 250 Million seller then let us discuss every other single entry on the list top to bottom but come with credible references. Best, ND
 : You' e missing the point. Elton and Queen had their greatest sales at the same time, Elton was at the top in the UK, when Queen were, and he was a much bigger star, proven by the charts, hence he sold a lot more than them! Also, what's this nonsense he only sold a million or so singles in the UK prior to candle in the wind 1997. Complete nonsense. Also the Queen 190m is accepted by some, disputed by others and is not a source that is "better than most", it is just as good as most, i.e. not conclusive. But LIKE I SAID MYSELF (before you just said it in the reply) that is neither here nor there for this list which is based on sales CLAIMS, and all the artists in the 250m box have a CLAIM that said "sales are over 250 million" by a SINGLE source, not a bit of this one, a bit of that one, count the USA sales twice, still don't have enough, but put them there anyway. No source says Queen sold 250m, get the picture?

elton started in 71 if i am not mistaken queen a few years later (selling albums that is). You have not proven anything - charts on this page indicate that queen done better, BPI same thing. I was merely making a general statement charts ref sales levels that's the point that was missed. Please read my remark again nowhere have i stated that he sold a million or so prior to CITW. The source refers to albums sales by autumn of 2004. Thus leaving out all single sales which account for a significant amount. THE HEADING of this page reads 'The world's best-selling music artists cannot be listed officially...This page lists those artists who have made reasonable claims to be amongst the top sellers. Within their sales-bands, artists are listed in alphabetical order, rather than by number of records sold. Equal weight is given to album and single sales, as well as paid downloads. Sources are typically fan sites, record labels, newspaper articles or manual addition of figures from VARIOUS official sources. This means that these figures should be considered claims, not facts.' I did not set the parameters for this page. And i did not count anything twice - Robdurbar asked for data from RIAA and I provided it. 190 M albums plus 25 million singles by 1980 (10,3 million singles in the UK which are partly covered in the 25 million i have not used that as extra leverage- that came up during the discussion - i merely quoted figures)190A + 25m singles(1980 (21 releases to-date and still 40 single releases to come incl 4 additional gold singles in the us after that date and numerous certified awards in the UK can all be traced incl Borhap/days of our life which sold 1 million alone in 91 in the UK and was a huge seller in many other countries)bases on that a sales number claim of 60 million singles/records now (including down loads) seems very reliable. In addtion the arguement as listed above:

Love of my Life (live version) spend over a year in the single charts in Argentina. I want to Break free was no 1 in South Africa for about 11 weeks to name but a few examples. In addition, the ALBUM releases of on fire, ROTC (Gold in the UK 100K -On Fire Platinum in germany etc) and Queen jewels II (top 10 album) in Japan are not accounted for within the 190 million albums sales(end 2004). Not their best selling albums but still all those are to be added to their overall sales level. Not to mention the backsales of Plat. Coll. which was in the charts in Italy, Spain, UK, Germany, Ireland, France, Australia and the netherlands - to name a few - for most or a considerable period of 2005. And GH was the no 7 best selling album in the Pop catoloque chart over 2005 in the US In BPI's Quarterly Review - July 2005 : 11:7:2005 they listed an art. heading 'Top 40 UK Artist Albums in USA 2004, Sales ' with at no 15 : Greatest Hits, Queen, (Hollywood), 399,572. GH was the no 19 top selling album in the US TOP POP catoloque chart for that year. based on that for 2005 i would argue it has sold even more during 2005 and it is currently still shifting about 7.500 units a week in the US. In conclusion Queen has had extensive coverage on this page and i would argue that if we agree that the 190 million albums mark by autumn 2004 is accepted then the 250 million records mark is a very very safe assumption)(safe as houses is the expression i believe). If not then let us discuss every other single entry on the list top to bottom but come with credible references.

I got the picture alright you have rejected the 190 million claim and the source from the beginning now that you are not getting anywhere by dis-crediting it anyway you see fit - you insist on having one claim that states 250 million records sold! This whole page is based on rational from those who contribute to it as well as these sources which provide these claim. Somehow this got lost in this whole discussion. Beatles sales are also a guestimate and so our many of these artist claims on this page. Best, ND

No you don't get the picture. You take dribs and drabs from all over the place and say these sales aren't included those sales aren't included and talk nonsence.Like i said I do not believe Queen sold 190 million albums, sorry if you don't like that, but that is my view and i am entitled to my view, but like I said it doesn't make any difference, as this is a list of claims not facts, so please get over that. Also, the charts do now show Queen doing better than Elton, other than they spent more weeks on chart. Overall, tho, Elton's singles and albums spent a lot more time in the higher postions! Also, The sales of the platinum and gold collections are not accountable separately, as they are boxed sets of the greatest hits CDs and for every set sold this adds a sale on to their Greatest Hits collections, sales of the first two hit albums are now upwards of 35 million.

Also lengthy runs on charts in many countries are common for any artist, not just Queen. Why? because the sales in these countries are minimal and don't make millions of sales. A #1 in a South American country for 20 weeks, wouldn't equal anywhere near a one week top 5 in the UK, so while Queen had long runs at number 1 in several countries, the sales were nothing at all like what they enjoyed in the UK.

Now, Queen fans are claming that the 190m claim "doesn't include album sales from certain countries". What hogwash. The source quote for this claim says "they should 190m albums", it dosen't say "they sold 190m albums excluding this country, that country and so on". I get the picture very clearly, Queen fans are trying to beef up the figures without anything near credible sources for it. Proven by this and the fact this "250 million" they say Queen sold include US and UK album and single figures twice - once in the total world sales and again in individual claims, and even then the "figures" only show 230 million. Sorry, but there is no way this "information" can be taken seriously!

Oh, why don't both of you grow up and stop insulting each other? And for that matter sign your posts!Robdurbar 23:45, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I didn't make perosnal insults to anyone, furthermore telling people to grow up is an insult, so maybe you should practise what you preach Robdurbar.

It staggers the imagination you keep refering to statements that i have not made - read it again! '190 M doesn't include album sales from certain countries' where do you see me making that claim. I have broken it down, have not counted anything twice( but argued that sales after authum 2004 till now feb 2006 have not been included in the 190M - as 3 albums had not been released yet surely it is not that difficult). I am giving examples of their global appeal - as you feel the need to dismiss single sales after 1980 as it is not put in the source of 190 million -not arguing that argentina sells millions of records but everything does add up. You state that 'The sales of the platinum and gold collections are not accountable separately' so why do they get certified separetly in the UK and the US etc? In any event up to authem 2004 they are capured within the 190 after that they are not. Not sure what your point is here? Furthermore you write 'A #1 in a South American country for 20 weeks, wouldn't equal anywhere near a one week top 5 in the UK' Words of wisdom!! Your though process is facinating. (You needed to sell roughly the same number of units in Brazil as in the UK for awards) I am just as much a led zeppelin fan and due to my arguements it was brought down by Robdurbar. Why would I do that based on your logic? What ever source i bring forward you dismiss it while at the same time you put out statements that come to mind but fail to substanciate anything. You filter out of my arguements what you want to see hustle it around. The only thing I see is your venom on paper!

 : I have no venom, thanks, i'm not that petty, just a different view from you. I have made no personal slur against you, but you have done it to me. Therefore, while i am not the sort to make insults against people just because they have a different view, the fact you do clearly makes you an ignoramus.
 Robdurbar anything to add (after all i was having the discssion with you)?  best ND
you are absolutly right Robdurbar i appologise to all concerned! As i said before your the custodian of this page let make it your call whether they should be listed at 250 m or not agreed? best ND

Robdurbar doesn't run Wikipeida, nor does he has the final call on whats on a page. No source states the 250 million and because of this I will continue to revert anything that states something that has no source. Also, far less records are sold in Brazil than in the United Kingdom (which isthe third biggest selling global market behind Japan and the usa), so I was totally correct in my statement. A country that sells far less records than the UK takes a lot less sales to get in the charts. That is a fact, based on "wisdom', 'common sense' and whatever else you want to throw out there. And the information has been added twice, dribs and drabs all over the place, and the use of the words 'possible' and 'plusable' too, but sorry, none of this is a source and dsen't mean anything. Therefore, I am well in my place to say this is not an acceptable figure for this list.

Show the one source that simply says "Queen have sold 250 million singles, albums and downloads" and even though I still will dispute it, i will have no problem at all having it put on the list as a claim.

In any case you have a lot of anger in you. learn to read (incl your own commends revisit the parameters of this page. I have not touched the page itself during this whole discussion. But you feel the need just because you do not agree with it. You write 'A #1 in a South American country for 20 weeks, wouldn't equal anywhere near a one week top 5 in the UK - and that that statement is perfectly correct' The statemnet that UK market is bigger then theone in Brazil is correct but you are not referring to that here. Come with a source that support that claim! I appealed to Robdurbar as a mediater as there is no point going on like this - cooler heads prevail principle. You making this into heated issue. Are you an only child i wonder! best ND

I have not changed any of the disscusion on this page one bit. I know how to read, thank you for the concern. I also have no anger in me on this. You have assumed all this about me cause I disputed your claims and views and dissagree. While i'm not one to judge a person on such things, if anyone has anger and an uncool approach to this it would have to be you, making personal insults and slurs against me, a person you do not know at all. Your need to use personal attacks and lie only further makes me believe in my own opnions and views. So thank you! I have spent time and intrest in looking at world sales and no, sadly i can't like to online sources, but I plan to find them sometime, maybe soon, maybe not, but you still have not proven what you claim either, so therefore both arguments, mine and yours, hold the same amount of merit on that score. However, the point still stands, you can not prove yours either, therefore there is no ground to put Queen in the 250m box.

To be honest I'm not 'custodian' of anything - I Simply appear to be the only person who is iwlling to deal with this page. I do apologise for the slightly offensive last post I made. As I say, my problem is not with the sources. I think it IS appropriate to use multiple aources to 'add up' a total, but the current ones don't give 250million. I wouldn't like to say wether Queen ahve sold the extra 20 million signles across the globe - its perfectly possible but I'm afraid that we simply don't know, and it's not Wikipedia's palce to presume so. Deabtes about who is more popular and the general size of various global markets can't, unfortunately, prove anything. Now if other editors were to come and disagree - that's there pergoative and Queen may move up the page. But my personal call would be that we have to be fair but firm, and so they stay in the 100million plus cat. Robdurbar 13:59, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree sources for claims can be used to add up a total, but only once source for singles, one for albums and one for downloads. Not one here, a little there, a little more here, look there too, can't find a source for a certain date or country, so let's assume a figure for those. The USA singles and Albums , as well as UK sales, were already included in the world totals, and no doubt the vast majortity of Queen records were sold before 2005. Therefore, the sources/claims here show at least tens of millons below the 250m.

