Best selling female music artists of all time

The 10 Best-Selling Female Artists of All Time

Updated Dec 2023.

Music is love, and we love their music. The global music market was worth $26bn in 2021 and we consume more music and online content today than ever before.

The below list shows you exactly who are the most successful female musicians of all time, specifically for our generation.

Yes music is an important form of live entertainment for many people around the world. Live music performances, whether they are concerts, festivals, or club shows, provide people with a unique experience that is not possible with recorded music. They allow fans to connect with artists, experience the energy of a live performance, and create memories that last a lifetime.

Who is the best selling female singer of all time?

All the expected top selling female music artists of all time you could possibly think of have made the definitive list. All the music atists complied are from verified data using mulitple official chart data.

From the below 10 ten holy people that we adore, the mega stars listed below all have one thing in common (not just good luck, or good looks, success, fame, etc) but they all have certified record sales of 75 million or more, thus enabeling the entire musical collections to be eligible for inclusion in this prestigious list .

From the artists listed below, none actually really require an introduction but we did anyway! You can see for yourself that all the female singers are shown in order in record sales and sourced via Wikipedia, Billboard and artist official artist websites.

Just making it inside the top 25 would be no mean feat but the top 10 puts you in history believe me, an actual music icon status. Some of these top selling stars claim in excess of 200m record sales sold, and one at least 400 million records which is beyond more than just luck.

As complied by MarkMeets, sources above and requested data from record labels too, let’s do this!

Here are the top selling female music artists of all time.

1 Madonna

Estimated Sales: 400 million

Strike a pose ! It’s Madge. Who else did you expect to see here?

Madonna is by far the biggest selling female artist of all time, and will never be forgotten. With an estimated 400 million records sold, and with a new tour except to add another 7m sales on top of that number too. Madge is also the highest-grossing solo touring female artist of all time, with takings said to be over a billion from her concert tickets alone. Kerching!

When a string of hits including “American pie”, “Like a Virgin”, “True Blue”, “Crazy For You”, and “Papa Don’t Preach”; Madonna is a true icon to us all. Let’s add some more too for Gen Z: Who’s That Girl, Like a Prayer, Vogue, Justify My Love, This Used To Be My Playground, Take a Bow, Music.

Here is a list of Madonna’s studio albums in chronological order, how many do you own:

  1. Madonna (1983)
  2. Like a Virgin (1984)
  3. True Blue (1986)
  4. Like a Prayer (1989)
  5. Erotica (1992)
  6. Bedtime Stories (1994)
  7. Ray of Light (1998)
  8. Music (2000)
  9. American Life (2003)
  10. Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005)
  11. Hard Candy (2008)
  12. MDNA (2012)
  13. Rebel Heart (2015)
  14. Madame X (2019)

What is Madonna’s Best-Selling Album out of the above?: It’s The Immaculate Collection’.

“The Immaculate Collection” is a greatest hits album by Madonna, released on November 9, 1990 by Sire Records. The album features some of Madonna’s biggest hits from her first five studio albums, including “Like a Virgin,” “Material Girl,” “Into the Groove,” “Like a Prayer,” and “Express Yourself.” It also includes two new tracks, “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me.”

The above album received widespread critical acclaim and was a commercial success, selling over 30 million copies worldwide. It became the best-selling greatest hits album by a female artist, and the highest-selling album by a female artist of the 1990s. “The Immaculate Collection” was also Madonna’s first album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States.

Is the star over? no. Is she making new music? very little is known, however the “Queen of Pop” is the best-selling female artist of all-time so why not just keep knocking out the old hits and watch those royalities roll in from radio play alone.

Following the IT girls debut on the music scene 30 odd years ago, the singer, dancer, actress, and mum has remained current by reinventing herself and her craft and has sold over 400 million records worldwide. Who does not know of Madonnna nowadays?

Early years: Her self-titled debut album only reached number eight on the Billboard 200, follow-up albums achieved more success. Her iconic album and ‘Like a Virgin’ was certified diamond, with her 3rd album True Blue landing number-one also and doing big numbers worldwide.

