What are the Biggest Selling Vinyl Albums of the SoundScan Era? Let’s Talk a Look.

SoundScan–the record sales-counting tool that only registers a record as sold once its barcode is scanned at the cash–has been in place since March 1, 1991, in the US. Other countries–Canada, the UK and Japan–followed after that.

The system not only counts sales but can differentiate sales by format, too. Intern-in-residence Dorothy Lee went through a bunch of spreadsheets to find out which vinyl records have sold the most in the US since 1991 up until October 26, 2017.


1 The Beatles Abbey Road 381,766
2 Bob Marley & The Wailers Legend 210,398
3 Amy Winehouse Back to Black 209,819
4 Miles Davis Kind of Blue 186,827
5 Michael Jackson Thriller 179,781
6 Soundtrack Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 140,035
7 Fleetwood Mac Rumours 132,539
8 Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City 118,899
9 Prince Purple Rain 71,803
10 Pink Floyd Dark Side of The Moon 46,743
11 The Smiths Queen Is Dead 43,392
12 Ed Sheeran Divide 38,115
13 Queens of The Stone Age Villains 25,892
14 Soundtrack The Nightmare Before Xmas 25,275
15 Kendrick Lamar Damn. 24,444
16 Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga 24,373
17 War on Drugs Deeper Understanding 20,595
18 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits 19,529
19 Foo Fighters Concrete & Gold 17,951
20 Various Artists Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2 16,786

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “What are the Biggest Selling Vinyl Albums of the SoundScan Era? Let’s Talk a Look.

  • November 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I am quite surprised, and delighted, to find QOTSA in there with such a recent release! Pop idol Ed Sheeran I can picture, and Foo Fighters are also quite mainstream, but for Queens to rank 13th in this 25yr period is simply astounding; well done.


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