While you're browsing the list, keep this fact in mind: The average artist earns $2 off every album sold. Obviously some artists will have slightly better or worse per-album deals, but $2 is a pretty safe number for the average major label act of the last 30 years. When you multiply $2 by the the sales figures below, you really start to understand how successful musicians make so much freaking money. Take #12 on the list, Alanis Morissette's 1995 album "Jagged Little Pill" which sold 33 million copies. That means Alanis potentially earned as much as $66 million off that one album alone. And that doesn't include her radio royalties, touring, merchandise, endorsements and licensing revenues! So without further delay, scroll down to see the best selling albums of all time…
The best selling albums of all time are a topic of conversation again with the news that Michael Jackson died. For several years now, the best selling album of all time has been Michael Jackson's Thriller, and Thriller also recently took back the title of best selling album of all time in the United States as well. The second best selling album of all time in the United States has been the Eagle's album Their Greatest Hits, and for a time it had passed Thriller in the standings, but had fallen back into second place a few years ago. Both Thriller and The Eagles Greatest Hits rank among the best selling albums in the world as well, with extremely great sales numbers.
The best selling albums of all time have a list is best viewed on a worldwide scale with the passing of Michael Jackson, who had sold more than 100 million copies of Thriller. To put that in perspective the second highest best selling album of all time is the AC/DC album Back in Black, which has sold only 45 million copies worldwide. That word "only" has to be surrounded by quotations, because 45 million is amazing on its own, it just doesn't measure up to the sales that Thriller has achieved over the years.
What are the best selling albums of all time? The 55th annual Grammy awards airs tonight so we thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at the most successful musical compositions in history. Not surprisingly, the majority of the albums on this list have had a solid 20-30 years to rack up millions of sales and rise in the ranks, but a handful are from the last decade alone. Amazingly, one female artist was able to crack the the top 40 on this list with an album that was released a little more than one year ago. Can you guess who that artist is? A few truly classic artists like Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Whitney Houston and Madonna managed make the list multiple times and I bet you'll be surprised by more than one album that you never would have guessed sold tens of millions of copies (Meat Loaf???).