List of best-selling albums

This is a list of the world's best-selling albums of recorded music. To appear on the list, the figure must have been published by a reliable source and the album must have sold at least 20 million copies. This list can contain any types of album, including studio albums, extended plays, greatest hits, compilations, various artists, soundtracks and remixes. The figures given do not take into account the resale of used albums.[a]

All albums included on this list have their available claimed figures supported by at least 30% in certified copies. The percentage amount of certified sales needed increases the newer the album is, so albums released before 1975 are only expected to have their claimed figures supported by at least 30% in certified copies. However, newer albums, such as 21 and Come Away with Me, are expected to have their claimed figures supported by at least 70% in certified copies. Certified copies are sourced from available online databases of local music industry associations. This is the reason why albums that would otherwise make the list, such as The Sound of Music, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Parallel Lines, Spirits Having Flown, Private Dancer, Janet, Believe, Bolo Ta Ra Ra.., Human Clay, Laundry Service and Back to Black, have not been included.

As a result of the methodology that the American and Canadian certification-awarding bodies (the RIAA and Music Canada respectively) use, each disc in a multi-disc set is counted as one unit toward certification, leading to many double albums on the list—such as Pink Floyd's The Wall and the Beatles' The Beatles—being certified with a number double the number of copies sold there. Such albums have the certifications for the number of copies (not discs) shipped indicated. Conversely, the American certification level for double albums that fit onto one compact disc, such as the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack reflect the actual number of copies sold. In 2016, RIAA included streaming in addition to track sales and album sales based on the concept of album-equivalent unit for certification purposes, and certification therefore no longer reflects shipment alone.[1][2] For example, in the update of the certification for Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) by the Eagles in August 2018, the album was certified 38× Platinum (increasing from the previous 29× Platinum certification in 2006) based on the new criteria, making it then the album with the highest certification in the United States.[3]

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 66 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album.[4] Although sales estimates for Thriller have been as high as 120 million copies, these sales figures are unreliable.[5] Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while Whitney Houston, The Beatles and Madonna each have three.

Groupings are based on different sales benchmarks, the highest being for claims of at least 40 million copies, and the lowest being for claims of 20–29 million copies. Albums are listed in order of number of copies sold and thereafter by the artist's first name. Markets' order within the table is based on the number of compact discs sold in each market, largest market at the top and smallest at the bottom.[6]

Thriller platinum record, Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood
Platinum record for Michael Jackson's Thriller (1982), the best-selling album of all time

Legend

Colors
Studio albums
Greatest hits and compilations
Soundtracks
Live albums

40 million copies or more

*All sales figures are shown in millions

Artist Album Released Genre Total certified copies
(from available markets)*
Claimed sales* Ref(s)
Michael Jackson Thriller 1982 Pop, rock, R&B
47.3
66 [4]
Eagles Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) 1976 Country rock, soft rock, folk rock
41.2
51 [25][26]
AC/DC Back in Black 1980 Hard rock
26.1
50 [28]
Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Progressive rock
24.2
45 [31]
Whitney Houston / Various artists The Bodyguard 1992 R&B, soul, pop, soundtrack
28.4
45 [36]
Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell 1977 Hard rock, glam rock, heavy metal
21.5
43 [37]
Eagles Hotel California 1976 Soft rock
31.5
42 [38]
Bee Gees / Various artists Saturday Night Fever 1977 Disco
21.6
40 [40][41]
Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1977 Soft rock
27.9
40 [44][45]
Shania Twain Come On Over 1997 Country, pop
29.6
40 [49]

30–39 million copies

*All sales figures are shown in millions

Artist Album Released Genre Total certified copies
(from available markets)*
Claimed sales* Ref(s)
Various artists Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture 1978 Rock and roll
14.4
38
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV 1971 Hard rock, heavy metal, folk rock
29.0
37 [50]
Michael Jackson Bad 1987 Pop, funk, rock
19.3
35 [52][53]
Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill 1995 Alternative rock
24.4
33 [54]
Celine Dion Falling into You 1996 Pop, soft rock
20.2
32 [56]
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967 Rock
18.2
32 [57]
Various artists Dirty Dancing 1987 Pop, rock, R&B
17.9
32 [58]
Michael Jackson Dangerous 1991 Rock, funk, pop
17.3
32 [61]
Adele 21 2011 Pop, soul
25.3
31 [76]
Celine Dion Let's Talk About Love 1997 Pop, soft rock
19.3
31 [79]
The Beatles 1 2000 Rock
23.4
31 [82]
ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits 1992 Pop, disco
23.0
30 [86]
Madonna The Immaculate Collection 1990 Pop, dance
19.4
30 [89]
The Beatles Abbey Road 1969 Rock
14.4
30 [90]
Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. 1984 Heartland rock
19.6
30 [91]
Dire Straits Brothers in Arms 1985 Roots rock, blues rock, soft rock
17.7
30 [92][93]
James Horner Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture 1997 Film score
18.1
30 [96]
Metallica Metallica 1991 Heavy metal
25.2

