The 50 best-selling music artists of all time, ranked by platinum albums

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In the decades before streaming-era rules and digital downloads inflated album sales, platinum certification was more difficult for artists to obtain.

When an artist achieved platinum status back then — selling a million or more physical copies of an album — it took a more fervent effort from fans (who drove to record stores, found an album, and handed over their hard-earned cash for it), but many acts nonetheless reached platinum certification routinely.

Compiling RIAA data, we ranked the best-selling artists of all time by the number of platinum albums they’ve sold in the US. 

While some of the results are surprising — country singer Garth Brooks, for instance, has the most diamond (or 10-times platinum) albums of all time with seven — the legendary acts sitting atop the list are ones you’d probably expect to see. 

Here the 50 best-selling artists of all time, ranked by platinum album sales:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best-selling albums of all time

50. Prince — 11

Platinum albums: 11

Multi-platinum: 4

Diamond: 1

Best-selling album: "Purple Rain" (13 million copies)

49. Bon Jovi — 11

Platinum albums: 11

Multi-platinum: 5

Diamond: 1

Best-selling album: "Slippery When Wet" (12 million copies)

48. Eric Clapton — 11

Platinum albums: 11

Multi-platinum: 7

Diamond: 1

Best-selling album: "Unplugged" (10 million copies)

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