When I write 'I have not touched the page itself during this whole discussion.' it is in responce to your remark 'because of this I will continue to revert anything that states something that has no source' - not the discussion issue. I raised it as I kept seeing queen been moved about, while i had not touched it. I did not have a problem with you or anyone else questioning it its just they way you started making YOUR point - look a your first reaction all on this issue you state 'Firstly no source supports the sale of 250 million and if any of this were true, im sure adding in downloads and singles would take many more of the artists currently in the 100 million plus sales column past the 250 million mark. THESE ARE ALL ACCEPTABLE SALES TO BE INCLUDED. Then you write 'I'm just removing the ludicrous claims Queen have sold 250 million' - comon sense dictates that it is perpectly possible they have sold that amount based on this info. There is currently no one source that states a single claim for total singles sales to date but that does not make it ludicrous! (There are a few ludicrous claims on the main doc page as whith questionable sources- but not this one) And then you state 'not solid fact' There no fact on these pages merly assumptions. Then you question the source etc etc! you change your tune a few times. keeps throughing elton in everytime while this is not about him. Then you insist on one source later you chance your mind on that etc... you are used of getting your way and will not give in untill you get it. There is anger - maybe not of this but it is coming from somewhere. and this is just a website about artists. It is not about proving my claim as no claim can be proven untill you hold actual sales records! This is about safe assumptions and credible sources. There is not a single lie that came from me. There is 'proof' for 190+25 + 4 gold singles in the us and numerous certified singles in The UK after 1980 plus 1 million sales for Borhap. Albums certified after 2004 brings them up to 225 million and still a lot of single sales - and backsales during 2005 - unaccounted for i have never advocated anything else then that.

in ref to 'The USA singles and Albums , as well as UK sales, were already included in the world totals, and no doubt the vast majortity of Queen records were sold before 2005.' no one has disputed that - just not he sales after authem 2004 - i keep refering that you should read what i wrote. you keep writing that you can read whell it does not seems to transsent to your brain somehow . I started off with this remark only: 2004 inductees At the introduction they refer to over 190 million albums sold to date. Adding singles sales and downloads this would take them pass the 250 million records mark. After that this whole thing got started - I just responded to questions asked by ROBDURBAR. best ND

Due to the uncalled for personal slurs that you feel the need to keep coming up with (showing your own 'intelligence'), I am not going to waste anymore time trying to gove elaborate replies, as you clearly just like to annoy, other than to just refresh that you are a liar. To get the total you claimed (above 250m) you would have had to at least to have add those totals twice (like Robdubar did in his analysis (see it above) ) and you made no point to correct him, so if you were not saying that, then why not mention that to him in your disscusion. Also, you're mention of the dribs abd drabs of info was to try and beef up the sources (there would be no other reason to mention it) , however, you didn't pull the wool over anyones eyes. I could go on (again) about your lies, such as claiming I changed this page and the contents of our discussion, but then my posts would end up looking as ludicrous (not to mention ridiculous) as yours, so I'll just simmer and leave the "venom" and insults for you, as you excell at that (not a compliment).

None of the figures have been added twice. The 190 albums stands alone; the book giure states 25million worldwide in 1980 - the other US sales figures given are post 1980. Admittedly the 10million total UK sales includes pre-1980 sales, so you're rigfht in that we can discount approximately 5 million from the total of 230, to give us 225. Robdurbar 09:53, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
still tens of millions shy from 250m. Also, though I'm not trying to get in a perosnal debate, the US rock and roll hall of fame show Queens sales at 130 million records (singles and albums both included) at only 130 million, so who knows for sure what is the correct sales figure. I look forward to finding out which is more reliable as I continue my research in the music business and sales charts.

It the eyes of a fool I may be a liar. However, those with the ability to read and are equipped with, only a few personal attributes - such as, deduction capabilities in addition to some sort of a coherent thought process may disagree. Rodurbar wrote the following 'This gives a running total of 230 million' while i come to a running total of 225. I am not reading the whole page again and again ... I know what i wrote - Rodurbar had edited the page and had apparently put Q in the 250M box i believe that was what i was after. Case closed. Secondly 225 or 230 is irrelevant in relation to my position: '2004 inductees At the introduction they refer to over 190 million albums sold to date. Adding singles sales and downloads this would take them pass the 250 million records mark.' which still stands - just because i cannot provide a single source the consensus here appears to be that they should therefor not be at 250M.

The only lies on this page came from you as you claim that I had wrote that elton sold a million or so singles in the UK prior to candle in the wind 1997.... etc etc. In ref to 'claiming I changed this page and the contents of our discussion.' I was referring to the ARTICLE page not the discussion page. In all fairness, i must addmit to 1 thing i have been accused of, on reflection there does seem to be some venom in my writing I wonder what triggered it! The more than 130 million claim is from 11/12 years ago from the back of a video around the time they released MIH. Good luck with you quest maybe you can find a publisher when you do! best ND

 : The only thing that "triggered the venom" was you, unable to accept a different point of view than yours. I suggest you learn to deal with the fact not everyone shares your views, and learn that people will differ to you. Also the more than 130 million figure, at least the one i saw, comes from 2004, not a decade ago.

Hello i read this with much interest. I am also a big queen fan. In my country (germany) Queen was very poplular (more so then in 70ties)in 80ties and have many big hits. i not have any source with sales totals but the charts proof big hits. I agree with "ND" that 60 million single sales are certain based on info here and what i know. If i read commends from 'Anonymous person' yes you not like queen but think it just because elton is still at 100 level - little childish. You are only one here who is not trying to be resonable. but want to get HIS way. sorry for my english - Stephan

Where did I say "I do not like Queen"? Stop making assumptions. Your English may be poor, but so must your understanding of the language as a whole if you can read/see things than no one ever said. That is what is childish. Also you say your information os based on "what you read" (but you can't provide a source). Well guess what, I can't provide one either, but my information is also based on what I have read, so therefore your little posting holds no more value than mine.

You found someone else to argue with, I am prood of you! In respect of the point your bring up AGAIN I am sure i have explained that detailed enough above but again it has not sunk in, no matter there may be light at the end of the tunnel...oneday. As far as the 130 million from the US rock and roll hall of fame maybe you fail to realise that that info was copied from the info on that particular video which was listed as a source on the article page. It is now removed robdubar can probably verify it he may have replaced it with the current source listed. So far your reseach capabilities are not very impressive. You do not insist that I provide proof that Made In Heaven was a best seller do you? best ND
I have not "found someone else to argue with", merely replying to the poster, can we cut out the personal attacks, it's getting tiring and it's not what Wikipedia is about. Also, how do you know that it was just copied and left a decade of calculations out? Are you suggesting the UK Hall Of Fame has better research than the US one? Also, seeing as that figure was a mixture of 130 million singles and albums, it is highly unlikely then that now 190 million of their albums alone have been sold. While "Made In Heaven", may have been a best seller, Queen have not sold 60 million albums in the last ten years, and even if they did, they would still have to sell more than that to get from a 130 million singles and albums tally, just to a 190 million one with just albums.

Your triggering it yourself so blame yourself not me. I am suggesting that the americans are laid back - copying from an official Queen source is perfectly sound and correct and as the total was in excess over 130 it is bound to be in excess of 130 a decade later. FYI Hollywood had requested Elektra to dug up all there original sales data (as certification was not up to date in the US)prior the US hall of fame the special award was issued (sales for 35,5 see above). So the total elektra sales data was not included in the 130 of 94/95. Several albums, Double albums, 3 triple disks set have been released every single unit need to be counted - as RIAA does for certification levels in addition to huge backsales. But we are back at our starting point you again show that you are unwilling to accept 190 M Albums source as a valid source. (there are plenty of other artist with sources you can question why are you putting all your energy in this one - vindictive maybe) Why don't you hold on the original source of 'as it began' 45 million albums and 25 million singles this way you can take them of the 100 million list too that will make you happy. Better still only take sales and official certifications prior to 1973 this way queen will not show on the list at all. The Beatles would still be topping the list and elton would just be on there with a hand full of other people. best ND

I just read the Note: Several of the Queen references provided by Wikipedia users have been repeatedly vandalised!! I wonder could that be you in any event not a grown up thing to do best ND

No it's not me and no, I am not to blame for your venom, you are. You are responsible for you actions, noone else. You accused me of having venom and went on and on like it was the worst thing ever, I then said I don't, then you admit you did and look what you have to do, blame someone else for your own shortcomings. It makes me wonder how old you are and if you are acting your age, but I don't really want an answer as this is not a place for this even though you treat it like it is). If you are unable to control it in debate and not make personal attacks then that is down to you, not me. Also, I have said many times, even though I still doubt the 190 million album sales, I didn't have a problem with it at all. I also stated many times, why I also doubt Queens total sales top 250 million, if a claim can be found for this on a web site then I also have no problem with it being used here. Sorry ND but if you can't accept my views then that's your problem, I have stated them here, but I have never once said that I "didn't accept it", I said there is no source that shows that Queen should be in the 250 million sales claim box, two different things, so once again here you are making up lies and false accusations, says a lot about your so called argument. If you points were so worthy to be standing then you wouldn't have resulted to such pathetic behavior in the first place.

Ayumi Hamasaki

She's sold +44 mil. copies in Japan, alone. With her worldwide popularity, don't u think she's probably sold AT LEAST 6 mil. copies elsewhere? [5]

Well your source is some wiki, that is blank when I looked at it just now. The IMDB, amongst others, quotes her as the top single-selling Japenese female solo arist, at 17.4million copies; but that means we still need proof for over 30 million album sales to include her. Looking at this article [6], I would be tempted to think that she does warrent a place in the 50 million plus section, but we need a 'claim' somewhere Robdurbar 10:06, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

In fact, the first figure I can find gives her just 16 million ablums sold [7], making a total of 33.4million records, some way off this list 10:10, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
[8] states that she's only a FEW million copies away from 50 million, plus it doesn't have all international sales nad no downloads, and many of her song's have topped Japan's iTunes store.
Yes, but we cannot source from within Wikipedia - and band pages are its weakness anyway, most of them being over-stated hyperbole. Robdurbar 09:02, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Archive Talk

I have just archived talk from August 05 to January 06. If you think an artist should be in this list, you may want to look at this archive to see if their inclusion has already been discussed. I have kept the 'Vicky Leandros' section on this page as it could still be considred 'ongoing'.

Vicky Leandros

For example this week German-Greek Diva VICKY LEANDROS appears in position #127 with 50 million plus albums and has again the note "Greek goverment award". Vicky Leandros according to all her record companies and especially SONY CLASSICAL (GR) (and the greek goverment's award) has sold around 150 million records all around the world from 1965 till nowdays, 40 million of which have been sold to Germany. It makes much sense since only her Eurovision entrances have sold more than 20 million records by themselves and none of her Japanese singles during the 70ies has sold less than 500.000 copies! In any case I think people should be objective and patient and not write innacuracies! There are many other artists that I saw mistakes but I am not mentioning because there is no reason to argue with others. Thanks!!

Yes indeed VICKY LEANDROS has sold in excess of 150,000,000 worldwide and so should be far higher ranked in your list.In 2003 she received a special award from the Greek Government for this achievement and the promotion of Greek Music and Culture abroad.She has sold huge amounts of records in Japan as stated by a previous contributor above. She has also sold all over South America, South Africa , Canada , Asia aswell as all over Europe. However she tends to get forgotten as do most artists who are not big in England or America - and specially whose first language is not English - that is where the bias is . I guess most fans of hers not being from these places could not write this in English or would not be aware of this page to stick up for her but here's one who can. Imagine if she'd ever made it in America & England too- not many reach her sales volumes without it. I think we'd be talking top of the list with Elvis don't you? Only reason she didn't was total bias in favour of English and American artists in both countries with no radio play or promotion of any kind forthcoming.The sales of 100M mentioned in Wikipedia - not that it's accurate - are stated as only albums. Another ref - search under VICKY LEANDROS PHENOMENON in google - then City of Athens Portal to find an article with reference to the enormity of Vickys success and sales. She was the top selling singer in Europe continually for years on end !!! Each time I tried to revise her standing on the list somebody else shoved her down again - so I gave up !!! Apologies if I'm not using the system correctly and I won't do it again - but please whoever's job it is just put Vicky where she deserves to be - THANKS !!!! Oh I see you've removed Vicky altogether now - hope you're planning to return her soon as her exclusion hardly makes your list more accurate.

