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Record Sales

These Are the 20 Most Best-Selling Platinum Artists In Hard Rock & Heavy Metal

Led Zeppelin lead the pack by a huge margin.

led zeppelin
photo by Jim Summaria

Who is truly the biggest rock band? Well, there's the subjective argument and then the objective argument. Objectively, you can rank the biggest rock and metal acts based on just how many times they went platinum. That's exactly what our friend Ryan Downey did in his newsletter Stream N' Destroy, and we are publishing the top 20 for the sake of the argument.

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It should be noted that the list doesn't represent total records sold, but rather "total album units certified by the RIAA." For example, a band may have sold over 500k over their entire catalog, but because they didn't have one release that sold over 500k, they have no gold records. Meanwhile, if a band has two platinum records (1 million each) certified by the RIAA, they are  listed as having sold 2 million.

Having gone through that, the best selling rock band of all time is Led Zeppelin with 111.5 million records sold. They went platinum 111 times! That's nuts.

It's a big dip until we get to #2, AC/DC and Pink Floyd are tied with 75 million sold.

Aerosmith come in at #4 with 66.5 million, and our boys in Metallica are right on their tale with 63 million sold. Metallica has gone platinum 63 times. What an insane stat.

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Here are the top 20:

  1. Led Zeppelin (111.5 Million)
  2. AC/DC & Pink Floyd (75M)
  3. Aerosmith (66.5M)
  4. Metallica (63M)
  5. Van Halen (56.5M)
  6. Guns N’ Roses (44.5M)
  7. Def Leppard (35.5M)
  8. Creed
  9. Bon Jovi (34.5M)
  10. Pearl Jam (31.5M)
  11. Ozzy Osbourne (29.5M)
  12. Nirvana (28M)
  13. Linkin Park (27.5M)
  14. Mötley Crüe
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    & Rush (25M)
  15. Green Day
    Nickelback (24M)
  16. Kiss
    Meat Loaf (21M)
  17. Smashing Pumpkins (19.7M)
  18. Stone Temple Pilots (17.5M)
  19. Korn
    Limp Bizkit (16.5M)
  20. Black Sabbath
    No Doubt (15M)

You can see the entire list here.

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