CSPC: Bob Dylan Popularity Analysis

Bob Dylan - Life Collage #1

Pulitzer Prize, US Presidential Medal of Freedom, French Légion D’Honneur, Spanish Principe de Asturias… only the Nobel Prize was missing to the immaculate collection of awards received by Bob Dylan. I don’t even mention the infinite list of purely musical prizes.

Exactly 50 years after publishing the cult Blonde On Blonde, 40 years after the global smash Desire, 10 years after his Rolling Stone Magazine Album of the Year Modern Times, the iconic singer-songwriter turned out to be the new recipient of the most coveted prize in the world a few days ago. In the meantime, he just keeps touring as nothing happened. At 75, Bob Dylan printed his name all over the music history. The godfather and the main origin of the Rock branch that exploded thanks to the Beatles to become the main music genre for decades, he dropped nothing less than 37 studio albums. As it wasn’t enough, he also released a dozen of live albums and as many bootlegs. Plus, his discography includes more than a quarter of century of compilations. All those records came out from 1962 to 2016.

All those numbers and awards are outstanding but Bob Dylan has never been famous for being a huge selling act. Among solo male acts Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley are the firsts to be quoted. Even thinking more about it, the general public will name Elton John, Phil Collins, Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley before him. We can add Julio Iglesias, Robbie WilliamsNeil Diamond, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks and more.

Where does Bob Dylan sits in comparison to all those top selling acts? With his sales being spread over so many studio albums, which ones surface on top after factoring in all compilations and live albums?

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 Bob Dylan 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 he dropped to distribute those sales into studio albums. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of the rock legend career results.

Let’s go!

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Bob Dylan biggest track is now Like a rolling stone 16 815,000. Ten songs over 10 million EAS.

Anthony Blanchard

Oh that’s strange, in the previous message only 4 songs were over 10m EAS. Maybe some millions were sold in a few minutes?
I am very, VERY curious to see your methodoly, if you have one. Maybe it is the case, maybe not and you write random figures?

Last edited 4 months ago by Anthony Blanchard
Johnny be Good

What are Bob Dylan’s biggest tracks?

Anthony Blanchard

Hi Johnny be Good! Here are the 15 biggest tracks of Bob Dylan (in Equivalent Album Sales): 1. 1965 – Like a Rolling Stone [Highway 61 Revisited] – 14,220,000 2. 1964 – The Times They Are a-Changin’ [The Times They Are a-Changin’] – 9,210,000 3. 1975 – Hurricane [Desire] – 7,790,000 4. 1973 – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door [Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid] – 6,730,000 5. 1969 – Lay Lady Lay [Nashville Skyline] – 6,580,000 6. 1963 – Blowin’ in the Wind [The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan] – 4,530,000 7. 1965 – Mr. Tambourine Man [Bringing It All Back Home]… Read more »


Moi Anthony. Now Like a rolling stone is up 17, 815,000 and rest songs are differs…


Moi Anthony. New list. Like a rolling stone 16 815.000. Four songs was over ten million.

Anthony Blanchard

Hello Mikko! Our results are differents. How did you calculate yours? In my case, I took the values from the article and add the EAS gained since then. Then, I tried to put the new stream values instead the old one in my files in order to calculate the new share of each song in each album/compil/live/box and it seems. Results are a bit different compared to a simple addition of new streams since the article but: – “Like a Rolling Stone” is still under 14.5m EAS – It is the only Dylan track to reach the 10m EAS milestone.… Read more »


I don’t know, but it was MJD new all time, and every year forward 1965 like a rolling stone, 16.815.000 it was third from 1965 album EAS.

Anthony Blanchard

“Highway 61 Revisited” (the album) has cumulated 16.815m EAS since its release in 1965. “Like a Rolling Stone” (the song) has reached 14.220m EAS.


Ok. Thanks.


Ok. That’s it. One question yet. Original CSPC Dylan wasn’t at all in France so popular.


Hei, Dylan’s 1962 album is swept the way from all time
charts, raw sales and eas sales. Before album was best selling that year 1962.

I asked same thing before, but without answer.
I think it would be correct question.
Same thing is happened before.
Italian most popular singles 1970s foreign artist. And year 1976 “Hurricane” by Dylan was second collected single after Santana’s “Europe “.
And couple other things is without answer.


Hi MJD. Recently Bob sold his catalogue to Universal Music Group for 300 million dollars. My question is, is it a wise move by UMG. I mean Dylan is doing well streaming wise for a 60s act. But his streaming isnt record breaking either. I understand how some investors wanted to invest in somebody’s catalogue like Taylor Swift whose streaming are really record breaking. But for Bob Dylan is it even worth investing that much. Probably in the next few decades his streaming is going to shrink a lot as well after many of his fans died. No disrespect to… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Jazz

It was 400 m dollars, i mean that deal wìth Universal. You know Dylan is cultural person. He won most prestigious award Nobel prize literature. , all academic prizes. Oscar, Pulitzer and so on. Dylan music sales is good, most covered artist of all. And royalties per year $15-20 millions. 20 million x 20 year is 400 $ m. This is formula which it is calculated. Open business. And he still own his master recordings. Worth 300-400 $ million. And next year will open Bob Dylan Center. Oklahoma Tulsa. 4000 m2, three floors. No Wonderland. I thing MJD didn’t know… Read more »


I wrote in the wrong place again. Ok. That’s it. One question yet. Original CSPC Dylan was’t all in France so popular, maybe 1960s. Why change?


Bob Dylan turns today 80 year. Never-ending tour stopped cause Corona pandemic. Tour started 8.6.1988 and stopped or interrupted 11/2019, 31 years and 3062 concerts. In meanwhile Dylan made new record, Rough ways. Dylan is now focused on his art hobby and promoted his Heavens Door whiskey. Whiskey has recieved 25 global awards. It’s big business. Dylan is also businessman. Bob Dylan center (museum) opens 2022 in Oklahoma, Tulsa town. Dylan birthday is really well recieved around the world. Dylan himself no longer gets money for his songs, because they are sold to Universal company. It is known that bootleg… Read more »

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