Katy Perry Tops RIAA's Digital Artist List - Who's Behind Her?

It only took three records for Katy Perry to cement herself as one of the biggest names in pop music history. Of course, one could argue that the superstar held that title well before the release of the third album, and they’d have the records to back it up: from May 2010 to September 2011, Perry spent 69 consecutive weeks in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100. She also became the first female artist to produce five number one songs from the same album with her sophomore record, Teenage Dream. Pretty impressive, right? Even though she has been earning accolades with every move she makes, perhaps the biggest is something she just achieved: Katy is officially the all-time top digital artist, according to the RIAA.

Katy Perry Jingle Bell BallKaty Perry has moved 72 million in digital sales

"Katy Perry is a force to be reckoned with in music,” Cary Sherman, RIAA Chairman & CEO, said about the feat. "She embodies all that makes a true global superstar: the musical talent, the extraordinary drive and genuine charisma, and an intrinsic connection with her fans." During her trip to the top, she has earned 18 Gold, 16 Platinum, and 56 multi-platinum digital single awards over the span of her career. For albums, her debut record, One for the Boys, has been certified Platinum, while Teenage Dream is double-Platinum. Her most recently released record, Prism, currently stands at sales exceeding 1.1 million. Digital sales altogether land Perry at 72 million, which easily puts her at number one in front of the competition.

That competition? Rihanna and Taylor Swift. Rihanna, who is behind Perry at number two, has 20 million less sold than Perry does. Swift is right behind Rihanna at three, with sales standing at 51 million. Although none of these three are surprising, it’s interesting to look at the album patterns of each artist and see how their spot on the list may be related to it. Rihanna’s first record came in 2005, and she’s released a total of seven -- four more than Perry. Swift, on the other hand, has only released four, and all but one has sold at least two million.

Taylor Swift GalaTaylor Swift is right behind Rihanna for third on the most digital sold list

What exactly does this mean? You’d figure more albums for a successful artist would equal into more digital content sold, but it seems like, in Rihanna’s case, her albums don’t have the lasting value to keep up with new trends and stay relevant in the mainstream to keep selling. There was a three year gap between Teenage Dream and Prism, but Perry kept the iron hot by re-releasing the album with new songs that both got huge. Now, with Swift, her albums all have multiple singles that hold their own, and it’s the reason why she’ll surpass Rihanna on the digital artist list in no time. When both Perry and Swift get to their ninth album, it’ll be tough for anyone to come close to their sales.

More: Katy Perry launches her record label


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