00,000[29]

31 [97]
Nirvana Nevermind 1991 Grunge, alternative rock
16.7
30 [98]
Pink Floyd The Wall 1979 Progressive rock
18.7
30 [100]
Santana Supernatural 1999 Latin rock
20.5
30 [101]
Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction 1987 Hard rock
21.6
30 [102][103]

20–29 million copies

*All sales figures are shown in millions

Artist Album Released Genre Claimed sales* Ref(s)
Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet 1986 Hard rock, glam metal 28 [104]
Mariah Carey Music Box 1993 Pop, R&B 28 [105]
Eminem The Eminem Show 2002 Hip hop 27 [106][107]
Linkin Park Hybrid Theory 2000 Nu metal, rap metal, alternative metal 27 [108]
Norah Jones Come Away with Me 2002 Jazz 27 [109]
Eric Clapton Unplugged 1992 Acoustic rock, acoustic blues 26 [110]
Madonna True Blue 1986 Pop 25 [111]
Bob Marley & The Wailers Legend: The Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers 1984 Reggae 25 [112]
Carole King Tapestry 1971 Pop 25 [113]
Phil Collins No Jacket Required 1985 Pop rock 25 [114]
Queen Greatest Hits 1981 Rock 25 [115]
Simon & Garfunkel Bridge over Troubled Water 1970 Folk rock 25 [116]
U2 The Joshua Tree 1987 Rock 25 [117]
Prince and The Revolution Purple Rain 1984 Pop rock, new wave, R&B 25 [118]
Britney Spears ...Baby One More Time 1999 Pop 25 [119]
Elton John Greatest Hits 1974 Pop 24 [120]
Backstreet Boys Backstreet's Back / Backstreet Boys 1997 Pop 24 [121]
Backstreet Boys Millennium 1999 Pop 24 [121]
Spice Girls Spice 1996 Pop 23 [122][123]
Ace of Base Happy Nation/The Sign 1993 Pop 23 [124]
Celine Dion All the Way... A Decade of Song 1999 Pop 22 [125]
Whitney Houston Whitney Houston 1985 Pop, R&B 22 [126]
Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory? 1995 Britpop, rock 22 [127]
Adele 25 2015 Soul, pop, R&B 22 [128]
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2000 hip-hop 21 [129]
Madonna Like a Virgin 1984 Pop, dance 21 [130]
Bon Jovi Cross Road 1994 Hard rock, glam metal 21 [131]
Boston Boston 1976 Arena rock, hard rock 20 [132]
Britney Spears Oops!... I Did It Again 2000 Pop 20 [133]
Celine Dion The Colour of My Love 1993 Pop 20 [134]
Def Leppard Hysteria 1987 Hard rock, glam metal 20 [135]
Elvis Presley Elvis' Christmas Album 1957 Christmas, pop, gospel, rock and roll 25
20
[136][137][138]
George Michael Faith 1987 Pop, R&B, funk, soul 20 [139]
Green Day Dookie 1994 Pop punk, punk rock, alternative rock 20 [140]
Lionel Richie Can't Slow Down 1983 Pop, R&B, soul 20 [141]
Mariah Carey Daydream 1995 Pop, R&B 20 [142]
Michael Jackson HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I 1995 Pop, pop rock, funk, R&B, new jack swing 20 [143]
Michael Jackson Off the Wall 1979 Soul, disco, R&B 20 [144]
Shania Twain The Woman in Me 1995 Country, pop 20 [145]
Supertramp Breakfast in America 1979 Progressive rock, art rock 20 [146]
Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman 1988 Folk rock 20 [147]
Various artists Flashdance: Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture 1983 Electro, synthpop 20 [148]
Whitney Houston Whitney 1987 Pop, R&B 20 [149]

