Michael is certified as the 7th best selling artist in the United States by the RIAA

Karthik

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This list is about as accurate as it can get. This is from RIAA, the official sales auditing company in the USA.

Let's face it, MJ's peak in the USA was only in that period between 83-85. After that his remaining albums though global superhits, had only decent sales numbers in the USA. There is NO CONSPIRACY to malign him. Arguments like Eagles Greatest Hits albums and Elvis' numbers were made up are just vain.

If you add up global certifications still Michael wouldn't be #1. He would be behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Here we are just talking about pure record sales, nothing more.
 

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^ I think world wide the Beatles would #1 but I'm not sure about Elvis. Elvis' sales, especially world wide sales are virtually impossible to track, so they could claim any number they want to. But then he had a lot of albums, so maybe he could be second just based on that. On the other hand on a sales/album basis Michael's albums sold better on average than either the Beatles or Elvis.
 
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AngieJ

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This list is about as accurate as it can get. This is from RIAA, the official sales auditing company in the USA.

Let's face it, MJ's peak in the USA was only in that period between 83-85. After that his remaining albums though global superhits, had only decent sales numbers in the USA. There is NO CONSPIRACY to malign him. Arguments like Eagles Greatest Hits albums and Elvis' numbers were made up are just vain.

If you add up global certifications still Michael wouldn't be #1. He would be behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Here we are just talking about pure record sales, nothing more.

You say this as if Billy Joel, Elvis and others continued to have massive sales past their peaks.
 

troubleman84

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This list is about as accurate as it can get. This is from RIAA, the official sales auditing company in the USA.

Let's face it, MJ's peak in the USA was only in that period between 83-85. After that his remaining albums though global superhits, had only decent sales numbers in the USA. There is NO CONSPIRACY to malign him. Arguments like Eagles Greatest Hits albums and Elvis' numbers were made up are just vain.

If you add up global certifications still Michael wouldn't be #1. He would be behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Here we are just talking about pure record sales, nothing more.

Exactly.

Like I said, Michael had far less product than the Beatles/Elvis. The reason he sold that big even with the few products he had is astonishing, wouldn't you agree?
 

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somewhereinthedark

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This list is about as accurate as it can get. This is from RIAA, the official sales auditing company in the USA.

Let's face it, MJ's peak in the USA was only in that period between 83-85. After that his remaining albums though global superhits, had only decent sales numbers in the USA. There is NO CONSPIRACY to malign him. Arguments like Eagles Greatest Hits albums and Elvis' numbers were made up are just vain.

If you add up global certifications still Michael wouldn't be #1. He would be behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Here we are just talking about pure record sales, nothing more.


I don't agree. This list is NOT as accurate as it can get. This list CAN be manipulated. Let's face it, there HAS BEEN and continues to be a CONSPIRACY/AGENDA to malign and diminish Michael's sales from the MAINSTREAM media/industry. All one has to do is to look at the Eagles Greatest Hits album. I will never believe that album has sold as much as Thriller. I also don't believe Elvis' or the Beatles' USA sales. I also find it somewhat insulting to imply that Michael's "peak" was between 83-85, as if Thriller was his only album. What about the HUGE sales of BAD, Dangerous, History,etc.? Let's not act as if those albums were flops, THEY WERE NOT. The bottomline is that with ONLY 8-10 albums, Michael is the BIGGEST SELLING ARTIST IN HISTORY. I am still trying to figure out the inflated sales of Elvis' albums when he had 150 GOLD albums. How does that translate into over a 100 million in album sales. I still wonder how some, even so-called fans, can ACCEPT those inflated numbers from Elvis, Beatles, etc. , yet, can't rationalize that Michael's sales are being diminished.
 

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Well, well either he was lazy or didn't have it in himself to do more albums. Only he is to be blamed for doing just 7 solo albums over a period of 30 years. Ridiculously low number if you think about it.
 

troubleman84

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Breaking it down for folks who still don't get it:

Studio
Off the Wall - 8x platinum
Thriller - 29x platinum
Bad - 9x platinum
Dangerous - 7x platinum
HIStory - 7x platinum (shipments of 3.5 million but counted twice as a double album)
Invincible - 2x platinum
(Michael's solo studio albums for Motown are not added because the RIAA hasn't certified those albums due to Motown's rules from way back then)

Compilations
Greatest Hits: HIStory, Vol. 1 - platinum
Number Ones - 4x platinum
The Ultimate Collection - platinum (250,000 shipments)
The Essential Michael Jackson - 3x platinum (1.5 million shipments)
Michael (2010) - platinum

Other
Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix - platinum
This Is It (soundtrack) - 2x platinum

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ALL that leads to SEVENTY FIVE million credited shipments in the United States alone.

