This is the list of the top 100 best-selling music artists in the United States only based on certifications of albums by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). (The list may contain more than 100, when the final slot is a tie.)
The RIAA does not deal in sales of albums, only certifications of shipped units. Therefore, this best-selling list is based on total accumulated certifications given per artist and may not reflect the true physical sales obtained by these artists.
The RIAA began its certifications in 1958. This list, therefore, excludes artists like Bing Crosby whose sales in the 1930s–1950s were not certified. The list also excludes certifications of albums recorded by artists in collaboration with others as part of a singular artist or group's total.
No. Name Nationality Decades active Genre Certification
1 The Beatles UK 1960s–70s Rock / Pop 178 2 Elvis Presley U.S. 1950s–70s Rock and roll / Pop / Country / Gospel 134.5 3 Garth Brooks U.S. 1980s–2010s Country 134 4 Led Zeppelin UK 1960s–80s Rock / Psychedelic / Blues / Hard / Heavy / Folk 111.5 5 Eagles U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock / Country rock 101 6 Billy Joel U.S. 1970s–2000s Rock 81.5 7 Michael Jackson U.S. 1970s–2000s Pop / R&B / Rock / Soul / Dance 76 8 Pink Floyd UK 1960s–2010s Progressive rock / Psychedelic rock / Space rock 74.5 9 Elton John UK 1960s–2010s Rock 73 10 Barbra Streisand U.S. 1960s–2010s Pop 71.5 AC/DC UK/Aus. 1970s–2010s Hard rock 71.5 12 George Strait U.S. 1980s–2010s Country 69 13 Aerosmith U.S. 1970s–2010s Hard rock / Heavy Metal / Blues rock 66.5 The Rolling Stones UK 1960s–2010s Rock / Blues rock 66.5 15 Bruce Springsteen U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock / Folk 64.5 Madonna U.S. 1980s–2010s Pop / Dance 64.5 17 Mariah Carey U.S. 1990s–2010s R&B / Pop / Hip-Hop 63.5 18 Metallica U.S. 1980s–2010s Thrash Metal / Heavy Metal 62 19 Whitney Houston U.S. 1980s–2010s R&B/Pop 57 20 Van Halen U.S. 1970s–2010s Hard rock 56.5 21 U2 Ire. 1970s–2010s Rock 51.5 22 Kenny Rogers U.S. 1950s–2000s Pop / Rock / Country 51 23 Celine Dion Canada 1980s–2010s Pop 50 24 Fleetwood Mac UK/U.S. 1960s–2010s Rock 49.5 25 Neil Diamond U.S. 1960s–2010s Pop 48.5 26 Shania Twain Canada 1990s–2010s Pop country 48 Kenny G U.S. 1980s–2010s Smooth Jazz 48 28 Journey U.S. 1970s–2010s Pop / Rock 47 29 Alabama U.S. 1970s–2010s Country rock 46 30 Guns N' Roses U.S. 1980s–2010s Hard rock / Heavy Metal 44.5 31 Santana Mex./U.S. 1960s–2010s Latin / Rock 43.5 Bob Seger U.S. 1960s–2000s Rock 43.5 Alan Jackson U.S. 1980s–2010s Country 43.5 34 Eric Clapton UK 1960s–2010s Blues / Blues rock / Rock 42.5 35 2 Pac U.S. 1990s Hip-Hop/Rap 41.5 36 Reba McEntire U.S. 1970s–2010s Country 41 37 Prince U.S. 1970s–2010s R&B / Rock / Funk 39.5 38 Chicago U.S. 1960s–2010s Rock 38.5 Simon and Garfunkel U.S. 1960s–70s Folk / Pop 38.5 40 Rod Stewart UK 1960s–2010s Rock 38 41 Foreigner U.S./UK 1970s–2010s Rock 37.5 Tim McGraw U.S. 1990s–2010s Country 37.5 