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Madonna named biggest selling female singles artist of all time

Pop queen Madonna has been named the biggest selling singles artist of all time, after it was revealed she had sold over 17.8million single during her 30 year career.

The singer earns the title ahead of Barbadian superstar Rihanna, who, in only seven years in music, has sold 11.4million singles and is expected to overtake Madonna in the next few years - if she continues to sell at the same rate.

The sales information has been released by the Official Charts Company, who collated the sales information spanning three decades, covering Madonna's first ever single release 'Everybody' in 1982 to 'Turn Up The Radio' in 2012. Neither of these singles scored the singer a hit.

Australian star Kylie Minogue places third on the countdown while Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga are fourth and fifth. The top ten is as follows:

1. Madonna (17.8m)
2. Rihanna (11.4m)
3. Kylie Minogue (10.2m)
4. Whitney Houston (8.5m)
5. Lady Gaga (7.329m)
6. Britney Spears (7.324m)
7. Beyoncé (6.9m)
8. Celine Dion (6.7m)
9. Mariah Carey (6.62m)
10. Olivia Newton John (6.61m)



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When will this endless competition end. Who knows for real who is number 1. Good lord, you get Mariah Carey going on Ellen Show and other shows saying she is number when she couldn't be a pimple on Madonna's ass let alone sell a record anymore as people see how theatric and fake she is. Kinda of like Lady Gaga. Studio Magic and nothing more. I use to love them all, but only hung onto one...Madonna! Gaga has worn herself out with me, Mariah is too fake, and the others are just boring and predictable. At least Madonna leaves me hanging around for more and always guessing what is next. With the kind of get the gist of what is next without having to buy the music. This all "about my view" with gaga has gotten pathetic at best to get attention and for me...that isn't worth my hard earned money on album sales, or concert tickets.

J Morales

This information only covers 15% about Madonna's singles sales in the past 30 yrs. because Madonna has sold over 125 million singles globally. According to Guinness She has sold over 300 million records globally by 2009. So by 2013 this figure has increased.


You can't compare record sales from back then with sales from now. You can now purchase a song with the touch of a button. If you purchase remixes of that song each remix will be considered as a copy of that song sold. Back then the CD singles contained several remixes and counted as only 1 copy sold.


dknowles - touched a nerve? The truth hurts, am glad I got that response.


wales1978 - LOL. You got issues, girl.


Madonna was the 'Queen of Pop' for over Two Glorious Decades & she achieved Amazing Things during that time.

Madonna's 'reign' as the 'Queen of Pop' has now well & truly passed, & there is now a new generation of female pop stars that fill the void.

I get the impression that Madonna doesn't really care about her career 'status' anymore, I think Madonna's priorities have now changed- wasn't this the message of her autobiographical songs 'How High' & 'Drowned World/ Substitute for Love'?


No not angry or hurt just responding to your stupid post. Also you gave the same response to a post i made many months ago. Is that the response you give to people who question or have an opinion? If so I would suggest that it's a reflection of yourself and not the person who is responding.


this article is very misleading this is only for the UK, Madonna has sold over 100 million singles in her 30 year career who else has?


Wow! Madonna has been around for 30 years - including during the 80s, which was a big period for singles sales. Rihanna has been around for around 8 years. Madonna - RiRi has whipped your butt! Really dislike RiRi, but credit where credit is due! Also, big up to Kylie, who has never really cracked the US market.

@Dee: MDNA was mediocre at the very best. If the tracks on it were so good - and they were not - they would have sold. Ageism is a very weak argument - go back to the two albums before MDNA, namely Hard Candy (vile!) and COADF, and they yielded HUGE hits. M fans need to star accepting that it is NOT ageism. No, MDNA was utter rubbish and that was the reason for a lack of single/track hits.


Wow, dknowles, you certainly are the ONLY person, probably including Rihanna herself, that actually believes that! I mean hell, are you reading correctly? MADONNA IS IN THE NUMBER 1 SPOT! But go ahead and believe she is all you want, but if you think Madonna would ever bow to her let alone anyone, you must be delusional! And Rihanna seems to be ruining her life with all the partying so I doubt she'll be around long enough to ever see a 30 yr career at the top like Madonna has and continues to do so


to dknowles
sounds like you are on the wrong fansite.


Wales1978 - Angry much? I understand. Reality hurts. But, yes, Rihanna is the Queen. So let us all, including Madonna, bow down - NOW!


These numbers are fully irrelevant. Firstly because there are no reliable datas regarding singles sales. Second because it conerns only uk. Third because it compares physical sales with almost free of charge digital sales. Finally, who can seriously compare the biggest singer in history with the mass of her wannabes?


dknowles - has Rihanna? In what way? It takes more than being "around" for 6 years to be regarded as queen! You should take a look at Madonna's history over the past 30 years! What she has done for music, fashion, people, politics.

Get a grip of reality fool.


Why not making Madonna singles available in the Philippines? There are still fans out there that need to complete their collections. Then let us decide if Rhiana can overtake the queen.

Random Pop Dweller

Rankings like this should stop. You can't leverage the rate of digital sales to physical singles 2 decades ago. How is Rihanna going to be the new queen of pop by this ranking alone when she hasn't even achieved a quarter of Madonna's credentials? STUPID!


Extremely impressive when you consider that you actually had to go to a store to buy records back in the day.


Majority of Madonna's singles considered here are physical. Can't compare physical with digital I guess. If we add average 3 singles for a physical single vs one for a digital single. Madonna will be way ahead of Rihanna.


Rhianna poised to be crowned the NEW QUEEN OF POP!


Quite impressive by Kylie to be at nr. 3. Since I guess the USA has not been a big market for her? Most of her singles must have been sold in Europe and Australia? Correct me if I´m wrong.

Gary R

I believe Madonna is the top selling female artist, but these sales figures look waaaay off. They are far too low.


Madonna songs are much better than Rihanna and with more substance. I like Rihanna but most of them sound at some point yet Madonna has always reinvented herself. Don't get why she would outsell her.
MDNA album had some gems that could have been major hits. Unfortunately our society is very ageist and only her true fans an a few new one's will continue to buy her music and appreciate it. Turn up the Radio, Love Spent, Masterpiece, Falling Free, Girl Gone Wild, Gimme All you Love, are very likeable and listener friendly. Maybe should find a better promoter?? Gang Bang is strictly for clubs but a hot song.


Rihanna has ALREADY overtaken Madonna by millions and millions of miles and continues to do so. Madonna should bow down to the Queen -- NOW!

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