Now if we're gonna compare the others, let's go with the Eagles, who are above MJ.

Studio
Eagles - platinum
Desperado - 2x platinum
On the Border - 2x platinum
One of These Nights - 4x platinum
Hotel California - 16x platinum
The Long Run - 7x platinum
Long Road Out of Eden - 7x platinum

Compilations
Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) - 29x platinum (tied with Thriller)
Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 2 - 11x platinum
The Best of Eagles - 4x platinum
Selected Works 1972-1999 - platinum (250,000 shipments x 4; same with TUC)
The Very Best Of - 5x platinum

Other
Eagles Live - 7x platinum
Hell Freezes Over - 8x platinum

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Total: 104 million credited shipments in the United States.

Really it's not that hard to figure out, guys. Michael/Sony/Epic released LESS product. Other artists released way more albums. In volume, MJ's albums shipped more on the few albums he did release than some of the artists above him sold. While someone like Elvis had like 50-100 albums released, Michael's product was much less.

Even if you was to add sales from the Motown product especially if said albums were re-released on CD in the U.S. (from what I recall, those albums never were re-released on CD), it still wouldn't have brought him above the others. Sony would have to release more compilations and posthumous releases before they could boast about Michael "selling" 80 million.
 

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Well, well either he was lazy or didn't have it in himself to do more albums. Only he is to be blamed for doing just 7 solo albums over a period of 30 years. Ridiculously low number if you think about it.
I see no reason to find fault or place blame on Michael for anything here. There was no wrong done on his part to find fault or blame. Why does he have to be lazy or not have it in himself to do more or be ridiculous for having less Albums. Maybe he just didn't want to do more. He was an ARTIST he was all about quality, not quantity. He spent a lot of time on each Album and song to perfect them as you can see by the the amazing numbers he did reach compared to those who had released far more albums than him.

He may not have sold more albums over all for the fact he didn't mass produce albums. But he still holds the BEST selling Album in the world... We should be very proud of all he did accomplish in his lifetime and for the fact he didn't sell out to the industry by mass releasing or saturating the market with subpar albums just for the sake of making more money. He could have easily reached those numbers by doing that, but that was not his goal. He wanted to be noted for the quality of his music and for being the BEST in performing his craft (WHich he is ) regardless of the RIAA sales numbers.



To put the numbers in perspective compare Elvis sales numbers for over 100 Albums released compared to the less than 10 Michael Albums Michael released. Average sales Per album He blows them all out of the water

Easy math with apples = Albums

Elvis released 100 albums / 134 mil units
MJ released only 10 albums / 75 mil units

Elvis sells 150 apples / made 134 Mil
MJ sells only 10 Apples / made 75 Mil
 

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Well, well either he was lazy or didn't have it in himself to do more albums. Only he is to be blamed for doing just 7 solo albums over a period of 30 years. Ridiculously low number if you think about it.

Yeah, because he did not have distractions, like two highly damaging allegations... :smilerolleyes:
 

troubleman84

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MJ's six post-Motown studio albums shipped over 62 million, that's 12 million more than Billy Joel.

What stopped MJ from topping Billy Joel?

Billy's first compilation album shipped 11.5 million albums and as a double album, it counted to 23 million shipments.
Also Billy released several live albums, including one that did over 3 million. MJ never, sadly, released a live album in his lifetime.

That's what helped the Eagles also (in addition to number of studio albums). Elvis and the Beatles just released more product because in their lifetimes, their labels released an album, sometimes two or three a year. MJ only released one album depending on what year he felt good in putting it out. He started what some would call "event" albums, starting with Off the Wall and going into Invincible. Because of demand, Epic shipped as many albums as it could because Michael was increasingly in demand compared to his counterparts (Billy Joel included).
 

troubleman84

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I see no reason to find fault or place blame on Michael for anything here. There was no wrong done on his part to find fault or blame. Why does he have to be lazy or not have it in himself to do more or be ridiculous for having less Albums. Maybe he just didn't want to do more. He was an ARTIST he was all about quality, not quantity. He spent a lot of time on each Album and song to perfect them as you can see by the the amazing numbers he did reach compared to those who had released far more albums than him.

