17,172,000, Mariah Carey
14,744,000, Whitney Houston
11,120,000, Mariah Carey
3,320,000, Whitney Houston
Carey, thus, leads in both categories, while Houston has sold more physical (CD, cassette) singles than Madonna since 1991. Madonna, however, has moved a significantly higher number of digital tracks in that span than Houston, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
What are the biggest-selling hits for each artist?
Physical single: "I Will Always Love You," 4,591,000
Digital track: "I Will Always Love You," 575,000
Physical single: "One Sweet Day" 2,334,000
Digital track: "All I Want for Christmas Is You," 1,156,000
Physical single: "Music," 1,136,000
Digital track: "4 Minutes", 2,476,000
And, since all three artists are also currently charting with new singles, let's look at the digital sales of each title to date:
Mariah Carey, "Obsessed": 526,000
Madonna, "Celebration": 64,000
Whitney Houston, "I Look to You": 32,000
Billboard 200 - studio albums, soundtracks, holiday sets and greatest hits/remix collections (SoundScan 1991 to date)
Since 1991, Carey has released eight studio albums, one soundtrack, one holiday set and four greatest hits/remix collections (14 total).
Madonna's count stands as such: seven studio albums, two soundtracks and three greatest hits/remix collections (12 total).
And, Houston's: two studio albums, two soundtracks, one holiday set and one greatest hits/remix collections (six total).
Tallying the totals, here is the average sales number for each artist's Billboard 200 charted studio, soundtrack, holiday and greatest hits/remix efforts in the SoundScan era:
Whitney Houston: 3,308,000
Mariah Carey: 3,151,000
Here, Houston is tops - and averaging even 1.6 million in sales per album over almost two decades is no small feat for any artist. Among the three performers, Houston's "The Bodyguard" soundtrack is the only set to pass 10 million in sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, since 1991. The album has sold 11,808,000 copies.
Ask Billboard: Madonna vs. Whitney vs. Mariah