Mariah Carey famously said “I don’t know her” when asked about Jennifer Lopez and the two superstars have often been compared. Who is the more popular of the pair?
Who is more popular out of Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez largely depends on how we measure popularity. Carey has sold far more records and has achieved a record 19 Billboard number-one singles. However, Lopez has a larger following on social media across every platform. It is possible that Carey’s music is more popular but that Lopez is a more popular individual.
For a comparison of Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez’s superstar status, as of writing, read on.
Given that both Carey and Lopez have primarily been singers throughout their career, one of the best ways of measuring their popularity is through record sales. Billboard, the most widely recognized music chart in the United States, is a great starting point.
This is one area where there seems little comparison between the two. Jennifer Lopez has achieved 10 top 10 hits and 4 number one hits; an excellent achievement but one that is heavily overshadowed by Carey’s chart history.
Mariah Carey has achieved 28 top 10 hits and a staggering 19 number ones, enough to surpass not only Lopez but to set the world record for most Billboard number one songs by a solo artist.
When it comes to album sales, the comparison is closer. Lopez has released 8 top 10 albums and 2 number one albums, while Carey has had 18 top 10 albums and 6 number one albums.
On Billboard’s Artist 100, which combines single and album sales, Lopez’s peak position was 61 in July 2014, while Carey peaked at 5 in January 2020.
In terms of sales, there can be no doubt that Mariah Carey has been a more popular musician than Jennifer Lopez throughout their careers.
Another way of gauging popularity is through social media followers, even if this can be inconclusive due to the number of bots online. Still, they can give us a quick glance at the reach of both singers.
On Instagram, Lopez’s account, @jlo, has 128 million followers, decisively more than the 9.4 million of Carey’s account, @mariahcarey. This is with a similar amount of posts, though Lopez tends to post more selfies while Carey often posts other content and archival photos and videos.
Twitter is closer but is still very one-sided. Both Carey and Lopez joined the social media platform in 2009, so it’s fair to compare the two.
Carey’s Twitter account, @MariahCarey, has 21.5 million followers, while Lopez’s, @JLo, has 45.2 million. Lopez’s profile has been far more active, with about 15,700 tweets compared to Carey’s approximate 9,300, so there is not actually a great deal of difference between their followers per tweet.
YouTube is unique among the singers’ social media platforms in that it combines vlogging, music videos, and live performances.
This is another solid win for Lopez. She has 13.1 million YouTube subscribers in comparison to Carey’s 6.0 million, which is interesting given Carey’s far greater stronger sales throughout their careers.
Given all of this information and the contrast between record sales and social media reach, it’s difficult to say who is more popular overall. There can be no doubt that Carey has been a more successful musician, the highest-selling solo artist of all time, but Lopez has also enjoyed a film and television career in addition to her music.
Lopez has a larger social media following on every platform but she has also been more active and posts more personal content than Carey.
Perhaps it’s easiest to say that Mariah Carey’s music is more popular than Lopez’s, but Jennifer Lopez is a more popular individual than Carey.