Timeline of the best-selling albums

Timeline of the highest-selling album record
Year record set Artist Album Record setting sales (millions) Total sales (millions) Ref(s)
1945 Various Artists Oklahoma! (78 rpm album) 0.5 1.0 [150][151]
1956 Various Artists Oklahoma! (LP album) 1.75 2.5 [152]
1956/1957 Various Artists My Fair Lady 2 5 [153][154][155]
1960 Various Artists South Pacific 2.25 3 [156]
1963 Vaughn Meader The First Family 4 7.5 [157][158]
1968 Various Artists The Sound of Music 8WW [159]
1973 Carole King Tapestry 10+ [160]
1975/1976 Various Artists The Sound of Music 10–15SM-T [161][162]
1976 Carole King Tapestry 13.5SM-T 25 [163]
1979 Bee Gees/Various Artists Saturday Night Fever 25–27 40 [164][165]
1984 Michael Jackson Thriller 35 66 [166][4]
Notes
  • WWIt is unclear whether this sales figure refers to worldwide sales or US sales.
  • SM-TThe exact year in which Tapestry regained the title of "best-selling album of all-time", if it ever regained it at all, is unclear. The album's 1976 sales claim is therefore only listed to be inclusive, as it is plausible that Tapestry had overtaken The Sound of Music in sales during this time period.

Best-selling album by year worldwide

The charts of the best-selling albums by year in the world are compiled by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry annually since 2001. These charts are published in their two annual reports, the Digital Music Report and the Recording Industry in Numbers. Both the Digital Music Report and the Recording Industry in Numbers were replaced in 2016 by the Global Music Report.[167]

Units sold include physical copies and digital downloads.

Year Album Artist(s) Sales
(millions)
Ref(s)
2001 Hybrid Theory Linkin Park 8.5 [168]
2002 The Eminem Show Eminem 13.9 [169]
2003 Come Away with Me Norah Jones 18.0 [170][171]
2004 Confessions Usher 12.0 [172]
2005 X&Y Coldplay 8.3 [173]
2006 High School Musical Various Artists 7.0 [174]
2007 High School Musical 2 6.0 [175]
2008 Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends Coldplay 6.8 [176]
2009 I Dreamed a Dream Susan Boyle 8.3 [177]
2010 Recovery Eminem 5.7 [178]
2011 21 Adele 18.1 [169]
2012 8.3 [179]
2013 Midnight Memories One Direction 4.0 [180]
2014 Frozen Various Artists 9.0 [181]
2015 25 Adele 17.4 [182]
2016 Lemonade Beyoncé 2.5 [183]
2017 ÷ Ed Sheeran 6.1 [184]
2018 The Greatest Showman Various Artists 3.5 [185]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ To be on this list, albums released:
    • before 1975 are required to have their claimed sales figures supported by 30% in certified units.
    • between 1975 and 1990 are required to have their claimed figures supported by 30–50% in certified units. (That is 1.33% for each additional year after 1975.)
    • between 1990 and 2000 are required to have their claimed figures supported by 50–60% in certified units. (That is 1% for each additional year after 1990.)
    • in 2000 and onwards are required to have their claimed figures supported by 60–80% in certified units. (That is 1.33% for each additional year after 2000.)

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List of best-selling albums by country

This is a list of the best selling albums by country based on the information and certifications provided by the respective national charts.

List of best-selling albums by year (Italy)

This is a list of best-selling albums by year in Italy. The Federation of the Italian Music Industry began publishing year-end lists for album sales in 2000. The charts are based on the cumulative total sales collected during the year from January to December.

The only albums by foreign artists to top the Italian year-end chart were 1 by The Beatles in 2000, and ÷ by Ed Sheeran in 2017. Vasco Rossi achieved five annual best-selling albums in Italy with the records Stupido hotel in 2001, Tracks in 2002, Buoni o cattivi in 2004, Vivere o niente in 2011 and Sono innocente in 2014. Other multiple toppers of the year-end chart were Eros Ramazzotti, whose albums 9 and e² were the best-selling records of 2003 and 2007, respectively, and Tiziano Ferro, which achieved the first position on the annual chart in 2009 with Alla mia età and in 2012 with L'amore è una cosa semplice. More recently, Luciano Ligabue had two annual best-selling albums in Italy, with Arrivederci, mostro! and Mondovisione being the best-selling album in 2010 and 2013, respectively, and Jovanotti achieved the same result with Safari (2008) and Lorenzo 2015 CC. (2015).

