Madonna initially signed a singles contract with Sire Records in 1982, a label owned by Warner Bros. Records. After the success of her first two singles "Everybody" and "Burning Up", she signed an albums deal in 1983. The first LP album released by her under the label was the self-titled debut album, Madonna. The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 and was certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She followed the debut album with the sophomore release titled Like a Virgin (1984). The album topped the chart in several countries and was certified diamond by the RIAA.True Blue was released as her third studio album in 1986. The album sold 24 million copies worldwide. In 1987, she released two albums that reached platinum status in the United States: the Who's That Girl soundtrack and her first remix compilation You Can Dance. The soundtrack contains tracks by other recording artists but is considered a "Madonna" album by the Billboard 200 and Warner Bros. Records. Madonna's fourth studio album Like a Prayer (1989) became her third number-one album on the Billboard 200.
Madonna entered the 1990s with the release of her first greatest hits compilation, titled The Immaculate Collection. The album was Madonna's second LP to be certified diamond by the RIAA. In the United Kingdom it became the best selling album by a female artist, with sales of more than three million copies. Madonna also released the album I'm Breathless (1990), which contained songs inspired by the 1990 film Dick Tracy. After ending her contract with Sire in 1991, she signed a new $60 million recording contract and business deal with Warner Bros. and Time Warner. Madonna also founded Maverick Records, which became her main record company. The first release under Maverick was her fifth studio album Erotica (1992). Though critically panned, Erotica was certified two times platinum in the United States and sold 5.5 million copies worldwide. In 1994, Madonna released her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories, which was certified three times platinum by the RIAA.Something to Remember, a collection of Madonna ballads was released in 1995 and reached the top ten in many countries while selling nine million copies worldwide. Her third soundtrack album, from the musical Evita, was released in 1996. The double-disc endeavor was certified five times platinum by the RIAA, recognizing 2.5 million shipments throughout the United States (because the soundtrack is a double album and exceeds 100 minutes in length, the RIAA counts each unit sale twice). Madonna's seventh studio album Ray of Light was released in 1998 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.
In the beginning of the 2000s, Music became Madonna's fourth number-one album on the Billboard 200; it was her first number-one in 11 years, since Like a Prayer. It also topped the album charts of several European countries.American Life became Madonna's fifth Billboard 200 number-one album. However, it did not achieve multi-platinum status and became Madonna's lowest-selling studio album. In 2004, she sold her shares and interest in Maverick to Warner Music Group, after a lawsuit between both companies.Confessions on a Dance Floor, released in 2005, was heralded as her comeback album, opening at number one in United States and in all major music markets. In 2007, Madonna signed a $120 million, 10-year business and recording contract with Live Nation. She will be the founding recording artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists. Her remaining contract with Warner Bros. ended with her eleventh studio album Hard Candy (2008), which became her seventh number-one album on the Billboard 200, and Celebration (2009), her third greatest hits compilation. Madonna has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide and is listed as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century. She is ranked as the second-best-selling female artist, behind only Barbra Streisand, with 63 million certified albums in the United States. In the United Kingdom, she has become the most successful female artist, with 11 number-one albums, tying her with Elvis Presley as a solo act with most number-one albums.