Rihanna Named Top-Selling Digital Artist, Beats Out Lady Gaga, Eminem

Adele may have ruled 2011 with the top album and single and Kanye West may be watching the throne, but it’s Rihanna who’s actually sitting on the throne, as far as digital tracks are concerned. The “You Da One” pop minx has captured the title of best-selling digital artist of all time by Nielsen SoundScan, thanks to a whopping 47.5 million paid downloads of hits like “Umbrella”, “Rude Boy” and “We Found Love”.

Other artists have been in the game longer — such as Black Eyed Peas (#2 on the ranking, with 42.4 million), Eminem (#3, 42.2 million) and Beyonce (#8, 30.4 million) — but RiRi has truly carved out her niche as a singles artist.

Of course, dropping releases at the rapid pace of one album per year doesn’t hurt. Check the Top 10 best-selling digital artists below, and let us know your thoughts on where your favorites landed.


1. Rihanna (47,571,000)
2. Black Eyed Peas (42,405,000)
3. Eminem (42,290,000)
4. Lady Gaga (42,078,000)
5. Taylor Swift (41,821,000)
6. Katy Perry (37,620,00)
7. Lil Wayne (36,788,000)
8. Beyonce (30,439,000)
9. Kanye West (30,242,000)
10. Britney Spears (28,665,000)

Rihanna’s Talk That Talk is out now on Def Jam. Purchase it at eMusic.

  • RtA1913

    Idolator i’m going to start to hate you because you are becoming in such a rihanna hater!

    First of all rihanna is not a singles artist, do I have to remind everyone how much Good Girl Gone Bad and Loud have sold? Well let’s not even go that far! Both Rated R and A Girl Like Me have sold more than 3 million worldwide which is more than other albums if you ask me (not going to mention them since i don’t want to be labeled as a hater)

    Now, do you have a problem with Rihanna releasing albums that fast? Cause I don’t since she always deliver good material and people loves it, want a proof? Released not even 2 months ago Talk That Talk is at the 1.8 million mark with absolutely no promo but 3 televised performances of the song.

    Anyway congrats to Rihanna she is truly taking over little by litte, do we have a candidate for a new queen of pop?

    • Robbie Daw

      Total LOL — Rihanna hater? Since when is being a singles artist a bad thing? Sounds like the only hate is coming from you, per your first sentence, friend.

      • Irma

        No im not tryna b rasciez bitch ima fukn abrbie duh u da dum one turn ya azz around n make u luk lik a hoe duh bitch .lOlz:-#put di muntey ware ya dick iz n ya mouth aduh

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Javier-Rivera-Garca/100000149466998 Eric Javier Rivera-García

      Ummm sorry to burst your bubble… but Rihanna IS a singles artist. Rihanna has 10 U.S. #1 singles and ZERO U.S. number one albums. Rihanna does not write/produce her own music. Instead, her execs get a team of highly-talented writers/producers to make “her” songs (which is why she is able to release albums so quickly). No one is hating on Rihanna; she is a businesswoman and she knows it. In this era, artists make the most money out of successful singles and she has tailored her career towards this purpose first and foremost. So congratulations to her for doing exactly what she wants to do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jed-Camara-Ocot/1422912679 Jed Camara Ocot

      How is this article bashing Rihanna at all? It’s a list of who has sold the most digital singles. There’s nothing about Rihanna being a ‘singles artist.’

      BTW “Talk That Talk” has only sold 541,000 copies in the US so far.

      I love Rihanna and all but 6 albums in the last 6 years is too much…I don’t care how good the album may be. “Talk That Talk” is my least favorite album by far. Nothing comes close to the heights of “We Found Love.” She needs a break and this is coming from a big fan. It seems like most artists these days are just trying to break records and have the most #1 singles by releasing remixes or selling their album for .99 cents.

  • RtA1913

    Obiously it wasn’t real, how could i hate a site which i visit everytime i got an internet connection, lol

    i said cause Rihanna US album sales have never been amazing or big numbers, and that’s a point the haters always try to make it stand out (as well as the fact she has no #1 albums in the US) but Rihanna is as capable of selling albums as of selling singles.

    Don’t take my words in a bad way idolator, it’s just that sometimes you praise TOO MUCH other artists and I feel rihanna deserves prise too since she is constantly at the top

  • RtA1913

    P.S. I commented before but under another email and username, i’m RYK101

    • Robbie Daw

      Ah, now I recognize you. All good.

      For the record, we love us some RiRi. “We Found Love” was my pick for top single of 2011 on my personal blog, Chart Rigger.

  • http://helpmothermonster.blogspot.com Helpmothermonster
  • Juwan

    lol, Because her album never made #1 in the US means she is a singles artist or that she doesn’t sell ?
    Seriously, Rihanna’s albums come debut at #1 Worldwide and stay there for many weeks, her albums stay on the charts longer than every other artists except maybe adele, and continue to sell tremendously. Many artists’ debut at #1 and fall off in the next 2-3 weeks, while rihanna Debuts at #2-3 and stays on the Charts for years. Good Girl Gone BAd JUST fell off the charts recently, and it was made in about 07 ?
    She May not write every song word for word, but she does have input, and it’s not like she sings what ever song they give her, she only sings songs she likes and knows others will like too. She wanted to sing, NOT write. You Do not have to Do both to sing.
    She sells more singles than anyone, and keeps up in album sales with majority of the top musicians out now. She deserves all the praise she gets and more. Just like they do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jed-Camara-Ocot/1422912679 Jed Camara Ocot

      I don’t know where you get your information, but I frequent Billboard.com and I have not seen “Good Girl Gone Bad” on the albums chart at all in the last two years or so. Fell off the charts recently? That album has been long off the charts. If it had been on the charts for the last 3-4 years, you would have heard about it.

    • Yinsi

      Did she sell 1 million copies of any of her albums in their debut week? Because I think there’s a female named Taylor Swift who holds that record. In fact, Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” sold 1.02 million in one week in 2010 and that record was only topped by one other album called “RED” which sold 1.3 million. Perhaps coincidently “RED” was released by an artist by the name of Taylor Swift ;)
      But good for Rihanna :)

  • RtA1913

    We Found Love is great!! I’m impressed it beat “Umbrella” as her most successful single! I thought Only Girl was gonna do it but no!! And “Where Have You Been” and “Talk That Talk” can follow!!

  • Hereyougo

    Why do people say the same shyt about Rihanna? We know you think she doesn’t write her music.Who cares.And she can sell albums and singles.She has #1 albums outside the US.
    She has been doing well without a #1 album in the US.Here is proof
    GGGB 9 million
    Rated R 3 million
    Loud 7 million
    TTT over 1 million in just 3 weeks.