We started by defining the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept, then we applied it to 1975 biggest albums to understand how much the differences of catalog exploitation by labels may impact the success perception. To get the CSPC force fully up and running we now need to analyze the case of a recent artist to highlight how this revolutionary methodology enables us to compare album successes from very different eras.
To do that, the perfect example happens to be Rihanna. Why so? First because she came under the spotlight in 2005 when the Digital era had started already. Second because she has been consistently successful building a real catalog despite being around for not that many years. Third because her album discography includes only studio albums with no live nor compilation so we can focus on checking the impact of format conversions rather than discography exploitation. Fourth because the superstar is widely regarded as a singles artist so studying overall album results will prove that claim wrong or right. In fact, in a second step, I’ll be posting a similar article for an artist big during the same era but widely regarded as an album act, to compare both results and see which one is really the most successful of them. Michael Buble is the hot favorite to be the subject of this second step study, if you can think of anyone else similar that interests you, feel free to ask for him/her in comments section. As Rihanna biggest album Good Girl Gone Bad just ended to be certified 5xPlatinum for over 5 million sales with Track Equivalent Albums system, old fashioned watchers already started to rant. Let show them former strict album sales are not the be-all and end-all of popularity evidences.
To remind you how CSPC articles are articulated, we will start by focusing on raw data, setting how much each of Rihanna albums sold. Then, we will check sales of each track from the artist on each format – physical, digital and streaming – and weight them to value those figures on a par with album sales. It must be noted that as various Singles Charts around the world mixed relevant physical and download sales at some point, this category will include approximations but that won’t have much of an impact on final results. To complete the study, we will study sales of the few music videos she dropped. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of Rihanna career results.