Streaming World: Beatles results analysis

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Most Popular Albums

01 Michael Jackson Thriller – 16 102 000
02 The Beatles Abbey Road – 14 121 000
03 Michael Jackson Bad – 10 125 000
04 The Beatles The Beatles – 10 108 000
05 The Beatles Let It Be – 8 383 000
06 The Beatles Help! – 7 443 000
07 The Beatles Revolver – 6 301 000
08 The Beatles Rubber Soul – 6 269 000
09 The Beatles Please Please Me – 6 144 000
10 Michael Jackson Xscape – 6 048 000

This listing is very representative of both acts. If Michael Jackson has the biggest hits, as shown by Thriller and Bad at #1 and #3 on the list, the Beatles catalog density is higher. They send as many as 7 albums in the Top 10 with only Abbey Road taking a solid lead and then all remaining albums impressively consistent with each others.

Apart from what can be seen on this Top 10, the most surprising point may be which albums are absent. One notable in each side. On Michael Jackson end, Dangerous misses the list at 5,1 million and #12 overall. The 11th album is the Beatles absolute classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which ends up pretty low all together, despite accumulating 5,3 million streams yet.

4 thoughts on “Streaming World: Beatles results analysis”

  1. Very interesting comparison, I was waiting for something like this, as these two acts -along with Elvis Presley- are considered to be the biggest ever. So while The Beatles have sold far more albums than Michael Jackson, at least on Spotify/YouTube there isn’t such a gap (far from that). I remember you made a point about how these new platforms are a better reflection, a purer way of calculating, popularity and comparing acts from different eras. I didn’t get it at first, but now I’m starting to accept it that way.

    You mentioned that The Beatles are “ahead of all other classic bands by a mile”. But are you sure that they top Queen by such a huge margin? At least on YouTube, Queen are ahead of The Beatles and I doubt The Beatles outstream Queen by a big difference difference considering Queen’s strong monthly totals.

    1. Hehe Hernán I was sure you were going to point out this last comment 😉

      It really is on the context of the “arrival […] on streaming platforms”, those 94 million Spotify plays within’ a month put them 48% ahead of Michael Jackson and with likely almost twice as much as Queen (I haven’t audit in details their streams recently). Obviously, watching running time and considering Youtube views but Queen on a much more favorable position compared to the Beatles, although the likes Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin do not face them as well as Queen.

      I’ll be doing the same kind of articles for various artists, Queen will be one of those coming soon 🙂

  2. I checked Queen’s streams yesterday and the total adds up to 1,179 million, compared to 1,013 by 27 December 2015. A jump of 166 million in about 3,5 months, but without counting 4 solo tracks included on Greatest Hits III, which would take the total to 170 million during the same time frame if included.

    That is an average of 48,5 million per month for Queen. Probably over 50 million (considering Spotify is getting bigger every month) in the 31 days considered above.

    So the total is below that of The Beatles (94 million) and Michael Jackson (63 million).

    According to MJD’s numbers, Michael Jackson was on 1,115 by April 2015 and 1,803 now, which is about 688 million in almost one year; whilst Queen were on 595 million in April 2015 and 1,191 million now (including the 4 solo tracks mentioned above), which is 596 million in almost one year. About 688 million against 596 million in 12 months. Not as big a gap as I was assuming.

    As explained, we will have to wait and see what is the real average total for The Beatles, but their numbers look impressive no matter what. That said, The Beatles sold twice as many albums and records as Queen, but Spotify proves that they aren’t necessarily twice as big as Queen because of that.

  3. Thanks for the response, Guillaume. I posted my above comment (with the stream totals for Queen) at the same time as you posted yours, haha.

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