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Did Britney Spears surpass Madonna as the greatest female pop star of all time?


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I wasn’t alive during Madonna’s prime in the 80s and early 90s, nor do I remember much of her early eras up until COADF, but for those who know their pop culture history and/or witnessed both of their peaks, who was bigger? 

Just looking at the stats — Britney garners in more monthly listeners on Spotify and songs/videos (pre-VEVO/YouTube) like BOMT, Toxic and Womanizer have more views than any Madonna song/video. Sad to say but I feel like a lot of Madonna’s legacy has either been swept under the rug and/or didn’t really stand the test of time. I feel like even Mariah, who was considered more local, is more remembered nowadays than Madge.

However one thing I believe — no other female artist since Britney’s debut had the explosion, universal appeal, long-term worldwide effect and controversy on not only music but pop culture the way she did, so that leaves me thinking — is she the greatest female pop star of all time? If not, then who? :byetina:

britney-madonna-surpass.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Roxxy said:

Depends. What are you measuring though? If you're looking at the numbers or chart placements, yes Britney has outpeaked Madonna to a certain degree. Madonna only has an edge because she has more singles than Britney but with regards to chart topping albums, Britney already has a better track record. Britney is 6 for 9 albums. Madonna is 9 for 14. Janet is 7 for 11. Even worse is Mariah who is 6 for 15. Britney really is/was more of an album artist. Only recently that we can say she's a singles artist. And that's where Madonna edges her. Madonna has 38 top 10s including 12 number ones. Britney only has about 1/3 [?] of those numbers for top 10s and number ones.

It's still Madonna across the board tho. Just the cultural impact alone. Madonna shaped/influenced not just her generation, but the generation that came after her, and the generation that came after that, and the generations that will follow for eternity. Britney only shaped her generation and the next one - and she even has competition because some are citing Xtina as their influence as well (Hi Demi!). But her peak has been short lived and not enough or atleast not as impactful as Madonna. Had she continued her reign a little longer as I previously discussed in another thread, she could've atleast matched Madonna and would've been in the same league as Beyoncé (or Rihanna) by now. It's one of the most painful realizations for us Britney fans. She hit her peak but not her full potential as an icon and as a beacon for pop culture. :ehum:

I was mostly referring to their overall legacies, not necessarily just charts or top 10 hits, #1s, etc. 

Yes, Britney may have burned out as fast as she rose to superstardom but I feel that Britney’s legacy (mostly from 1998-2013) feels more socially celebrated and prominent in today’s landscape. I don’t think any Madonna song will ever touch the lasting impact of BOMT, Oops, Toxic and ‘It’s Britney *****’ in Gimme More. Even the title ‘Work *****’ has become a synonymous phrase to her name in pop culture.

More people dress as Britney Spears for costume events and Halloween parties. Do you know how many times people have dressed as a naughty school-girl or the denim-on-denim look? 

Anytime someone puts on a headset, they often refer it to ‘The Britney mic’. When one puts a snake around their shoulders, they refer it as their Britney moment. Things like low-rise jeans, belly button piercings and crop tops are all associated with Britney. The ‘vocal fry’ and melismatic tone we hear over and over in pop over the last 20+ years. Her 2001 VMA performance  has even outlasted Madonna’s ‘LAV’ moment at the very same show award show. Even if you were to take out the snake, the choreo alone feels more iconic. You see younger artists like Billie being compared to Britney as the next big ‘teen thing’. I mean, the list goes on and on.

Look —  I’m not denying Madonna’s power or the doors she opened for other female artists but basically what I’m saying is that Britney’s legacy, especially when it comes to the magnitude of fame she achieved, **x appeal, pop masterpieces and polarizing choreography, etc., just feels more alive and celebrated in today’s culture. 

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13 minutes ago, nthenwkiss said:

Her peak was too short, Madonna has been around successfully for longer. That said I can’t stand Madonna, bye.

