Based on the standards of the Recording Industry Association of America, an artist needs to sell 500,000 copies of a single for it to go Gold. For a single to reach Platinum – a level the RIAA added in 1976 – it has to sell 1 million copies; for Multi-Platinum, introduced in 1984, the threshold is 2 million. And then there is the rarefied air of diamond certification, also introduced in 1999 – an indication of 10 million records sold.
To determine all singles that have achieved Diamond certification, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on certified U.S. singles sales from the RIAA. The RIAA awards Diamond certification to songs that have sold at least 10 million units in the United States – including downloads and streams, computed at a rate of 150 of either equaling one unit. Singles were ranked based on certified U.S. sales as of Jan. 2023. Data on Billboard Hot 100 chart performance is current through the week of Dec. 31, 2022. (These are the best-selling artists for digital singles.)
Some 98 songs have been awarded Diamond certification so far, all but five of them released in the 21st century.
Bruno Mars, either solo or with a collaborator, has the most Diamond singles of any artist with six, including “Just The Way You Are,” “Uptown Funk” with Mark Ronson, and “When I Was Your Man.”
Three contemporary performers have four songs on the list either as solo artists or with a partner: Drake, Imagine Dragons, and the Weeknd. Cardi B, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, the Chainsmokers, and Maroon 5 all landed three songs each on the list by themselves or with collaborators.
Regarding the five songs from the 20th century, two are from Michael Jackson – “Thriller” and “Billie Jean.” Whitney Houston is represented by the Dolly Parton-penned heartwrencher “I Will Always Love You.” Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” reissued in tribute to Princess Diana, made the list, as did Queen’s bombastic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Here’s a list of classic songs that have returned to the Hot 100.)
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