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25 Best-Selling Female Artists Of All Time

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Are you looking to expand your musical horizons? If so, start with the best-selling female artists of all time. Throughout the decades, female singers and musicians have completely changed the way music is produced, with each generation acting as an inspiration for the next. Who is at the top of the list? For this list, we have compiled sales numbers from reputable organizations, such as VH1, MTV, Billboard, and Rolling Stone. 

1. Madonna

Madonna - Like A Prayer (Official Video)

Estimated Sales: 335 Million

Madonna is an American singer and songwriter who is widely considered to be the most successful female music artist of all time. She is known as a pop singer, electronic music performer, and dance music artist. It has been estimated that she has sold more than 335 million units during the course of her career.

She has been active for more than 40 years, producing hit after hit, constantly changing her style to match the expectations of her fans. Some of her biggest hits include Like a Prayer, Like a Virgin, Vogue, and Material Girl. Furthermore, she has consistently paid homage to the female singers who came before her, paving the way for her career. Likewise, she is considered to be an inspiration to countless female performers who developed their own Styles in the 1990s, 2000, and 2010s. Madonna continues to produce hits, even during the latter stages of her career, releasing another song titled Hung Up, which showed that she still has energy left.

Next: Iconic & famous female singers list (our picks)

2. Rihanna

Rihanna - Diamonds

Estimated Sales: 250 Million

Rihanna burst onto the scene in 2005 and is now widely considered to be one of the most successful female artists of all time. She comes from Barbados, an island in the Caribbean, but has quickly become an international superstar. She is known for her edgy lyrics, passionate performing style, and charity work worldwide, including in her native country.

Rihanna has had a slew of number one hits, following in the footsteps of female artists who came before her. Some of her most popular songs include S&M, Disturbia, and Only Girl (In The World). She is also making her way into the movie industry, producing songs for the Marvel series Black Panther. During the 2010s and 2020s, she has continuously reinvented her style, working hard to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. She has a large team around her, maximizing her creative talents while catering to her fans’ needs.

Next: Greatest R&B artists/musicians in music history

3. Céline Dion

Céline Dion - That's The Way It Is (Official Video)

Estimated Sales: 250 Million

Céline Dion is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She is also one of the world’s most successful and recognizable singers. Her career has spanned more than 30 years, and she has served as an inspiration to countless people who have followed not only her singing career but also her personal struggles.

She has produced a slew of number-one hits, ultimately opening up a new genre of music with her pop-rock mixture. Some of her most popular songs include That’s The Way It Is, Power of Love, and A New Day Has Come. On the other hand, her most recognizable song is My Heart Will Go On. It served as the anthem for the movie Titanic, directed by James Cameron, which was the best-selling movie of all time when it was released. In the decades since the movie, Céline Dion has cemented herself as one of the best-selling female artists of all time.

Next: The greatest Canadian musicians in the country’s history

4. Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey - We Belong Together (Official Music Video)

Estimated Sales: 250 Million

Mariah Carey is an American singer and songwriter who has been active for more than 30 years. In the decades since she burst onto the scene, she has gone from a talented singer with an impressive vocal range to a singer who is synonymous with success. She is known for her wide range, which is said to span more octaves than any other singer. She has had many hits over the years, reinventing herself to match the latest trends. While she was inspired by those who came before her, such as Whitney Houston, she now inspires countless young female artists worldwide..

She has showcased her amazing musical abilities with songs such as Hero and Always Be My Baby. In addition, she has transitioned into the R&B world with songs such as We Belong Together. While there are countless songs to list, her most popular song is the famous Christmas anthem, All I Want for Christmas Is You. With her talent and sales, she has earned being one of the best female artists of all time.

Next: The richest overall singers in the world

5. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston - I Have Nothing (Official HD Video)

Estimated Sales: 250 Million

Whitney Houston was arguably the most talented female singer of all time. She was active in the industry for close to 30 years, continuously showcasing her powerful voice and lyrical abilities. She burst onto the scene in 1984 with a hit called How Will I Know, transitioning from talented church singer to pop superstar virtually overnight. Even though her career was marked by drug problems and a rocky relationship with Bobby Brown, her talent was always displayed when she was on the stage.

She followed up her first hit with a myriad of songs, including Saving All My LoveRun To You, and I’m Every Woman. Her rendition of the national anthem for the Super Bowl is a recording used worldwide and the standard against which all others are compared. Her biggest hits include I Wanna Dance With Somebody, One Moment in Time, and I Will Always Love You. Her presence on the stage is truly missed, but she is still one of the best female singers of all time.