I love Madonna tbh, don’t get me wrong. I think her work from the 90s up until the early 2000s was phenomenal and holds more artistic integrity than most of Britney’s work, but what I’m arguing is Britney’s peak not only seemed more explosive, but feels more everlasting in today’s culture. 
 

Artists like Madge and Bey, who are massive names and may even be more famous than Britney today, have obviously had more consistent careers but that doesn’t take away the legacy of Britney’s empire.

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Well I guess you think that because you're born far later. But I guess it's a universally accepted statement if I say Like a Prayer, Like a VirginMaterial Girl, and Vogue are songs that are far more embedded in our society - more than all of Britney's iconic singles. Like a Prayer alone trumps BOMT, hands down. BOMT is only regarded as the best pop song of our generation and/or this century (21st). But LAP is regarded as an all time great. And I am saying this with a lot of love for Britney and as an OG 1998 stan which is difficult to get not everybody has that. I won't argue because it's hard to explain when you've not lived for both Madonna's and Britney's careers. Also, Madonna has had 3 peaks. Britney only has 2. Britney's second peak is barely a peak but only a resurgence. Madonna is on her 14th studio album. Longevity. Britney is barely on her 10th and is losing relevance. Madonna has had a top 10 during her 11th studio album. Britney hasn't had a top 10 since her 7th studio album and is already losing relevance.

It's just really not. Hehe. :ehum:

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8 minutes ago, nthenwkiss said:

I think the reason why Britney seems more “famous” is cause she’s relatable; bey nor madge are relatable at all; nor charismatic, they’re like Hilary Clinton LOL

I think that was a big part of her appeal and why she became so massive, more than she was able to comprehend.

On stage and in her videos, she seemed larger than life but off stage, she was this quirky, cute, funny and sweet virginal-esque girl-next-door.

Being such a high-profile teen star was also a reason and as she got older; began to rebel and experience more with her sexuality, the fascination continued to propel.

We really haven’t had such a relatable and effortlessly-charismatic pop star since. I mean, Britney’s charm was truly universal, to say the least, but we can see how the media, press, handlers, ex-lovers, etc. took advantage of that. :( 

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1 hour ago, DignifiedLove said:

I wasn’t alive during Madonna’s prime in the 80s and early 90s, nor do I remember much of her early eras up until COADF, but for those who know their pop culture history and/or witnessed both of their peaks, who was bigger? 

Just looking at the stats — Britney garners in more monthly listeners on Spotify and songs/videos (pre-VEVO/YouTube) like BOMT, Toxic and Womanizer have more views than any Madonna song/video. Sad to say but I feel like a lot of Madonna’s legacy has either been swept under the rug and/or didn’t really stand the test of time. I feel like even Mariah, who was considered more local, is more remembered nowadays than Madge.

However one thing I believe — no other female artist since Britney’s debut had the explosion, universal appeal, long-term worldwide effect and controversy on not only music but pop culture the way she did, so that leaves me thinking — is she the greatest female pop star of all time? If not, then who? :byetina:

I love Britney obvi, but off of your criteria, Ariana Grande has surpassed Britney. Madonna is the ULTIMATE female pop star. None of the current pop girls would be here without her artistry and bravery. PERIOD. 

Britney paved her own path thanks to Madonna, but a lot of the young pop girls treat Britney like she was their Madonna. .

I think Madonna's impact was the most important for any female in pop music but Britney is second to that and no girl since has surpassed Britney's impact.

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12 minutes ago, Roxxy said:

Well I guess you think that because you're born far later. But I guess it's a universally accepted statement if I say Like a Prayer, Like a VirginMaterial Girl, and Vogue are songs that are far more embedded in our society - more than all of Britney's iconic singles. Like a Prayer alone trumps BOMT, hands down. BOMT is only regarded as the best pop song of our generation and/or this century (21st). But LAP is regarded as an all time great. And I am saying this with a lot of love for Britney and as an OG 1998 stan which is difficult to get not everybody has that. I won't argue because it's hard to explain when you've not lived for both Madonna's and Britney's careers. Also, Madonna has had 3 peaks. Britney only has 2. Britney's second peak is barely a peak but only a resurgence. Madonna is on her 14th studio album. Longevity. Britney is barely on her 10th and is losing relevance. Madonna has had a top 10 during her 11th studio album. Britney hasn't had a top 10 since her 7th studio album and is already losing relevance.