He may not have sold more albums over all for the fact he didn't mass produce albums. But he still holds the BEST selling Album in the world... We should be very proud of all he did accomplish in his lifetime and for the fact he didn't sell out to the industry by mass releasing or saturating the market with subpar albums just for the sake of making more money. He could have easily reached those numbers by doing that, but that was not his goal. He wanted to be noted for the quality of his music and for being the BEST in performing his craft (WHich he is ) regardless of the RIAA sales numbers.



To put the numbers in perspective compare Elvis sales numbers for over 100 Albums released compared to the less than 10 Michael Albums Michael released. Average sales Per album He blows them all out of the water

Easy math with apples = Albums

Elvis released 100 albums / 134 mil units
MJ released only 10 albums / 75 mil units

Elvis sells 150 apples / made 134 Mil
MJ sells only 10 Apples / made 75 Mil

Plus, in the '80s, Michael was in so much demand, Epic increased their shipments for his albums. Someone like Elvis, they released everything on him including extended plays, soundtracks, budget albums and compilations as well as studio albums. In studio album shipments, Elvis was over 20 million. In his generation he obviously was the best-selling solo albums artist of the earlier rock and roll era. MJ albums shipped more due to the changing times and also due to demand from Michael after a big "event" he had (the videos for Thriller and the Motown 25 performance for Thriller, the videos, Grammy performance and tour for Bad, the videos airing on Fox, Grammy/AMA/Soul Train/NAACP Image award appearances, Oprah interview and the tour for Dangerous, the interviews on ABC, videos and tour for HIStory, the 30th anniversary TV event and You Rock My World for Invincible).
 

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Greetings people! Long time no see! :hi:

Just a few remarks regarding this subject. Although you have mention it, I would like to emphasize something about this RIAA TOP SELLING ARTISTS (albums) list. Quoted numbers on the first page represent certified units, not actual shipments, therefore actual sales figures are quite different. RIAA methodology favors the albums that spans over multiple disks. For example, record company shipped 7,5 million copies of the album THE BEATLES 1962-1966 (1973) in the US but RIAA count them as 15 million certified units because it is double album (contains 2 discs). It should be noted that length of this album is 63 minutes. On the other hand MJ's DANGEROUS (1991) lasts 77 minutes and sold approximately the same number of copies as the THE BEATLES 1962-1966 (1973) but RIAA count it as 7 million certified units because DANGEROUS is on single disc. Basically all the performers ahead of MJ's on the list largely profit because of this unfair way of counting (the United States is one of the few countries that uses this methodology).

Counting actual shipments (not certified units), first on the list are THE BEATLES but with only 134 million albums (they have 47 certified albums and 15 of them are multiple disk albums). Counting actual album shipments, Michael Jackson is #6 (above Billy Joel) with 69.75 million albums. Also it should be noted that Jackson's total should be increased by at least another 5 million (not counting Motown's albums).

I think world wide the Beatles would #1 but I'm not sure about Elvis. Elvis' sales, especially world wide sales are virtually impossible to track, so they could claim any number they want to. But then he had a lot of albums, so maybe he could be second just based on that. On the other hand on a sales/album basis Michael's albums sold better on average than either the Beatles or Elvis.
Although we will never know with certainty, observing the overall worldwide sales, IMO, Beatles are #1, MJ is probably #2, Elvis is ahead of MJ in the US, UK and probably Canada but in the rest of the world MJ is way above Elvis. These other markets in Elvis time were too small, and later outside US & UK Elvis never had a great back-catalog sales. In MJ's case, despite his great sales numbers in the US and UK, the majority of his sales actually come from the rest of the world. He was the true Global icon.
 

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I personally find the Beatles very overrated. I cannot imagine that they sold more records than the King of Pop whose music was so much more exciting.
 
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elusive moonwalker

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Personally when i look at figures like this i relate it to the amount of recordings released compaired to what is sold. whos the bigger seller. someone who releases two albums that sell 50 mill each or an artist that puts out ten albums and sells 101 million all added up..sales compaired to the amount of releases mj will always be the biggest delling artist.its all about interpretation which imo makes these figures irrelevent in the grand scheme of things.

