CSPC: Guns N’ Roses Popularity Analysis

GnR Drawing

Here comes a new piece of the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept! After focusing on several female superstars, I’ll be switching gears to a cult Rock band now, Guns N’ Roses.

Considering the huge majority of their successful singles came out within’ a four years window from mid-1988 to mid-1992, the cumulative sales reached by the band is outstanding. In terms of strict album sales, their 1987 classic Appetite For Destruction is one of the 22 albums in the 27-33 million units range worldwide, good for a spot just under the all-time Top 10 best selling albums. Their career total album sales challenge the biggest US groups ever like Aerosmith, the Beach Boys or Bon Jovi, just under the two highest rollers the Eagles and Metallica, an incredible feat since they dropped way less albums than most of them.

Unsurprisingly, the band success is truly visible in the digital world too with massive download sales and streaming results. Thus, let sum up all their achievements from every format to determine a clear picture of their success over the various albums of new music they issued.

As a reminder for users who are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea you do not need to worry, it is quite simple as it only consists in merging every format sales an artist has been getting and attributing them to respective studio albums. We will start by focusing on raw data, setting how much each Guns N’ Roses album sold. Then, we will check sales of each track from those albums on each format – physical, digital and streaming – and weight them to value those figures on a par with album sales. To complete the study, we will study sales of the all compilations, live albums and music videos they dropped. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of Guns N’ Roses career results.

Let’s go!

4 thoughts on “CSPC: Guns N’ Roses Popularity Analysis”

  1. Exceptionally huge sales for such a small discography, a bit like The Eagles, to some extent. With the only difference that their sales are far evenly spread across the world, with Latin America accounting for one of their biggest places.

  2. Hello MJD! I’ve been a huge fan of your work for years and as far as i’m concerned this chart* has been the most thorough and well researched ”best selling albums chart” out there and needless to say i’m delighted to find this site.

    Anyway, i’ve been comparing the Appetite for Destruction sales here with the last update at fanofmusic and one thing that has leaved me a bit confused are the Brazil sales. Every country has either stayed the same or increased but Brazil has went from 800,000 at fanofmusic to 475,000 here. Care to explain the difference?

    * http://fanofmusic.free.fr/index.php?m=Charts&s=BestSellers&p=BestSellersWorldAlbums

    1. Hello Ivan!

      The difference is due to the messy ABPD, the official Brazilian certification database. Appetite For Destruction appears as below on it:
      Gold in 1991 (100,000)
      Gold in 1993 (100,000)
      Gold in 1995 (100,000)
      Platinum in 1996 (250,000)

      In other words, 450,000 units certified from 1991 to 1996 alone. I was always dubious about those certifications but I never contradict official data unless I have evidences against it. At that time, format was changing so it was possible that the album was Platinum in one of them (CD?) and Gold in each Cassette and LP. This would have implied overall sales on 600,000 units or more by 1996, which was the general consensus at the time.
      I did find out the comprehensive total of the album up to the end of 1992 yet, which was 195,000 units and completely broke the multi-formats certifications theory. ABPD were barely re-auditing the same albums each time Guns N Roses major was requesting a new certification. Thus, Appetite For Destruction was on 195,000 by 1992 and reached 250,000 units during the year 1996, which makes much more sense than the messy certification list.

  3. Too bad they were never successful in France, Appetite for destruction is a flop in the country, I guess even Muse is bigger than Guns N ‘Roses in France =s
    – Any idea why? ACDC plays a very similar and even less commercial sound and is giant in that country, I dare to say that AC / DC’s album sales in France are even bigger than Metallica and GN ‘R together, Guns N ‘Roses concert at Stade de France had more foreigners from Latin America and Eastern Europe (where I think they must be HUGE) than Frenchs

    – I’m curious to know how the release of Greatest Hits affected the sales of the two Illusions in the United States, do you have the numbers (soundscan) of how much those albums were selling per year before and after the release of Greatest Hits?

    Btw, congratulations on the page, the research work and the rankings are wonderful and well done
    Sorry my english = s
    I’m looking forward to other bands that I like a lot like AC/DC, Dire Straits,Bob Marley, Queen and Eagles

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