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


B) Key Performance Indicators

There is three main indicators revealing the importance of Music Clubs – membership numbers, number of records sales and share of the music industry. Various figures are displayed below

Columbia House


1955 : 128,000
1956 : 688,000
1961 : 1,75 million
1966 : 2 million
1975 : 3 million
1979 : 4 million
1981 : 4 million
1988 : 6 million
1991 : 10 million
1996 : 8,5 million
1999 : 8 million (+8 million Video Club)
2003 : 3,5 million (+4,5 million Video Club)

Records sold

1955 : 700,000
1956 : 7 million in one year
1963 : 24 million in one year
1990 : 1 billion to date

BMG Music Club


1995 : 8 million
1997 : 9 million
1998 : 10 million
2003 : 8 million

Records sold

2003 : 300 million to date

Music Clubs overall

US Market share

1963 : 10%
1990 : 8,9%
1994 : 15,1%
1995 : 14,3%
1997 : 11,6%
1998 : 9%
1999 : 7,9%
2001 : 6,1%
2002 : 4,0%

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.

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