Well if you want to put her in find a reputable source that tells us how many records she has sold. Anyone can edit the article, but their needs to be proof of sales Robdurbar 18:49, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, she was removed as most sources - such as this one - claim she has only sold 40 million Robdurbar 18:53, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Her official site mentions 40 million but this concerns Germany. She can't have sold less than 100 million since she had a tremendous impact during 70ies and 80ies. If you check Greek Sony Classical site and also some more sites they mention 150 million. "Apres toi" has sold 10 million, "Love is blue" 4 million singles (with Vicky), "Love is Alive" 4 million, "Machikutabileta Nichiyobi"(Japan) one million copies,"Theo wir fahr'n nach Lodz" 2,5 million "The love in your eyes" 5 million and "A l ést d'Eden" (her last French single in 1984) 2 million copies. Those are typical numbers of Vicky Leandros and if you look at articles of the time and various sources it can;t be but true. Even in the USA she was a promising name in the 70ies but she left. If you add all the above plus all her big albums and Top-100 hits around the world it is more than 40 million. I am not adding them to the list though because I am tired dealing with stubborn people.....

Where? Provide a link and she will be in the page instantly. I've looked, including on Sony Classical's site, and found nothing.Robdurbar 09:47, 13 January 2006 (UTC) ( a greek article) and various other sources

Yet when I type '' into my browser i get this page Robdurbar 01:15, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

I have however, found a source which claims 'around 50 million records' (lucky I can read German). As I do beleive the circumstansial evidence youve provided, I'm happy to include her. If you think she should be higher, again, please provide verifable sources. Robdurbar 01:18, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi! Below there is the press release of Sony Classical plus a review of one of her CDs, unfortunately the article is in greek but refers to her sales as 150 million. I tried to enter Sony Music but the site for a reason does not work. Here is the link you have then to click "Dekembrios 2003" and "Biky Leandros"

I have no reason not to be true. Besides I just thought it would be good to be objective. Personally it doesn't matter to me if she is on the list or not but someone who wants to know about World Music should know about her even if he/she does not like her!

Well I'm happy to accept it as a source - though if any other editors who speak greek could verify this one...? Robdurbar 17:12, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi there. The above link is true. Also the vicky biography that was distributed in the concert and Award from the goverment says more than 100 million copies. also I have heard it in a research from a European TV channel. check this link , it is easier!

Hello - I read and speak Greek fluently and can assure you that the claims made that Vicky Leandros has sold over 150M discs worldwide on the references quoted and also on many others are true.I am also fluent in English French and German so I am in a good position to study all relevant articles.A contributor higher up the page also previously told you where to find another reference to Vickys huge success and sales under VICKY LEANDROS PHENOMENON on google and then choose first option of CITY OF ATHENS PORTAL which cuts you straight into an article in ENGLISH which mentions sales of over 150M for those not versed in Greek. I feel you should split the list however into a category for 150M or more discs as there are so many on 100M and there is too big a gap to the next stage of 250M. Thank you for this site it is very interesting and I can confirm that Vicky deserves to be where you have her. Though not proof positive of sales a rule of thumb or common sense to see how prolific an artist is - is to look on e-bay worldwide and see how many items are for sale by that artist and how many are Greatest Hits and which countries they are from. Likewise in sites such as Gemm and Musicstack for second hand records for sale. A truly big seller like Vicky for example will have literally hundreds of items and you can see the diversity of product and countries of issue, the sheer number of copies and also high prices such a star can command . It's just a pointer anyway to their high standing or otherwise when compared to others. Generally the bigger the star the more items.

Yeah, well we've put her in now :) Robdurbar 19:44, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Recent Edits Regarding Madonna, UB40 and Vicky Leandros

An anonymous editor has removed UB40, bumped Leandros down the list and moved Madonna up it. Without evidence provided to justify these changes, I have reverted them. Please provide evidence if you think that these claims are untrue Robdurbar 21:54, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Biased by technology?

Just wanted to discuss the idea that this list is possibly biased towards more modern artists if it only covers sales of recordings and not sales of sheet music which was the original way of buying music, and later for many artists an additional source of sales. Are the figures limited to vinyl and CD?

  1. PhilipPage

Oh it definately is. But I fail to see how this is avoidable. All lists on music sales are biased by when data was first collected. For example, List of best-selling singles (UK) ,despite using official figures, can only include singles post 1953, when sales figrues were first taken. There are no figures for sales of sheet music. However, it should also be noted that there was less music sold before the Second World War, when economic conditions were not as good. Robdurbar 10:34, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Quite agree, bit of a shame for earlier artists. Maybe a footnote pointing out the limited scope? PhilipPage 21:07, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

If the criteria used do not provide a fair representation of all popular artists, then the list is necessarily rendered invalid. Admissions that the list is unfair, but unavoidable are not acceptable.

As I see it, there are two options available here: Either retitle the list to specify "Best Selling Artists Post-1952", or allow additional sources as verification for earlier artists. --MPendragon

Back to the question of if the figures are limited to vinyl and CD, what about downloads from itunes? Why isn't illegal downloads listed as a bias toward later groups? William conway bcc 22:26, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Well leagal downloads are included. As for illegals... for one thing its not been proved that they are significantly harming sales (album sales in the UK have been higher in 2003/2004 than ever before), and there have always been knockoff copies. If we can get some facts that show a significant, or suggestion of a significant, fall in sales due to illegal downloads then it could be noted. Robdurbar 23:29, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Simon & Garfunkel

Is it possible that Simon and Garfunkel, which "were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s (from en:wiki), are not in this list? -- 15:34, 24 January 2006 (UTC


You guys have violated the 3RR rule, but I'm feeling generous, so Ive only protected the page. Please come to a sort of compromise here. Oran e (t) (c) (e) 17:14, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Sales List

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has just published its updated list of the 150 highest selling artists ever. IFPI has finally come up with a list of the top-selling acts in History. Its about time.

The top 10 is as follows:

01. The Beatles 40 400,000,000 UK 60s (1962-1970) Rock/Pop Guinness/EMI

02. Michael Jackson 14 350,000,000 US 70s-00s (1979-) Pop/R&B

03. Elvis Presley 150 300,000,000 US 50s-70s (1956-1977) Country/Rock

04. Madonna 16 275,000,000 US 80s-00s (1984-) Pop

05. Nana Mouskouri 450 250,000,000 Greece 60s-00s (1959-) Pop

06. Cliff Richard 60 250,000,000 UK 50s-00s (1959-1969,1977-1979,1986-1999) Rock/Pop

07.The Rolling Stones 54 ~250,000,000 UK 60s-00s (1964-1981) Rock

08. Mariah Carey 14 230,000,000 US 90s-00s (1990-) Pop/R&B

09. Elton John 43 ~220,000,000 UK 70s-00s (1972-1976,1989-1991,1997-) Pop

10.Celine Dion 21 220,000,000 Canada 80s-00s (1990-) Pop Music/Pop

Source: IFPI

Hmm, but I think that they only use 'certified' record sales; I'm not quite sure how it all works, but I know that this is the organization that provide the World Music Awards with their figures. Robdurbar 10:31, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Sure but IFPI is reliable simply because it's their job besides it's the first time we have an international organisation which could finally state on world sales, we should mention it on the introduction now. Readerweb 14:53, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, but i can only find mention of these figures on madonna's website? i think we would need an original source or more neutral one, rather than a short bit on madonna's news page. I treid looking at the IFPI site but couldn't find a mention of these figures. Robdurbar 17:10, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

You got a point Rob, ok let's just wait until we have this information from a neutral website even if this statement is right coming from IFPI. By the way, such official statements are usually released on papers and not necessary on the web (unlike RIAA) or are provided to websites that may have asked this from IFPI. It's all about time indeed. Readerweb 18:06, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Rob i have sent an email to IFPI - i have(had) a contact who has provided info in the past hopefully again -best ND ps ABBA is missing ...yeap my band to

This still isn't anymore reliable. The data prior to the 1970's has not just magically turned up and can now be accounted for and all the problems gathering world sales still exsist, they haven't gone away overnight. This list is still open to much debate and there is no undoing that. Also, surley as Led Zeeplin apparently (not that i believe it) sold more records since 1990 than before, they should be very high on this list?? lol. This is just another guess/estimate list, yeah, it may be the peoples jobs, but that dosen't make it any more factual, it just means they got paid for it, unlike the rest of us.

 : While I can't comment on the authenticity of such a list, why oh why is the "source" on this merely on two fans sites and how come the "IFPI" used the same format to write the list as wikipedia?? Also, where is the rest of the "top 150"?
Exaclty why it is not and will not be included until the publication that this was released in can be found. Spookliy, the IFPI website does not mention this list anywhere. Robdurbar 20:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Hello Robdurbar - my contact at IFPI has replied my email stating 'IFPI has not published such a list and we are trying to track down the source of it so that we can correct this.' signed by member of the IFPI Market Research - Best ND

Led Zeppelin

Zep needs to be in the top tier. Just check out the wikipedia article.