Next: The best selling artists (overall) of all time

6. Beyonce

Beyoncé - I’M THAT GIRL (Official Teaser)

Estimated Sales: 200 Million

Beyonce has electrified the stage for decades, launching her music career in 1997. She was a member of the Destiny’s Child, but soon launched a successful solo career that would make everyone almost forget about her group days. She has a passionate fan following, and she has been dubbed the “Queen Bee.” Her fame and marketing abilities are undeniable, and she has collaborated with Jay-Z on a number of her songs.

Some of her most popular hits include Halo and Irreplaceable. She is also known for her charitable work in the community, and she works with other female artists who want to follow in her footsteps.

Next: Greatest girl groups/bands in music history (full featured list)

7. Britney Spears

... Baby One More Time

Estimated Sales: 200 Million

Britney Spears has been in the music industry since 1998, enjoying her heyday during the late 90s and early 2000s. She capitalized on a niche of the “innocent schoolgirl,” reflected in her performing style and music videos. Her most popular songs include ToxicSometimes(You Drive Me) Crazy, Stronger, Lucky, and Oops! I Did It Again. She was one of the biggest artists in the world during the era of boy bands, frequently collaborating with other singers to bring the stage to life. 

Her performance tile has been copied by countless musical artists who came after her, and she continues to perform today. Her struggles, transparency, and vulnerability with her trials and tribulations have made her even more endearing to fans, keeping her relevant even as music evolves.

Next: Biggest and best 2000s musicians (our list)

8. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - Anti-Hero (Official Music Video)

Estimated Sales: 200 Million

Taylor Swift started as a country singer, bursting onto the scene in 2006. Immediately, she electrified fans with her relatable lyrics and singing style, quickly making the transition from country to pop music. Now, she is widely seen as one of the most successful singers of all time, both in the country music industry and in the pop music industry.

While she had many popular country hits, her most popular is Teardrops on My Guitar, which made her a household name. This gave her the following she needed to transition from country music to pop music. She is known for writing songs about her breakups, but her talent is displayed every time she steps behind the microphone.

Next: The top T-Swift songs in her discography (our list)

9. Barbara Streisand

Barbra Streisand - Cry Me A River (Official Video)

Estimated Sales: 150 Million

Barbra Streisand is a popular American singer and actress. Her career has lasted more than 60 years, and she gradually transitioned away from the microphone to the big screen. She is one of the few American entertainers to be awarded an Emmy, Tony, Oscar, and Grammy, showing just how talented she is. Some of her most popular songs include Love, Guilty, and Memory. She has also enjoyed success in the movie industry, particularly with Meet the Fockers. She is a household name and a recognizable entertainer everywhere she goes. 

10. Katy Perry

Katy Perry - Dark Horse (Official) ft. Juicy J

Estimated Sales: 143 Million

Katy Perry is one of the most recognizable superstars in the world. Even though she has been singing since a young age, she became famous after releasing her pop song, I Kissed a Girl.  The song’s edgy lyrics immediately made her famous, and she followed that song up with Teenage Dream. Now, she is widely seen as one of the best singers in the world, and he can also be seen as a judge on TV for singing competitions.

Next: The best-selling singles/songs of all time 

11. Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey - You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet

Estimated Sales: 140 Million

Shirley Bassey is a Welsh singer who is widely revered for longevity of her career. She is also known for her powerful voice and is probably best known for recording the theme song for three separate James Bond films. She is one of the most popular British singers of all time, but she has spent time touring worldwide.

She was born in 1937 in the United Kingdom, and she started performing in 1953. She has received a myriad of awards throughout her career, all while inspiring a generation of young girls to follow in her footsteps. Some of her most popular songs include Goldfinger, Never, Never, Never, and This Is My Life. Despite her age, she continues to tour today, showcasing a career that started in 1953 and continues into the 2020s. 

12. P!nK (Pink)

P!NK - What About Us (Official Video)

Estimated Sales: 135 Million

Pink is an American singer known for her powerful voice and impressive performance style. She has been active since 2000, reinventing herself several times to match the latest trends in the industry. One of her most popular early songs is called I’m Coming Out, which quickly became the party anthem of the early 2000s. This song was followed up with another hit, Just Like a Pill. These two hits put her on the map, establishing her as one of the most popular music stars of the current generation.

