Streisand’s Record Sales: For the Record

Streisand photo by Liebovitz

In 2014, Streisand's album of duets—Partners—debuted on Billboard's charts at #1, which placed her in the record books as the only artist to have a number one album in each of the last six decades—the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and the 2010s!

The RIAA summarized her accomplishments in November 2014:

With the release of "Partners," which entered the Billboard 200 chart at number one, Ms. Streisand is the only recording artist in history to have a number one release in six consecutive decades.  With ten, Ms. Streisand is the female artist with the most number one albums in Billboard's history. She is also the best-selling female recording artist in history, with over 72 million albums sold. Ms. Streisand is the only female to make the All-Time Top 10 Best Selling Artists list, an honor which includes fellow duet "Partners" Elvis Presley and Billy Joel. She also has the longest span of number one albums in history; just under 50 years. (She first landed at the top of the chart in October 1964 with "People." "Partners" is Ms. Streisand's 33rd album to make it into the Top 10 on the US charts. She is the only female artist to have achieved this milestone, tying her with Frank Sinatra.)

Barbra Streisand's place in the history books of the recording industry is solid. She definitely wins in the category of longevity and span of career.

Streisand's Albums

Barbra Streisand has recorded with Columbia Records since 1962 — That's a 52-year recording career! (as of 2014).

As of 2014 there are 70 officially released Streisand albums, which break down into the following categories:

The Billboard 200 list, published weekly by Billboard Magazine, ranks the 200 highest-selling albums based solely on sales in the United States.

Here are a few impressive facts (* as of September 2014):

Top Ten Abums

Streisand's Number One Albums

Barbra Streisand has ten number one albums.

It's also interesting to note that Streisand owns the unique distinction of having the longest span between number one albums—50 years (Sept. 1964 to Sept. 2014).

Christmas/Holiday Album Chart

Billboard charts Holiday albums separately. In December 2013, Billboard updated its Top 10 Holiday Albums list using both RIAA certification information and actual point-of-sale data from Nielsen SoundScan. For albums released before SoundScan started in 1991, they used their RIAA certification to determine sales.

The top 10 Holiday albums of all time are:

  1. Elvis Presley (Elvis' Christmas Album) 10 million units
  2. Kenny G (Miracles: The Holiday Album) 7.3 million units
  3. Nat King Cole (The Christmas Song) 6 million units
  4. Mannheim Steamroller (A Fresh Aire Christmas) 6 million units
  5. Mannheim Steamroller (Mannheim Steamroller Christmas) 6 million units
  6. Josh Groban (Noel) 5.7 million units
  7. Mariah Carey (Merry Christmas) 5.3 million units
  8. Celine Dion (These Are Special Times) 5.2 million units
  9. Barbra Streisand (A Christmas Album) 5 million units
  10. Johnny Mathis (Merry Christmas) 5 million units

Billboard confessed: “As for Streisand, her collection was first issued in 1967. It's likely that it has sold more than 5 million since its last certification in 1999, though a more exact figure is difficult to determine.”

Barbra's Number One Singles

Billboard Magazine tracks the top 100 singles in America weekly and bases its list on radio airplay and sales. Streisand has 5 number one singles in her career:

Recording Industry Association of America Figures

One cannot assess Streisand's sales and therefore her place in recording history, without considering the RIAA.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. According to their website, “The RIAA Gold and Platinum Awards program was launched in 1958 in an effort to create a standard by which to measure sales of a sound recording.”

It should be noted that the RIAA requires the record label to “request certification and pay a fee to have the sales of the recording audited.”

Their site further explains that “the audit is conducted against net shipments after returns (most often an artist's royalty statement is used), which includes albums sold directly to retailers and one-stops, direct to consumer sales (music clubs and mail order) and other outlets.” (Another note: In 2004, the RIAA extended its Gold and Platinum awards designation to legitimate digital downloads from the Internet.)

RIAA Certification Criteria
Gold ®
Platinum ®
Multi-Platinum ™
500,000 units
1,000,000 units
2,000,000+ units

(The RIAA also certifies an album as Diamond—sales of 10 million units—but no Streisand album has sold at that level to date.)

Streisand's RIAA Album Tally
Gold ®
Platinum ®
Multi-Platinum ™
52
30
13

Streisand currently (2014) appears at number 11 (after AC/DC) on the RIAA's list of Top Selling Artists:

RIAA's Top Selling Artists (April 2011)
Artist
Certified Units in Millions
The Beatles
178
Elvis Presley
134.5
Garth Brooks
134
Led Zepplin
111.5
The Eagles
101
Billy Joel
81.5
Michael Jackson 75.5
Pink Floyd
74.5
Elton John
73
AC/DC
71.5
Barbra Streisand
71.5

For the Record ... Summary

Barbra Archives hopes Streisand fans are impressed with Barbra's record-breaking sales. Barbra Streisand is one of America's most popular recording artists—ever.

Although Streisand often tells interviewers that she does not pay attention to awards and statistics about her career, that does not diminish what she has accomplished and sold throughout the years.

End.

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