|First posted 12/29/2011; last updated 4/22/2020.|
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The World’s All-Time Best Sellers
This list is a compiled from a variety of sources for sales figures (see complete source list here), but they are generally estimates since there is no official agency to track worldwide sales. As such, it is highly possible that some of these sales figures have been inflated by record companies or other vested parties, but this list does at least offer some idea of the world’s best-selling songs.
On top of that, these figures don’t always strictly represent sales. Especially in the 21st century, additional figures – such as the number of times songs were streamed via Spotify, YouTube or other services – have been factored into official certifications. That means a song certified for 10 million in sales may not have actually “sold” that many copies.
If you have your doubts about some of these songs belonging on this list, you’re not alone. I realize my knowledge of music beyond U.S. shores is limited, but if songs like Thelma Aoyama’s “Soba ni lur ne”, Utada Hikaru’s “Flavor of Life”, Kiseki’s “Greeeen”, Andre Brasseur’s “Early Bird”, and Machiko Soga’s “Oba-Q Ondo” are truly that monstrous in sales, shouldn’t I have at least heard of them? Oh well. I just report the lists. I don’t make these figures up (even if someone else does).
Note: in the event of ties, songs are ranked according to overall DMDB points.
The World’s All-Time Best-Selling Songs