Music has shaped human experience way more powerfully than many other aspects of life. Almost every culture uses the power of rhythmic sound to convey messages, lighten the heart’s burden, stimulate ideas, or worship supreme beings. In popular culture, music is both a source of entertainment and a multi-billion-dollar business. It gave people countless stars to idolize, songs to get inspiration from, and lyrical campaigns to promote specific causes. But of the numerous successes that pop music has achieved across the globe and throughout history, it is probably in the commercial side that it established itself as a staple in many applications.
Most popular artists
The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna are currently the world’s four bestselling artists of all time, with global record sales of no less than 350 million apiece. These artists are household names and their influence has gone far beyond music that they—at one point in their life—have been listed as among the world’s most powerful personalities. Other artists who enjoyed or enjoys roughly the same commercial success include Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, AC/DC, and Whitney Houston.
Biggest selling albums
With total sales of more than 65 million copies worldwide, Michael Jackson’s 1982 album ‘THRILLER’ is the bestselling album of all time. It is notable for such releases such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” and helped prove that ambitious music videos are viable promotional vehicles. The album also helped other black music artists to gain mainstream recognition. Other albums with very strong sales figures include AC/DC’s “Back in Black” (1980), Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973), and Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” (1992), with total sales of 50 million, 45 million, and 44 million, respectively. Of all the albums released in the 21st Century, British singer Adele’s sophomore album, “21” has the highest sales figure at 31 million.
Spending 16 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s 1995 hit “One Sweet Day” is the most successful song to ever dominate the US’ most important music chart. Carey is also credited to have the most cumulative weeks at number one in the very same chart spread across 18 extremely popular songs, including “We Belong Together.” Meanwhile, the cast of the TV musical “Glee” currently holds the record for the most entries in the Hot 100 with 207.
Most viewed Youtube music videos
The rise of the Internet also gave artists a new avenue to promote their music. Youtube, arguably the most popular site for viewing online video clips, has recorded mind-boggling number of views for music videos. Korean singer-rapper Psy is the current record holder for having the most viewed music video of all time, with his 2012 smash hit “Gangnam Style” amassing total viewership of whopping 2.76 billion as of this writing. Three other music videos were also able to surpass the 2-billion mark, namely Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” (2.43 billion), Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (2.24 billion), and Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” (2.19 billion).
The music industry has undergone a series of massive booms and recurrent declines. The musical landscape as a whole is rapidly evolving, alongside consumers’ personal preferences and the emergence of new technologies (particularly digital records and streaming sites). Regardless, music will forever be part of the human experience and will never completely die down despite many changes in the business.