I got the so-called complete list

1 The Beatles 40+ 400,000,000 UK 60s (1962-1970) Rock/Pop Guinness/EMI 2. Michael Jackson 14 350,000,000 US 70s-00s (1979-) Pop/R&B MJ Stats 3 Elvis Presley 150+ 300,000,000 US 50s-70s (1956-1977) Country/Rock 4. Madonna 16 275,000,000 US 80s-00s (1984-) Pop WBR [1] 5. Nana Mouskouri 450 250,000,000 Greece 60s-00s (1959-) Pop [2][3] 6. Cliff Richard 60+ 250,000,000 UK 50s-00s (1959-1969,1977-1979,1986-1999) Rock/Pop [4] 7.The Rolling Stones 54 ~250,000,000 UK 60s-00s (1964-1981) Rock 60.5 million in the US [5] 8. Mariah Carey 14 230,000,000 US 90s-00s (1990-) Pop/R&B 9. Elton John 43 ~220,000,000 UK 70s-00s (1972-1976,1989-1991,1997-) Pop [6] 10.Celine Dion 21 220,000,000 Canada 80s-00s (1990-) Pop Music/Pop Discography 11. Pink Floyd 21 ~210,000,000 UK 60s-00s (1970-1983,1994-1995) Prog Rock 73 Mil US 12. Led Zeppelin 9/12 200,000,000+ UK 60s-70s (1969-1979) Rock/Blues MSNBC 13. Metallica 10 ~200,000,000 US 80's-00's (1991-1997) Hard Rock 57 mil US 14. Julio Iglesias 80 ~200,000,000 Spain 70s-00s (1969-) Latino Pop [7] [8] 15. Queen 22 180,000,000 UK 70s-00s (1975-1995) Rock R&R 16 AC/DC ~180,000,000 Australia/UK 70s-00s (1980-1992) Hard Rock AC/DC 17 Whitney Houston 10 ~180,000,000 US 80s-00s (1985-2000) R&B/Pop Discography 18. ABBA 160,000,000 Sweden 70s-80s (1974-1982) Disco/Pop ABBA discography 19. U2 ~150,000,000 Ireland 80s-00s (1983-) Rock/Pop 50m.US 20.The Jacksons 150,000,000 US 60s-80s (1969-1980) R&B 71m.US 21. Garth Brooks ~145,000,000 US 80s-00s (1989-2001) Country 105m.US 22. Janet Jackson 11 130,000,000 US 80s-00s (1986-) R&B/pop 23. The Eagles ~120,000,000 US 70s-00s (1974-1979) Country/Rock 89 million in US 24. Wei Wei ~120,000,000 China 80s-00s (1986-) Pop [12] [13] 25. The Bee Gees 110,000,000 UK/Australia 60s-00s (1975-1979) Pop/Disco src.1 26. Bon Jovi ~110,000,000 US 80s-00s (1986-2000) Rock/Hard Rock (100m.alb.) 27. R.E.M. ~110,000,000 US 80s-00s (1991-) Rock [(106m.alb.) 28. Kenny Rogers 105,000,000+ US 60s-00s Country/Pop/Rock [15] 29. Black Sabbath 100,000,000+ US 70s-00s Hard Rock/Metal [17] 30. Barbra Streisand 100,000,000+ US 60s-00s popular 70.5 million in US [18] 31. Mireille Mathieu 37 ~100,000,000 France 60s-00s Pop src. 32.Alla Pugacheva 15 ~100,000,000 Russia 70s-00s Rock/Pop *(10m.US) [19] 33. Prince ~100,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock/Pop src. 34. Ricky Nelson ~100,000,000 US 50s-80s Pop/Country/Rock 35. Luciano Pavarotti ~100,000,000 Italy 60s-00s Opera [20] [21] 36.Brenda Lee ~100,000,000 US 50s-60s Pop/Country [22] 37.OmPrakash ~100,000,000 India 90s-00s [23] 38.Illayaraja ~100,000,000 India 70s-00s [24] 39. Johnny Mathis ~100,000,000 UK 60s-00s Rock/Pop [25] 40. Lionel Richie ~100,000,000 US 80s-00s Pop/R&B [26] 21.0 mililion in US [27] 41. Dolly Parton ~100,000,000 US 60s-00s Country [28] 42. Donna Summer ~100,000,000 US 70s-90s Disco 43. Aerosmith ~100,000,000 US 70s-00s Hard Rock [30] [31] 44. Billy Joel ~100,000,000 US 70s-00s Pop / Rock 78 mil.US, [32] [33] 45. Fleetwood Mac ~100,000,000 UK/US 60s-00s Pop/Rock 2 46. Johnny Hallyday ~100,000,000 France 50s-00s Pop src.1 [34] 47. Charles Aznavour ~100,000,000 France 50s-00s Pop [35] 48. Bruce Springsteen ~90,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock/Pop *(61 mil. albums US) 49. Def Leppard ~90,000,000 UK 80s-00s Hard Rock 55.5mil.US 50. Bob Dylan ~90,000,000 US 60s-00s Folk-Rock *35m.US, 51. Earth, Wind & Fire 90,000,000 US 70s-00s R&B/Funk/Disco/Pop *(23 mil.US) 52. KISS 30 ~90,000,000 US 70s-00s Hard Rock source 53.B'z 14 ~86,000,000 Japan 90s-00s Rock See also: discussion #22 54. Eddy Arnold 85,000,000 US 40s-90s Country source 55. Britney Spears ~85,000,000 US 90s-00s Pop *(32 mil. US), src. 56. Modern Talking ~80,000,000 Germany 80s-00s Eurodance 57. Jean-Michel Jarre 19 ~80,000,000 France 70s-00s Synth Pop sourceSee also: discussion #19 58. Santana ~80,000,000 US 60s-00s Rock src.1 *[37mil. US] 59. Dalida ~80,000,000 France 50s-80s as of 1981 See also: discussion #19 60. Salvatore Adamo ~80,000,000 Italy 60s-00s [38] 61. Fairouz ~80,000,000 Lebanon 60s-00s Traditional Arab, Modern, Pop *(35 mil. US) 62. Eric Clapton ~80,000,000 UK 80s-00s Rock, Blues *(38 mil. US) 63. Stevie Wonder ~80,000,000 US 60s-00s Soul/R&B/Pop,Disco [39] 64. Hank Snow ~80,000,000 Canada 30's-90's Folk [40] 65. Spice Girls 3 ~76,000,000 UK 90s-00s Pop source 66. Backstreet Boys ~75,000,000 US 90s-00s Pop src.1 [41] 67. Journey ~75,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock/Pop 40mil.US, [42] 68. Paul McCartney ~75,000,000+ UK 60s-00s Rock 69. Dire Straits 74,000,000 UK 70s-90s Rock 70. Shania Twain 4 ~73,000,000 Canada 90s-00s Country/Rock/Pop 71. Depeche Mode ~70,000,000 UK 80s-00s Pop/Rock 72. A-ha 10 70,000,000 Norway 80s-00s Pop [43] [44] 73. The Carpenters 70,000,000 US 60s-80s Pop 74. Gloria Estefan ~70,000,000 US 80s-00s Latino Pop src.1, [45] 75. Enya 5 70,000,000 Ireland 80s-00s New Age/Celtic 76. Roberto Carlos ~70,000,000 Brazil 60s-00s [46] [47] 77. Charley Pride ~70,000,000 US 60s-00s Country source 78. Bay City Rollers ~70,000,000 UK 70s-00s Rock [48] 79. Van Halen ~70,000,000 US 70s-00s Hard Rock [49] 80. Kylie Minogue 65,000,000 Australia 80s-00s Synth Pop source 81. George Strait ~65,000,000 US 70s-00s Country *54 mil. US 82. Iron Maiden 65,000,000 UK 70s-00s Metal [51] 83. Eminem 65,000,000 US 90s-00s Rap *(22 mil. US) 84. Tupac 60,000,000+ US 90s-00s Rap [52] 85. Genesis 60,000,000 UK Rock/Pop src. 86. Phil Collins ~60,000,000 UK Rock/Pop src. 87. Guns N' Roses ~60,000,000 US 80s-90s Hard Rock 71mil. albums 88. Chicago ~60,000,000 US 60s-80s Jazz/Rock [53] 89. Vicky Leandros 400+ ~60,000,000+ Greece 60s-00s Pop 90. Bryan Adams ~60,000,000 Canada 80s-00s Pop/Rock 1 91. The Doors ~60,000,000 US 60s-70s Rock *(30 mil. US) 92. Tina Turner ~60,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock/Pop [54] 93. Perry Como ~60,000,000 US 30s-00s Standards [55] [56] 94. Frank Sinatra ~60,000,000 US 40s-90s Standards *(25 mil.US) 95. Simon and Garfunkel ~60,000,000 US 60s Folk-Rock *(36mil.US) 96. Pearl Jam ~60,000,000 US 90s-00s Alternative *(29 mil. US) 97. John Denver ~60,000,000 US 60s-00s Folk/Rock/Country [57] 98. The Monkees ~60,000,000 US 60s-90s Rock [58] 99. Hank Thompson ~60,000,000 US 40s-00s Country 100. Barry Manilow 60,000,000+ US 70s-00s Pop/Standards [59] 101. Boyz II Men ~60,000,000 US 80s-00s R&B/Pop *(27mil.US), [60] 102. Paul Anka ~60,000,000 Canada 50s-00s Pop [61] 103. Alanis Morissette ~55,000,000 Canada 90s-00s Rock/Pop src.1 [62] 104. TLC 55,000,000+ USA 90s-00s *(28 mil.US)R&B BMG 105. The Police *53,000,000 UK 70s-80s Rock/Pop 22m.US, [63] 106. Nirvana *52,000,000 US 80s-90s Alternative 24m.US 107. Michael Bolton 52,000,000 US 80s-00s Pop [64] 108. Luis Miguel 55,000,000 Mexico 80s-00s Latin Pop [65] 109. Andre Kostelanetz 52,000,000 US 70s-00s Classic src.1 [66] 110. Tony Bennett ~51,000,000 US 50s-00s Standards/Jazz [67] 111. Alabama *~50,000,000 US 70s-00s Country 46m.US 112. Johnny Cash 4 ~50,000,000 US Country [68] 113. Motley Crue *~50,000,000 US 80s-00s Hard Rock 22m.US, [69] 114. Foreigner *~50,000,000 US/UK 70s-90s Rock/Pop 36m.US 115. Oasis ~57,000,000 UK 90s-00s Rock ~50m.albums 116. Meat Loaf ~50,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock [70] src.2 117. Olivia Newton-John ~50,000,000 Australia 70s-00s Country/Pop [71] 118. Bjork ~50,000,000 Iceland 80s-00s Alternative [72] 119. Gene Autry ~50,000,000 US Country [73] 120. Nat King Cole ~50,000,000 US 30s-60s Jazz [74] 121. The Seekers ~50,000,000 Australia 60s, 90s-00s Rock/Pop/Folk [75] 122.The Doobie Brothers ~50,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock 50mil.US 123. Three Dog Night ~50,000,000 US 60s-70s Rock [76] [77] src.3 124. Bob Seger ~50,000,000 US 70s-00s Rock [78] 125. Roger Whittaker ~50,000,000 UK 70s-90s src.1 [79] 127. Annie Lennox ~50,000,000 UK 90s-00s src.1 [80] 128. Ace Of Base ~50,000,000 Sweden 90s-00s Pop/Dance source 129. David Bowie ~500,000,000 UK 60s-00s Rock src. 130. Reba McEntire 48,000,000 US 70s-00s Country [81] 131. Andy Lau (??‰Ø 48,000,000 Hong Kong 80s-00s Country [82] [83] 132. Ayumi Hamasaki 46,000,000 Japan 90s-00s J-Pop src. 133. Willie Nelson 46,000,000 US 50s-00s IRS 134. George Michael 45,000,000 UK 80s-00s Pop [84] 135. Biggie Smalls ~48,000,000 US 90s Rap *(38mil.US) 136. Bananarama ~45,000,000 UK 80s-00s Pop/Rock/Dance 40mil albums 137. Chris de Burgh 45,000,000 Ireland 70s-00s Pop/Rock src.1 [85] 138. Red Hot Chili Peppers 44,000,000 US 80s-00s Alternative 139. Milli Vanilli 44,000,000 Germany 80s-90s Pop [86] 140. Alan Jackson 43,000,000 US 90s-00s Country source 141. *NSYNC 42,000,000 US 90s-00s Pop *(30 mil. US) 142. Christina Aguilera 4 ~40,000,000 US 90s-00s Pop 34m.albums 143. Vicente Fernandez 40,000,000 Mexico 70s-00s Mexican 144. Waylon Jennings +40,000,000 US Country [87] 145. Jose Feliciano 40,000,000 Puerto Rico 60s-00s Pop 146. Judas Priest 15 ~40,000,000 UK 70s-00s Hard Rock 147. The Who ~40,000,000 UK 60s-00s Rock *(20mil.US) 148. Ozzy Osbourne ~40,000,000 UK 60s-00s Hard Rock *(27mil.US) 149. John Lennon ~40,000,000 UK 60s-70s Rock *13.5mil.US 150. The Beach Boys 40,000,000 US 60s-90s (1961-1996) Pop/Rock

I personally think its a ripe off the old wikipedia " List of best-selling artist." - Kelvin Martinez

I think this quote from the same forum says it all: This hoax spread all over the Net. We first saw it when someone posted here because a Britney Spears fansite posted it and then DrownedMadonna posted it and now are taking advantage of this stupidity of the Net and takes it as granted.

This is so funny and confirms how rumours and false news can spread all over the Net and people believe it.

Hey, c'mon. First... go to the source... where is this on IFPI?. Second, all we visit Wikipedia can recognize this list as the one that was on Wikipedia (before the last edit)

If anything, this goes to show why this article can't include speculation and unsourced 'estimates' Robdurbar 10:02, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

George Michael

He is the latest artist to be added repeteadly without a source (We cannot source from Wikipedia - as an encyclopedia you can't quote yourself for validity). The only figures that I can find are for a combined Wham/solo sales figure of 70-80million records. However, on the basis of other artists on the list, we are not including aggregate sales over different projects - so he would have to have sold over 50 million solo, or as Wham. Robdurbar 09:07, 13 February 2006 (UTC)33

The royals canadians?? Ho my god it's really ridiculous!! Please delete this article!!!!

