Top artists (daily update) - ChartMasters (2024)

Here you will find our up to date list of all-time best selling artists.

This top is evaluating and comparing artists’ success across all formats, which are weighted on par thanks to our CSPC concept. The top is updated daily.

Top artists – CSPC best selling artists of all-time

Want to see your favorite artist covered?
Vote for them in our requests leaderboard!

How it works

The table above shows the top artists of all-time using the following ratios:

  • Studio album: sales of the original album (ratio 1/1)
  • Other LPs: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album (ratio 1/1)
  • Physical singles: sales of physical singles from the album (added to CSPC total with a ratio 3/10 for 2-tracks, 5/10 for EPs and Maxis)
  • Digital singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1.5/10 for CSPC total)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/6750 for Video stream)
  • Setting up accurate best selling artists lists

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    For decades, marketing tricks from labels and lack of education from media led to various myths about the best selling artists of all-time getting repeated so often that the general public assumed it was true.

    Today, the same lack of education on the matter continues to be a pain for accuracy lovers. Most of these lists floating around online are either flat lists of RIAA certifications or a mere sum of all certifications from all countries. The first are given only on-request, sparsely for many artists, and relate to the US only. The latter are adding together apples and oranges by mixing distinct formats and different national streaming conversion methods.

    Our home-made solution : the CSPC and equivalent album sales

    To solve these flaws, we introduced several years ago the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC).

    If you are not familiar with this concept, it consists in retrieving sales figures from every format and weighting them on par with album sales. That’s what we call equivalent album sales (EAS), or simply CSPC units.

    In doing so, we grant that comparisons between artists from different periods make sense, unlike lists based on raw records totals.

    The method also secures that the same formula applies to all artists. So we are avoiding issues related to the varying conversion rate used for streaming in different markets as well as by most labels on their communications.

    How we work on it

    When applying this concept to an artist, our team go into the tank. We analyze all data available, from charts, certifications, internal reports, or official scanning systems. Through the years, we developed various methods to fill the holes, backing all numbers on meaningful indicators. In-between, we have also discovered thousands of receipts.

    To make everything as transparent as it gets, all figures for sales have been detailed on each artist article, available through the link under their name. We also show dates of updates, both for sales and for streams.

    The column ‘Other LPs’ includes long formats made of already released material like greatest hits compilations, box sets, live records, bootlegs, and music videos.

    Digital singles include both downloads and ringtones. Streaming units include both audio and video streams.


    An ongoing process

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    Obviously, digging into the catalog of an artist takes time. It would be easy to simply copy/paste RIAA’s most certified artists list in a minute. Given our ambition, the largest discographies require several weeks of study, with several people involved.

    Most top artists have been studied by now, but some are still missing. The main ones are Neil Diamond and the Beach Boys.

    These omissions are listed on this page, which enables users to vote for the next pick. As soon as a CSPC article is released, we treat the new leader of the requests list. You can vote too!


    The automatic update of streams

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    As part of our process to get all artists treated at the same time, we have been implementing tools to automatically keep numbers up to date every day whenever it is possible.

    We also developed a tool to retrieve updated Spotify streams by artist. Thus, we are able to increase accordingly the streaming units of artists part of our all-time top artists leaderboard.

    For further details, feel free to use the comment section.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who’s the best selling artist of all-time?

    The Beatles are the best selling artist of all-time with over 420 million equivalent album sales. More than 85 million sales behind, Michael Jackson is runner up ahead of Elvis Presley.

    Who’s the best selling solo artist of all-time?

    Michael Jackson is the best selling solo artist of all-time with nearly 340 million equivalent album sales. Elvis Presley is a close runner up, with Madonna completing the top 3 lower down.

    Who’s the best selling female artist of all-time?

    Madonna is the best selling solo artist of all-time with nearly 250 million equivalent album sales. Celine Dion is runner up at 200 million, while Taylor Swift is closing in behind, now at 180 million.

    Who are the top artists currently?

    As revealed by our list reflecting the most streamed artists on digital streaming platforms, Drake, Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny are the biggest artists worldwide in recent years, with the addition of BTS thanks to their heavy album sales.

    Are the Beatles and Elvis Presley over 1 billion records sold?

    No. While their success is indeed outstanding as they rank 1st and 3rd among all-time top-sellers, the billion claims made in the early 80s were based on an old accounting method using singles equivalent, where each album sale was valued as 6 units. Under this method, each of the 20 artists with over 167 million equivalent album sales on this page would be over 1 billion “records” sold.