Album number 4 was ‘Like a Prayer‘, yes it also reached number 1 and following up with a huge tour, a big move away from The Immaculate Collection (ITC) which became her second diamond-certified album and remains the best-selling compilation album for her. 

ITC album’s iconic cover art, which features a black and white photograph of Madonna, has become one of the most recognizable images in pop culture. “The Immaculate Collection” remains a definitive collection of Madonna’s biggest hits and an essential addition to any Madonna fan’s collection.

Erotica (1992), Bedtime Stories (1994), Ray of Light (1998) and Music I also loved. Moving along to album number 10, ‘Confessions on a Dance Floor‘ went to number one in 40 countries., leading to great success spurning a record, making her legacy iconic with 12 number one singles in total from the albums.

For the younger generation, Hung Up became the best-charting song earned a slot in the record books for storming the charts across 40+ countries. 

What is next for Madonna, a huge tour!

2 Céline Dion

Estimated Sales: 250 million

The Canadian is known for her strong vocals and power ballads. Celine Dion is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actress. She is one of the most successful and recognized pop vocalists of all time, and has sold over 200 million records worldwide. Dion was born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada on March 30, 1968. She first gained international recognition by winning the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in 1982 and released her first English-language album, “Unison,” in 1990.

Years performing a Vegas residency helped boost record sales further for the best-selling Canadian recording artist, and noting also the best-selling French-language artist of all time.

What else can you say with hits including Because You Loved Me” ; 2. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” ; 3. “The Power of Love” ; 4. “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” ; 5. “My Heart Will Go on.

Dion’s breakthrough came with the release of her fifth English-language album, “The Colour of My Love” (1993), which produced several hit singles and established her as a star in North America and Europe. Some of her most famous songs include “My Heart Will Go On” (from the soundtrack of the film “Titanic”), “Because You Loved Me,” “The Power of Love,” and “A New Day Has Come.”

Throughout her career, Dion has won numerous awards and accolades, including five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and 20 Juno Awards (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards). She is widely regarded as one of the greatest voices in contemporary pop music, and continues to tour and release new music to her fans around the world.

3 Rihanna

Estimated Sales: 250 million

Billionaire singer, fenty brand owner, mum, and superstar!

Born in 1998, the singer has surpassed 250+ million sales, a huge achievement for someone so young.

Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, actress, and successful businesswoman.

The relentless workaholic has already released more albums in the past decade and a half than any other artist with 53+ songs released (17 singles as a featured artist, two charity singles, and four promotional singles.). She is known for her style, which often includes bold and daring fashion choices, and has been named one of the world’s most beautiful women by various magazine

Rihanna has released eight studio albums and has sold over 150 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. This is besides two remix albums, one reissue, seven box sets and three extended plays

Some of her most famous songs include “Umbrella,” “SOS,” “Take a Bow,” “Disturbia,” “Only Girl (In the World),” “We Found Love,” and “Diamonds.”

Rihanna has won numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including 9 Grammy Awards, 13 American Music Awards, and 12 Billboard Music Awards. In addition to her music career, Rihanna is also involved in several business ventures, including her cosmetics line Fenty Beauty and lingerie line Savage X Fenty.

Hits include a, Rude Boy, Only Girl, What’s My Name, SOS, Umbrella, Take a Bow, Disturbia, We Found Love, Diamonds, Work, are all bangers we hear regularly on the radio and across streaming services.

4 Mariah Carey

Estimated Sales: 220 million sales.

Mariah Carey is a queen of pop. Her register is astounding and her incredible range make her vocals instantly recognisable.

She was born on March 27, 1970, in Huntington, New York. Carey rose to fame in the 1990s with a string of hit songs and albums, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time. Mariah is mainly known for two things: her famous fearsome five-octave vocal range and a xmas song ‘All I want for Christmas is you’.

The Miss Rabbit styled diamond diva later went on to release a further 15 albums – including holiday albums to accompany her highest-selling hit All I Want for Christmas, which has now crowned her the “Queen of Christmas” and earning her $9m a year.