Why wont you add Elton John to the 250 million plus category

I have added him time and time again but wikipedia has changed it but i have sources that he has sold over 250 million

[[9]] if you scroll down you will see Worldwide sales, click on it and all those numbers add up to about 234 million albums sold. If you add in Candle in the Wind with over 37 million and other countless million selling singles this is over 250 million and maybe over 300 million.


Utada Hikaru?

Why can this page be redirected here when she isnt on any part of the page at all? Bakahito 18:19, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Well at some stage someone must have put her on this list, and she was then removed. Robdurbar 18:24, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Italians: Mina Claudio Baglioni Lucio Battisti

I found on this web site [10] she sold 76 millions of records.. it is in italian... is it enough for the list or should I search something more? Other Italian singers who could have matched the 50more level are celentano (ok in the list) and Lucio Battisti Cheers --Sailko 13:46, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Well we have other foreign language sources, so I don't see why not. However, I think a second opinion, from an Italian speaker, would be useful. Robdurbar 13:59, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, where on the site does it acutally mention sales figures?? Robdurbar 16:34, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Near after the center it says: Ha venduto settantasei milioni di dischi means, she sold 76 millions of records.--Sailko 11:38, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm italian, I confirm that Mina could have sold so many copies, if not more. In the website there is clearly written Ha venduto settantasei milioni di dischi, ha inciso più di mille canzoni, centodieci sono i suoi album,, which is She has sold 76 millions of albums, recorded more than one thousand songs and released 110 albums. I think that also Lucio Battisti has sold over 50 milions copies but I can't find any sources in Google Italy. --Felyx 17:10, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok I've been adding Mina. As regards Claudio Baglioni I found he sold 23 million records "only", so not for the list. I will search more for battisti, he probably targeted, he was the n°1 in Italy.--Sailko 20:32, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok I found this [11] just 20 millions in Italy, probably his career was too short. Laura Pausini is at 25 and Eros Ramazzotti is at 35 [12], so that's all! Cheers!--Sailko 20:35, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

New link for Mina (singer) from offical web site (in Italian) search with CTRL+F Milioni which means millions, it's right at the center.--Sailko 11:17, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

True, Mina's sold 76M according to her website (likely as well). Celentano's sold 70M according to his own reciord company.[13] and [14] and [15] and [[16]]

NEWS : THE BEATLES are Best Selling-recording Act of All Time said the WMA

According to World Music Award website [17] The Beatles are the Best Selling Recording act of All Time (check news category). In 2000, the same WMA has also awarded Michael Jackson as the Biggest Selling Solo Artist of the Millenium, yes indeed, single artist does not mean artist in general speaking (band+singer together). Of course this info is based on IFPI standard counting. So if we take into account those two information we have :

  • THE BEATLES as the Best Selling Artist of All Time
  • MICHAEL JACKSON as the Best Selling Solo Artist of All Time

(according to IFPI countings)

But keep in mind that Elvis Presley has probably sold million of records (uncertified records around the world) that IFPI standards didn't register. Readerweb 20:52, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Well that's more relevant to the Best-selling music artist page, but I think that the WMA's figures are disputed too anyway. Robdurbar 00:01, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the WMA quote the Beatles, but they actually did NOT give Miachel the best-selling male artist of all time prize in 2000- check their website and you'll find it was a Legend Award (the Monte Carlo Tourist information Office says otherwise, but the WMA say 'Legend') which has nothing to do with sales. [18] This does not mean that he might as well be (personally, I think he IS). Only the WMA never gave him that prize. Also, the WMA use different sources (including magazine articles, will you believe it) to give prizes, they are not the right arm of the IFPI. The IFPI simply report what record companies declare- so you might as well check what record companies say.


This list currently (and the main posters here openly admit it) is skewed to favor artists from the rock 'n' roll era. Its reliance on RIAA records (which, again, the sites custodians openly admit are sadly incomplete and didn't even start until 1952).

The end result is that newbies like Britney Spears, Eminem and the Backstreet Boys get included on the list while the music industry's first superstar, and first artist ever to have a Platinum record, Al Jolson, does not.

It further limits the achievements of included earlier artists by cutting down their total sales figures to post-1952 (when many had gold records in the 30s and 40s as well).

And on top of this, by only including records that sold over 1 million copies, it particularly hurts the scores of 40s and 50s hitmakers whose 500 - 1000 records cut over a lifetime often sold well without reaching the million dollar mark. If an artist had 600 records that sold even as few as 50,000 copies each, that's an additional 30,000,000 worth of points from non-hits (which RIAA didn't count).

And again, as RIAA scores are for the United States only, they cripple the scores of artists who sold as well, if not better in Europe/worldwide.

If this list is to present itself as all-inclusive (that is, without a disclaimer in its title "Best-Selling Music Artists of the Rock Era"), it must open itself up to accepting various (often estimated) sources for earlier artists who are not fairly represented by RIAA.

Finally, and most significantly, this list fails to adjust sales scores to correspond to the total world population at the time of a record's initial release. For instance, Johnnie Ray's CRY sold 35 million to date. The world population in 1951 was approximately 2.5 billion -- on sixth of what it is today. A million-seller at that time meant that approximately 1 of every 2,500 people on the planet owned a copy of Johnnie Ray's CRY. A million-seller today, otoh, means that 1 of every 6,500 people own a copy of the record in question. That's a significant drop in percentages. In order to account for the increasing world population (and corresponding decrease in total sales as represented by the phrase "million-seller") this list must incorporate a system whereby the sales from an earlier period are multiplied to correspond to what their sales would have been based on a similar percentage of today's population. For instance, if Johnnie Ray's CRY originally sold 3 million copies in 1951, that would be the equivalent of 7.8 million copies today.

For purposes of making this system workable, I'd suggest the following scale: 1950-1959, multiply by 2.6 1960-1969, multiply by 2.2 1970-1975, multiply by 1.65 1976-1982, multiply by 1.45 1983-1988, multiply by 1.3 1989-1994, multiply by 1.2 1995-1999, multiply by 1.1 2000-present, do not multiply.

This is the only fair way to compare the sales of artists from different eras.  Anything less is a total sham.


Problems with the above:
  • This is NOT based on RIAA figures alone. Figures are taken from all over the world - from Italy, the UK, Japan and Germany, as well as the USA.
  • Nowhere on this page does it say that only albums sold over 1 million copies are included in our figures
  • This is not a list of your favourite, or most comparitavely succesful artists. It is a list of artists who have sold the most records. If Jonny Cash - a favourite of mine - sold less then he sold less.

Please actually read the list and look at the sources before making unfounded accusations. Robdurbar 09:06, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

I have read the list (and added several of the artists who currently appear on it). However, I do appreciate your adding the note about the ramifications from the much lower population count in past eras. Thank you. --MPendragon



If I understand what you've written in the above message, (and I don't claim to), you are trying to say Abba has sold more records than the Beatles and Elvis. Almost all of the (tiny shreds of) evidence we have on the record sales of these artists implies the opposite.--Zoso Jade 14:28, 30 March 2006 (UTC)


These were added with a link to their webpage that doesn't work; I've looked around at [19], but couldn't find any sales figures... does the user who added it know where the details are? Robdurbar 09:50, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Abba 105 millions

Norvège : #2 Suède : #2 Australie : 200.000 (sorti plus tard..)

Estimations mondiales : 1.000.000

Waterloo (1974) : USA : 200.000 UK : 100.000 Allemagne : 500.000 Australie : 130.000 Finlande : 25.035

Estimations mondiales : 2.000.000

Abba (1975) : USA : 100.000 UK : 150.000 Italie : 200.000 Australie : 600.000 Finlande : 25.358

  1. 1 au Zimbabwé....

Estimations mondiales : 2.500.000

The Best Of Abba (1975) : Australie : 1.100.000 Nouvelle-Zélande : 300.000 Allemagne : 500.000 Pays-Bas : + de 100.000 (9 semaines #1) Canada : 50.000

Estimations mondiales : 4.000.000

Greatest Hits (1976) : USA : 2.000.000 UK : 2.500.000 Finlande : 64.875 Allemagne : 750.000 Italie : 300.000 Canada : 500.000 Japon (version spéciale de 1977) : 321.000

  1. 1 en Norvège, #1 en Suède, #2 en Belgique, #1 au Zimbabwe…

Estimations mondiales : 11.000.000

Arrival (1977) : USA : 1.200.000 UK : 1.600.000 Australie : 850.000 Finlande : 86.420 Allemagne : 1.000.000 Italie : 150.000 Canada : 200.000 Pays-Bas : 50.000 ( ??? 8 semaines #1) Japon : 515.000

  1. 1 au Mexique, #2 en Suisse, #1 en Norvège, #1 en Suède, #1 en Belgique, #1 en Nouvelle-Zélande, #1 au Zimbabwe…

Estimations mondiales : 10.000.000

The Album (1978) : USA : 1.400.000 UK : 1.400.000 Finlande : 86.420 Allemagne : 500.000 Italie : 80.000 Canada : 200.000 Pays-Bas : + de 100.000 (5 semaines #1) Japon : 205.000

  1. 1 au Mexique, #1 en Suisse, #1 en Norvège, #1 en Suède, #1 en Belgique, #2 au Zimbabwe…

Estimations mondiales : 7.500.000

Voulez-Vous (1979) : USA : 1.000.000 UK : 1.000.000 Finlande : 81.895 Allemagne : 500.000 Canada : 200.000 Pays-Bas : + de 100.000 Japon : 404.000 Brésil : 1.500.000

  1. 1 en Argentine, #5 en Australie, #1 au Mexique, #4 au Canada, #1 en Norvège, #1 en Suède, #1 en Suisse, #1 en Belgique, #1 au Zimbabwe, #6 en France, #3 en Espagne, #2 en Nouvelle-Zélande…

Estimations mondiales : 9.000.000

Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1979) : USA : 600.000 UK : 1.000.000 Finlande : 25.000 Allemagne : 500.000 Pays-Bas : + de 100.000 (4 semaines #1) Japon : 847.000

  1. 1 au Canada, #2 en Suisse, #1 en Belgique, #2 au Zimbabwe, #5 en France, #3 en Espagne, #3 en Nouvelle-Zélande…

Estimations mondiales : 7.000.000

Super Trouper (1980) : USA : 1.000.000 UK : 1.500.000 Italie : 200.000 Finlande : 50.552 Allemagne : 1.000.000 Pays-Bas : ??? (9 semaines #1) Japon : 157.000 Brésil : 700.000

  1. 2 en Argentine, #5 en Australie, #1 au Mexique, #4 au Canada, #1 en Norvège, #1 en Suède, #1 en Suisse, #1 en Belgique, #1 au Zimbabwe, #8 en France, #4 en Espagne, #5 en Nouvelle-Zélande…

Estimations mondiales : 10.000.000

The Visitor (1982) : USA : 400.000 UK : 800.000 Italie : 100.000 Finlande : 66.439 Japon : 92.000 Pays-Bas : ?? 6 semaines #1 Allemagne : 500.000

  1. 3 en Afrique du Sud, #1 en Norvège, #1 en Suède, #1 en Suisse, #1 en Belgique, #1 au Zimbabwe, #6 en Espagne…

Estimations mondiales : 4.000.000

The Singles (The First Ten Years) (1982) : USA : 400.000 UK : 1.000.000 Allemagne : 250.000

  1. 1 en Afrique du Sud, #4 en Suisse, #1 en Belgique, #6 en France, #5 en Nouvelle-Zélande, #4 au Pays-Bas…

Estimations mondiales : 3.500.000

+ 3.000.000 pour divers best-of paru à la suite de leur séparation.

