Rihanna overtakes Elvis Presley’s record

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.

52 Responses to Rihanna overtakes Elvis Presley’s record

  1. Get Even
    Get Even February 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

    well done…continue to shine bright like ah diamond

  2. Jennifer Walcott
    Jennifer Walcott February 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Well done RIRI continue to shine

  3. Marcia Joseph
    Marcia Joseph February 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Wow- all that is left to say are hearty, tremendous congratulations.

  4. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne February 9, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    God bless you, Rihanna. No one can close to what you have done even though the so-called King has left the building.

  5. Blon D Mayers Trotman
    Blon D Mayers Trotman February 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Riri to d world!

  6. Santini More
    Santini More February 9, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Wow! Quite simply Wow!

  7. Jeanette Hernandez
    Jeanette Hernandez February 9, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I am so proud of you, job well done. Congratulations

  8. jrsmith February 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Well done girl , you , the Island princess…..

  9. Truful February 9, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Upwards and onwards to steal Combermere’s Motto

  10. Jim Alleyne February 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Bajan to de bone luv yah gal bad bad.

  11. Mikey February 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Well done. Continue to shine brightly.
    You make us feel proud.

  12. Jai Khan
    Jai Khan February 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Congratulations. Bajan Diamond shining for all the world to see!!

  13. Jules Daniels
    Jules Daniels February 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Rihanna is not in the same league or talent as Elvis no matter what record is set.

    • Frank Fowler
      Frank Fowler February 9, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Alot of the music Elvis did were remakes of songs black artists originally did, because southern radio stations didn’t play black artists.

    • Ryan Bayne
      Ryan Bayne February 9, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      You are so correct. The only person they refuse to give credit to at that time was Little Richard who started Rock ‘n Roll in the first place.

    • Ch illy February 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Rihanna did not steal any ones music either

    • hcalndre February 16, 2017 at 8:51 am

      @Jules Daniels: Did Rihanna said she was in the same league as Elvis? The survey spoke of sales, you has the right to your opinion.

  14. Tracee Albert
    Tracee Albert February 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    well done.

  15. Rubertha Blackman
    Rubertha Blackman February 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Congrats to girl power

  16. harry turnover February 9, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I don’t see one Bob Marley in that lineup.Last year a Jamaican friend said that he was way ahead of we Ri RI.
    Hope he reads this.

  17. Winston Ifill
    Winston Ifill February 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Congrats to Rihanna, how great putting Barbados on the World stage of international Music.

    • Sydonette Dennie
      Sydonette Dennie February 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Look for the person who put her there so she can put Barbados there. That person is look down on instead of look up to. That person can change it all back

  18. People!! February 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Obviously yuh Jamaican friend had it wrong. BTW how about congrats to her?

  19. Alex Alleyne February 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    How many on you bought a legal RIRI cd or vinyl ?????.
    Keep doing your thing RIRI.

  20. Natasha Ward
    Natasha Ward February 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Congratulations Rhi Rhi

  21. jus me February 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    RiRi for Prime Minister.
    Come home Baby head up a new party, we all need you.

    • hcalndre February 16, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Rihanna for PM of barbados? RiRi have made barbados known to the world, no PM or MP have ever done it unless they decide to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

  22. Dwana Hope
    Dwana Hope February 9, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Wow A Black girl overtook a white man’s record

    • Howboutdah February 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      I see something well done – you see race.. same old.

  23. Margaret Adams
    Margaret Adams February 9, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Great, my Bajan. Girl

  24. Syrupy Kiki
    Syrupy Kiki February 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Glad for u hun

  25. Lana Richards
    Lana Richards February 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Go Rih!!!!!

  26. Juan Waithe-Lashley
    Juan Waithe-Lashley February 9, 2017 at 9:16 pm


  27. Fay Gaskin
    Fay Gaskin February 9, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Brenda M. Earle

  28. Brenda . February 9, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Congrats. The only thing Elvis has above you, is his passion for God. Therein lay his greatness.