List of best-selling albums by year in the United Kingdom

This is a list of the best-selling albums in the United Kingdom each year. The sales figures given are only within that year, but each album has sold more copies overall.

List of best-selling albums in Argentina

This is a list of the best-selling albums in Argentina based on CAPIF certification. Albums are listed in order of certification (highest to lowest), and order of release date (earliest to most recent). This list contains any type of album, including studio, greatest hits, compilation, various artists, soundtrack, DVDs and remix.

List of best-selling albums in Australia

This is a list of best-selling albums in Australia that have been certified by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Since the 1970s, ARIA certified an album platinum for a shipment of 50,000 copies across Australia. In 1983, the number of copies required for a platinum album was raised to 70,000 copies. All albums in this list released after 1982 must have won at least ten ARIA Platinum Awards (700,000 copies) or fourteen awards (700,000 copies) if released before 1983. This list is primarily based on the ARIA database, so it does not include some of the albums which were best-sellers before ARIA began tracking records.

According to ARIA certifications, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf is the best-selling album of all time in Australia with twenty-five times platinum, Whispering Jack by John Farnham is the second best-selling album and best-selling album for any local artist with twenty-four times platinum, Shania Twain's Come On Over holds record for the best-selling album by a female solo artist sharing the accolade with Australian act Delta Goodrem's debut Innocent Eyes with fifteen platinum certificates. Gold: Greatest Hits by ABBA is the best-selling compilation album ever, while Madonna's The Immaculate Collection is the best-selling compilation album in solo artist category. All of these records (except for the second best-selling album of all time) are held by foreign artists.

List of best-selling albums in Germany

Germany is the third largest music market in the world, and the largest in Europe. This is a list of the best-selling albums in Germany that have been certified by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI). Since January 1, 2003, BVMI certifies an album platinum for the shipment of 200,000 copies across Germany.

All albums in this list must have been certified for more than a million copies.

Certifications for albums released in Germany depend upon their release date.

List of best-selling albums in South Korea

The best-selling album in South Korea is Map of the Soul: Persona, by South Korean boy band BTS. The EP, released in April 2019, became the best-selling album in Korea of all time, with more than 3.2 million copies in less than a month. Including estimates based on illegal sales, Kim Gun-mo's 1995 studio album Wrongful Encounter is estimated to have sold at least 3.3 million copies.

Of all 67 albums, which sold more than one million copies, all are by Korean artists withthe exception of Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard (1992). Kim Gun-mo and Seo Taiji are the artists with the most million selling albums, having each six, followed by BTS and Exo with each five. Exo's first studio album, XOXO, became the first album released since 2001 to sell more than 1 million copies in 2013 and BTS' Love Yourself: Answer, became the first album to sell more than 2 million copies since 2000 in 2018.Between January 1999 and November 2008, the Music Industry Association of Korea (MIAK) charts were published monthly, with fifty chart positions and each album's detailed sales. The Korea Music Content Association (KMCA) introduced the Gaon Album Chart in February 2011, including a detailed breakdown of online chart data. Domestic music sales declined sharply in the 21st century. Sales certifications for albums are awarded by the KMCA, were introduced in April 2018, and can be awarded to every album released after January 1, 2018. Certifications are not included in this list, because the Gaon Music Chart publishes detailed album sales.

