Los Angeles (CNN) -- Katy Perry is the "most rewarded digital act" ever, according to the organization that hands out gold and platinum records.
Perry fans have bought 72 million singles online, which is 20 million more digital singles than the No. 2 artist, Rihanna, has sold, the Recording Industry Association of America announced. Taylor Swift is third with 51 million digital singles sold.
The music industry group, which started honoring vinyl record sales in 1958, launched its digital sales awards in 2004 when online music downloads -- not including the pirated versions -- became a mainstream way of buying songs. The RIAA added online music streaming to its tracking last year.
Perry has earned 18 gold, 16 platinum and 56 multiplatinum digital singles awards in addition to her multiplatinum awards for her album "Teenage Dream" and a platinum award for the album "One of the Boys."
Perry's top hits include "I Kissed a Girl," "Hot N Cold," "Dark Horse" and "Birthday."
RIAA Chairman Cary Sherman, at a ceremony Wednesday, called Perry "a force to be reckoned with in music."
"She embodies all that makes a true global superstar: the musical talent, the extraordinary drive and genuine charisma, and an intrinsic connection with her fans," Sherman said. "The award is a reflection of her deep commitment to those qualities and to her music, which has propelled her to this historic milestone."