Music Odds: 2017’s Best-Selling Female Artist

Shania Twain singing in 2007
Photo Credit: Zoltán Szabó (Flickr)

There is a lot of new and exciting music coming down the pipe in 2017. According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the rooster. According to me, it should be the year of the hen. With rumors of Taylor Swift possibly dropping a surprise album in 2017, plus a comeback from Shania Twain, and more music from megastars Lorde and Katy Perry, this musical year will be in the key of powerful women.

Who will win the album-sales battle royale with their new tuneage?

Shania is coming out of quasi-retirement to complete her world domination of the pop and country music charts. She’s already one of the best-selling artists of all time and should get a boost from her long hiatus.

Lorde could be up for the challenge of topping Twain’s twang when she finally gives us her sophomore album, Melodrama, which is set to drop in June. Lorde recently told The New York Times that Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” should be considered “holy” which is interesting considering the New Zealand pop star will be competing with the holiest of holies when Perry releases her much anticipated new record sometime this summer.

While Twain, Lorde, and Perry are the favorites, a flotilla of other women are also on the cusp of selling a boat-load of music. Let’s set the odds on who will reign supreme. The odds below are based on album-sale history, current popularity, and overall hype. Only confirmed albums are on the list, so no T-Swift just yet.


Odds on Which Female Artist Will Sell the Most Albums in 2017

Shania Twain: 2/1

Album: TBA
Release Date: Late 2017

This is an easy one. It’s Shania Twain. One of country music’s greatest artist and one of the highest selling female acts of all time is coming out of retirement to release her fifth studio album (first since 2002), which will probably shatter records once again. Her popularity is still undeniable. Pegged as her “farewell tour,” the Canadian songwriter sold out her Rock This Country Tour in 2015. The farewell ironically re-lit the creative flame within and now she is ready for world dominance once again. Just to put things in perspective, her 2002 album Up! went certified diamond 17 days after its release.


Lorde: 3/1

Album: Melodrama
Release Date: June 16, 2017

When Lorde was just 17, she released her insightful debut album, Pure Heroine, which from top to bottom was a massive hit. It went on to go 3x platinum, won all kinds of awards, and was considered one of the best “pop” albums of 2014. You can fully expect her sophomore record, Melodrama, to be one of the best sellers of 2017. In addition to her strong (if minimal) track record, Lorde is near the top of the list because her fan-base has been clamoring for a second helping. When her new studio record does finally drop, it will sell like gangbusters, even narrowly outselling her rival Katy Perry, I predict.


Katy Perry: 4/1

Album: TBA
Release Date: Summer 2017

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Katy Perry will have one of the highest selling albums of 2017 when she releases her new record this summer. The real question is: can she match 2013’s Prism, which went certified double-platinum and sold 1.7 million copies in the United States? Even if she doesn’t surpass Prism in sales, her fifth studio album will do huge numbers worldwide. The first single, “Chained to the Rhythm,” was Billboard’s highest debuting song by a female artist since Adele’s “Hello.” I almost had her one spot higher, but something tells me that Lorde edges her out.


Missy Elliott: 9/1

Album: TBA
Release Date: 2017

We haven’t heard the smooth rhythms of Missy Elliott since 2005, well, not on a new studio album, anyway. When “Misdemeanor” drops new music in 2017, you can bet it will rouse her dormant fan-base from its hibernation and make oodles of money. If her new music is anything like her 2015 single “WTF (Where They From)” then this is going to be a massive record that should do huge numbers. She might be 45 years old now, but the queen of rap music will show everyone how it’s done.


Lana Del Rey: 24/1

Album: Lust for Life
Release Date: 2017

Her last record, Honeymoon, sold over 600,000 copies worldwide in 2015. Nothing to write home about. But her 2014 album, Ultraviolence, went certified gold in the U.S. and debuted at number one in twelve different countries. I expect 2017’s Lust for Life to be more akin to the latter in terms of sales. The single, “Love,” shot to number one on the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart almost immediately after its February release.


Haim: 25/1

Album: TBA
Release Date:
Summer of 2017

The three Haim sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana, haven’t released an album since 2013’s Days Are Gone. The days after that album changed the Haim sisters’ lives forever. They found themselves hanging out with Taylor Swift and receiving critical acclaim for their Fleetwood Mac-esque sound. Tay Tay’s endorsement helped Days shoot to no. 6 on the Billboard 200. In the UK, Haim received a gold record for selling over 100,000 copies.  The ladies have spent the last four years putting together their sophomore album and it should do solid numbers.


Kelly Clarkson: 50/1

Album: TBA
Release Date: 2017

A June 2017 record is on the way from the American Idol Season One winner. It will find her singing to her strengths with a more R&B sound. Back in 2012, Clarkson released Piece by Piece, which became her fifth top-ten album. Actually, it cracked the Billboard 200 twice, something you don’t see very often.  Overall the Texas native has staying power and, if this year’s album has another hit in it, 2017 could be a good year for the 34-year-old.


Alison Krauss: 100/1

Album: Windy City
Release Date: February 17, 2017

When you have been doing it as long as Alison Krauss, you must be doing something right. Windy City is her fifth original studio album (17 records overall, including collaborations) and she is no stranger to hitting the international charts hard. The bluegrass-country folk singer has found international success throughout her career; but she’s earned her share of stateside accolades, as well, winning a record 27 Grammys. So, yeah, when Krauss releases her first album of original music in 18 years, it should get a lot of love.


Charli XCX: 150/1

Album: TBA
Release Date: Late 2017

She has the voice, she has the songwriting chops, and she happens to be one of the weirdest artists going, so she fits right in with today’s modern pop sound. Charli XCX’s 2014 album, Sucker, got solid reviews and debuted at number 28 on the US Billboard 200. Since that time, the British songstress has released a couple of mixtapes and EPs, but now her fans want to hear a full-length album and that looks to be happening this year. When her new music is finally released, you can expect it to do well commercially. You can also expect it to push her artistry in bizarre new directions.


Nelly Furtado: 450/1

Album: The Ride
Release Date: March 31, 2017

The Canadian’s last album, The Spirit Indestructible (2012), didn’t come close to the commercial success she had with her previous work. That was due to a couple main factors: poor marketing and promotion, and the lack of a hit single. The latter was surprising considering Furtado was considered a hit generator for most of her career. Her new album, The Ride, seems to be following in the footsteps of her last one. It is another relatively quiet release which doesn’t bode well for her chances to top the sales charts. Currently, it isn’t cracking the top ten in Canada or in Europe, the places where Furtado has generally found most of her success.


The Musical Field

Obviously the ten ladies above aren’t the only ones who could see big album-sales numbers in 2017. Indie darling Sky Ferreira, the always controversial Nicki Minaj, and the up-and-coming Kamaiyah should also have good (monetary) years with new releases. Think they (or anyone else, for that matter) should crack my top-ten? Voice your dissension in the comments!