Music Charts — April 8, 2016 at 6:15 pm

The best selling albums of all time, re-ranked by streaming numbers

by

adelemichaelkurt

Back when everyone used to purchase their music in physical form it wasn’t difficult to work out who was the best selling artist in the world. There was a paper trail to follow…  just look at the receipts and the answer was right in front of you.

 

Now, with the majority of music worldwide being streamed, it’s not quite as simple to work out. The good folks at The Guardian have reimagined the Top 30 best selling albums in theworld and seen what they would look like if they were to be released today.  Basically they’ve combined each album’s physical album sales and combined it with their streaming stats on Spotify to come up with a more accurate representation of who would be the biggest sellers if these albums were to be released today.

And the results are surprising.

 

In the realm of physical album sales Michael Jackson reigns supreme, with Thriller being the most purchased album in history. But when you factor in streaming data, Adele takes the crown. Her debut album 21 has been streamed more than three times more than second placed Metallica, who’s self-titled album was only ranked number 28 in global physical album sales.

 

The list is dominated by artists that are still active including AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and Metallica, Mariah Carey and the Eagles whilst acts like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles have shown how much their legacy still continues to influence music fans long after they last played a note.

 

Check out the full countdown below:

 

The all-time top 30 albums, reranked by streaming numbers

1. (No 21 in the all-time bestsellers list) Adele – 21 (806,023,008 streams)
2. (No 28) Metallica – Metallica (229,955,391)
3. (No 29) Nirvana – Nevermind (121,970,542)
4. (No 23) Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA (94,855,753)
5. (No 10) Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (93,040,647)
6. (No 22) The Beatles – Abbey Road (69,365,618)
7. (No 7) Bee Gees/Various Artists – Saturday Night Fever (65,580,111)
8. (No 4) Whitney Houston/Various Artists – The Bodyguard (59,972,881)
9. (No 2) AC/DC – Back in Black (56,449,731)
10. (No 15) Eagles – Hotel California (55,650,887)
11. (No 8) Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (53,960,342)
12. (No 25) Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (51,724,446)
13. (No 13) Celine Dion – Falling Into You (46,108,840)
14. (No 20) The Beatles – 1 (44,736,403)
15. (No 12) Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (42,863,108)
16. (No 17) Michael Jackson – Dangerous (39,327,430)
17. (No 16) Mariah Carey – Music Box (22,228,518)
18. (No 1) Michael Jackson – Thriller (19,260,591)
19. (No 18) Various Artists – Dirty Dancing (16,471,861)
20. (No 5) Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (14,177,469)

Spotify’s all-time top 20 most streamed albums

1. Ed Sheeran – x
2. Justin Bieber – Purpose
3. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
4. Calvin Harris – Motion
5. Calvin Harris – 18 Months
6. Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear
7. Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
8. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
9. Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Jukebox
10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist
11. Ariana Grande – My Everything
12. Jack Ü – Skrillex and Diplo present Jack Ü
13. Avicii – True
14. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
15. One Direction – Midnight Memories (Deluxe)
16. One Direction – Four
17. Arctic Monkeys – AM
18. Meghan Trainor – Title
19. One Direction – Take Me Home: Yearbook Edition
20. Beyoncé – Beyoncé