And to the person that insulted michael. mj went on large tours his albums also had long promotional time scales compaired to other artists. Where u cannot compair him to artists that put out an album every couple of years. two years in he was still on tour promoting his project. he was not sat at home being lazy ad u claim. bad through dangerous and history.there were not huge gaps after tours promos allegations were over. history through vince not a huge gap after the tour finished when at that stage he was raising his babies and the known delays that happened then.
 

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Karthik;3851215 said:
Well, well either he was lazy or didn't have it in himself to do more albums. Only he is to be blamed for doing just 7 solo albums over a period of 30 years. Ridiculously low number if you think about it.
Well, Michael was more about quality than quantity, and personally I’m fine with that. Many of the artists who have released more albums have made some very good albums, but also some pretty bad ones. I’m not mad at Michael for not churning out subpar albums just to make money off fans or to have more impressive sales numbers on some list.

Of course I’d love it if there was more great MJ music available, but I understand why there isn’t. He had high standards for his albums, and also he may have wanted to do other things in his life too besides just working in the studio.
 

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Michael lazy? I don't think so. He was working since he was like 5-6 years old. Where the other artists working as early as then? He also didn't want to be overexposed like some artists are today. He worked and worked with his brothers and then when out on his own. His numbers are impressive because he reached so high with less albums of his own. Michael was a global artist and has broken many records. The guiness book of records should have a chapter solely on Michael if you ask me. He also wanted to spend time with his kids and watch them grow up because he was working when he was a kid. If 2003 never happened I believe Michael would have put out another album of new material. I would rather have quality albums from Michael then all these records with like 1 or 2 songs that are actually good and the rest not.
 

AngieJ

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I cannot imagine that they sold more records than the King of Pop whose music was so much more exciting.

The Beatles continued to have massive commercial success in recent years, so I get them rising in numbers. Their 2000 release 1 was HUGE. And for the longest time they've been fixtures on the catalog charts. So I can totally understand their ranking. But with Elvis back in the day on the boards we were like all MJ needs is another small ass amount to top Elvis and then new later on a new list came out and Elvis jumped 40 million ahead of MJ. :lol:

So since then i've always given this list the side eye.
 

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Elvis RIAA history:

Studio
Elvis Presley (1956) - platinum
Elvis (1956) - platinum
Elvis' Christmas Album (1957) - 3x platinum
Elvis is Back! (1960) - gold
His Hand in Mine (1960) - platinum
Something for Everybody (1961) - gold
How Great Thou Art (1967) - 3x platinum
From Elvis in Memphis (1969) - gold
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (1969) - gold
Elvis Country (I'm 100,000 Years Old) (1971) - gold
Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971) - 3x platinum
Elvis Now (1972) - gold
He Touched Me (1972) - platinum
Elvis (1973) - 5x platinum
From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976) - gold
Moody Blue (1977) - 2x platinum

Total: 23.50 million studio shipments (16 of 22 Elvis studio albums certified)

Soundtracks
Loving You (1957) - gold
King Creole (1958) - gold
G.I. Blues (1960) - platinum
Blue Hawaii (1961) - 3x platinum
Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) - gold
Kissin' Cousins (1964) - gold
Girl Happy (1965) - gold
Frankie and Johnny (1966) - platinum
Elvis (1968 - TV soundtrack from variety "comeback" special) - platinum
That's the Way It Is (1970 - soundtrack from concert film) - gold

Total: 9.5 million shipments in all (of 20 soundtracks, 11 were certified)

Live albums
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (Elvis in Person at the International Hotel) (1969) - gold
On Stage (1970) - platinum
Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972) - 3x platinum
Aloha from Hawaii: Via Satellite (1973) - 5x platinum
Elvis: As Recorded Live in Memphis (1974) - gold
Elvis in Concert (1977) - 3x platinum

Total: 13 million shipments in all.

Compilations (during his lifetime)
Elvis' Golden Records (1958) - 6x platinum
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong (1959) - platinum
Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3 (1963) - platinum
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4 (1968) - gold
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 1 (1974) - 2x platinum
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 2 (1976) - 2x platinum
Blue Christmas (1976) - platinum
Welcome to My World (1977) - platinum

Total: 14.50 million (of 12 albums released, 8 were certified)

Budget releases
Elvis Sings Flaming Star (1969) - platinum
Let's Be Friends (1970) - platinum
Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits Vol. 1 (1970) - 2x platinum
Almost in Love (1970) - platinum
Elvis' Christmas Album (1970) - 10x platinum (diamond)
You'll Never Walk Alone (1971) - 3x platinum
C'mon Everybody (1971) - platinum
The Other Sides - Elvis Worldwide Gold Award Hits Vol. 2 (1971) - gold
I Got Lucky (1971) - platinum
Elvis Sings His Hits from His Movies, Vol. 1 (1972) - platinum
Burning Love and Hits from His Movies, Vol. 2 (1972) - platinum
Separate Ways (1973) - platinum
Pure Gold (1975) - 2x platinum
Double Dynamite (1975) - platinum
Frankie & Johnny (1976) - platinum

Total: 28 million in shipments.

