2Pac’s classic 1996 album ‘All Eyez On Me’ has reached the benchmark Diamond status but is it for real?

Diamond is awarded in the USA for sales of 10 million. However, 2Pac ‘All Eyez On Me’ is a double album so the Recording Industry Association of America counts each album sales as two sales because fans are buying two CDs at a time in a double album sales.

The reality is that 2Pac ‘All Eyez On Me’ has actually sold 5 million (not a bad effort in itself) but a long way short of the album going to 10 million people.

RIAA’s top selling albums of all-time really is a con. Six of the top 20 albums of all-time are double albums and therefore in reality have only sold half of what their status suggests.

The top 20 selling albums of all-time in the USA are:

1. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits (29 million)
2. Michael Jackson – Thriller (29 million)
3. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (23 million)
4. Pink Floyd – The Wall (Double) (23 million)
5. Billy Joel – Greatest Hits Volume 1 and Volume 2 (Double) (23 million)
6. AC/DC – Back In Black (22 million)
7. Garth Brooks – Double Live (Double) (21 million)
8. Shania Twain – Come On Over (20 million)
9. The Beatles – The Beatles (Double) (19 million)
10. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (19 million)
11. Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction (18 million)
12. Boston- Boston (17 million)
13. Soundtrack – The Bodyguard (17 million)
14. Garth Brooks – No Fences (17 million)
15. The Beatles – 1967-1970 (Double) (17 million)
16. Eagles – Hotel California (16 million)
17. Metallica – Metallica (16 million)
18. Hootie and the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View (16 million)
19. Elton John – Greatest Hits (16 million)
20. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (Double) (16 million)

Halving double albums to actual sales also changes the dynamic of the Platinum certification. Only two double albums, Pink Floyd ‘The Wall’ and Billy Joel ‘Greatest Hits Volume 1 and Volume 2’ would still qualify for sales over 10 million.

As well as 2Pac’s ‘All Eyez On Me’, double albums that should be stripped of Diamond certification for real sales under 10 million are:

Garth Brooks – Double Live
The Beatles – The Beatles
The Beatles – 1967-1970
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
The Beatles – 1962-1966
Soundtrack – Saturday Night Fever
Bruce Springsteen – Live 1975-85
The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks
Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life
Notorious B.I.G – Life After Death
Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Springsteen’s ‘Live 1975-85’ is even more fudged. As a 4CD box you can divide those 13 million sales by four.

The two-for-one certification for artists is misleading. By counting each double album title as one sale Pink Floyd’s biggest seller becomes ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, not ‘The Wall’, Garth Brook ‘No Fences’ takes over ‘Double Live’, ‘Abbey Road’ becomes The Beatles top seller, ‘Some Girls’ takes over for The Rolling Stones.

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