It's just really not. Hehe. :ehum:

Maybe those songs don’t feel as prominent in today’s culture because they are, in fact, older. I mean, then again...GJWHF by Cyndi Lauper or Billie Jean by MJ seem more known worldwide and get more daily listeners today, on average, than any Madonna song from the 80s and 90s. 

I would also argue and say BOMT is, by far, a more popular and well-known song than LAP. I mean, the daily listens and YT views are there to back it up.

Again — I’m not arguing or discussing Madonna’s longevity because she definitely surpassed in that department. But also — MJ didn’t span much longevity, nor did he fully reinvent his image as much in comparison to Madonna. Elvis also burned out pretty early on in his career, yet their legacies seem more celebrated in today’s culture.

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22 minutes ago, Born2Die said:

I love Britney obvi, but off of your criteria, Ariana Grande has surpassed Britney. Madonna is the ULTIMATE female pop star. None of the current pop girls would be here without her artistry and bravery. PERIOD. 

Britney paved her own path thanks to Madonna, but a lot of the young pop girls treat Britney like she was their Madonna. .

I think Madonna's impact was the most important for any female in pop music but Britney is second to that and no girl since has surpassed Britney's impact.

I’m not denying Madonna’s impact at all. She’s proven to be more of a ‘serious’ artist and has spanned more longevity. Then again, Britney was so young when she became massively famous and Madonna didn’t have to go through a lot of the scrutiny that Britney endured during those developmental ages. 

Point is — in 2020, Britney’s legacy feels more celebrated and remembered than Madonna’s. At least that’s how I see it.

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20 minutes ago, DignifiedLove said:

Maybe those songs don’t feel as prominent in today’s culture because they are, in fact, older. I mean, then again...GJWHF by Cyndi Lauper or Billie Jean by MJ seem more known worldwide and get more daily listeners today, on average, than any Madonna song from the 80s and 90s. 

I would also argue and say BOMT is, by far, a more popular and well-known song than LAP. I mean, the daily listens and YT views are there to back it up.

Again — I’m not arguing or discussing Madonna’s longevity because she definitely surpassed in that department. But also — MJ didn’t span much longevity, nor did he fully reinvent his image as much in comparison to Madonna. Elvis also burned out pretty early on in his career, yet their legacies seem more celebrated in today’s culture.

Don't look at the plays. LMAO I was talking about cultural impact. Slave doesn't have a lot of plays on Spotify (not like Toxic, Baby, Oops) but it's iconic. Just saying. Just go on Google. I'm sure you'll read a lot more about Like a Prayer and other Madonna songs which will enlighten you. Hehe. I get that it's really hard to understand cause you're so young and you haven't been around for most of the history of this planet. But I don't want to sound condescending but honestly if you were having this conversation with someone who's not a Britney stan (cause I consider you as family ❤), you would be judged and called ignorant. I'm not even kidding, sis. This is not a good look for you. You're lucky the Madonna stans haven't jumped on this thread yet. The dragging... Also, can't you see that no one is agreeing with you? Cause this is really not even up for debate. This is not good for your quadruple main page image. :ehum:

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1 minute ago, Roxxy said:

Don't look at the plays. LMAO I was talking about cultural impact. Slave doesn't have a lot of plays on Spotify (not like Toxic, Baby, Oops) but it's iconic. Just saying. Just go on Google. I'm sure you'll read a lot more about Like a Prayer and other Madonna songs which will enlighten you. Hehe. I get that it's really hard to understand for you. But I don't want to sound condescending but honestly if you were having this conversation with someone who's not a Britney stan (cause I consider you as family ❤), you would be judged and called ignorant. I'm not even kidding, sis. This is not a good look for you. You're lucky the Madonna stans haven't jumped on this thread yet. The dragging... :ehum:

I mean...I’m not dragging Madonna or taking away from her legacy. I do respect her craft and appreciate her artistry. 94-03 Madonna conveys some of the greatest work I’ve ever seen in pop. All I’m saying — Britney feels more iconic/celebrated today and I really am not trying to be subjective or biased here. Rather, based on personal observation. 