Extended plays
Elvis Presley (1956) - platinum
Heartbreak Hotel (1956) - platinum
Elvis Presley (II) (1956) - platinum
The Real Elvis (1956) - platinum
Elvis Vol. 1 (1956) - 2x platinum
Love Me Tender (1956) - platinum
Elvis Vol. 2 (1956) - gold
Peace in the Valley (1957) - platinum
Loving You, Vol. 1 (1957) - gold
Loving You, Vol. 2 (1957) - platinum
Just for You (1957) - platinum
Elvis Sings Christmas Songs (1957) - platinum
Jailhouse Rock (1957) - 2x platinum
King Creole, Vol. 1 (1958) - platinum
King Creole, Vol. 2 (1958) - platinum
Follow That Dream (1962) - platinum
Kid Galahad (1962) - gold

Total: 17.50 million in total

Box sets
Elvis Aaron Presley (1980) - platinum
The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 1950s Masters (1992) - 2x platinum
From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 1960s Masters (1993) - platinum
Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 1970s Masters (1995) - gold
Platinum: A Life in Music (1997) - gold

Total: 5 million shipments.

Posthumous compilations
He Walks Beside Me (1978) - gold
Mahalo from Elvis (1978) - gold
Elvis Sings for Kids and Grownups Too (1978) - gold
Our Memories of Elvis (1979) - gold
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 3 (1979) - gold
This is Elvis (1981) - gold
Memories of Christmas (1982) - gold
Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 5 (1984) - gold
The Number One Hits (1987) - 3x platinum
The Top Ten Hits (1987) - 4x platinum
The Complete Sun Sessions (1987) - gold
Love Me Tender (1987) - gold
Blue Christmas (1992) - platinum
If Everyday Was Like Christmas (1994) - platinum
Amazing Grace: His Most Sacred Performances (1994) - 2x platinum
Heart and Soul (1995) - gold
It's Christmas Time (1999) - 3x platinum
ELV1S (2002) - 5x platinum
2nd to None (2003) - platinum
Ultimate Gospel (2004) - gold
Elvis Christmas (2006) - gold
The Essential Elvis Presley (2007) - gold
The Very Best of Love (2007) - gold

Total: 27.50 million shipments

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So actually, in total, you come up with 138.5 million shipments for Elvis, so he's actually above the 134 million number now.

Note: most of the albums released as compilations and budget releases were stuff you could purchase on TV from advertisements and commercials. The 1990s compilations basically sold because they were available on QVC and the Home Shopping Network. RCA basically milked Elvis dry. There's some more albums that have passed the gold selling mark that still haven't been certified yet for some reason. The extended plays were released to either promote the studio albums or films or Elvis' TV appearances. Col. Tom Parker basically sold them wherever he could to people who wanted to "complete" their Elvis collection.
 

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Greetings people! Long time no see! :hi:

Just a few remarks regarding this subject. Although you have mention it, I would like to emphasize something about this RIAA TOP SELLING ARTISTS (albums) list. Quoted numbers on the first page represent certified units, not actual shipments, therefore actual sales figures are quite different. RIAA methodology favors the albums that spans over multiple disks. For example, record company shipped 7,5 million copies of the album THE BEATLES 1962-1966 (1973) in the US but RIAA count them as 15 million certified units because it is double album (contains 2 discs). It should be noted that length of this album is 63 minutes. On the other hand MJ's DANGEROUS (1991) lasts 77 minutes and sold approximately the same number of copies as the THE BEATLES 1962-1966 (1973) but RIAA count it as 7 million certified units because DANGEROUS is on single disc. Basically all the performers ahead of MJ's on the list largely profit because of this unfair way of counting (the United States is one of the few countries that uses this methodology).

Counting actual shipments (not certified units), first on the list are THE BEATLES but with only 134 million albums (they have 47 certified albums and 15 of them are multiple disk albums). Counting actual album shipments, Michael Jackson is #6 (above Billy Joel) with 69.75 million albums. Also it should be noted that Jackson's total should be increased by at least another 5 million (not counting Motown's albums).