She reinvented her style slightly, becoming an absolute pop sensation with hits such as Raise Your Glass and U and Ur Hand. She also briefly transitioned to the movie industry, recording the song A Million Dreams for the hit movie starring Hugh Jackman, The Greatest ShowmanShe continues to tour to this day, continuously impressing fans all over the world with her showmanship and powerful voice. She is also an advocate for Civil Rights, speaking up for minority groups. 

Next: Top woman rock singers of all time

13. Adele

Estimated Sales: 124 Million

Adele is a British singer and songwriter, and is already one of the most successful British singers in history. Even though she has been singing since she was a little girl, she launched her music career in earnest in 2008. One of her early hits is titled, Chasing Pavements, which put her on the map. This song was followed up with songs such as Rolling in the Deep and Set Fire to the Rain, which showcased her impressive versatility. 

Her impressive, powerful voice got her noticed, and she was asked to record Skyfall for the James Bond movie of the same name. She followed this up with another album, releasing songs such as HelloSend My Love (To Your New Lover) and When We Were Young. She uses her platform to advocate for minor groups while also inspiring other women and girls to follow in her footsteps. She endears herself to her fans with her vulnerability and humility, which belies her impressive vocal talent.

Next: Iconic British musicians (best UK artists ever)

14. Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera - I Turn To You (Official Video)

Estimated Sales: 120 Million

Christina Aguilera is an American singer and songwriter who has been active since 1999. She is known for her incredible vocal control and her wide range. She put her career on the map when she voiced Disney’s Mulan, particularly the emotionally-charged song Reflection. Her ability to sustain high notes is virtually unparalleled, and she has also been labeled the “Voice of a Generation,” epitomizing the late 90s and early 2000s. Some of her most popular songs include Genie in a Bottle, and I Turn To You.

Following her early success, she changed her style slightly with songs such as Dirrty and Hurt, but she continued to showcase her vocal control with songs such as Beautiful. She has even recorded songs for Moulin Rouge! She has won a Grammy for her singing and songwriting talents and continues to tour and perform into the 2020s.

15. Cher

Cher - Believe [Official Music Video]

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Cher is an American singer and songwriter who has enjoyed one of the longest singing careers of any artist in history. She is one of the few singers to have hits in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000, and 2010s. Because of her impressive performance style, relatable lyrics, and career longevity, she has also been labeled as the Goddess of Pop.

Born in 1946, she launched her career as a teenager, as one half of the music duo known as Sonny & Cher. The group had a number of hits in the 1960s, including I Got You. Unfortunately, Sonny was killed in a tragic accident, leaving Cher to perform on her own.

Even after her success in the 1970s, she continued to launch a number of hits in the 1980s. Some of the biggest ones include “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “I Found Someone.” She changed her singing style and background music lightly to match the 1980s, but she did more than just stay relevant, as she continued to showcase her incredible staying power.

Despite the tragedy, she continued to perform undaunted, releasing hits such as Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves, Half Breed, and Dark Lady. She showcased her unique singing voice, which is immediately recognizable on the radio. In the 1990s, Cher would release her biggest hit, Believe. This is a love anthem that is continuously played today, with the music beat in the background recognizable all over the world. She would follow up this song with more hits in the 2000s and 2010s, such as Song for the Lonely and When the Money’s Gone.

16. Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson - All For You

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

There are a lot of people who believe that Janet Jackson was a member of The Jackson 5, but that is not the case. Her success has been entirely as a solo artist. She is known for her edgy performing style and impressive vocals, and she has been described as the quintessential entertainer. She has even performed in the Super Bowl halftime show. She has been active since the 1980s, but had most of her hits in the 1990s and 2000s. Some of her most popular songs include Together Again, All for You, and Call on Me.

17. Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj ft. Fivio Foreign - We Go Up (Official Video)

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Nicki Minaj is from Trinidad and Tobago, and she is a popular hip hop, rap, and pop singer. She burst onto the scene in 2010 with hits such as Super Bass. Her early hits were followed up with Only and Anaconda. Arguably, her most popular song is Starships. She is known for her edgy lyrics, evocative performing style, and eclectic outfits. She has also served as the flag-bearer for autonomous, independent women who each have their own performing styles.

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18. Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John - Love Is Letting Go Of Fear

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Olivia Newton-John was an Australian singer and songwriter whose career started in 1966. One of the most successful Australian singers of all time, she won four Grammy Awards and recorded five number-one hits during a career that spanned more than six decades. Her entertaining style and vocal range were impressive, and she is best known for her starring role in the movie Grease with John Travolta. Some of her most popular songs include Xanadu, Magic, and Summer Nights, but she is undoubtedly best known for her recording of the song You’re The One That I Want. She passed away in 2022, but she continues to inspire young singers everywhere, encouraging everyone to follow their own styles.

19. Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton - 9 To 5

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Dolly Parton is one of the most famous female American country singers of all time, launching her career in 1959. Born in 1946, she started singing as a young teenager, and has been on stage ever since. In addition to her work as a country music superstar, she has worked as an actress, businesswoman, and philanthropist. She also plays multiple instruments, including the piano, the banjo, and the guitar.

Her first love has always been country music, and she has recorded a variety of hits over the years. A few examples include Jolene, Islands in the Stream and Love Is Like a Butterfly. She paved the way for countless other female country music stars who would follow in her footsteps, including Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and Trisha Yearwood.

Her work on the stage is never going to be overshadowed, but she is also an incredible activist for communities in need. In particular, she believes every child is entitled to a strong education, and she works hard to ensure every child in the country has books they can read.

Next: The absolute top-tier female country singers ever

20. Linda Ronstadt

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Linda Ronstadt is an American singer and songwriter whose career began in 1967. She is one of the most diversely talented American singers of all time, showcasing abilities in opera, country, and rock. She has won 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. She has also won an Emmy Award during the course of her career.

Some of her most popular songs include Blue Bayou, Long Long Time, and You’re No Good. For more than 40 years, she was a fixture on the stage, selling out arenas wherever she went. In addition to her work as a singer and songwriter, she has been a powerful advocate for the needy.

21. Diana Ross

Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Diana Ross is an American pop superstar, singer, and entertainment icon whose career started in the 1950s. Her voice is instantly recognizable, and she has found success not only as a singer but also as an actress. She broke into the spotlight with the group known as The Supremes. Some of the group’s most popular songs include Baby Love and You Can’t Hurry Love. As the lead singer of The Supremes, she showcased her vocal talent, and she eventually went off on her own, enjoying an incredibly successful solo career.

As a solo artist, some of her most popular songs include Endless Love, Upside Down, and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Her impressive vocal range, impeccable ability to hit every note, and unique entertaining style have made her a household name in the American entertainment industry for decades. 

22. Donna Summer

Donna Summer - MacArthur Park (from VH1 Presents Live & More Encore!)

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Donna Summer, known as the Disco Queen, was an American singer whose career began in 1968. She enjoyed her music career that lasted multiple decades, but her heyday came in the 1970s at the peak of the Disco era. She is inextricably tied to disco music, but she is also able to handle songs and other areas. Some of her most popular songs include I Feel Love, I Love You, and She Works Hard for the Money. Even after disco began to fade into the background, she continued to be revered as an entertainment superstar. 

23. Tina Turner

Tina Turner - The Best (Official Music Video)

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Tina Turner is one of the most famous American singers of all time, with her career starting in 1964. Originally from the United States, she now calls Switzerland home. When she began her singing career, she was a member of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Quickly, she went off on her own, enjoying a remarkably successful solo career.

She is known for her powerful voice and impressive rain, recording a number of hits during the course of her career. Examples include The Best, Proud Mary, and What’s Love Got To Do With It. Most of her hits came in the 1970s and 1980s, but she has been on stage for decades. Initially, she stopped performing in 2009, but she made a comeback in 2020. 

Next: The richest rock stars in the world

24. Shania Twain

Shania Twain - You’re Still The One (Official Music Video)

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Shania Twain is a Canadian country music superstar, with her career beginning in 1993. She had several popular hits in the late 1990s. A few of her most popular songs include From This Moment and You’re Still the One. She also developed a reputation as a popular performer and entertainer on the stage, continuously getting her audience involved in her performances. 

Even after her success in the 1990s, she continued to record and release hits, particularly with I’m Gonna Getcha Good, released in 2002. Shania Twain also advocates for underserved groups and continues to tour and perform.

25. Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick - That's What Friends Are For

Estimated Sales: 100 Million

Dionne Warwick is widely regarded as one of the top American singers of all time, with her career starting in 1962. Born in 1940 in Orange, NJ, she has been active in the music industry for more than six decades. She was one of the top hitmakers in the United States during the 50s-60s but continued to release hits until the 80s. She is the second-most charted artist on the Billboard charts during the rock era, which serves as a testament to her staying power.

As evidence of her career longevity, she had hits scattered across multiple decades. She has cemented herself as a music and entertainment icon, continuing to perform even into her later years. In addition to her work as a singer and songwriter, she has served as a television host. She has also served as an inspiration for countless female superstars who followed in her footsteps, including Whitney Houston.

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