The Spice Girls are a British pop girl group formed in 1994. The group consists of five members, who each later adopted nicknames initially ascribed to them: Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice"), and Victoria Beckham (née Adams) ("Posh Spice"). They were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single, "Wannabe" in 1996, which hit number-one in more than 30 countries and helped establish the group as a global phenomenon. Credited for being the pioneers that paved the way for the commercial breakthrough of teen pop in the late 1990s, their debut album, Spice, sold more than 28 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by a female group in music history. They have sold over 80 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling female group of all time, and also making them the most successful British band since the Beatles, and compared with the Beatlemania.
Measures of their success include international record sales, a 2007–2008 reunion tour, merchandising, record-breaking achievements, iconic symbolism such as Halliwell's Union Jack dress, representing "Girl Power", a box-office film, Spice World, and their internationally recognised nicknames. The group became one of the most successful marketing engines ever, with their global grosses estimated at $500–800 million between 1996 and 1998 and the group earning up to $75 million per year. Under the guidance of their mentor and manager Simon Fuller, the group embraced merchandising and became a regular feature of the British and global press.
In 1996, Top of the Pops magazine gave each member of the group aliases, which were adopted by the group and media. According to Rolling Stone journalist and biographer David Sinclair, "Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty were the most widely recognised group of individuals since John, Paul, George, and Ringo". They were the biggest popular cultural icons of the 1990s, according to a survey carried out by Trivial Pursuit, winning by 80 percent in a poll of 1,000 people, stating that "Girl Power" defined the decade. They are cited as part of the 'second wave' '90s British Invasion of the US.