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Subject: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: KillerQueen on 09/26/05 at 4:26 am

Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time? Not only in the US, but worldwide.

I'd say it is between The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.

The case for the Beatles
The Beatles have released 40+ studio and compilation albums. It's been reported that they have sold over 1 Billion, but I choose not to believe this. I find it hard to believe that over a billion copies of their records were even printed.
They only had 12 high selling studio albums: Please Please Me, Meet the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Beatles for Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles ("White Album"), Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let It Be. Than on top of that the only compilation that was a huge major success was Beatles 1. So out of the 40+ Beatles albums released, only about 13 were big successes. But let's say 15 because there were albums big in some countries that sold little elsewhere (Magic Mystery Tour was only a success in US).
The biggest selling Beatles album is the White album which sold 20 million and probably a further 10-20 million worlwide. The White album has sold about 30-40 million worlwide. Apart from this record, I don't think any Beatles album has sold much more than 10 million worldwide. I'd say they sold approx. 10-20 million for each of the 13 album I listed. So that an easy 150-200 million.
They released alot of singles that sold really well. On average, most of their singles sold about 1 million or more. I'm sure siome of their big singles would have sold 5 million or maybe even more. The Beatles would've have released over 50 singles. So that 50, or maybe even 100 million. That means, so far 300 million records have been accounted for.
If you account for all the albums that sold insignificant copies, it probably adds up to a further 25-50 million.
I'd conclude that the Bealtes have sold approx. 300-350 million records worldwide.
If you know any offical record sales for The Beatles to support the 1 Billion+ claim, than please be my guest.

The case for Elvis Presley
The guy has released over 500 albums believe it or not. Most are compilations. His highest selling album was 30 #1 hits (2002) which sold 6 million worldwide. Even if every album only sold 1 million, that it 500 million albums sold worlwide. But I doubt every album sold 1 million. There were some compo's that only sold 100, 000 or less. I'd guess he has sold no more than 400 million and no less than 300 million. But then you add on his singles sales and it would probably come to 500 million anyway.
So my guess would be that Elvis has sold approx. 500 million records worldwide.

The case for Michael Jackson
Michael jackson is famous for the Thriller album which has sold an amazing 50-60 million worldwide. On average he sells about 20-30 million copies per album. But he has only released 6 studio albums and 4 compo's. If you do the maths that is about 200 million album copies. But that is only his Sony albums, Motown never registered with RIAA or anyone else to count their album or single sales. But I'd guess he sold about 50-100 million of his Motown solo albums all together.(Ben, Got To Be There, Forever Michael, Music & Me etc.) So that brings his total to 250-300 million. Than you have to include his single sales which would be about 50 million or more.
I'd say Michael Jackson has sold approx. 300-350 million records worlwide.

So by my calculations, Elvis is the biggest selling artist with about 500 million records sold worlwide. The Beatles and Michael would have sold about the same.

What do you guys think?


Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: JamieMcBain on 09/26/05 at 12:16 pm

Elvis.

Artist still living, Micheal Jackson.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 09/26/05 at 7:50 pm

http://kore.mitene.or.jp/~jamboree/baltimora.jpg

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: kzu on 10/03/05 at 2:44 pm

The answer is The Beatles. Remember that the numbers you get are mostly from the sold cd's. The Beatles have been big for 40 years now, remember that after they sold millions and millions in the 60's, in the 80's when CD format came, it sold again. And on cassettes. Can you for example think of any school in the world without Beatles records there? The amount of sold records really is around one billion. And once again when some new format cames, The Beatles is going to sell millions and millions again. Did you know that in 2001 (or 2000 or 2002 can't remember for sure) The Beatles was the band that made more money than any other band in the world that year, after 30 years after it stopped doing music ? That includes Britney Spears and all the others that we're at their biggest on that time.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Paul on 10/03/05 at 3:01 pm

Our chums over at Wikipedia may provide you with a few pointers...