Carey’s self-titled debut album, “Mariah Carey,” was released in 1990 and spawned several hit singles, including “Vision of Love” and “Love Takes Time.” Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Carey released a string of best-selling albums, including “Emotions,” “Music Box,” “Daydream,” and “The Emancipation of Mimi.” Some of her biggest hits include “Hero,” “Fantasy,” “Always Be My Baby,” “One Sweet Day,” and “We Belong Together.”

Carey has won numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including five Grammy Awards, 19 World Music Awards, and 14 Billboard Music Awards. She is the best-selling female artist of all time in the US, and has sold in excess of 200 million records worldwide. Mariah team stress she has two albums certified diamond in the US including Music Box, one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 28 million copies sold; and Daydream. (We liked her best in this era) when she was signed to Sony records.

Songs include: Vision of Love, Love Takes Time, Someday, I Don’t Wanna Cry, Emotions, I’ll Be There, Dreamlover, Hero, All I Want For Christmas is You, Fantasy, One Sweet Day, Always Be My Baby, Honey, My All, Heartbreaker, Thank God I Found You, We Belong Together, Don’t Forget About Us, Touch My Body.

5 Taylor Swift

Estimated Sales: 210 million.

This artist is still climbing at the highest rate and will overtake Mariah within 3 to 5 years.

Album wise we are talking 70 million plus! An astonishing number!

The self-titled Miss Americana, Taylor Swift began her career on the country circuit at a young age after being raised in a music family, she began performing at festivals and events across the US, and later recorded her first music demo at age 11, but with feedback spurring her on the rejection by several record labels was only the beginning of an illustrious career.

The former country singer who enjoys music from artists including Def Leppard, takes inspiration from Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks and is still topping the charts and making headlines for music, film cameos and celebrity relationships.

Following re-recorded her music in recent years as Biebers manager famously purchased her masters. Her sales have dramatically risen with RED. Red (Taylor’s Version) is the second re-recorded album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.

Fact: The Speak now singers Reputation Stadium’ Tour made history as the highest-grossing U.S. tour ever.

Taylor Swift has released 140 chart entries alone on the Hot 100 including ten number one singles and 30 plus top tens – the highest number of entries for a female artist!

Swift first rose to fame in 2006 with the release of her self-titled debut album, which spawned the hit single “Tim McGraw.” She has released eight studio albums to date, and has sold over 52 million albums and 150 million singles worldwide.

Some of Swift’s most popular songs include “Love Story,” “You Belong with Me,” “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” and “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Swift is known for her signature storytelling style and often writes about her personal experiences, relationships, and observations in her music. She has won numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including 7 Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a Brit Award, an American Music Award, and a Billboard Women in Music Award.

In addition to her music career, Swift is also an actress and has appeared in several films and TV shows, including “The Giver” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Swift is known for her philanthropic efforts, and has been involved in various charitable initiatives and causes throughout her career, including education, disaster relief, and environmental protection.

Taylor is widely regarded as one of the most influential and successful female artists in contemporary pop music and continues to be a leading figure in the industry.

Shake It Off (iconic) made headlines and is officially Taylor’s biggest streamed single in America and quickly went certified diamond, while every track on Lover and Folklore charted on the Hot 100 in the same week, breaking the record for the most simultaneous entries on the chart by a female artist.

Swiftes. Taylor also has a total of 55 weeks at number one, making her the longest-reigning act of the Billboard Artist 100.

Tay Tay remains one of the most popular and talented singer-songwriters of her generation with a net worth of $450 Million.

6 Beyonce

Estimated Sales: 200m

Beyoncé has sold over 200 million records worldwide, including 40 million pure albums sold. She is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, and has won numerous awards, including 28 Grammy Awards, making her the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.

Beyoncé’s first solo project was in 2003 following huge success in Destiny’s child.