Although we will never know with certainty, observing the overall worldwide sales, IMO, Beatles are #1, MJ is probably #2, Elvis is ahead of MJ in the US, UK and probably Canada but in the rest of the world MJ is way above Elvis. These other markets in Elvis time were too small, and later outside US & UK Elvis never had a great back-catalog sales. In MJ's case, despite his great sales numbers in the US and UK, the majority of his sales actually come from the rest of the world. He was the true Global icon.

Hmm... they said units but I'm not too sure if that's actually correct. Because if it's sold as a unit, they wouldn't have to double it... RIAA's methodology is weird to me...

The "unit sales" are hard to categorize for the acts who are on the RIAA's top selling list (yes that goes for Elvis, Beatles, MJ, Billy Joel, etc.) unless you're going with "estimated unit sales"? I always believed (and still do) that RIAA certified albums on how many albums that the labels shipped. Then if it reach past 500,000 shipments or one million shipments, then the label will ask RIAA for an audit. That's usually how it worked. Not "units" unless I missed something. :scratch:

Basically when Elvis and the Beatles were out, again I state this emphatically, they were different times. There weren't as many markets as there were when Michael finally came of age as an adult solo act.

His Motown album sales from what I read don't amount to much.

Got To Be There only did 377,000-plus
Ben was like 460,000-plus
Music & Me only 89,000
Forever, Michael 101,000

Remember Motown sold mostly on singles, not albums. Much like in the days of Elvis, Michael's Motown albums were basically filler (as were most of Elvis' albums and same with some Beatles albums - I'll post their RIAA figures in a minute) so Michael probably sold millions of singles in the U.S. with his Motown songs but not his Motown albums. Like "Ben" and "Rockin' Robin" possibly sold over a million while another song like "Got to Be There" was above 500,000.

So I don't know about where the other 5 million really comes from... Michael shipped a lot on less compared to others.
 

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^ You forget they're tied? lol

According to some people Thriller is right now above 29.4 million.

to my knowledges it is much more than 30 mio. and that was at lest 1 or 2 years ago.
and thriller was always on number 1 since 1984. the sales for the eagles are just FAKED. in the 90s.
 

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troubleman84;3851571 said:
Hmm... they said units but I'm not too sure if that's actually correct. Because if it's sold as a unit, they wouldn't have to double it... RIAA's methodology is weird to me...

The "unit sales" are hard to categorize for the acts who are on the RIAA's top selling list (yes that goes for Elvis, Beatles, MJ, Billy Joel, etc.) unless you're going with "estimated unit sales"?

I'm not sure I understand it correctly. Do you doubt what Kikuchiyo said about double discs being certified twice the amount they actually sold? It is correct.

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums_in_the_United_States

You can see it in that list as well. Billy Joel's GH album is certified 23x platinum but it actually sold 11.5 million copies. The same with Pink Floyd's Wall. Garth Brooks' Double Live album is certified 21x platinum but it actually sold 10.5 million copies. And so on. If Thriller was a double album it would be 58x platinum.
 
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HIStory

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Basically when Elvis and the Beatles were out, again I state this emphatically, they were different times. There weren't as many markets as there were when Michael finally came of age as an adult solo act.

There was also not as much competition for them, nor did they have to break through racial barriers like Michael had to.

Also when you are talking about Motown record sales: I read somewhere that Berry Gordy was notorious for not getting records certified, because he did not want to pay for it. So those numbers may be very much off.
 
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HIStory

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Elvis RIAA history:

Studio
Elvis Presley (1956) - platinum
Elvis (1956) - platinum
Elvis' Christmas Album (1957) - 3x platinum
Elvis is Back! (1960) - gold
His Hand in Mine (1960) - platinum
Something for Everybody (1961) - gold
How Great Thou Art (1967) - 3x platinum
From Elvis in Memphis (1969) - gold
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (1969) - gold
Elvis Country (I'm 100,000 Years Old) (1971) - gold
Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971) - 3x platinum
Elvis Now (1972) - gold
He Touched Me (1972) - platinum
Elvis (1973) - 5x platinum
From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976) - gold
Moody Blue (1977) - 2x platinum

Total: 23.50 million studio shipments (16 of 22 Elvis studio albums certified)

