Understanding: Music Clubs #2 – The Eagles, Mariah Carey


Remaining Studio Albums

Incredibly, remaining Eagles studio albums include one for which we have pretty much the only information ever about Columbia House sales. On book International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 69 (1998) by Jeffrey Covell, we can read following sentence:

Columbia Record Club celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1975 having surpassed the three-million-member mark. The company, generating millions of dollars in sales from albums such as Simon and Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Eagles One of These Nights

This confirms the Eagles have been an ever-favourite among Columbia House choices and that it wasn’t limited to their best sellers. RIAA certifications confirm this fact.

#22 album in 1972, 50 weeks charted, some 50,000 Soundscan sales
EAGLES 01/22/74 G
EAGLES 03/20/01 P

#41 album in 1973, 70 weeks charted, some 50,000 Soundscan sales
DESPERADO 09/23/74 G
DESPERADO 03/20/01 P
DESPERADO 03/20/01 M (2)

#17 album in 1974, 87 weeks charted, over 250,000 Soundscan sales
ON THE BORDER 06/05/74 G
ON THE BORDER 03/20/01 P
ON THE BORDER 03/20/01 M (2)

#1 (x5) album in 1975, 56 weeks charted, over 300,000 Soundscan sales
ONE OF THESE NIGHTS 03/20/01 M (4)

#1 (x9) album in 1979, 57 weeks charted, some 650,000 Soundscan sales
THE LONG RUN 02/01/80 G
THE LONG RUN 02/01/80 P
THE LONG RUN 08/14/90 M (4)
THE LONG RUN 03/20/01 M (7)

As only The Long Run was certified in the multi-platinum era before the eligibility of all Club sales, it is impossible to deduce the Retailers vs Clubs split for all other albums. There is still several strong elements to learn from those awards.

First is that certifications are far from automatic. You know it already, labels must request them. You also know that it isn’t because a fresh new album is certified that the artist all previous albums got audited as well. Here, it is even more than that. Even doing major audits due to rules change for its best sellers like Hotel California and both Greatest Hits sets in 1995, Elektra completely ignored remaining Eagles albums until 2001. To fully understand certifications, it is key to always ask yourself what was the scope of the audit.

A second lesson learned from previous list of awards is about the date of awards. When an album goes 3xP, we assume it reached 3 million units. This is true on a case of an album being regularly updated, what pretty much never happen. Instead, a 3xP award means the album is anywhere from 3 to 4 million. Guess what? There is ways to know more precisely where the album stands. In total, the Eagles had eight different albums certified on March 20 2001. Obviously, they haven’t all reached the new criteria the same day, some were just over the mark, others were already close to the next one. Here is a clear example:

#41 album in 1973, 70 weeks charted, some 50,000 Soundscan sales
DESPERADO 09/23/74 G
DESPERADO 03/20/01 P
DESPERADO 03/20/01 M (2)

#17 album in 1974, 87 weeks charted, over 250,000 Soundscan sales
ON THE BORDER 06/05/74 G
ON THE BORDER 03/20/01 P
ON THE BORDER 03/20/01 M (2)

Those two back to back albums went 2xP in March 2001 after being awarded Gold in 1974. On The Border peaked higher (#17 to #41), lasted longer on charts (87 to 70 weeks), sold faster (2 to 17 months to reach Gold) and sold better as a catalog album (1 to 5 on Soundscan sales). Both albums were available at Columbia House so no reason to see a different pattern there.

All those evidences tend to highlight a notable difference between those two records, possibly close to 1 million units overall. In other words, 2001 certifications prove not only that On The Border was certainly close to 3 million, but also that Desperado was just over 2 million. In the same way, Eagles debut album was also most likely close to 2 million units as it went Gold before Desperado and sold as much as that one after 1976.

A small additional word before concluding on estimates, if you would like to search for some ads containing Eagles albums to know when they were available at Columbia House, below is the list of their catalog number on that club.

286948 : $16.98 : EAGLES : HOTEL CALIFORNIA
287003 : $14.98 : EAGLES : THEIR GREATEST HITS 1971-1975
291328 : $14.98 : EAGLES : ON THE BORDER
291336 : $14.98 : EAGLES : DESPERADO
298596 : $14.98 : EAGLES : THE LONG RUN
299792 : $14.98 : EAGLES : ONE OF THESE NIGHTS
361253 : $14.98 : EAGLES : EAGLES
400713 : $24.98 : EAGLES : LIVE

Putting all the data together, rather than outdated and not date specific certifications, we can conclude on much more precise below numbers with a high level of reliability.

On The Border 2,900,000
One Of These Nights  4,500,000
Hotel California  16,750,000
The Long Run  7,500,000

Greatest Hits 1971-1975  30,150,000
Greatest Hits Volume II  11,750,000

10 thoughts on “Understanding: Music Clubs #2 – The Eagles, Mariah Carey”

  1. Thank you so much MJ! You really invested a lot of your time for Mariah and cleared up all the stupid discussion concerning her “fake diamond albums”!

    I hope to see her overall CSPC article very soon! It’s about time 😉

  2. I have one further remark: I totally agree with you on all your estimations, but i find Rainbow’s shipment of 3,5 million a tad bit too low. Isn’t it reasonable to estimate 3,6-3,7 million considering the inaccuracy of SoundScan and further shipments?

    I would be very grateful if you’d have a word on this remark!

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Luminator!

      As you can see there is slightly more than 4,4 million units confirmed. As the album is dead now, hardly stocked anywhere, nearly all copies shipped have either been sold – and track on its Soundscan tally – or returned. Also, in 1999 Soundscan was way more reliable than in the first half of the 90s.

      This being said, nobody – except owning all Sony bills related to the album – can know the to date net shipment number with less than a 2% margin. Considering known information and the lack of later certs to refine non-Soundscan sales I decided to stick with a round up figure of verified data but I would definitely consider a 4,6 million estimate fully acceptable. From 4,7 million, e.g. an addition of nearly 300,000 units, I would start to rate the estimate as an optimistic one. Higher would be a wished figure rather than a reasoned one!

  3. Fantastic job, as usual. I would like to see how high “Merry Christmas” can get if Sony requests an audit for it + streaming inclusion… it could easily get 7 platinum.

    I also wonder if Eagles’ “Greatest hits” can keep up the competition with “Thriller”… it seems unlikely now that streaming is a factor.

  4. Hi dear MJD !!!

    congratulations for the beautiful articles for Music Clubs 1 and 2. This weekend do you will realize CSPC analysis of some singer or groups ?
    I hope you realize CSPC analysis of The Beatles !!!

    1. Hi Anthony!

      There is two classic male acts CSPC studies in the making, plus two relatively recent bands which will be treated next. As we are nearing Christmas, I’ll try to drop such an article for every major act releasing a new album. I’m already collecting various information about The Beatles at the same time, as soon as I have a free week spot I’ll post their article!

      1. Sting is about to release a new album, let’s hope he – along with his band, The Police – are among those who will be treated next!

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