List of best-selling albums in the United Kingdom

The best-selling album in the United Kingdom is Greatest Hits, a compilation album by the British rock band Queen that was first released in 1981. As of December 2018, it has sold more than 6.3 million copies, of which approximately 124,000 have been from downloads. Queen's second greatest hits album, Greatest Hits II, has sold approximately 4 million copies since being released in 1991, and is the tenth biggest-selling album in the UK. These sales figures include 50% of sales of box sets containing both these albums and 33% of sales of box sets of all three Queen Greatest Hits albums.Of the UK's top 60 best-selling albums, more than half are by British artists. Fourteen are by American artists, with the rest being from Ireland, Canada, Sweden and Jamaica. Ten acts feature on the chart with more than one album, with Queen and Michael Jackson both featuring twice within the top ten. The only acts to feature more than twice are Coldplay, Take That and Robbie Williams; Williams features on the chart four times, more than any other artist. The most-represented record label is Parlophone with seven entries, while the decade that appears the most is the 2000s, with 20 of the entries having been released during that period, despite its "general background of declining sales and internet piracy".According to the Official Charts Company (OCC), which collects album sales data in the UK, an album is defined as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks or is longer than 25 minutes in duration. Sales of albums in the UK were first published by the music magazine Record Mirror, who compiled a weekly chart of the country's five biggest-selling records for the week of 22 July 1956. Record Mirror's first number one was Songs for Swingin' Lovers! by Frank Sinatra. Since then, four albums have gone on to sell more than five million copies each: Greatest Hits by Queen, Gold: Greatest Hits by ABBA, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles and 21 by Adele. The top nine best-selling albums have each sold at least four million copies. Since 1994, sales of albums have been monitored by the OCC, who took over compiling the weekly UK Albums Chart.Sales certifications for albums are awarded by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments, physical sales and downloads of albums, and, as of June 2015, streaming of album tracks. The BPI began awarding certifications soon after it was founded in April 1973. Initially, certifications were based on the revenue received by the album manufacturers – records that generated revenue of GB£75,000 were awarded silver certification, £150,000 represented gold and £1 million was platinum. Over the following six years, the thresholds for silver and gold certifications both grew twice – the threshold for platinum certification remained at £1 million. In January 1979, this method of certifying sales was abolished, and certifications were instead based on unit sales to retail outlets: sales of 60,000 were awarded silver, gold for 100,000 and platinum for 300,000. Multi-platinum awards were introduced in February 1987; digital downloads have been counted towards unit sales since 2004. Certifications for albums released before April 1973 were retroactively awarded in August 2013 for sales from 1994 onwards, and then again in February 2016 for all previous sales. The highest-certified album is Greatest Hits, which has been awarded platinum certification 20 times, representing 6,000,000 units.

List of best-selling albums in the United States

This is a list of the best-selling albums in the United States based on RIAA certification and Nielsen SoundScan sales tracking. The criteria are that the album must have been published (including self-publishing by the artist), and the album must have achieved at least a diamond certification from the RIAA. The albums released prior to March 1991 should be included with their certified units only, as their Nielsen SoundScan sales are not complete.

Since February 2016, album certifications include "on-demand audio and video streams and a track sale equivalent" units.Groupings are based on different benchmarks; the highest being for at least 20 million units, and the lowest being for multi-disc albums certified at least 10 times platinum and single-disc albums that have been certified at least 10 times platinum but with sales figures lower than 10,000,000. Albums are listed in order of units certified, or sales figures when available, by greatest to least.

As a result of the RIAA's methodology of counting each disc in a multi-disc set as one unit toward certification, most double albums on the list—such as Pink Floyd's The Wall and Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below—have been certified with a number double the number of copies sold. Such albums have the shipments of copies, not discs, indicated. Conversely, the certification level for double albums that fit onto one compact disc such as the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack reflect the actual number of copies sold.

The albums in this list are ordered first by number of units, then by platinum awards received, and finally by artist name and album title.

Albums with two references for their estimated actual sales include sales through BMG Music Club. Albums with three references for their estimated actual sales include sales through BMG Music Club and Columbia House.

List of best-selling albums of the 1950s in the United Kingdom

An album is defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks and lasts longer than 25 minutes; from July 1956, sales of albums in the United Kingdom were monitored by music magazine Record Mirror. From November 1958, album sales were also compiled by music magazine Melody Maker. The biggest-selling album of the 1950s was the original soundtrack to the movie South Pacific.

List of best-selling albums of the 1960s in the United Kingdom

An album is defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks and lasts longer than 25 minutes; during the 1960s, sales of albums in the United Kingdom were compiled by several different magazines, including New Musical Express (NME), Record Retailer, Melody Maker, Disc and Record Mirror. The UK Albums Chart was first officially published on February 1969 when Record Retailers and the BBC jointly commissioned the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) to record sales of albums. For dates between March 1960 and February 1969, the albums chart produced by Record Retailer is regarded by the OCC as being canonical to the UK Albums Chart; for dates before March 1960, the OCC considers the albums chart created by NME to be canonical. The biggest-selling album of the 1960s was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles—of the top thirteen biggest-selling albums of the decade, ten were by The Beatles, the other three being motion picture soundtracks.

List of best-selling albums of the 1980s in the United Kingdom

The UK Albums Chart is a music chart that calculates the best-selling artist albums of the week in the United Kingdom. For the purposes of inclusion in the chart an album is defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks and lasts longer than 25 minutes.At the beginning of the 1980s, sales of singles and albums in the United Kingdom were compiled on behalf of the British music industry by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB). This continued until the end of 1982, when the contract to compile the UK charts was won by Gallup, who took over on 4 January 1983, the first working day of 1983. Gallup continued to compile the UK charts throughout the 1980s until January 1994.

At the end of 1989 Gallup compiled the list of the best-selling singles of the 1980s, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 1, and published in the music magazine Record Mirror and later in the book Guinness Hits of the 80s. No detailed equivalent list for the best-selling albums of the decade was produced. However, two weeks before the end of the decade, chart compiler Alan Jones published an "exclusive recap" of the top ten in his regular "Chartfile" column in Record Mirror.The biggest-selling album of the 1980s in the UK was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, which had sold more than 3.2 million copies by the end of 1989 and was the first album in the UK to sell a million copies on CD alone. Michael Jackson had the second and third best-selling albums of the 1980s, with Bad just overtaking Thriller by the end of the decade. In fourth place was Greatest Hits by Queen, which had sold over 1.9 million copies by 1989 and would go on to become the UK's biggest-selling album of all time.

List of best-selling albums of the 1990s in the United Kingdom

The UK Albums Chart is a music chart that calculates the best-selling artist albums of the week in the United Kingdom. For the purposes of inclusion in the chart an album is defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks and lasts longer than 25 minutes.At the beginning of the 1990s, sales of singles and albums in the United Kingdom were compiled on behalf of the British music industry by Gallup. This continued until 1994, when the contract to compile the UK charts was won by Millward Brown, who took over on 1 February 1994. On 1 July 1998 Chart Information Network (CIN) took over the management of the chart: CIN changed their name to the Official UK Charts Company in October 2001, later shortened to the Official Charts Company in 2008.Unlike other decades, no decade-end charts for the 1990s for either singles or albums were broadcast on BBC Radio 1 at the end of 1999, and no detailed lists were published in the UK music trade magazine Music Week. Gallup's sales figures were not made available to its successors, and Millward Brown's sales data from 1994 to 1996 were later substantially revised. This made it difficult to obtain accurate sales figures for the decade. Two weeks before the end of the decade Music Week published lists of the top twenty best-selling singles and albums of the 1990s in the UK: this is the only known list of the best-selling albums of the 1990s officially produced by CIN/OCC. The top twenty lists included sales figures, but the subsequent revisions of the data have made the original 1999 figures unreliable, and consequently they have been omitted from the table below.

The biggest-selling album of the 1990s was (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by the British band Oasis. Released in October 1995, the album was the second biggest-selling album of both 1995 and 1996. In second place was Stars by Simply Red, which had achieved the distinction of being the best-selling album in consecutive calendar years (1991 and 1992), the first album to achieve this feat since Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel, in 1970 and 1971.

The best-selling compilation was The Immaculate Collection, the first greatest hits album by the American singer/songwriter Madonna: the top twenty included six other greatest hits compilations.

List of best-selling albums of the 2000s (decade) in the United Kingdom

The UK Albums Chart is a music chart compiled by the Official Charts Company that calculates the best-selling artist albums of the week in the United Kingdom. Since 2005, the chart has been based on the sales of both physical and digital albums, on the condition that the album was available in both formats. In 2007, the rules were changed so that legal downloads of all albums, irrespective of whether a physical copy was available, were eligible to chart.Between 2000 and 2009, more than 100 albums sold more than 1 million copies in the United Kingdom. At the end of the decade, a retrospective chart was compiled by the Official Charts Company to determine the best-selling artist album of this ten-year period. The title was won by James Blunt, with his debut album Back to Bedlam, released in 2004. The album sold 3.19 million copies, finishing ahead of Dido's album No Angel, which sold 3.05 million copies. Dido featured twice in the top 10 best-sellers, with Life for Rent being the seventh best-seller of the decade. Amy Winehouse (3), Leona Lewis (4) and David Gray (5) were the other solo-artists to feature. The Beatles' compilation album 1 was the highest entry by a group in the chart at number 6; Coldplay (8), Keane (9) and Scissor Sisters (10) made up the rest of the top ten. Robbie Williams had the most albums on the list with five entries.

BBC Radio 1 announced the chart in a programme, presented by DJ Nihal, on 28 December 2009. The list of the best-selling albums of the decade in the United Kingdom was also announced in a series of three shows between 29 and 31 December 2009. As it was broadcast during the last week of December, the chart did not include sales from the final week of the year. An updated chart, including sales up to 31 December 2009 and containing some minor changes from the chart broadcast on Radio 1, was published in the UK trade magazine Music Week in the issue dated 30 January 2010.The list of the best-selling compilation albums of the decade in the UK Compilation Chart was dominated by the Now That's What I Call Music! series of albums. The best-selling compilation album of the 2000s was Now 47 with 1,371,324 copies sold, ahead of Now 50 with 1,367,380 copies. The best-selling soundtrack album of the decade was Mamma Mia! The Movie Soundtrack, with a total of 1,320,357 to the end of 2009.

List of best-selling albums of the 2000s in Australia

ARIA's End of Decade Top 100 Albums Chart are the best selling albums in Australia from 2000 to 2009. Delta Goodrem's debut record, Innocent Eyes, became the best-selling album in Australia in the 2000s, spending a total of 29 weeks at #1 and selling more than 1.2 million copies in Australia alone since it was released in 2003. Goodrem's second album, Mistaken Identity, managed to chart at 64. Other artists, such as Coldplay and U2, each provided four albums to ARIA’s End of Decade Top 100 Album Chart, with Coldplay placing at #19 with A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y at 38, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends at 52 and Parachutes at 99. U2 proved just as relevant to the 2000s as they were to the 1980s and 1990s, with All That You Can't Leave Behind at 41, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb at 71, The Best of 1990-2000 at 74 and U218 Singles at 92.

Six artists contributed three titles within the top 100, each having a significant impact on music charts and genres across the last decade; they were The Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Kylie Minogue, Michael Bublé, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Robbie Williams. Minogue was notable for being the only female artist and only Australian artist to have three albums rank in the chart with Fever at 13, Light Years at 69 and Ultimate Kylie at 82.

List of best-selling albums of the 2010s in the United Kingdom

This is a list of the 50 best-selling artist albums in the United Kingdom since 2010, as recorded by the Official Charts Company (OCC). Six of these were not released in the 2010s—including Crazy Love (2009) by Michael Bublé, which is the only album released in the 2000s to feature in the top ten. Adele, One Direction and Ed Sheeran all feature on this list three times, more than anyone else, while Adele features in the top 10 twice and Ed Sheeran features three times, more than anyone else. Adele is also one of two artists to achieve three million-selling albums since 2010 with 19 (released in 2008 but sold over a million copies since 2010), 21 and 25. The other is Sheeran with +, x and ÷.

The best-selling album of the decade is Adele's 21, which has sold over 5 million copies as of November 2018.

List of best-selling albums of the 21st century

This is a list of the best-selling albums of the 21st century, based on IFPI certification and Nielsen SoundScan sales tracking. The criteria are that the album must have been published (including self-publishing by the artist), and the album must have shipped at least 10 million units starting from January 1, 2001.

Units sold include physical copies and digital downloads.

List of best-selling albums of the 21st century in the United Kingdom

The UK Albums Chart is a music chart compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC) that calculates the best-selling albums of the week in the United Kingdom. Initially based solely on the sales of albums in the vinyl and CD formats, digital albums began being included from April 2006. Since March 2015, the chart has also been based on audio streaming figures, however the OCC still compiles a 'sales' (only) chart and still quotes these traditional sales figures in its features and articles.This is a list of the 50 best-selling albums in the UK from 1 January 2000 onwards, as compiled by the OCC (sales that occurred before 2000 are not included). Of these, only two were originally released before the year 2000: White Ladder (1998) by David Gray and Gold: Greatest Hits (1992) by ABBA.Back to Bedlam by James Blunt, which was the best-selling album of the 2000s decade, was also the best-selling album of the 21st century until August 2011 when it was passed in sales by Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, following Winehouse's death the previous month. Less than four months later, however, Back to Black was itself overtaken by Adele's 21. As of July 2016, 21 remains the biggest-selling album in the UK since 2000 (and fourth best-selling ever), having sold over 4,940,000 copies.

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