Diamonds are a Musician's Best Friend

Sherrill Fulghum By Sherrill Fulghum, 14th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

The formats for selling music has changed over the years, but the numbers are still counted and awarded. But who is achieving the big numbers?

Diamond Albums

While my CD collection may not be considered impressive, with some 700 CDs it could easily rival that of a small independent radio station.

Working on an article, I was recently had the occasion to check out the list of albums that have made it to on to the Diamond Album list – the albums that have sold at least 10 million copies in the United States – according to the RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America.

Scrolling through the list I began to wonder just how many of those albums had made it into my album and CD collection. Of the 118 albums on the Diamond Album list, it turns out that I only have 16 of them...I think. There may be a couple of more that I missed.

Oddly enough, while I like some the their music, I do not have either of the top two selling albums “Greatest Hits” by the Eagles and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson – both which have sold 29 million copies in the US with the Eagles currently edging out Jackson.

But who among my massive collection of discs is on the list - Boston, Sir Elton John, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon”, Santana, the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, the Steve Miller Band, Kenny G, Carole King, Eric Clapton, Doobie Brothers, and George Michael.

We often hear about an album going gold or platinum and even multi platinum but there is another award – the Diamond Award that honours those artists who have had a really successful album and sold over 10 million copies. The awards are given out only for US sales so even though some artists have sold far greater numbers around the world, only the US copies are counted. Also when a press release or promo lists the 80, 100 or 150 million albums sold, they are counting the total number of sales – the RIAA awards the numbers for each album.

The list of Diamond Albums is expectedly very diverse and includes several soundtracks and not surprisingly quite a number of greatest hits compilations.

The big surprises from the Diamond list are what is not on the list. Despite her popularity and massive record sales, Taylor Swift does not have an album on the list, nor is Beyonce – oddly enough Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber are though.

The British invading lads from Liverpool have the most albums on the Diamond list with with six albums each. Led Zepplin and Garth Brooks follow with five albums. The Eagles, Shania Twain, and Eminem all have three albums on the list. Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Dixie Chicks, Def Leppard, Celine Dion,N Sync, 2 Pac, Van Halen, Madonna, and Mariah Carey all have two Diamond albums.

By far the biggest group on the list are the artists who have a single album that has sold at least 10 million copies in the United States - Michael Jackson, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Gun N' Roses, Boston, Metallica, Alainis Moressette, Hootie and the Blowfish, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Journey, Santana, Meat Loaf, Simon and Garfunkel, Steve Miller Band, Pearl Jam, Whitney Houston, Prince and the Revolution, Boyz II Men, Kenny Rogers, Kenny G, Phil Collins, Jewel, Bon Jovi, Justin Bieber, Matchbox Twenty, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Adele, TLC, Lady Gaga, Outkast, Aerosmith, James Taylor, Kid Rock, Creed, The Doors, No Doubt, Carole King, U2, Eric Clapton, Patsy Cline, The Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Linkin Park, Smashing Pumpkins, Notorious B.I.G, Beastie Boys, Greed Day, ZZ Top, Nirvana, Elvis Presley, Lionel Richie, Imagine Dragons, Norah Jones, Hammer, George Michael, and Usher.

The top selling movie soundtracks are ”The Bodyguard”, “Saturday Night Live”, “Forrest Gump”, “Titanic”, “Dirty Dancing”, and “The Lion King”

There are only eight albums on the Latin Diamond Album list but the top album smashes the record with 35 million in sales - “Dreaming of You” by Selena. She also owns the second spot on the list. The remaining artists on the Latin music list are Gloria Estefan, Ottmar Lieber, Nana, Shakira, and Charlie Zaa.


Album Collections, Billy Joel, Bob Marley, Diamond Awards, Eagles, Garth Brooks, Justin Bieber, Led Zepplin, Michael Jackson, Patsy Cline, Riaa, Taylor Swift

Meet the author

author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
Sherrill is an award winning journalist with a speciality in music and entertainment. She is also a photographer.

Sherril is a writer for thedailyvoice

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author avatar Retired
14th Aug 2015 (#)

My word, you do have a lot of CD's!

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