Destiny’s Child was an American girl group that was active from 1997 to 2006. The group consisted of members Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and other former members. They are considered one of the best-selling girl groups of all time and are known for their hit songs such as “Say My Name,” “Survivor,” and “Jumpin’ Jumpin.” The group has received numerous awards and accolades, including Grammy Awards, and their influence on the music industry and pop culture has been significant.

Beyoncé has released 105+ songs. This includes solo tracks, collaborations with other artists, and songs featured on soundtrack albums. She has also released several albums, including “Dangerously in Love” (2003), “B’Day” (2006), “I Am… Sasha Fierce” (2008), “4” (2011), “Beyoncé” (2013), “Lemonade” (2016), “Everything is Love” (2018), and “The Lion King: The Gift” (2019).

7 Whitney Houston

Estimated Sales: 200 million

Whitney Houston was an American artist, entertainer, and model. She was brought into the world on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, and rose to unmistakable quality during the 1980s and 1990s as one of the world’s top of the line music specialists.

The Voice” of generation claims Dolly Parton. Whitney was one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with sales of over 200 million records worldwide. Passing in 2012, Houston influenced many singers in popular music, and is known for her powerful, soulful vocals, flawless looks, fashion style, and vocal improvisation skills.

Houston’s self-titled debut album was released in 1985 and became an instant success, yielding three number one hit singles, including “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know,” and “The Greatest Love of All.” She went on to release several more best-selling albums, including “Whitney,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” and “The Bodyguard” soundtrack, which features the hit song “I Will Always Love You.”

Throughout her career, Houston won numerous awards and accolades, including two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest voices in the history of popular music, and has been named the most awarded female act of all time by the Guinness World Records.

Houston was also an actress and appeared in several films, including “The Bodyguard,” “Waiting to Exhale,” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” She was known for her powerful voice, her ability to bring emotional depth to her performances, and her charismatic stage presence.

Tragically, Houston died on February 11, 2012, at the age of 48. Despite her untimely death, her music continues to be celebrated and her legacy lives on as one of the greatest voices of all time.

Songs include You Give Good Love · Thinking About You · Someone For Me · Saving All My Love For You · Nobody Loves Me Like You Do · How Will I Know · 

8 Lady Gaga

Estimated Sales: 172 million

We all went GaGa mad right? Some day 130-300 million sales buy 180 is closer to the median number online.

Influenced by Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Blondie. Gaga has an array of No.1 Singles (Billboard): Just Dance, Poker Face, Born This Way, Shallow, Rain on Me.

The celebs Best-Selling Album is : The Fame / The Fame Monster, which spawned a huge world wide tour!

“The Fame Monster” is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga. It was released on November 18, 2009, as a re-issue of her debut album “The Fame” (2008). The album features eight new tracks, and its overarching theme is the darker side of fame, exploring subjects such as love, sex, money, and death.

“The Fame Monster” received critical acclaim and was a commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in several countries and selling millions of copies worldwide. The album spawned several hit singles, including “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” and “Alejandro.”

“The Fame Monster” is known for its eclectic mix of pop, dance, and electronic music, and for Lady Gaga’s unique style and image, which includes elaborate costumes, music videos, and live performances. The album was nominated for several awards, including Grammy Awards, and is considered one of the defining albums of the late 2000s.

In addition to its musical achievements, “The Fame Monster” is also notable for its impact on popular culture and its role in establishing Lady Gaga as a pop icon. The album is widely regarded as a masterpiece of contemporary pop music and has influenced numerous artists in the years since its release.

Lady Gaga is known for her fashion style, remember that near dress? Who could forget!!

Popular hits include Just Dance, Poker Face, Bad Romance and Shallow.

From stunningly dramatic to epic performances and a strong voice, Gafa actually started her career as a songwriter befire perfirming in bars and clubs across the US. It was not til later she signed with KonLive Distributio,.

Following her debut album The Fame, the writing-machine went on to release six number one albums including Born This Way, Artpop, Cheek to Cheek, Joanne, A Star Is Born and Chromatica. The Fame LP was certified triple platinum, whilst later Joanne was Gaga’s fourth album to top the charts in the US, making her the first woman to have four number-one albums in the 2010s.