...and 'pointers' are all they can claim to be, as there is no worldwide list of record sales to go on - so it's all an estimate...

...mind you, I'm rather surprised to see Nana Mouskouri placed so high!

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: RockandRollFan on 10/03/05 at 6:59 pm

In just my own personal collection I have all the Beatles Albums and just a 45rpm record of Michael Jackson's "Ben"  :)

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: whistledog on 10/03/05 at 7:43 pm

What about Cliff Richard?  He's had close to 150 hits from 1958-present day  :)

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: zcrito on 10/03/05 at 7:48 pm


http://kore.mitene.or.jp/~jamboree/baltimora.jpg


Just great. I heard his song on the radio two weeks ago and it was in my head for days -- now it'll be back in there one more time.
(actually, it sounds better now than it in the '80s  ??? )

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: lastofthefamous on 10/04/05 at 2:04 pm

michael jackson for sure.. it's really sad that a child molester can be famous but that's how or society is.  :-\\

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: ultraviolet52 on 10/04/05 at 2:10 pm


What about Cliff Richard?  He's had close to 150 hits from 1958-present day  :)


That's rightly so. Cliff Richard was recently given some title by the British last year - Probably something like artist with most hits, etc. And he has - He's been around for a LONG time!

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Comcast Sux on 10/04/05 at 2:30 pm

What about Mozart? Or are you only talking performers?

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 10/04/05 at 2:43 pm


What about Cliff Richard?  He's had close to 150 hits from 1958-present day  :)
With record sells in the UK, Cliff Richard does come up tops.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: BrianMannixGirl on 10/08/05 at 6:13 am


That's rightly so. Cliff Richard was recently given some title by the British last year - Probably something like artist with most hits, etc. And he has - He's been around for a LONG time!


"some title" ?? 

He was knighted by the Queen for his services to charity over 40 years. "Sir" is definately "some title".

Yes indeed around for a long time - he is the only artist who has had a number one single in every decade since the 50's. Several years ago he finally beat Elvis's UK total figure for singles in the charts - it was one of his only goals left.

I could rattle off his statistics ad nauseum (having been a fan for 34 years and seeing him in concert 17 times and owning 95% of everything he has ever recorded) but no point as he wouldnt actually be the biggest selling artist of all time per the title of this thread.

My assumption would be Wacko Jacko - only because whenever you read about Thriller its always followed by "highest selling album of all time".  Followed by Elvis then Beatles.

I would have to think someone like Madonna would be a close fourth if this is based on world sales.

There must surely be a site out there with exact (or close to) stats on this topic !!

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: whistledog on 10/08/05 at 12:36 pm

and how about Status Quo?  They only had 2 hits over here, but I know in the UK, they've had 54 top 40 hits since 1968 :)

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Marcus on 10/19/05 at 8:38 am


With record sells in the UK, Cliff Richard does come up tops.


No, with single sales only, Cliff Richard comes up tops. Factor in EP's and Albums, and the Beatles dominate this.

Cliff Richard has sold in the UK (by far his biggest market), a shade under 21m singles - with the help of the Shadows. The Beatles have sold 20.8m. However the Beatles had double the amount of #1 EP's, and spent an incredible 174 weeks at #1 in the UK album charts compared to just 30 weeks of Cliff Richard (Elvis is 2nd with about 60 weeks).

