CSPC Battle: 1975 Monster Rock Albums

Pink FloydWish You Were Here


In a similar way to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd rarely relied on compilation albums. The few they released did get relevant sales and Wish You Were Here tracks, most notably the title track, largely helped them. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 1-5) is also included on all those albums, plus Have A Cigar on A Foot In The Door, which represents half of the original album as Wish You Were Here only contains six songs.

Although A Collection Of Great Dance Songs was released in 1981, only six years after the original album, it wasn’t a proper album, issued with no promotion at all, which enabled the 70s records to keep their strenght well alive.

The total is pretty solid considering how few releases emerged as tracks of Wish You Were Here created 8,8 million sales of other full length records.

6 thoughts on “CSPC Battle: 1975 Monster Rock Albums”

  1. Thank you, Guillaume!

    I understand why it took so long, the most difficult part is, of course, checking the Spotify’s numbers and calculate the percentages. I wish it was easier to do that.

    And course, proud that Queen won the battle, haha.

    1. Hello Hernán!

      Definitely a long work, the Excel sheet with Spotify numbers alone has 6332 cells that are not null, all manually entered – and that’s only one out of the 14 sheets I created for this article! The percentages imply we need to study the tracklist of each live and compilation album and to search for each song on original albums and flag them, thus making writting Spotify numbers almost the easier part hehe

      It was a tough battle between Pink Floyd and Queen, at some point I’ll do it for artists entire discographies and merge all results to establish comprehensive lists. It will give back some justice to band like Queen that sold well with both studio albums and compilations 🙂

  2. Thanks!

    The only thing I’m not sure about, for future battles, is if there is any possible formula to wigtht the way some discographies are structured. You made that point several times about Pink Floyd not releasing a truly official compilation until 2001 (just like Metallica or AC/DC not releasing one ever), and therefore benefitting from more spread sales given that all their essential songs were split in various albums. That was opposed to what the likes of Michael Jackson or Queen did where you could own all the vital songs with 1-2 compilation.

    Basically, Queen and Michael Jackson are likely to have about 15-20 essential tracks each and these 15-20 tracks are overall more popular than the essential tracks by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Metallica, etc. Yet, considering how the latter structured their catalogues, they made it imperative to buy 4-6 studio albums to own all the key tracks, while 1-2 were necessary for Michael Jackson or Queen. To me, it is clear these two are bigger than the above bands, even if it isn’t totally reflected (or not to the right dimension) in all time albums sales.

    How can that be solved without looking at Spotify?

    1. Well, I’m afraid even this point must be answered using Spotify numbers! The issue you bring out is fully valid. I’ll pick up the three biggest catalog acts on Spotify – Michael Jackson, Queen and the Beatles.

      Jackson / If one buys The Essential, he buys tracks adding for 80,16% of the popularity of his catalog. Once you bought it, no other album represents more than 2% of his catalog with the tracks not already present on The Essential. Obviously, one sale is enough to own his catalog, not even mentioning that the huge majority of people listening to the remaining 19,84% of tracks also listen to the in 80%, thus the songs out of The Essential generate very, very few sales.

      Queen / Greatest Hits covers 56,93% of their catalog popularity while Greatest Hits II covers 24,75% of it. Just like Michael Jackson, none of their studio albums once you bought those hits packages add for more than 2% of their catalog popularity, so they will be creating very little sales too. The genius idea of their label was to release an independent Greatest Hits II album, just imagine how their discography sales would be truncated by a good 15 million if it was a 2CD package containing Greatest Hits with the deletion of that one.

      The Beatles / One 2000 compilation despite having 27 songs avoid many of their biggest hits, thus covering only 42,45% of their catalog. Once you bought it, their is still 4 albums with 6 to 11% of their catalog popularity (the expected ones, e.g. Abbey Road, White Album, Sgt Peppers and Rubber Soul) and 5 more albums account for 3 to 6% of their popularity. Each of those 9 albums tracks outside ‘One’ add at least as many weekly streams as Beat It, a song that has 95 million total streams. It means that if Beat It is enough of a hit to justify the buying of an album, and obviously it is, then 9 studio Beatles remain mandatory buying’s even after picking up One! Interestingly, had ‘One’ been a 2CD, 54 tracks set instead of a single CD album, it would have cover 67,32% of their catalog and only the White Album would have remained a relevant album as all others are down to less than 4% of their catalog attractiveness.

      No doubt I’ll be posting articles on the same to weight appropriately sales of all acts!

      1. Spotify is a vital part of any sales work at the moment. I must admit I wasn’t sure when you first mentioned how it makes things easier in several aspects, I think I didn’t get it. But now I realize it is probably a purer way to calculate popularity and compare different acts, and in this case not just for how they structured their catalogue but also when acts come from different eras, were huge in different parts of the world, their discographies have a different size, etc. All that doesn’t matter much with Spotify and similar. Which is very good.

        Michael Jackson is the perfect example, but acts like Queen, Bob Marley, Guns N Roses, etc. also get revalued with Spotify!

  3. Very interesting article! Strong result from Queen topping Floyd!

    One question. Did you include Run DMC’s 1986 cover version of Walk This Way in your Spotify analysis? I know it featured Steven Tyler and Joe Perry as guests on vocals/guitars, but one could argue it is an orphan track in the Aerosmith catalog. The cover does not appear on either Toys in the Attic (1975) or Greatest Hits (1980). It does appear on latter compilations like Essential Aerosmith, along with the original version of the song.

    Regards, Thomas

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