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

S. The music box.

II) BMG Music Club Information

During the previous pages, you surely understood that Columbia House had the lead over BMG Music Club until being catched in mid-90s and topped at the end of the decade.

Mariah Carey is a very good example of this situation. Below are the four albums from her that featured into BMG Top 100 all-time list, with a cut-off at 298,000 units:

39. Mariah Carey – #1’s (Sony) (1.00 million units)
65. Mariah Carey – Daydream (Sony) (848,000 units)
76. Mariah Carey – Music Box (Sony) (735,000 units)
93. Mariah Carey – Rainbow (Sony) (443,000 units)

There is more elements to notice from this list that we can though. The first one is how relatively low those albums are. Music Box and Daydream were among the very top sellers of the decade but feature outside the Top 60 at this Club. Other albums are surprisingly absent like her 9 million selling debut album. Giving the singer strength at the time this sounds truly weird. One more comment is about Rainbow, arguably the weakest of her six 90s studio albums, being present instead of the others. All in all, those results are just bizarre.

Below is one more list, a very, very interesting list for this case.

*Mariah Carey: Daydream 137786
Mariah Carey: Emotions 428029
Mariah Carey: Mariah Carey 407510
Mariah Carey: MTV Unplugged 441790
*Mariah Carey: Music Box 465435
Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell 279133
Method Man: Tical 114082
*Michael Jackson: Bad 362079
*Michael Jackson: Dangerous 433920
*Michael Jackson: History: Past, Present and Future(2CD) 143370
Michael Jackson: Off the Wall 152595
Michael Jackson: The Best of Michael Jackson 366542
*Michael Jackson: Thriller 318089
Michael Bolton: Greatest Hits 136093

What is this? This is an extract of a 1997 list of Columbian House exclusives. It means those albums weren’t sold at BMG Music Club. Wait a minute, weren’t all those albums marked with a * present inside BMG top sellers? Interestingly, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson were both Sony artists. Once again this is too much of a coincidence. Two possible scenario emerge, or those albums were available for a limited period when they were first issued on Clubs or they became available later at BMG Music Club. The answer is the first one. In fact, Music Box went Diamond as early as in 1997, Daydream in 1998, rather quickly which implies their Club sales happened in their first years, had they happened in late 90s they would have been recertified as her debut album in 1999. In addition, had Mariah Carey albums been made available later, additional albums like Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas or Butterfly would be there as well as in terms of catalog sales the two Diamond sets aren’t stronger.

This is why Music Box and Daydream are – relatively – so low on BMG list, because they were available for a limited time and when BMG was still not that massive. This is also why several strong albums are missing, quite simply because they were never available. This is also why Rainbow appears so strong compared from its predecessors as it was her first album not released at Columbia House. As a summary of Mariah Carey albums availability at main Clubs:

Album – Available @Columbia – Available @BMG
Mariah Carey – Yes No
 – YesNo
MTV Unplugged – YesNo
Music BoxYesLimited
Merry Christmas – No No
Daydream YesLimited
Butterfly YesNo
#1‘s YesYes
Rainbow – No Yes
Glitter – No No
Greatest Hits No No
Charmbracelet No No

Clubs were dead when the singer following albums came out. Interestingly, Mariah Carey pattern is similar to the one of Celine Dion. It started with mostly Columbia House sales in early 90s including with exclusives, then as the decade advanced BMG progressively took over, then getting most exclusivity contracts until completely buying their main competitor.

Now that we have set up the history of the artist entire discography on Clubs, the next question is how much each of them sold? Luckily for you, there is still one page to answer it!

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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