List the top five most popular female singers of all time.

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, there are many different ways to measure the popularity of recording artists. One way is to look at all-time record sales. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) the highest-selling female recording artists are as follows:

  1. Barbra Streisand (11th overall, 71.5 million records sold)
  2. Madonna (15th overall, 64.5 million records sold)
  3. Mariah Carey (17th overall, 63.5 million records sold)
  4. Whitney Houston (19th overall, 57 million records sold)
  5. Celine Dion (23rd overall, 50 million records sold)

Also according to the RIAA, the highest-selling album by a female artist of all time was Shania Twain's Come on Over, which was in tenth position overall. However, measured by digital singles sold, female artists have been dominant in the last decade. The top four sellers of digital singles are women (Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.) So in terms of units sold, women seem to be emerging as the most popular stars of the digital age.