Soundtracks
Loving You (1957) - gold
King Creole (1958) - gold
G.I. Blues (1960) - platinum
Blue Hawaii (1961) - 3x platinum
Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) - gold
Kissin' Cousins (1964) - gold
Girl Happy (1965) - gold
Frankie and Johnny (1966) - platinum
Elvis (1968 - TV soundtrack from variety "comeback" special) - platinum
That's the Way It Is (1970 - soundtrack from concert film) - gold

Total: 9.5 million shipments in all (of 20 soundtracks, 11 were certified)

Live albums
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (Elvis in Person at the International Hotel) (1969) - gold
On Stage (1970) - platinum
Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972) - 3x platinum
Aloha from Hawaii: Via Satellite (1973) - 5x platinum
Elvis: As Recorded Live in Memphis (1974) - gold
Elvis in Concert (1977) - 3x platinum

Total: 13 million shipments in all.

Compilations (during his lifetime)
Elvis' Golden Records (1958) - 6x platinum
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong (1959) - platinum
Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3 (1963) - platinum
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4 (1968) - gold
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 1 (1974) - 2x platinum
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 2 (1976) - 2x platinum
Blue Christmas (1976) - platinum
Welcome to My World (1977) - platinum

Total: 14.50 million (of 12 albums released, 8 were certified)

Budget releases
Elvis Sings Flaming Star (1969) - platinum
Let's Be Friends (1970) - platinum
Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits Vol. 1 (1970) - 2x platinum
Almost in Love (1970) - platinum
Elvis' Christmas Album (1970) - 10x platinum (diamond)
You'll Never Walk Alone (1971) - 3x platinum
C'mon Everybody (1971) - platinum
The Other Sides - Elvis Worldwide Gold Award Hits Vol. 2 (1971) - gold
I Got Lucky (1971) - platinum
Elvis Sings His Hits from His Movies, Vol. 1 (1972) - platinum
Burning Love and Hits from His Movies, Vol. 2 (1972) - platinum
Separate Ways (1973) - platinum
Pure Gold (1975) - 2x platinum
Double Dynamite (1975) - platinum
Frankie & Johnny (1976) - platinum

Total: 28 million in shipments.

Extended plays
Elvis Presley (1956) - platinum
Heartbreak Hotel (1956) - platinum
Elvis Presley (II) (1956) - platinum
The Real Elvis (1956) - platinum
Elvis Vol. 1 (1956) - 2x platinum
Love Me Tender (1956) - platinum
Elvis Vol. 2 (1956) - gold
Peace in the Valley (1957) - platinum
Loving You, Vol. 1 (1957) - gold
Loving You, Vol. 2 (1957) - platinum
Just for You (1957) - platinum
Elvis Sings Christmas Songs (1957) - platinum
Jailhouse Rock (1957) - 2x platinum
King Creole, Vol. 1 (1958) - platinum
King Creole, Vol. 2 (1958) - platinum
Follow That Dream (1962) - platinum
Kid Galahad (1962) - gold

Total: 17.50 million in total

Box sets
Elvis Aaron Presley (1980) - platinum
The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 1950s Masters (1992) - 2x platinum
From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 1960s Masters (1993) - platinum
Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 1970s Masters (1995) - gold
Platinum: A Life in Music (1997) - gold

Total: 5 million shipments.

Posthumous compilations
He Walks Beside Me (1978) - gold
Mahalo from Elvis (1978) - gold
Elvis Sings for Kids and Grownups Too (1978) - gold
Our Memories of Elvis (1979) - gold
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 3 (1979) - gold
This is Elvis (1981) - gold
Memories of Christmas (1982) - gold
Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 5 (1984) - gold
The Number One Hits (1987) - 3x platinum
The Top Ten Hits (1987) - 4x platinum
The Complete Sun Sessions (1987) - gold
Love Me Tender (1987) - gold
Blue Christmas (1992) - platinum
If Everyday Was Like Christmas (1994) - platinum
Amazing Grace: His Most Sacred Performances (1994) - 2x platinum
Heart and Soul (1995) - gold
It's Christmas Time (1999) - 3x platinum
ELV1S (2002) - 5x platinum
2nd to None (2003) - platinum
Ultimate Gospel (2004) - gold
Elvis Christmas (2006) - gold
The Essential Elvis Presley (2007) - gold
The Very Best of Love (2007) - gold

Total: 27.50 million shipments

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So actually, in total, you come up with 138.5 million shipments for Elvis, so he's actually above the 134 million number now.

