With the recent certifications of her hits Needed Me, Love On The Brain, Work, Sex With Me and Kiss It Better from her most recent studio album ANTI, Rihanna is now officially the best-selling solo recording artist of all time.
With updated global sales of 213.2 million certified albums and singles, eight-time Grammy winner Rihanna surpassed rock and roll legend Elvis Presley who sold 211.5 million units.
The achievement is even more significant given that Rihanna has released only 12 albums (including eight studio albums, two remix projects and two compilations) and 65 singles, compared to Elvis’ colossal catalogue of 193 albums and 111 singles.
Rihanna has also surpassed all groups and bands with one exception – The Beatles. The British supergroup, once thought to be untouchable, has certified sales of 270 million units worldwide and is now easily within the Bajan diva’s sights, since Rihanna typically lands massive certifications for each album released, when coupled with singles.
Certifications became more accurate with the advent of Soundscan in the early 90s, and even more so with the dawn of digital sales. Previously, record labels reported inflated figures to media outlets as a marketing gimmick, leading to artistes claiming sales of hundreds of millions of units which can never be accurately proven. With certifications being the only scientific method of sales accounting in the industry, this translates to Rihanna holding several high profile records at present including: Best Selling Solo Recording Artist of All Time; Best Selling Female Recording Artist of All Time; World’s Best Selling Recording Act of All Time Outside of The United Kingdom; Best Selling Recording Artiste of All Time – Americas; Best Selling Singles Artist; and Best Selling Digital Artist of All Time.
For comparison- here is a look at the total certified sales (worldwide) of the seven acts (solo artistes and bands) that have exceeded 150 million total global certifications:
The Beatles – 270 million (UK)
Rihanna – 213.2 million (Barbados)
Elvis Presley – 211.5 million (USA)
Michael Jackson – 181.2 million (USA)
Madonna – 170 million (USA)
Elton John – 167.4 million (UK)
Garth Brooks – 156 million (USA)
Taylor Swift is next with 149.2 million certified units sold.
For further comparison, Adele’s total stands at 99.7 million albums and singles sold worldwide; Beyonce has sold a total of 76.3 million units (solo) and 136.3 million when her releases with the group Destiny’s Child and her solo releases are combined.
Rihanna is now without a doubt, history’s most successful solo recording artiste. With several high profile projects in the pipelines, she will certainly steam ahead to further separate herself from the competition in months and years to come.