Also, Paul McCartney has sold 9.5m singles as a solo artist in the UK, so combine that with his 20.8m within the Beatles, and the most successful artist in Britain is Sir Paul McCartney.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Powerslave on 10/19/05 at 7:32 pm

There's 11 Australian artists on that Wikipedia list. I'm impressed by that.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: ultraviolet52 on 11/15/05 at 4:48 pm

Well, according to various sources, Paul McCartney is the biggest selling artist of all time.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: not a countryfan on 04/17/08 at 12:42 am

ive checked numerous sources and how can none of you mention garth brooks  hes second only to the beatles

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/17/08 at 1:09 am


ive checked numerous sources and how can none of you mention garth brooks   hes second only to the beatles
In the UK, Garth Brooks has not hardly dented the record sells.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: whistledog on 04/17/08 at 1:44 am


ive checked numerous sources and how can none of you mention garth brooks   hes second only to the beatles


I know he is up there, but since he sux, he doesn't count ;D

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/17/08 at 2:12 am

(Sir) Paul McCartney is still alive and is still recording albums both singing and instrumental albums in the classical style. I do not have the sells figures at hand.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Zoso on 04/17/08 at 4:08 am

I don't know about Elvis or The Beatles, but I do know Michael Jackson's approximate worldwide record sales, all though his Motown record sales haven't been updated since 1990 and the last time most of his Epic releases were certified was 1997. So the figures aren't 100% accurate to this day. But they are pretty close.

GOT TO BE THERE: 4,100,000
Got To Be There: 2,246,000
Rockin' Robin: 2,898,000
I Wanna Be Where You Are: 1,322,000
Ain't No Sunshine: 278,000
TOTAL: 10,844,000

BEN: 4,400,000
Ben: 2,865,000
TOTAL: 7,265,000

MUSIC AND ME: 2,000,000
With a Child's Heart: 341,000
Music an Me: 12,000
TOTAL: 2,353,000

FOREVER MICHAEL: 1,700,000
Just a Little Bit of You: 861,000
TOTAL: 2,561,000

OFF THE WALL: 20,000,000
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough: 2,500,000
Rock With You: 2,350,000
TOTAL: 24,850,000

ONE DAY IN YOUR LIFE: 1,600,000
One Day In Your Life: 1,800,000
TOTAL: 3,400,000

THRILLER: 105,000,000
The Girl Is Mine: 2,150,000
Billie Jean: 5,250,000
Beat It: 5,180,000
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': 1,800,000
Human Nature: 1,050,000
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing): 1,050,000
Thriller: 3,710,000
TOTAL: 125,190,000

FAREWELL MY SUMMER LOVE: 2,100,000
Farewell My Summer Love: 788,000
Girl You're So Together: 89,000
TOTAL: 2,977,000

BAD: 32,000,000
I Just Can't Stop Loving You: 3,980,000
Bad: 4,220,000
The Way You Make Me Feel: 3,530,000
Man In The Mirror: 2,030,000
Dirty Diana: 3,420,000
Another Part of Me: 1,490,000
Smooth Criminal: 3,760,000
Leave Me Alone: 485,000
Liberian Girl 165,000
TOTAL: 55,080,000

DANGEROUS: 32,000,000
Black or White: 4,010,000
Remember the Time: 2,950,000
In the Closet: 620,000
Jam: 510,000
Who Is It: 540,000
Heal The World: 1,550,000
Give in to Me: 300,000
Will You Be There: 1,050,000
Gone Too Soon: 60,000
TOTAL: 43,590,000

HISTORY: 36,000,000
Scream: 4,110,000
You Are Not Alone: 3,860,000
Earth Song: 3,480,000
They Don't Care About Us: 3,600,000
Stranger In Moscow: 540,000
TOTAL: 51,590,000

BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR: 6,000,000
Blood on the Dance Floor: 2,870,000
Ghosts/HIStory (Tony Moran remix): 375,000
TOTAL: 9,245,000

INVINCIBLE: 8,000,000
You Rock My World" 2,730,000
Cry: 45,000
TOTAL: 10,775,000

NUMBER ONES: 6,500,000
One More Chance: 225,000
TOTAL: 6,725,000

OTHER COMPILATIONS
The Best of Michael Jackson: 500,000
18 Greatest Hits: 500,000
14 Greatest Hits: 300,000
Looking Back on Yesterday: 50,000
Love Songs: 50,000
The Michael Jackson Mix: 500,000
The Original Soul of Michael Jackson: 50,000
Anthology: 50,000
Greatest Hits - HIStory Vol I: 3,000,000
The Ultimate Collection: 250,000
Essential Michael Jackson: 2,000,000
Visionary: The Video Singles: 350,000
TOTAL: 7,600,000