Gold – Greatest Hits (1992) : USA : 6.500.000 Canada : 1.200.000 UK : 4.300.000 France : 1.400.000 Finlande : 131.415 Allemagne : 2.000.000 Pays-Bas : + de 100.000 (minimum 300.000 à mon avis) Suisse : 450.000 (environ 550.000 m aintenant) Suède : 300.000 Pologne : 100.000 Autriche : 120.000 Espagne : 400.000 Italie : 600.000 Australie : 770.000 Nouvelle-Zélande : 180.000 Japon : 118.000 Irlande : + de 300 semaines classées, au moins 150.000 je pense, peut-être le double. Brésil : 1.800.000 Mexique : #1

Estimations mondiales : 25.500.000

More Abba Gold – More Abba Hits (1993) : Canada : 500.000 UK : 300.000 Allemagne : 250.000 France : 100.000 Suisse : 50.000 Autriche : 20.000 Brésil : 150.000

Estimations mondiales : 2.500.000

The Definite Collection (2003) : USA : 40.000 UK : 100.000 Allemagne : 200.000 Suède : 30.000 Suisse : 20.000 Italie : 100.000 Australie : 140.000

Estimations mondiales : 1.000.000

+ 2.000.000 pour d'autres best-of paru entre 1999 et 2001.

totals sold : 105.500.000 albums vendus.

200/250 million

Due to recent changes by some editors, I thougt I'd bring this one hear. Do people want to have the top category as 200 or 250 million? The reason that 250 million was chosen first was because it kept the top grouping fairly small. Recent changes have not moved up all artists with over 200 million sales given (for example, the last editor did not move queen up the list), so if it is done, then all the artists in the 100 million section would have to be checked. Toughts? Robdurbar 10:21, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Just a quick comment, I like this new version of the article, the old system of ranking was far too arbitrary to produce an accurate listing. All I can say is that this project is much better as far as accuracy than its predecesor. -- 23:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC) My only comment perhaps is that there be more bins because its a big leap from 100 million to 250 million. -- 23:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Bee Gees

Both "Bee Gees" and "The Bee Gees" are listed in the 100 million category. Which is correct? 04:35, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

So called IFPI Best selling artists of all time LIST probably accurate

According to ESCTODAY (Eurovision Song Contest Today) which is refering to IFPI, here are the 20 (of 150) best selling artists of all time [20] :

  1. 01.The Beatles 400,000,000 #02.Michael Jackson 350,000,000 #03.Elvis Presley 300,000,000 #04.Madonna 275,000,000 #05.Nana Mouskouri 250,000,000 #06.Cliff Richard 250,000,000 #07.The Rolling Stones 250,000,000 #08.Mariah Carey 230,000,000 #09.Elton John 220,000,000 #10.Celine Dion 220,000,000 #11.Pink Floyd 210,000,000 #12.Led Zeppelin 200,000,000 #13.Metallica 200,000,000 #14.Julio Iglesias 200,000,000 #15.Queen 180,000,000 #16AC/DC 180,000,000 #17Whitney Houston 180,000,000 #18.ABBA 160,000,000 #19.U2 150,000,000 #20.The Jacksons 150,000,000

This "independant" Eurovision site is reliable but there is something that bothered me though. The World Music Awards is always refering to IFPI [21] so why did WMA awarded Mariah Carey as the World's Best-Selling Female Artist of the Millennium in 2000 as she's only number 8 and Madonna number 4? I don't think Madonna has sold 50 million records since 2000 and then outsold Mariah Carey within 5 or 6 years. Anyway, WMA is keeping secret on this list, except the Beatles news on their website (as best selling act of all time), why can't they provide the second, the third, ...? IFPI website is just providing certifications of the year. IMO it is too conflicting for both (WMA and IFPI) to publish officially a list of the best selling artists of all time (with figures) as Music Companies and Majors won't probably accept it (again, it's my opinion). Readerweb 00:02, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

As seen before - this is a fake list Robdurbar 18:13, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Ok Rob, I just got the proof : definately a fake list. Readerweb 13:15, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

"World's best seller"

"The actual best selling musician in the world will probably never be known. Records of sales in many countries, particularly in the developing world, are poor and date back less than 20 years. The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley are all, however, regularly cited as being the top sellers. Less common claims are made for ABBA and Alla Pugacheva."

Led Zeppelin is often cited as the world's best seller. Not as often as The Beatles or Michael Jackson, but still. Why not add them to the "less common claims" area? -- 02:03, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Slight genre changes

I think this article could use some more specific genres. For instance, Billy Joel is 'not' pop, he is piano rock. I'll gladly make them myself, I was just wondering why they were all "pop", "Rock" "Country" or otherwise. Why not "progressive rock", "bluegrass", and "piano rock"? Are we trying to keep in simple? I'm just wondering, 'cause it's really bugging me.

To be honest, I'm not personally fussed by genre, I always take it to be a fairly arbitrary and meaningless division anyway. As the only person who bothers to check most of the entries on this page, I feel that you can go ahead and be bold but others may change it, of course. Robdurbar 09:27, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Can do. Prepare for some changes (Although I already did several) -- 22:34, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Done. It seems better to me, but I'm rather picky. Does it look like an improvement? -- 22:47, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

The BEE GEES Fifth Best seller?

According to BBC News Entertainment [22], The Bee Gees have sold more than 110 million records "placing them fifth in pop history behind Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney." 5th worldwide or only in UK? Paul McCartney has never been proclamed to be one of the world best selling artists, any thoughts? Readerweb 12:43, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

It's probably jsut lazy jounrlaism, which is kinda the problem with this page in general Robdurbar 14:19, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that's just a journalist's point of view. Lots of artists have sold more than 110M- proven records as well add up to much more than that (e.g. Madonna has cerified sales of 145M albums + 65M singles only between US and EU)


Pink Floyd sold over 250 million albums for sure!!!! Visit Pink Floyd article.

Frank Sinatra

What do people think about the latest claim? The site recokns that he's sold over 600 million records? Robdurbar 08:34, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Bernhard Vogel, one of the directing Sinatra-Experts speaks about circa 400-600 million sold records too.

Well, I highly doubt that. RIAA which sales reports are always said to be higher than exact records bought, stated that Frank Sinatra has sold more than 25 million albums in US. Well he could've sold more singles than albums (who knows?) but we all know that Frank Sinatra has sold especially in USA. I guess 400-600 million records sold is pure speculation though Frank Sinatra remains one of the most legendary artist/face in America. I don't know how much records he has sold but please don't make him having sold more than 250 million with this unreliable source (besides it is german, some people wouldn't understand). PS : Frank Sinatra is one of my favorites :). Readerweb 16:44, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

The RIAA-List only considers the Sinatra-Albums from 1962 to today and no Singles. But its fact, that his most successful years were from 1953 to 1970! Furthermore it only considers the US-Sales. Sinatra was extremly Successful in South America and Great Britain, the Brazil-Sales amount to a total of several ten Millions! 300 Million Sales are absolutely realistic, because the List on Wikipedia speaks of the the World's best-selling music artists, not Americas best-selling music artists. - Kasprak

Im in two minds on this one still... by the way, a source can quite easily be in a foreign language, though its obviously easier to get an english one. I'll do a bit of source hunting over the weekend and if others can do the same we might be able to find a position taken by the majority of sources. Robdurbar 17:12, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Basically, RIAA is always the first on starters to promote american singers. Do you know about Elvis Presley case? RIAA went back to find out about all the uncertified records between 1956 and 1960 in order to get the most realistic sales figure on him. That is the reason why lately they proclamed him as the US best selling SOLO artist of all time. Frank Sinatra has been also under this process/case (quiet hard to get through that counting) but still he doesn't appear on the US best selling artists. Even if he could have sold 100 million record before RIAA standards started, we don't have any proof but speculations, which some of them turn to be right I admit. BUT if we get the chance to find a reliable webpage (preferably english) then I would be so PROUD to see Frank Sinatra on the top. 300 million records seem to me realistic either, but we need something to rely on. Thanks Kasprak and Robdurbar. Readerweb 21:40, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

We have to admit that 40 Million Fans were registered in Sinatra Fan-Clubs (coevally)! In my case, we can assume that each one of these fans had leastwise one record! Kasprak

40 million fans can't be Seriously it doesn't bother me putting Frank Sinatra on 250 million place in the list. Ok let's keep him this way (more than 250 million sold) but meanwhile please anyone to find out another source (in english please/biete/s'il vous plait/por favor). Readerweb 21:01, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi There! I have forund a quiete interesting text, here it is:

Much as I love the Beatles music, I don't think their career chart accomplishments can compare with Frank's. I'm looking right now at the Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums, 3rd edition (1995). It lists:

Most Top 10 albums:

1. Sinatra 33 2. Rolling Stones 32 3. Elvis 25 4. Beatles 24

Most Top 40 albums:

1. Sinatra 51 2. Elvis 49 ... 8. Beatles 28

If we factor in all Frank's chart accomplishments prior to Billboard (Frank was #1 for many of those years). On p. 281 of the above book, it says that Sinatra charted _forty_ top 10 hits prior to 1954. His first charted album in Billboard is 1955's "In The Wee Small Hours". His first single on the Billboard charts is 1955's "Melody of Love."

Frank had six charting albums during his Columbia tenure, and two Capitol albums that pre-date Billboard. It's safe to say that "Songs For Young Lovers" and "Swing Easy" also charted. Add these eight to Frank's 51 and his 59 easily tops Elvis' total. We can add one to the Beatles total also, for their recent compilation "The Beatles 1".

Okay, now let's look at singles. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 7th edition (2000), lists the following:

Most Top 10 Singles:

1. Elvis 38 2. Beatles 34

Frank isn't even in the Top 30, with only 9. But add the _forty_ songs that Billboard says Frank charted prior to 1954, add that to Frank's nine listed in Billboard, and we have:

1. Sinatra 49 2. Elvis 38 3. Beatles 34

Frank doesn't have to take a backseat to Elvis, The Beatles, or anyone else

-How do you think this article? --Kasprak 04:09, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

It's interesting, but its not comparing 'sales'. Though Frank had more hits, those released in his early career - 30s/40s/50s were on sale in a time when far less music was bought. So its interesting but it doesnt change record sales ; Robdurbar 08:49, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Again ABBA

The official site seems to confirm: ABBA might have sold 370 million copies [23]. What about Tino Rossi? French article claims that he has sold over 300 million copies: just grandeur [24]? --Felyx 17:58, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Alla Pugachiova

Note that you COULD NOT buy most of western music in USSR unless at black market and you`ll see that you had not many alternatives in buying records. Also there were no comprehensive sales charts (and still no) in USSR. Records were exported in western european countries from USSR, by the way. The number seems high, but not unreal.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Where are they?

Deep Purple

What about Deep Purple?? I think they sold more than 50 000 000 copies.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

After the sales of "Stadium Arcadium", also Red Hot Chili Peppers' name should be added into the list of the music acts claimed to have sold 50 million records or more.

