Understanding: Music Clubs #1 – Janet Jackson, Celine Dion

Celine-Dion

B) Celine Dion

Like Janet Jackson, Celine Dion has the specificity of having different treatments as per Clubs are concerned in-between her albums. Unlike Janet Jackson, most of her albums have been properly audited several years after their release. Below is the list of her 1992-1999 major English-speaking albums.

Year Album Certified Units (Cert. Date) – SoundscanBMG
1992 Celine Dion 2,000,000 (07/03/1996) – 2,400,000624,000
1994 The Colour Of My Love 6,000,000 (11/05/1999) – 4,600,000?
1996 Falling Into You 11,000,000 (11/20/2001) – 10,800,000987,000
1997 Let’s Talk About Love 10,000,000 (11/03/1999) – 9,600,0001,110,000
1998 These Are Special Times 5,000,000 (12/06/2005) – 5,400,000 – ?
1999 All The Way 7,000,000 (12/06/2005) – 8,100,0001,100,000

Both albums with a question mark as BMG sales is due to their absence in the Top 100 listing, meaning less than 298,000 sales. Isn’t it weird? How can all her three main sellers did 1-ish million at BMG, a 2,4 million selling album at retail did 624,000 units but two 5/6 million selling albums like The Colour Of My Love and These Are Special Times are nowhere to be seen? It is pretty normal actually.

Columbia House (seventeen magazine, 1998)

If you read carefully the third album of the fourth line of the last section, you will see The Colour Of My Love present there with a red icon before. At the end of the page you have the meaning of the icon – the album was a Columbia House exclusive, meaning it wasn’t sold at BMG Club. Thus, we can remove the ? mark for it and set 0 instead. Although I haven’t got a figure for its era, These Are Special Times is clearly in the same case as by 1998 every big album available at BMG Club sold bucketloads.

There is still a huge variation between both albums. When The Colour Of My Love went 6xP, it had scanned 2 million copies less, proving a huge strength at Columbia House. On its side, These Are Special Times soundscan sales were not that far from enough to justify its 5xPlatinum award by 2005, with a gap of only about half a million units sold between both evidences. When searching for a listing from Columbia House containing this album, we get no result at all. The album possibly sold well at some Classical / Christian avenues, explaining the low difference between Soundscan and RIAA certification despite the apparent absence of Club sales.

For both Falling Into You, Let’s Talk About Love or All The Way, we face the situation with no trace at all of their availability at Columbia House. By mid-1997, those were the albums from the artist listed on their catalog:

129288 : $16.98 : CELINE DION : THE FRENCH ALBUM
415430 : $14.98 : CELINE DION : UNISON
436782 : $16.98 : CELINE DION : CELINE DION
467662 : $16.98 : CELINE DION : THE COLOUR OF MY LOVE
482646 : $16.98 : CELINE DION : DION CHANTE

As you can notice, while Celine Dion was available at the Club – from February 1993 – Falling Into You wasn’t there. By the time it went 10xP in late 1997, it had scanned 9,0 million units. If we assume most BMG Club sales were done by then, one can even argue the album isn’t under-certified as it remains under 12 million to this day at 10,8 million + 1 million. As the album scanned 1,5 million units between its 10th and 11th award yet, it seems reasonable to consider the last certification was late – by 2002 it was on 10,5 million soundscan sales and the aforementioned 1 million BMG sales. This creates a little gap which suggests a few sales achieved outside those two avenues, other music clubs, slightly incorrect Soundscan sales or whatever.

For both Let’s Talk About Love and All The Way, a similar comparative study of registered and certified sales evolution makes it clear both sold the huge majority of their copies under Soundscan and BMG Club avenues only. Thus, estimates for those albums appear as below:

1992 Celine Dion – 3,100,000
1994 The Colour Of My Love – 6,500,000
1996 Falling Into You – 12,500,000
1997 Let’s Talk About Love – 10,850,000
1998 These Are Special Times – 6,000,000
1999 All The Way – 9,300,000

10 thoughts on “Understanding: Music Clubs #1 – Janet Jackson, Celine Dion”

  1. Hi MJD, great article. Thanks for explaining this to us. Music club sales have always been so confusing to me but I’m glad you cleared it up.

    Do you have music club figures for Britney Spears and Madonna?

  2. Of course everybody is waiting for a detailed article on Mariah Carey as her album sales via music clubs remain one of the huge mysteries of the chart debate in several music forums.

    It would be both helpful and a great contribution to the debate if you granted the world an insightful view in Mariah’s history concerning music clubs, especially since she has often been accused of having “fake diamond” albums as both Music Box and Daydream are quite a bit off the 10 million mark on SoundScan.

    I hope you dedicate her a good bit of your time.

    I hope her comprising article is also yet to come.

  3. This is a very good article, thank you! As music clubs mainly targeted a 30+ year-old audience, I wouldn’t be surprised if many easy-listening/jazz/classical music/country singers got to sell high amounts of records with those clubs whereas they were not big sellers in traditional record stores (especially at a time when Billboard record charts only ranked the music sold in big cities). Do you have any information about those over-looked artists ?

  4. I wonder if Janet’s catalog will ever be recertified… she is more than 10 platinum behind of what should be… such a shame.

  5. Hi MJD! I would like to ask how do you come to the conclusion of Janet Jackson’s Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 selling 7m and 8,1m copies in the US respectively?

    The only information we have are SoundScan figures for sales after 1991, their out-of-date certification (5 and 6 times platinum) and their BMG club sales, which are probably already included within their certifications. As a result, can you explain to me how you managed to conclude that they both sold 2m above their certifications?

    Thank You!

    1. Hello Raffi,

      The huge majority of Club sales started to be allowed by RIAA rules from 1994 only, majors weren’t certifying them before. Thus, both Control and RN1814 certifications do not include their BMG sales. To best estimate their sales in an easy way, you then need to sum last certification + full BMG sales + Soundscan sales since last certification minus excess shipment from certification time.

      1. Question MJD,

        What if their labels are late with their certifications? What if Janet’s albums are certified 6 times platinum with 6.7 million shipped? How can certs determine sales?

        1. Hi Fan!

          On some articles I mentioned how fundamental to understand which certifications are date-specific or not. One needs to check the artist other albums or the label remaining albums to study if the cert was specifically targeted to that album or if it was a global audit, on which case the album could have been anywhere from its new certification to the next one.

          Luckily for us most big albums had various certifications over time. The idea is to define a sales timeline which fits with all of them and checking which certification came ASAP after the criteria was reached, then we can use it to gauge remaining awards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *