The two biggest artists of the 20th century are still making their mark well into the 21st century. Elvis Presley and The Beatles both made Nielsen Music’s list of the Top 10 artists of the past decade (2010-2019) for U.S. album sales. They were the only non-contemporary artists who made the Top 10.
Adele, Taylor Swift and Eminem hold the first three spots, with The Beatles at number six and Elvis Presley at number 10. The Beatles had 10,309,000 in album sales for the decade, and Elvis had 9,278,000.
Here is the full Top 10 list of Total U.S. Album Sales for the Decade:
1) Adele 23,924,000
2) Taylor Swift 22,972,000
3) Eminem 13,862,000
4) Justin Bieber 12,098,000
5) Drake 10,526,000
6) The Beatles 10,309,000
7) Luke Bryan 9,572,000
8) Lady Antebellum 9,452,000
9) Michael Buble 9,444,000
10) Elvis Presley 9,278,000
The fairly close number of album sales between Elvis and The Beatles has been holding steady over time. According to The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), The Beatles and Elvis are among the top three artists of all time in U.S. album sales.
As of January 2020, The Beatles were at the top with 183 million albums sold, Garth Brooks was number two with 148 million and Elvis Presley was at number three with 146.5 million.
However, the RIAA only includes sales of records which sell over 500,000 units (“Gold” status). Therefore, the tabulations for total album sales are updated sporadically whenever one of the artist’s albums reach a Gold, Platinum, Multi-platinum or Diamond certification.
Elvis Presley’s Christmas album continues to sell very well making it the best-selling Christmas album of all time. It reached Diamond status in 2012.
Also, new albums of Presley’s songs re-imagined with the help of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra have also contributed to a boost in album sales.
Want to know which Elvis Presley albums have sold the most?
For a detailed album-by-album listing, see Appendix A in my book, ELVIS: Behind The Legend.