Prior to the album they had 45 million sales. I hear its sold about 1.1 million so far? Give it a few months... --Robdurbar 21:28, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Robdurbar. However, my previous information was also about their 2003 "Greatest Hits". But I will wait just the same. Bye. User:, 26/5/2006

Shouldn't they be on there now, i've added up the figures of all the albums they have sold and that comes to more than 50 million, I thought I would ask before adding however. --Ashl 5 August 2006

This was discussed a few months back. Prior to Stadium Arcadium they had sold | forty five million records. If we can find some figures that show they have since sold 5 million more (i.e. from stadium arcadium and associated singles) then they can go in. --Robdurbar 21:10, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Correction; sorry, that source says 45 million albums. So all that's needed is proof that they have sold 5 million+ singles in their career OR 5 million copies of Stadium arcadium. --Robdurbar 21:13, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
In fact, I'm going to add them! --Robdurbar 21:16, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
without any source? One rule for one artists, one for another...
No, with this one [25] --Robdurbar 19:05, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers had soled over 70 Mio. albums and should be in an higher list.

what the hell

So Who Has Sold The Most cause these list are put in alphabetical order instead of the highest sellers.

Read the article. Probably the Beatles or Elvis Presley but no-one knows ;) --Robdurbar 09:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

what the hell continued

With only 5 percent of the world population the USA is the largest music market in the world? Hahaha

Dixie Chicks

I'm sure the dixie chicks belong on this list somewhere, they're huge.

they were huge, you mean. 10:50, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

George Michael

My question is - the new source which says that he has sold '85 million records' - is that Wham and George Michael combined? Under rules for the page so far, we have only added artists who have sold 50 million under 1 monicker, as is noted in the intro. I'd be willing to change the rules perhaps, though the difficulty with this is that it becomes a bit more open to speculation.... as it is, I think he should be removed as having not sold 50 million records - thoughts? Robdurbar 21:41, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Same as Ozzy-see reply below. -- 03:36, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
I still think George Michael should earn an entry in the list; Wham was like an extended solo project, he should earn at least a "notible achiefment" in this article of something, the same counts for Ozzy. --
The thing is it then opens up a whole can of people who could go on the list: I'd be willing to here arguments otherwise, but it just seems that we currently have a system and we should stick by it. --Robdurbar 18:05, 23 October 2006 (UTC)


I vote for a delation of this article...

Too bad, 'cause it's already survived one. -- 17:23, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

my question is where is the source that nirvana has sold more than 250 million that seems a bit much to me especially as there is no source.

I think you'll find the article doesnt mention Nirvana (and certainly didnt when you made that comment)... --Robdurbar 10:35, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Pink Floyd

You say progressive, I say phychedelic. How about both? I think things like The Wall were more progressive, while things like Dark Side of the Moon and Animals were phychedelic.-- 03:16, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough. I've changed the entry itself to Progressive Rock/Psychedelic Rock. RaelImperialAerosolKid 03:26, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks.-- 03:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)


I'm certain that the band Santana was formed in California, United States. All members of that band are American citizens. I won't change the country of origin because I don't have a citation.

Beastie Boys

The link provided for this band isn't very specific, so I've removed it for now. The link is [26] - can anyone find where this page makes a claim regarding record sales? --Robdurbar 09:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I just dinked around there for a couple minutes and couldn't find anything. -- 22:07, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

if they beatles has sold more albums then ABBA...

Then why is ABBA on the top of the list??? -Dragong4

The list is in alphabetical order - Mtmtmt 06:33, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

i wish there was some type of source for ABBA's staggering sales figures. i mean, yes they were successful, but THAT MANY ALBUMS?!?! it seems VASTLY exaggerated to me, considering that Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, etc etc are all less.

Probably the fans of the other artists should be asking the record companies for correct data. At least there is evidence for ABBA's claim which makes it less likely to be disputed than most of the other groups/artists claims. Refer the discussion page on ABBA

There is no "evidence" for Abba sales, only record company say so. That's not real evidence. 01:50, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Call me dumb, but if this is about top-selling artists, shouldn't the list be by number of sales? Also, what about a list of best-selling albums? (Or did I miss that one...?) Trekphiler 20:35, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

you missed it. [27]

Deep Purple

How many copies have they sold worldwide?

According to this website over 100 million... I'll put them on the list. --Robdurbar 21:31, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Def Leppard Genre

It did say they were melodic rock. I changed it to hard rock, since that's what it says on the Def Leppard page. Bshbass 00:48, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

I consider them hair metal or glam rock myself, but this works too. -- 18:03, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

There's too many obscure sub-genres, for example Heavy Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal etc - why not make all the metal bands into 'Heavy Metal' - cos that's all they are


Does this article take into account re-purchases of releases, especially of older ones that started life as vinyl records? Some artists, like Bob Dylan and Tony Bennett, have very high re-purchase rates; that is, when a media-type transition occurs (vinyl-to-cassette, cassette-to-cd, cd-to-dvd, etc,.,) a 1958 Bennett album or a 1965 Dylan album is much more likely to post high sales numbers in the new format, even in comparison to albums that were more popular at the time of original release. Does this list in any way account for these re-purchases? In the cases of the two artists mentioned, these sales, properly tallied, would probably boost their overall totals by close to 1/3. JDG 22:43, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I would imagine 'probably'; there is no one source so no doubt some figures will include these and others won't. In the end, there is no way to differentiate between why people are buying records, so there's no reason for them to be excluded. --Robdurbar 07:55, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Of course they are included in the figures. Dylans sales totals haven't sat still for the last decade or so. 01:52, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

ZZ Top

They've sold more than 20 albums in the US, how many copies worldwide?

Actually, quite a few sources list them as selling 'at least 50 million records'... I'll add them. --Robdurbar 08:42, 31 May 2006 (UTC)


I forgot the link, but it said they've sold about 40 million copies around the world.

If you can find the link, you can have them on the list.-- 00:29, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

500 million

Suggest those that claim more be in their own category. Eg Bing, Sinatra, Elvis, Beatles.

That is, Im suggesting breaking up the categories into

a) >500 b) >300 c) >200 d) >100

from the current

a) >250 b) >100

This just makes it easier to digest the info. Theres too many acts in the current categories, and theres just gonna be more over time, as more recordings get sold. 12:55, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Well I don't think that membership is going to grow exponetially! I wouldn't bother with so many divisions at the higher end to be honest, because the figures become vaguer and less acurate the more copies sold. If we were to divide it up into more categories then I think that:

a) >300 million b) >200 million c) >150 million d) >100 million

would work best. The figures above about 300 million are far too vague and disputable to divide up further.

That said, I still like the current version, because it has stopped the vandalism/dodgy additions that this page has had. However, I'd be interested to see another version --Robdurbar 13:11, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

If we change anything I would suggest to have at least a 200 million category. The 250 million+ has too few and 100+ has too many. I suggest 300+, 200+, 100+...this would make it smaller groups for each Sarasote 11:10, 23 June 2006

It's fine as it is with 200 million being the top entry. It was made this way because of too much arguing who had sold the most. Any attempt to go beyond it will result in fans trying to get their favorite acts into the top colum and then other suggesting that it should go even higher because their favorite acts sold even more and then it will be prone to more vandlism. 01:55, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I would like to resurrect this discussion. There is filtering at lower values but then a big jump up from 100m to 250m. The likes of Pink Floyd sit in the 100m list even though they have sold double that figure. 100m, 200m, 300m, 500m separates the artists more akin to their actual sales.

I would like to re-close this discussion. This article is based on "claims not facts". Pushing up to 500 million will open it once again to more vandalism and even more inaccuracy. The current system has worked in reducing it! Let's keep it that way! There have been many debates and disputes (for very good reason) about Pink Floyd's sales. It seems your main concern is not for the good of the article, but moving Pink Floyd up the list.

That is your POV. I have no interest in Pink Floyd, but interest in true reflection of sales. Nobody was interested, so it does not matter anyway.
If something has worked in reducing valdlism in an article, that's not POV, that is fact. Surley if something has reduced vadalism that is a good thing. 01:06, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


Because the article was nominated by a user who has been indefinitely blocked, in part because of his tendency toward disruption; because the nomination, in contravention of WP:DP, failed to enumerate any valid grounds for deletion (and because neither did such grounds become evident in the course of the discussion); and because of WP:SNOWBALL's proviso that, where we can be eminently certain that a discussion will not yield any new argument or piece of information that will affect the disposition of the issue at hand, I closed this as a speedy keep. If anyone thinks it ought to have been handled differently, please let me know. Joe 19:39, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Sweet! I love this article. It just won't die. :) -- 20:14, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Ozzy Osbourne

Similar to the George Michael bit above, I've removed the entry for Ozzy Osbourne for now because I think the '70 million' probably refers to career sales, and not sales under one monicker, which is the current guideline for inclusion. Correct me if I'm wrong on that. We could change this - or create another table for these sort of acts specifically? --Robdurbar 09:57, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Nah, that'd take quite a while and probably give people grounds to finally delete this monstrosity. That link probably does refer to career sales, I.E., Black Sabbath and such, and therefore should not be included. If a legitimate site can be found that specifies the number of sales is just his solo career, that would work... Until then, it should probably be ommited. -- 03:32, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Eric Clapton

Can anyone find a source of how many albums Clapton has sold in his solo career? I think he would have easily surpassed the 50 million mark, but I haven't found anything to veryify this. --Geoffrey Gibson 02:15, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem is, he's been in The Yardbirds, Cream, and numerous other bands. Any type of sales record for him are kinda tricky; we don't know if that's his solo career or all his bands sales added together. If there's a link that specifically lists it as being him alone, there won't be a problem putting him here. Until then... We don't know for sure. -- 00:04, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

alphabetical listings?

Been to this page many, many times and just noticed - over 250 million is sorted alphabetically by christian names, and over 100 million alphabetically by surnames. Personally I find the christian name order easier to read, but harder to correct if adopted as more entries. Also stops mistakes like 'Prince' appearing in wrong position as it does now. Need a discussion on which way it should be? Or Robdurbar, leave it up to you :)

I'll add it to my 'to do' list ;). Seriously, though, I had done it intially by surname as this is a standard way to order people, but the top list got refactored to christian names. As christian is easier to read it probably works better, so yeah, change it or I will if I get the time --Robdurbar 18:06, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
Not. Should be by number of sales, no? --Trekphiler 20:37, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Jimi Hendrix

How many copies did he sell?

35 million it said on a documentary in 2004. 01:56, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

In the US he's sold more than 22 million, so probably he's sold more than 35 million worldwide.

John Lennon

Excluding the Beatles-years, of course.

I doubt he's sold 100 million, but (including sales since his death) he must have topped the 50 million easily. 01:57, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


The Beatles must be at the top, because EMI music and Guiness records both estimate they sold over ONE BILLION albums, very far away from the 2nd best selling group or artist.