42 Bob Dylan U.S. 1960s–2010s Folk / Rock 37 Backstreet Boys U.S. 1990s–2010s Pop / Dance 37 Eminem U.S. 1990s–2010s Hip-Hop/Rap 37 45 Def Leppard UK 1970s–2000s Hard rock / Heavy Metal 35 Willie Nelson U.S. 1950s–2010s Country 35 48 Queen UK 1970s–2000s Rock / Hard rock 34.5 49 Britney Spears U.S. 1990s–2010s Pop / Dance 34 Bon Jovi U.S. 1980s–2010s Hard Rock / Glam Metal 34 51 Phil Collins UK 1970s–2010s Rock / R&B 33.5 R. Kelly U.S. 1990s–2010s R&B / Soul 33.5 Dave Matthews Band U.S. 1990s–2010s Rock 33.5 54 James Taylor U.S. 1960s–2010s Folk / Pop 33 John Denver U.S. 1960s–90s Pop / Country 33 The Doors U.S. 1960s–70s Rock / Psychedelic Rock 33 57 Pearl Jam U.S. 1990s–2010s Grunge / Alternative rock 31.5 58 Boston U.S. 1970s–2000s Rock / Hard rock 31 59 Dixie Chicks U.S. 1980s–2000s Country / Country pop 30.5 60 Linda Ronstadt U.S. 1960s–2000s Rock / Folk / Country 30 61 Tom Petty U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock 29 Jay-Z U.S. 1990s–2010s Hip-Hop/Rap 29 63 Ozzy Osbourne UK 1960s–2010s Heavy metal / Hard Rock 28.75 64 Mannheim Steamroller U.S. 1970s–2010s New Age / Christmas 28.5 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock 28.5 66 'N Sync U.S. 1990s–2000s Pop 28 Michael Bolton U.S. 1980s–2010s Pop 28 Lynyrd Skynyrd U.S. 1960s–2000s Southern rock 28 69 John Mellencamp U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock 27.5 Brooks & Dunn U.S. 1990s–2000s Country 27.5 Barry Manilow U.S. 1970s–2010s Pop 27.5 72 Boyz II Men U.S. 1990s–2000s R&B 27 Frank Sinatra U.S. 1930s–90s Traditional pop 27 74 Enya Ire. 1980s–2000s New Age / Celtic 26.5 Bee Gees UK 1960s–2000s Disco 26.5 76 Janet Jackson U.S. 1980s–2010s R&B / Pop 26 Creedence Clearwater Revival U.S. 1960s–70s Country / Rock 26 78 Faith Hill U.S. 1990s–2000s Country 25.5 Kenny Chesney U.S. 1990s–2010s Country 25.5 80 Rush Canada 1970s–2010s Hard rock / Progressive rock 25 Nirvana U.S. 1980s–90s Grunge / Alternative rock 25 ZZ Top U.S. 1970s–2000s Rock / Blues rock / Hard rock 25 Luther Vandross U.S. 1960s–2000s R&B 25 Creed U.S. 1990s–2000s Post-grunge / Hard rock 25 Toby Keith U.S. 1990s–2010s Country 25 86 The Carpenters U.S. 1960s–80s Pop 24.5 Steve Miller Band U.S. 1960s–2010s Rock 24.5 88 Vince Gill U.S. 1970s–2000s Country 24 Green Day U.S. 1980s–2010s Punk Rock / Pop Punk / Alternative Rock 24 Mötley Crüe U.S. 1980s–2010s Heavy Metal / Glam Metal 24 91 Earth, Wind & Fire U.S. 1970s–2010s Funk / R&B / Disco 23.5 The Cars U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock / New wave 23.5 Kid Rock U.S. 1990s–2010s Rock / Rap / Country 23.5 Sade UK 1980s–2010s R&B / Pop 23.5 Jimi Hendrix U.S. 1960s–70s Psychedelic rock 23.5 96 Jimmy Buffett U.S. 1960s–2010s Rock / Pop / Country 23 Lionel Richie U.S. 1960s–2010s Soul / R&B / Pop 23 Red Hot Chili Peppers U.S. 1980s–2010s Funk rock / Alt rock 23 99 The Police UK 1970s–80s Rock 22.5 Usher U.S. 1990s–2010s R&B / Pop 22.5 Heart U.S. 1970s–2010s Rock 22.5 The Beach Boys U.S. 1960s–2010s Surf rock 22.5