Also — streams and reoccurring airplay are a big determining factor that measure longevity in today’s musical landscape. No one can deny that. LAP just recently hit 100m views whereas BOMT is what...like 450m? Over quadruple. 

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44 minutes ago, DignifiedLove said:

Also — streams and reoccurring airplay are a big determining factor that measure longevity in today’s musical landscape. 

That's right. In today's landscape. But Madonna's "iconic-ness" has been around since the 80s and were on the 2020s. It's been 4 decades. Britney only has a career spanning 2 decades. The 2000s and the 2010s.

44 minutes ago, DignifiedLove said:

Rather, based on personal observation. 

Yes. Personal observation. Which doesn't make sense after you just said you're not being subjective and biased when those two things are personal. (See? This is what I mean by you're making yourself look ignorant, sis. You're already losing rep points here and is not good when you want to win an argument) Also, where and how did you make this observation? Hehe. By observing who? Your other friends and peers who have also not even lived for most of the history of this planet? Like i'm not judging you cause I just find this amusing cause you're young and I understand that. I was also dumb when I was young. We've all been there. Hehe. Honestly, you should venture out more. Live more. Read more. Gather more knowledge and experience and wisdom because clearly there's a lot more learning you gotta do. ❤❤❤

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Britney is Britney and Madonna is Madonna.

you cant compare them Madonna is the Queen and Britney the Princess. 

There wouldn’t be Britney if wasn’t for Madonna impact.

 

Britney has better charting but Madonna’s legacy since the 80’s is untouchable.

Madonna fandom is the most loyal.

Madonna is the true queen of the gays.

But Britney is Britney. 

you can’t answer to your question. 

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30 minutes ago, DignifiedLove said:

I mean...I’m not dragging Madonna or taking away from her legacy. I do respect her craft and appreciate her artistry. 94-03 Madonna conveys some of the greatest work I’ve ever seen in pop. All I’m saying — Britney feels more iconic/celebrated today and I really am not trying to be subjective or biased here. Rather, based on personal observation. 

Also — streams and reoccurring airplay are a big determining factor that measure longevity in today’s musical landscape. No one can deny that. LAP just recently hit 100m views whereas BOMT is what...like 450m? Over quadruple. 

I feel like a lot of people aren’t understanding what your trying to say but I completely get it :mhmnod: the way Britney is celebrated is very unique. It’s hard to compare it to anyone else because there’s never really been another singer who has been through the strange and mysterious circumstances she has. I don’t think she is Madonna, but at the same time I don’t think she is above or below her. She is just on her own type of level. 
 

 Also, this might be a hot take, but I don’t think longevity matters. I don’t know why everyone keeps bringing that up. Some artists have been around for literal decades upon decades but none of their new music is as good as their prime. It feels like they are beating a dead horse. :wontcry:Tbh I think the most powerful music I’ve ever heard came from singers who burned out as soon as they got here—Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain/Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, etc etc. They only had a few albums but those albums had quality. Sometimes quality is much better than quantity. Britney, to me, is the same way. She doesn’t need to be around forever to be solidified as an icon. Her few albums speak for themselves. 

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2 hours ago, nthenwkiss said:

I think the reason why Britney seems more “famous” is cause she’s relatable; bey nor madge are relatable at all; nor charismatic, they’re like Hilary Clinton LOL

And they make up for by their work ethic. Madge n Bey agendas alway seem forced to me whereas Brit was a guilty pleasure through escapism. 

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