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    Top artists (daily update) - ChartMasters (2024)

    FAQs

    Does Spotify tell you if you're someone's top listener? ›

    If you're in the top 1% of listeners for a certain artist, you'll either receive an email notification, or you'll get a pop up notification on your phone screen.

    What is the highest percent listener you can get on Spotify? ›

    Spotify uses these percentages to rank listeners, with the top 0.001% being the best percentage you can get. This indicates you are one of the biggest fans of that particular artist.

    Who is the #1 artist in the world? ›

    Chart: Taylor Swift Retains Crown of World's No. 1 Recording Artist | Statista.

    Who is the #1 selling artist of all time? ›

    Best-selling artists worldwide as of 2022

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

    What does it mean to be in the top 0.05 of listeners? ›

    Recognition as a Top Listener: Being in the top 0.05% means that you have listened to the artist more than 99.95% of their other listeners [2]. This shows a high level of dedication and commitment to their music. Exclusive Status: It is a badge of honor that sets you apart from the majority of listeners.

    What is the top 0.5% fan? ›

    Significance of the Top 0.5%: Being in the top 0.5% of listeners means that you are among the most devoted fans of that particular artist [2]. It shows that you have spent a significant amount of time listening to their music and have likely formed a strong connection with their songs.

    How much money is 1000000 listeners on Spotify? ›

    How much does 1 million streams on Spotify pay? The payment for 1 million streams on Spotify can vary, but it is generally estimated to be around $4,000 to $7,000. This amount is, however, split between the streaming platform and the rights holders.

    What is top 0.5% listeners on Spotify? ›

    What does it mean to be in the Top 0.5% on Spotify? It's unclear what exact criteria you need to get into the upper echelons of the Top 0.5% or Top 0.1% or even Top 0.005% but we imagine it's listening to that artist non-stop for the 10 months that helps Spotify calculates your ranking.

    How much is 1,000 listens on Spotify? ›

    As mentioned, each platform pays differently and has different factors that come into play to determine your stream's total payout. As for how much Spotify pays per stream, they pay roughly $0.04 per 10 streams. So, 1000 streams would be around $4, and 100,000 streams would be $400.

    Who's the hottest artist right now? ›

    U.S. Most-Streamed Artists
    • Taylor Swift.
    • Drake.
    • Morgan Wallen.
    • The Weeknd.
    • Bad Bunny.
    • 21 Savage.
    • SZA.
    • Zach Bryan.
    Nov 29, 2023

    What is the best selling song of all time? ›

    According to Guinness, "White Christmas" sold over 50 million copies. The single is known as the "best-selling single of all time". It was released before music charts were created.

    Who is the biggest female artist of all time? ›

    Madonna has nine albums on the list (1983–2005), more than any other artist. Celine Dion has seven albums on the list (1993–2002). Mariah Carey has seven albums on the list (1990–2005). Whitney Houston has six albums on the list (1985–2000).

    Who has sold the most concert tickets ever? ›

    The Rolling Stones

    Which artist has sold 1 billion records? ›

    Record Sales

    It is estimated that more than one billion Elvis Presley records have been sold worldwide. From his early sessions at Sun Records to the end of his career and beyond, Elvis albums and singles enjoyed strong sales across every format–vinyl, cassette, CD and digital.

    Can you tell if someone listens to your Spotify playlist? ›

    While it would be convenient to know precisely who has listened to your playlists, Spotify's current features do not permit this. However, you have the ability to check Spotify streams and see how many times your playlist has been played overall, which can help you gauge how well-liked it is.

    What does it mean to be top 0.5 listener on Spotify? ›

    Explanation: When you are recognized as a top 0.5% listener on Spotify, it signifies that your listening habits on the platform are among the most dedicated and frequent. Spotify calculates this based on the amount of time you spend streaming music on their platform compared to other users.

    What does top 0.5 listeners mean on Spotify? ›

    It reflects that you are in an artist's top listening base and essentially means you listen to their music more than the average listener. This percentage is only shown for your most-listened-to artist, not for all of them.

    Can people tell who listens to their Spotify? ›

    Key Takeaways: Spotify does not provide a direct feature to see who views your profile, but there are alternative methods you can try. Followers and likes on Spotify have different meanings. While you can see the number of followers a playlist has, you cannot see the specific users who liked or followed it.

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