  29. Titty February 10, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Well done RIRI

  30. North Point February 10, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Go girl, Bajan fuh real, keep God in yuh prays.

  31. Brian Quinn February 10, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Absolute NONSENSE. One cannot compare today’s artists with pre-streaming and downloading ones.

    Rihanna will never be in the class of Elvis or The Beatles.

    • czar June 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      She’s not good enough to clean Elvis boots or the Beatles shoes. They are simply a different class the way they dominated the music world. Most people outside of The US and Western Europe never heard of her unlike Elvis and the Beatles who were global phenominal.

  32. David Gibbs February 10, 2017 at 10:08 am

    somehow I doubt that this figure is accurate.

  33. Loretta Rodrigues February 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I think its all wrong, as BMG has stopped counting Elvis record sales, There are too many . Please get your facts right.x

  34. Miriam Susan February 10, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Rihanna nnnaaaaaaavvvvvvvvvvyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Howboutdah February 10, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    200mill plus and Bey only 70 mill plus.. ok Someone’s abacus is broken.

  36. Wasta February 10, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Deceiving article. Comparing a 1$ digital track to maxi-singles and full albums or EPs is wrong. She has sold many digital singles. Don’t compare that to artists such as Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna or Michael Jackson. Stop the lies.

  37. gregory balteff February 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    she is not even close …elvis and the beatles have sold close to a billion units

  38. gregory balteff February 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    to those who say you can steal a sound are fallacious…you cannot steal a sound …all sounds are an amalgamation of all that exists …elvis is king …the most important and influential music icon EVER !!

  39. Brian Quinn February 10, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    The Guinness Book of World Records lists Elvis Presley as the Biggest Selling Solo Artist of all-time with sales of over 1 Billion Units. They have to verify their figures before publication.

  40. David Gibbs February 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    I dont know one minute its the RIAA saying Garth Brooks is the top selling solo artist in the USA now Rihanna is top selling solo artist.What absolute bunk.Even Garth admitted he knew it was Elvis.Next it will be the cast of Glee or some such rubbish.This down loading and streaming stuff should be subject to a seperate audit.Anyway the 211 million units credited to Elvis is nonsence as I would guess he has sold almost that in the USA alone if the RIAA counted all his albums instead of ones that sold a million or now half a million.The billion figure given by Guinness will probably be nearer the truth.The two albums with the Royal Philharmonic have sold nearly two million copies in the last year.Thats proper cd’s not a click of a button download.I wonder if this was taken into account.It will be interesting to find out how many albums Elvis sold in the UK alone and also in the world following his death in 1977.It just seems like no one is interested,even in the Elvis world to give him the due his legacy deserves .Disgraceful.

  41. SP April 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    This figure is just ludicrous. It’s taken from the soundscan figures which started in 1990, which missed the billion that elvis & the Beatles had sold around 5 years earlier! If you want to see the true best selling artists google it. The Beatles are 1st, elvis 2nd, mj 3rd followed by madonna. Rihanna is 7th or 8th! These figures should really be made more accurate because it’s untrue & misleading! Also Rihanna’s album sales have always been disappointing.

  42. Tommy Watkins May 11, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    any body can say this and say that, but elvis and a lot of artist lived and recorded in a time when it was hard to get or save enough money to buy

    a single or album, today everyones got a credit card or phone you can down load songs on, i for one wish i could have bought all of Elvis records but money was hard to com by, thank God I can buy them now, and i do when I can! so its remarkable that he sold all those records, so when you start saying someone is ahead of Elvis in sells its awhole different ball game now, if I was that artist i would take it with a grain of salt, it ant the same, and you can take that to the bank!!!!!!

  43. czar June 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Don’t care what the stats say she’s nowhere in comparison to Elvis and The Beatles. She’s not even in the same class as Led Zeppelin as regard to musical super stardom.


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