If I counted it well it's 99 albums. So it means on average his albums sold 1.4 million/album. But he had so many of them that it added up to a big number.
 

troubleman84

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And worldwide, of course, there were fewer markets when Elvis and the Beatles were popular because only a handful (in only the Western world) sold music (U.S., Canada, UK, West Germany, Italy and Australia). Other countries slowly jumped to take part by the late 1960s.

Anyway, here's the Beatles' RIAA figures:

Studio
Please Please Me (1963) - platinum
With the Beatles (1963) - gold
Meet the Beatles! (1964) - 5x platinum
The Beatles' Second Album (1964) - 2x platinum
A Hard Day's Night (1964) - 4x platinum
Something New (1964) - 2x platinum
Beatles for Sale (1964) - platinum
Beatles '65 (1964) - 3x platinum
Beatles VI (1965) - platinum
Help! (1965) - 3x platinum
Rubber Soul (1966) - 6x platinum
Yesterday and Today (1966) - 2x platinum
Revolver (1966) - 5x platinum
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) - 11x platinum
Magical Mystery Tour (1967) - 6x platinum
The Beatles (1968) - 19x platinum (actually 9.5 million in shipments but "19 million units"??? nah...)
Yellow Submarine (1969) - platinum
Abbey Road (1969) - 12x platinum
Let It Be (1970) - 4x platinum

Total: 88.50 million "units"/shipments whatever lol (19 studio albums)

Live albums
The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977) - platinum
Live at the BBC (1994) - 4x platinum

Total: 5 million shipments

Compilation albums
The Beatles' Story - gold
The Early Beatles - platinum
Hey Jude - 3x platinum
1962-1966 - 15x platinum (7.5 million shipments)
1967-1970 - 17x platinum (8.5 million shipments)
Rock 'n' Roll Music - platinum
Love Songs - 3x platinum
Rarities - gold
Rock 'n' Roll Music, Vol. 1 - platinum
Rock 'n' Roll Music, Vol. 2 - platinum
Reel Music - gold
20 Greatest Hits - 2x platinum
The Early Tapes of the Beatles - 2x platinum
Past Masters, Vol. 1 - platinum
Past Masters, Vol. 2 - platinum
The Beatles Box Set - platinum
Anthology 1 - 8x platinum (4 million in shipments)
Anthology 2 - 4x platinum (2 million in shipments)
Anthology 3 - 3x platinum (1.5 million in shipments)
Yellow Submarine Songtrack - platinum
1 - 11x platinum
Let It Be... Naked - platinum
The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 - platinum
The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2 - gold
Love - 2x platinum
The Beatles in Mono - platinum
The Beatles' Stereo Box Set - 3x platinum

Total: 86 million in shipments

---
Total sales: 179.5 million, so they're above 177...
 

troubleman84

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If I counted it well it's 99 albums. So it means on average his albums sold 1.4 million/album. But he had so many of them that it added up to a big number.

Of course. That's what I was trying to point out when compared to Michael. MJ sold a lot on less than Elvis did considering how much stuff they put out on him.
 

troubleman84

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There was also not as much competition for them, nor did they have to break through racial barriers like Michael had to.

Also when you are talking about Motown record sales: I read somewhere that Berry Gordy was notorious for not getting records certified, because he did not want to pay for it. So those numbers may be very much off.

Well actually, what worked in Michael's favor was MTV. MTV wasn't that popular when Michael's videos started getting popular. Like I said, Michael benefited more than Elvis and the Beatles did. Elvis went through barriers though: being a "hillbilly" doing rhythm and blues music (rockabilly) was tough initially. Radio DJs in country music didn't wanna play him because he sounded too R&B and R&B DJs didn't play him because he was a "hillbilly". He basically helped country music sell lots of copies during his heyday. And he gets credit as one of the pioneers of rock and roll music.

Michael came at a time when Motown broke barriers so Michael was actually luckier.
 

mjchris

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a question to all.

look on this two charts...

August 2, 2010:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php..._artists_in_the_United_States&oldid=376756255

September 29, 2011:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php..._artists_in_the_United_States&oldid=453116574


how is that posible that elvis sold 13 mio albums between augst 2010 and September 2011.
there was no release the last years that sold anything big. also the last decade. and if so, he would be number 1 for long long time on the charts. but there was nothing!
so why in hell 13 mio? that sounds FAKE too.
 
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