Gaga also has one of the best-selling remix albums of all time with her 2010 release titled The Remix. 

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta released Born This Way and it soon became the fastest-selling song on iTunes back in 2011, achieving international success, with recirded data showing number one titles across 19 countries.

The singer also has colloborated with a number of artists.

9 Adele

Estimated Sales: 170 million

We fell in love with her, her music and her cockney accent didn’t we??

Adele is an English singer, songwriter, and actress. She was born on May 5, 1988, in Tottenham, London, and rose to fame in the mid-2000s with her soulful, emotive voice and powerful lyrics.

Adele’s debut album, “19,” was released in 2008 and was a commercial and critical success, earning her several awards and accolades. Her follow-up album, “21,” was released in 2011 and became one of the best-selling albums of all time, earning her numerous awards and accolades, including six Grammy Awards.

Adele is known for her powerful vocals, emotional lyrics, and soulful, bluesy style, which have earned her comparisons to legendary artists such as Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. Her songs often explore themes of heartbreak, love, and personal struggles, and have resonated with audiences around the world.

In addition to her music career, Adele is also known for her down-to-earth personality and her strong sense of humor. She is widely regarded as one of the most talented and influential artists of her generation and continues to inspire and captivate audiences with her music.

Adele has released several albums throughout her career, including “19,” “21,” “25,” and “30.” She has won numerous awards and accolades, including 15 Grammy Awards, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time.

10 Barbara Streisand

Estimated Sales: 150 million sales

Duck Sauce’s hit “Barbra Streisand” reached the top of the charts in countless countries overseas and peaked at #3 in the UK making her name known around the globe once again.

Barbara Joan “Barbra” Streisand born April 24, 1942, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.), is a famous American singer and actress. Her career spawns over six decades, achieving huge success across music, tv, entertainment, and movies include direcing and composing.

Streisand is widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time and is also known for her acting and directing work.

Streisand’s career began in the 1960s, and she quickly became one of the most successful and recognizable voices in popular music. In 1961, for the first time, she appeared on the TV show called, on The Tonight Show.

Her self-titled debut album was released in 1963, and she went on to release several more best-selling albums throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including “The Barbra Streisand Album,” “People,” and “A Star is Born” soundtrack.

In addition to her music career, Streisand has also had a successful acting career, appearing in several films, including “Funny Girl,” “The Owl and the Pussycat,” “A Star is Born,” and “The Prince of Tides.”

Streisand is also known for her philanthropic work and has been involved in various charitable initiatives throughout her career, including education, health, and environmental causes.

She is considered a trailblazer in popular music and entertainment, and has been praised for her versatility and versatility. Despite her age, Streisand continues to tour and perform, and remains one of the most beloved and iconic figures in the industry.

Barbara is among the few performers awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards too. Classy lady.

11 Katy Perry

Estimated Sales: 145m total record sales

Who kissed a girl and made a career for herself? who rose to fame in the mid-2000s with hits including E.T.,” “Dark Horse,” “California Gurls,” “Waking Up in Vegas,” “I Kissed a Girl,” are just some of her single releases.

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, actress and television personality, firmely narried to Russel Brand. She is known for her influence on the pop sound and colourful music videos.

Throughout her career, Perry has been in several high-profile relationships, many of which have been the subject of media attention and public scrutiny.

Some of the most notable romances in Katy Perry’s life include:

  1. Russell Brand: Perry married English comedian and actor Russell Brand in October 2010, but the couple divorced just over a year later in 2012.
  2. John Mayer: Perry had a on-and-off again relationship with musician John Mayer from 2012 to 2014.
  3. Orlando Bloom: Perry is in a relationship with actor Orlando Bloom and have a child. Lucky Mr Bloom.

Other artists worthy of a mention include P!nk, Dolly Parton, Nicki Minaj, Britney, Beyonce who have all surpassed 90 million record sales.

Well that’s it folks!

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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