GRAND TOTAL: 364,045,000

So I don't know if 360-370 million records sold is enough to make him the biggest selling artists of all-time. But it's pretty impressive to say the least. I don't really know any other artists' total record sales, so I can't compare. I've heard the billion figures attributed to both the Beatles and Elvis Presley but I don't believe them. I know for a fact that the billion figure released by Elvis' record company is not just for singles and albums. It includes memorabilia, ticket sales, it'd pretty much a total sales figure of anything that's ever been sold with the Elvis Presley name on it. Not just albums and singles. So I don't know if that's exactly fair. I know the Beatles were massively popular, and still are, but I find the billion figure very hard to believe. That's a lot of albums and singles sold. Their biggest selling album was Sgt. Pepper's, which sold 32 million. They only released, I think it was, 13 albums or something. With a few singles from each. That's really no more singles and albums than Michael Jackson and his biggest selling album sold 105 million. So the math doesn't add up right. I think Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Jackson are all on par at about 350 million, give or take 10% on either side.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/18/08 at 7:15 am


I don't know about Elvis or The Beatles, but I do know Michael Jackson's approximate worldwide record sales, all though his Motown record sales haven't been updated since 1990 and the last time most of his Epic releases were certified was 1997. So the figures aren't 100% accurate to this day. But they are pretty close.

GOT TO BE THERE: 4,100,000
Got To Be There: 2,246,000
Rockin' Robin: 2,898,000
I Wanna Be Where You Are: 1,322,000
Ain't No Sunshine: 278,000
TOTAL: 10,844,000

BEN: 4,400,000
Ben: 2,865,000
TOTAL: 7,265,000

MUSIC AND ME: 2,000,000
With a Child's Heart: 341,000
Music an Me: 12,000
TOTAL: 2,353,000

FOREVER MICHAEL: 1,700,000
Just a Little Bit of You: 861,000
TOTAL: 2,561,000

OFF THE WALL: 20,000,000
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough: 2,500,000
Rock With You: 2,350,000
TOTAL: 24,850,000

ONE DAY IN YOUR LIFE: 1,600,000
One Day In Your Life: 1,800,000
TOTAL: 3,400,000

THRILLER: 105,000,000
The Girl Is Mine: 2,150,000
Billie Jean: 5,250,000
Beat It: 5,180,000
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': 1,800,000
Human Nature: 1,050,000
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing): 1,050,000
Thriller: 3,710,000
TOTAL: 125,190,000

FAREWELL MY SUMMER LOVE: 2,100,000
Farewell My Summer Love: 788,000
Girl You're So Together: 89,000
TOTAL: 2,977,000

BAD: 32,000,000
I Just Can't Stop Loving You: 3,980,000
Bad: 4,220,000
The Way You Make Me Feel: 3,530,000
Man In The Mirror: 2,030,000
Dirty Diana: 3,420,000
Another Part of Me: 1,490,000
Smooth Criminal: 3,760,000
Leave Me Alone: 485,000
Liberian Girl 165,000
TOTAL: 55,080,000

DANGEROUS: 32,000,000
Black or White: 4,010,000
Remember the Time: 2,950,000
In the Closet: 620,000
Jam: 510,000
Who Is It: 540,000
Heal The World: 1,550,000
Give in to Me: 300,000
Will You Be There: 1,050,000
Gone Too Soon: 60,000
TOTAL: 43,590,000

HISTORY: 36,000,000
Scream: 4,110,000
You Are Not Alone: 3,860,000
Earth Song: 3,480,000
They Don't Care About Us: 3,600,000
Stranger In Moscow: 540,000
TOTAL: 51,590,000

BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR: 6,000,000
Blood on the Dance Floor: 2,870,000
Ghosts/HIStory (Tony Moran remix): 375,000
TOTAL: 9,245,000

INVINCIBLE: 8,000,000
You Rock My World" 2,730,000
Cry: 45,000
TOTAL: 10,775,000

NUMBER ONES: 6,500,000
One More Chance: 225,000
TOTAL: 6,725,000

OTHER COMPILATIONS
The Best of Michael Jackson: 500,000
18 Greatest Hits: 500,000
14 Greatest Hits: 300,000
Looking Back on Yesterday: 50,000
Love Songs: 50,000
The Michael Jackson Mix: 500,000
The Original Soul of Michael Jackson: 50,000
Anthology: 50,000
Greatest Hits - HIStory Vol I: 3,000,000
The Ultimate Collection: 250,000
Essential Michael Jackson: 2,000,000
Visionary: The Video Singles: 350,000
TOTAL: 7,600,000

GRAND TOTAL: 364,045,000

So I don't know if 360-370 million records sold is enough to make him the biggest selling artists of all-time. But it's pretty impressive to say the least. I don't really know any other artists' total record sales, so I can't compare. I've heard the billion figures attributed to both the Beatles and Elvis Presley but I don't believe them. I know for a fact that the billion figure released by Elvis' record company is not just for singles and albums. It includes memorabilia, ticket sales, it'd pretty much a total sales figure of anything that's ever been sold with the Elvis Presley name on it. Not just albums and singles. So I don't know if that's exactly fair. I know the Beatles were massively popular, and still are, but I find the billion figure very hard to believe. That's a lot of albums and singles sold. Their biggest selling album was Sgt. Pepper's, which sold 32 million. They only released, I think it was, 13 albums or something. With a few singles from each. That's really no more singles and albums than Michael Jackson and his biggest selling album sold 105 million. So the math doesn't add up right. I think Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Jackson are all on par at about 350 million, give or take 10% on either side.
Plus the release of the 25th Anniversary of thiller album.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Zoso on 04/18/08 at 8:07 am


Plus the release of the 25th Anniversary of thiller album.

Included in the total sales of Thriller.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/18/08 at 9:18 am


Included in the total sales of Thriller.
The album released last month?

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/1442/thriller25thamazon2ie8.jpg

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Zoso on 04/18/08 at 9:42 am

Yes.

The last known figure for Thriller, accounted by the Guiness World Records, was 104 million. That was in November 2006.

The 25th Anniversary Edition of Thriller has sold approximately 1 million copies since it's release, making Thriller's total sales 105 million.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: ?????????????????????? on 04/22/08 at 6:59 pm

Elvis or The Beatles. I have a book on rock history that states that a certian artist (Not Jacko)
has outsold everyone but Elvis and The Beatles.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/23/08 at 2:20 am


Elvis or The Beatles. I have a book on rock history that states that a certian artist (Not Jacko)
has outsold everyone but Elvis and The Beatles.
When was that book published?

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Davester on 04/23/08 at 2:29 am


When was that book published?


   Good point.  The stats could probably change unless there's a considerable spread...

  I mean the rankings, not the stats...

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/23/08 at 9:20 am

Can I recap here; are looking at most singles sold, most albums sold, or most records (singles and albums) sold?

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: ?????????????????????? on 04/24/08 at 7:52 pm


When was that book published?
Sometime Last year.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/25/08 at 2:42 pm


Sometime Last year.
USA or UK?

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: ?????????????????????? on 04/25/08 at 6:54 pm


USA or UK?
USA.

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 04/25/08 at 11:04 pm

W.A. Mozart

Subject: Re: DEBATE: Who is the biggest selling artist of all-time?

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/27/08 at 12:56 pm


W.A. Mozart
You have a very good point there!

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