Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time

The list of best selling music artists includes artists with claims of 75 million or more record sales in multiple third-party reliable sources. The claimed sales figures and the total certified sales figures (for each country) within the provided sources include sales of albums, singles, compilation-albums, music videos as well as downloads of singles and full-length albums. The artists in the following tables are listed with both their claimed and certified sales figures and are ranked in descending order, with the highest claimed sales at the top. Artists with the same claimed sales are then ranked by certified units. Sales figures, such as those from Soundscan, which are sometimes published by Billboard magazine, have not been included in the certified units column. Currently, The Beatles are listed at the top of the list as they are considered the highest-selling band based both on sales claims and certified units. Elvis Presley, who is listed the second on the list is considered the highest-selling individual artist based both on sales claims and certified units.

All artists included on this list, which have begun charting on official albums/singles charts have their available claimed figure(s) supported by at least 20% in certified units. That is why Cliff RichardDiana RossCharles AznavourBing CrosbyNana MouskouriDeep PurpleIron MaidenTom JonesThe Jackson 5Dionne WarwickThe Andrews Sisters,Luciano Pavarotti and others have not been included on this list. The percentage amount of certified sales needed increases the newer the artist is, meaning, artists such as Rihanna are expected to have their claimed figures supported by over 60% in certified units. The certified units are sourced from available online databases of local music industry associations. Note that all certified units are converted from Gold/Platinum/Diamond certification awards based on criteria provided by certifying bodies.

The requirements of certified sales are designed to avoid inflated sales figures, which are frequently practiced by record companies for promotional purposes.

The claimed figures are sourced to articles that use the term records (singles, albums, videos) and not albums. However, if all available sources for an artist/band say albums, such sources can only be used if the certified album units of the said artist meet the required percentage amount. Note that this list uses claimed figures that are closer to artists’ available certified sales. In other words, inflated claimed figures that will meet the required certified sales amount but are unrealistically high from available certified sales, will not be used.

Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time

  • The Beatles Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time with Rhode Island Wedding DJ

    The Beatles

The Beatles United Kingdom 1960–1974
Rock / Pop

600 million
Michael Jackson Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time with Rhode Island Wedding DJ

Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson
United States 1964–2009
Pop / Rock / Dance /R&B

400 million
350 million
300 million
  • Madonna Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time with Rhode Island Wedding DJ


Madonna United States 1979–present
Pop / Rock / Dance

300 million
275 million
  • Led Zeppelin Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time with Rhode Island Wedding DJ

    Led Zeppelin

    Led Zeppelin United Kingdom 1968–1980
    Hard rock / Heavy metal

    300 million
    200 million

    I am not surprised The Beatles are #1 but am a bit so that Elvis Presley is ahead of Michael Jackson, due to Michael Jackson’s global appeal. It is somewhat amazing that Led Zeppelin can be this high on Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time without a long history of hit singles, based solely on the strength of their album sales. These have been the most consistent hit producers of Pop Music and deserve their ranking. All are great artists for any professional Wedding DJ or Party DJ.

    is there any artist(s) that you thought would be in the top five Best Selling Music Artists of All-Time that did not reach this level of sales?

    DJ Mystical Michael New jersey DJ & Boston DJ


Michael Jackson at MTV Awards 1995

I was walking down the streets of downtown Hong Kong in early August of last year, 2009 and was totally caught off guard by seeing and hearing this video played on big screen TVs in front of every music, electronic, t-shirt, snack bar and jewelry store with crowds of people standing and gawking. I do not know which surprised me more, the amount of shops and people watching or how captivated they were.  It was as if they had never seen or heard music before in their lives, not just Michael Jackson; music or dance in general.


I have the image still in my head at how a man’s recent death had reached the attention of the global pop world with such force and energy. I remember the day that I heard the he had died. I was in South Korea at the time teaching English to young kids. For days, kids would walk up to me and ask me if I was Michael Jackson’s brother. As you know, in most of Asia the family name is first and given name is second. From their perspective, the name ‘Michael’ is a family name, not a given name. He was the talk of every young and old person for a month or two no matter whom I was speaking to.


I have wondered just what Michael Jackson had that nobody else could match. I used to play his stuff on vinyl in clubs when Off The Wall and Thriller were still on the charts and was amazed at how his music would transcend race, age, genre or taste. It was that forceful.

Today, one year after his passing, I maintain the awe I had when he was first releasing the videos from Thriller. He was doing things nobody had done before and spitting it out so quickly it was as if he found a muse the rest of us just talk about. I wonder what Michael  Jackson’s legacy will be in twenty-five years from now? Will it be his music? His dancing?  His choreography? His public image? Or maybe his general greatness and ability to create magic?

DJ Mystical Michael Rhode Island DJ & NY DJ

Professional DJ Rocks Michael Jackson

I keep wondering when Michael Jackson’s appeal will diminish like most other Pop stars. The thing is that it seems to be increasing instead of decreasing. It is more common for me to get requests as a professional DJ now than ever before for Michael Jackson.


Lately I have been trying to at least play some of the songs that are not as popular as “Billie Jean” or “Thriller”. Last night I had a request for Michael Jackson. When I asked the woman if she wanted to hear anything specific, “No, but I do prefer his older stuff.” She smiled meekly as if asking for me to walk on the moon.


I reflected for a moment to see what would mix well with what I was playing and dove into The Jackson “Shake Your Body” and the dance filled in a matter of seconds! I thought would be fun to segue into a little impromptu medley and with a really cool remix of “Off The Wall” a Bride sent me last summer for her wedding and then “Dangerous”, which totally rocked the room!


In my lifetime there really is not anybody that compares to M.J. when it comes to really good dancers wanting to let loose. Last night was no exception. By watching this woman move, I am pretty certain she is either a professional dancer or dance teacher, or both. This is not unusual for Michael Jackson requests for a professional DJ. He seems to attract many incredible dancers to create and move to his music.


It is strange to think that Michael Jackson has pretty much been a part of my life as long as I can remember from the early days of The Jackson 5 to his younger solo efforts followed by The Jacksons and then his solo classics that still find there way into my professional DJ sets on a regular basis regardless of environment, genre or dancers. Amazing how there isn’t anybody else this is true for, not even Sinatra, Elvis or The Beatles. He shows up at weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, sweet sixteens, reunions and everywhere else people like to dance and party. Amazing.

Icon of the great Michael Jackson

DJ Mystical Michael Rhode Island DJ & NY DJ