The sources for Elvis Presley have the same claim, please read Best-selling music artist for more. There's no definitive source that has tracked every sale for the artists, therefore unilaterally claiming that The Beatles are the best selling artist would be hard to verify. As for this article, it doesn't distinguish between the artist with over 250 million albums+singles, they're listed alphabetically. - Bobet 21:29, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Michael jackson

To date I have not seen any factual or guestimates of Michael Jackson's overall sales details as a solo artist, that point him to be 'the biggest' seller of all time as mentioned. Highest I have seen is 350 million, which would put him under the guess given for Bing Crosby (900 million). Perhaps Bing Crosby should be mentioned before MJ?
The mention is on the basis of him being awarded the (highly disputed) 'best selling artist of the century' award in 2000 by the World Music Awards.--Robdurbar 08:45, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Then It should be removed now, as the WMA have since admitted he has been outsold by The Beatles

Dylan to hit 100 million mark with new album

Sony has tallied all Dylan purchases (not easy to do with all the dozens of re-releases in different formats), and puts him at "nearly 100 million" (see ). Sot it would seem reasonable to elevate him to the 100 million list here a few days after the release of "Modern Times" on August 28th, no? JDG 12:36, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd love to say yes, but what is 'nearly 100million records'? That could mean 94 million, which would still require this album to sell 6 million, a very high figure that would certainly take more than a few days. --Robdurbar 14:27, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

"Nearly 100 million" could mean 80 million, as it is well over half way there. A source that says Dylan has passed the 100 million mark will be needed, not one that says he is "nearly" there. Not that I think he is near it myself (could be wrong) as a Dylan Biography a few years back said he had just passed 64 million & I doubt he's selling that fast, but anyway, Wikipedia only needs a verifible source. Just look at Chubby Checker (250 million), I doubt he's sold that many myself - more than Dylan, Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks and as many as Elton John? Seems a bit far fetched to me, but there you go. 01:22, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

75 million albums section

How about adding a section for artists who sold 75 million albums or more. The 50 million list is pretty darn long (over hundred artists), and I reckon at least half of those listed there have sold at least 75 million, so I suggest create a new list for those to avoid extra scrolling. --Gusiman 01:04, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

If it works then I don't see why not. --Robdurbar 05:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

John Denver

I'm not sure why John Denver has been reverted back into the 100 million section; the soruce claims 60 million albums, so he should be in the 50 million section. Clearly, he will have sold singles too, but there is no source for those. --Robdurbar 19:18, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Another source (non-external link) was cited. Denver sold over 100 million albums according to that source. Editor19841 (talk) 19:28, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh yes - mind you, it shouldn't have been copy-edited out of the article AND its very lazy editing to revert an edit with numerous changes just because one was incorrect. --Robdurbar 19:35, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


it has been said that motorhead have sold over 100 million albums worldwide

You'll need a source (i.e., a website) that says so. Otherwise we can't put them here. -- 19:24, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Motörhead haven't sold over 100 million records. Otherwise it would be mentioned in Lemmy's biography. He always said that the album sales were good or not that good or even bad. They probably sold about 20 million albums...

Tom Jones

Can anyone with better searching skillz find a cite (album liner notes, etc.) that lists how many Tom Jones has sold? Surely he has sold 50 million over his career. Shawn Pickrell 21:35, 17 August 2006 (UTC)


At the start of the Some Kind of Monster DVD it claims that they have sold over 80 million albums, yet they are only under the 50 million of more section, not the 75 million or more. Harvester of Sorrow 21st August 2006

If you can provide the full details of the DVD (release date, ISBN number etc.) then it could be 'upgraded'. --Robdurbar 19:40, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Not needed. The ref alreadys says 85 million. --Maitch 20:17, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Counting "St. Anger"? That might at least be another 5 million albums. And what about the back catalogue? Probably another 5 million albums...

Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Little Richard

Can anyone quote the sales for these rock n roll legends? I have searched and found nothing, but sure they should be on the list.

"Top female artists" in the world's best seller section

What's the point of this when it goes against the list itself, the sources of the list, and the main article of the section, Best-selling music artist? Alla Pugacheva and Nana Mouskouri are both at the 250 million+ category (Pugacheva's source says 250 million and Mouskouri's 300 million). Mariah Carey's sources list sales of 170 million and Madonna's 250 million, yet they get mentioned as the two top selling female artists for some reason. - Bobet 22:31, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

My response to this is covered by my response to the 'fundamentally flawed' comment. I agree with you that we should not start messing about by making such claims - I think they were added by an editor who was unfamiliar with the history and problems of this article. --Robdurbar 10:55, 30 September 2006 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure that INXS have sold over 50,000,000.

James Last

The german band leader James Last sold over 80 Mio records (this is what he told his readers in his autobiography that has just been published). Others sources say, that he sold over 100 mio records. So - his name is not in the list! Why? grafkoks2002 15:30, 25 September 2006 (CEST)

This list is put together as people find out the details. If it is omitted it is because nobody has stepped forward with the information yet. It is not intentional.

Fundimentally flawed

The title of this article is 'Best selling Artists' but it appears that to amend this to suit several 'editors' break their own rules to suit the baseline of the originating article. When asked my MJ was here, told because he was awarded title of best solo artist of millenium. Originating article contradicts this (in discussion) saying title was best male pop artist. Originating artical says 'sold up to 300 million'. Half those on the over 250 list are bigger sellers than this. Top band seller is Beatles. Top solo is Elvis. MJ isn't even close to next. If you intend keeping him, and his only award was top male artist, then top female artist should be allowed also as others have being saying. This is supposed to portray accuracy, credibility, and consistancy.

I wouldn't go that far. A few changes have been made recently which I agree go against the spirit of the list. The 'best-sellers' section simply states that MJ, The Beatles and Elvis Presly are all the most regularly quoted as the world's best seller. The Beatles and Elvis both have record labels who say around 1 billion records, and the Beatles also have the authentification of the Guiness Book of Records. Jacko has the world music award, which implicily would place his sales figures above Presly's, thus warranting a mention as a potnetial best seller.
This article is not the place for us to start making claims about the single best selling band/male/female/singing dog etc. --Robdurbar 10:53, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Although I think accuracy should take precidence over claims, WMA did award him 'Best Artist ever' in 1996. [28] I retract my previous comment, with a footnote that 'best' does not necessarily mean 'biggest'.

"Often quoted"? Jackoff's also "often quoted" as "King of Pop", & I'm not buying that, either. --Trekphiler 20:40, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for that helpful constructive criticism. You're right, that that ought to be sourced; I know it can be - I recall reading quite a few sources that say it Robdurbar 07:15, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
We don't make offensive remarks in the subjects you find interesting (Star Trek, WWI&II avaiation etc), so refrain from doing this to others. This is not a sounding board for your own bias opinions.

Boney M

Currently there is one article circulating the net claiming 800 million sales. This was publicity more than fact. The majority of site (including their new autobiography) state 100 - 150 miiion which is more realistic. = 100 million = 150 million [link to copyvio website removed] = 150 million

I was surprised by the figure but this 'article circulating the net' was actually an aritcle published in a major British national newspaper, The Independent (I happened to buy the paper that day and thought of this article straight away when I saw it!). The other sources, whilst all similar, are far less reputable than this one - what would others suggest we go with? --Robdurbar 13:33, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

It is amazing how quickly this spread. What Boney M have sold is 800 'gold' certified albums/singles worldwide. Possibly someone has assumed that gold = 1 million in sales, but that is not the case. In some countries gold certification is as low as 30,000 copies. Boney M selling close to the Beatles? Boney M selling twice as much as ABBA? The figure is clearly wrong.

OK, agreed. --Robdurbar 20:06, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Michael Jackson's genre/style

I know Michael Jackson has recorded songs in alot of different styles, but is the long, long list of genres next to his name necesary(sp)? Can't you just say pop/rock/r&b, as that seems to be the styles he mostly writes/records/performs in? Street walker 11:08, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Inaccurate list

I think the fillowing Indian and Pakistani artists should be included in your list: Lata Mangeshkar Mohammed Rafi Kishore Kumar Nazia Hassan 15:21, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

If you can find a reliable source for the sales of those artists, please feel free to add them to the list. The problem with Indian artists (at least the ones you listed) is that they mostly make music for films and would probably not be credited with sales for film soundtracks (since there's usually more than one artist working on them) and their traditional album and singles sales would probably not be that high. But as stated before, if you find a source listing their sales that would make them eligible for the list, great. - Bobet 00:35, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Dan crook54 00:16, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Pink Floyd Again

Pink Floyd is currently under the 100 million or more category, but if you go onto the Pink Floyd Article is says that they have sold over 250millions world wide. Should they not be put into the higher category?

No, they should stay at the lower heading unless a reliable source for the 250 million statement can be found. I looked at the article on Pink Floyd and their sales claim is sourced from an article that is a mirror of the same wikipedia article, which is pretty ridiculous for obvious reasons (and I'll make a mention it on the relevant talk page too). - Bobet 00:28, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Can we thus remove Alla Pugacheva (and others) because of the unreliable claim about her?  ProhibitOnions  (T) 08:51, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
The only that we've really been prohibiting so far is sourcing from Wikipedia or its mirrors - because they are notorious for basically making up sales figures; and because we simply can't go sourcing from ourselves.
I think the next logical step with this list - if it were to ever reach featured status - would be to cut down again, making links from fan sites inappropriate (i.e. leaving us with newspaper articles, official websites, music websites, book blurbs or record company press releases). --Robdurbar 09:02, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Unreliable is one thing, relying on a self-reference as a source is another, especially when it goes against every other available source. You can't go on claiming "wikipedia is right because wikipedia says so", since that's a pretty popular example of a logical fallacy. If sourcing like that was allowed, you might just as well get rid of the requirement for any sources. - Bobet 17:35, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Robdurbar I'm sure you mean well, but really think about it. How will Record company press releases (issued by the people who created "hype") Newspaper articles (sources that repeated "hype", or articles written by people who like to make out their own favorite bands have outsold everyone else) official websites (where the PR hype is once again repeated), etc. be any more reliable than fans sites? They are not. It'll take a lot more than just cutting out the fan sites to make this list correct, or anywhere near correct. 00:42, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Except, I don't think it will ever be anywhere near correct. There's no objective source that can be used here; there's not been anyone measuring these numbers ever. Hence the caeats and the introduction and the general vagueness of the categories. --Robdurbar 08:33, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I am actually working on a book right now about the history of popular music, I am looking at reports from the music industry of years gone by about record sales and chart history from all over the world. While it may not be possible to have a 100% accurate list, it is indeed possible to get one a lot better. My book is going to take about ten years of time to research and write, however, but one day when it's done and published, we might have something a lot better to use. 21:31, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

AC/DC is an Australian/U.K. act

AC/DC should be listed as an "Australian/U.K." act, as the singer they've had for most of their history, Brian Johnson, is British.


While I can't verify this with a source at the moment, just glancing through Nightwish's website suggests that they are over the 100 million sales mark having at least one CD (Once) certified platinum in numerous countries and having huge sales worldwide. I may be misreading this (in which case, bash away!), but they may be worthy of mention. Bluemoonflame 06:08, 28 October 2006 (UTC)bluemoonflameBluemoonflame 06:08, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I'm pretty sure they're not even close. Helsingin Sanomat says 2,5 million. Granted, the article is a year old, but they've had no new releases since and I really doubt their sales have increased that much since then. As Music recording sales certification#List of international sales certification thresholds shows, the amount of gold/platinum records isn't a very good indicator of total sales since the thresholds vary so much between countries. In their come country, Finland, Nightwish have sold around 100,000 copies of their newest album, which makes it a triple-platinum seller. - Bobet 15:47, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

--- Sure! Nightwish sold more than Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Metallica...Give me a break. What is this? A fanpage?


According to Raymone Bain official statement [29], Michael Jackson will be receiving the Diamond Award from World Music Award (15th of November, London) for having sold over 100 million albums but up to 750 million units.


On Utada], this page is linked to at the bottom yet I do not see her at the bottom.

Well that's an issue for the editors on that page. But, if she has sold over 50 million records, add her on (with source!) --Robdurbar 09:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


According to the Shakira Dicography Wikipedia article(still in discussion), you can assume Shakira has sold over 50 million copies, but reading to a BBC article dating September 27th, she has only sold around 30 million albums. So I don't know which believe. Juanchito2006 00:58, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

We generally don't accet Wikipedia discographies as sources on this page. But if one were to collect various sources to prove sales over 50 million, we could use those sources here. --Robdurbar 10:11, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Shakira is still selling Hips Don't Lie, Oral Fixation