ABBA – The Album (1977)
Claimed Sales – 16,500,000
Estimated Sales – 7,200,000
I mentioned in the first page this article was going to start on eight very difficult albums to estimate, here comes the fifth one. A very good friend of all people trying to gauge worldwide sales is the size of each market both as a whole and among international releases. One know that a million seller in the US will often sell in the 300,000 range in UK, about 100,000 copies in Canada, in-between both figures in Germany and France and so on. All those conjectures fell down to the floor when we speak about ABBA.
The Swedish band always had the capacity to sell insane amounts in relatively low markets. That’s exactly what happened with The Album, one of the best selling albums ever in Scandinavia where it moved 750,000 in Sweden, 200,000 units in Norway and an estimated 250,000 in Denmark within’ 18 months. But this phenomenon wasn’t limited to their native area as it was also a massive seller in Netherlands or in Japan – although they were soon going to be even bigger there.
The group sales in the UK are pretty telling of their success. The Album sold 1 million copies to date there, including some 830,000 units by the end of the 70s. This displays as well how incredible their success has been since that figure made the album the #20 best seller of the decade in the country, but at the same time how weak their studio albums have been selling as catalog items. In fact, while this record outsold easily Hotel California by The Eagles, IV by Led Zeppelin, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd or Red and Blue compilations by the Beatles, it is now way under all of them. If you want to that very low catalog sales due to massive cannibalization from their own compilations, ABBA original studio albums also suffered from relatively low US figures. With only 1,5 million sales there and great results elsewhere which haven’t continued over decades, it is just too hard to break the 10 million mark.