Which musical artists sold the most records from 1969 to 2021? A question we will try to answer in this new article that analyzes the data of annual certified record sales. The data we’ll see in the video, and in the other charts, are worldwide.
Last years data includes sales of digital singles as reported by online music retailers and streaming services.
Top 10 Selling Music Artists – 1969/2019
Let’s start with an initial question. Which artists sold the most in 1969? In the first position, in 1969, we find The Beatles. The band born in 1960 and still active, in 1969 was in the first position worldwide with $1,913,500. 1969 for The Beatles corresponds to the release of two of the world’s best known albums. Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road. The American singer, born in Tupelo on January 8, 1935, and remained in activity from 1953 to 1977, published at the end of the ’60s two studio albums. From Elvis in Memphis and From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis. Elvis Presley who finished 68 times in the Billboard Top 20 from 1956 to 1977 (in 1969 with 3 hits).
Also in the top 10 in 1969, in third position, was Simon & Garkunkel. This folk duo, who were active from 1957 to 1970 and released a total of 13 albums (5 of which were studio albums) in 1969, came in behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. In the top 10 of 1969 we also find several groups who wrote the history of rock music. These include The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Doors.
Best selling-album in History
We’ve seen the year-by-year data above. But globally, which is the album that has sold the most records in history? According to the number of certified copies Trhiller, by Micheal Jackson, is the most successful album ever. With 47.3 million copies sold, the album released in 1982 is in the top position. The copies sold, declared, are instead 70 million. At the second place among the certified copies we find the Eagles with “Their Greatest Hits 1971/1975) with 41.2 million copies sold. In this case the gap between certified and declared copies is not very far, on the contrary. The declared copies are 42 million. The Eagles’ album was released in 1976. In third place among the best selling albums of all time is Whitney Houston/Various Artist who released “The Bodyguard” in 1992. The R&B album has sold 32.4 million copies since its release, with 45 million reported.
In the first 5 positions of sold copies (certified) we find not only the Eagles, with the album Hotel California (able to sell 31.5 million certified copies). But also Adele that, with the album “21”, released in 2011, has managed to sell 30.8 million copies, ranking fifth. Among the first positions at global level we also find rock groups that have written the history of music. Among these are AC/DC with Back in Black released in 1980, which to date has sold 29.6 million copies, Led Zeppelin with Led Zeppelin IV, Metallica with the album “Metallica of 1991”, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and others.
Above you can see an interesting graph. In fact, among the bubbles, not only the individual albums are shown. But the individual albums that fall into the chart above, by group. The data takes into account only the albums that have sold more than 30 million copies. In this case Michael Jackson is still in first position with a total id 86.5 million copies sold, adding Trhiller, Bad and Dangerous, followed by the Eagles with 72.7 million total and Their Greatest Hits and Hotel California, and in third place The Beatles with 3 albums, 1, Abbey Road and SGT. Pepper’s and a sum of 56 million certified album copies sold.
The artists and groups that sold the most records in the 1970s
Topping the list of the 10 artists and groups that sold the most records in history, year by year, from 1970 to 1980, are groups such as the aforementioned Beatles (1970 to 1972) and more. In 1973, Led Zeppelin took first place, from 1974 to 1975 Elvis, then Elton John in 1975-1976 and The Eagles for the remaining years until 1980. Groups that wrote the history of pop-rock music and wrote and played songs that are still among the most popular songs in the world today.
It was in the 1970s that some of the most important albums in rock music history were released: from Who’s Next by The Who in 1971, to Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd in 1973, to Led Zeppelin IV also in 1971.
Music from the 80s to 2000
From the ’80s to the ’00 the ranking is almost always dominated by a single artist: Micheal Jackson. His leadership among the 10 best selling artists in history was only surpassed in 1986 and 1991 by Madonna, in 1994 by Withney Houston and from 1997 onwards by Celine Dion and in the following years the advent of Pop music with The Backstreet Boys. In these years between 1980 and 2000, among the 10 best selling artists there are also Queen, Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, Nirvana, ACDC and the legendary Bruce Springsteen.
Best-selling albums since 2000 to 2021
And who are the artists who have sold the most albums since 2000? Eminem from 2001 to 2008, Rihanna from 2008 to 2013, Drak from 2013 to 2019. In the chart of the last twenty years there are also artists like Maroon 5, Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
Source and links
💽 The figures for the last few years also refer to digital sales.
Data source: RIAA, IFPI, record companies
To watch the video with data on the artists and groups that sold the most records from 1969 to 2019: https://youtu.be/60Q24A9pOyA
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