Musicians are competitive: fact. Long before The Rolling Stones challenged The Beatles’ pop crown, cotton-picking bluesmen were listening at windows to steal each other’s guitar licks. Jazz players were practising scales day and night in a bid to blow the fastest trumpet. Classical composers engaged in intellectual battles to push harmony in previously unimagined dimensions. We could go on, but let’s just say a healthy competitive spirit is good for the evolution of music.

The UAE, of course, is no different. Yet while the Emirates punch well above their weight in terms of the range and quality of original acts on offer, there’s no denying that the finite supply of music venues can make it feel like rather a small pond. But who’s the biggest fish in this pond?

There’s never been an official body that counts UAE record sales, but with the vast bulk of CDs being sold by a single retailer, we went direct to the source and asked Virgin Megastore for the facts. The result is this, believed to be the first comprehensive list of the UAE’s best-selling artists. So, ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please ...

View 10 best-selling UAE acts ever