Original Album Sales – Comments
1973 Ring Ring – 1,000,000
1974 Waterloo – 2,700,000
1975 ABBA – 3,600,000
1976 Arrival – 10,800,000
1977 The Album – 7,200,000
1979 Voulez-Vous – 7,000,000
1980 Super Trouper – 8,200,000
1981 The Visitors – 4,800,000
In other words, a total of 45,3 million copies sold with 8 albums combined. Obviously, this may seem disappointing. Albums like Grease or Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd from the same period are now coming close to such a figure on their own. As incredible as it may seem, Arrival, The Album, Voulez-Vous or Super Trouper all sold more than Dark Side Of The Moon in their respective first 12 months. I point out this fact to highlight how great those sales were in the 70s.
They were definitely record breaking when we get into the details. Arrival was the 4th top selling studio album of the decade in the UK. Their last seven albums were likely the Top 7 best selling albums ever in Sweden. From 1975 to 1980 they moved more than 1 million albums per year in Germany. Arrival did more than half a million units in the Netherlands, some 850,000 units in Australia, arguably the biggest selling studio album ever up to that point in both countries. It was also utterly massive in Japan, just like was Voulez-Vous in Argentina. Only Ring Ring and Waterloo seem to be weaker albums but both were replaced as early as in 1975 by Greatest Hits which was a terrific seller too.
While we shouldn’t dismiss those sales, we shouldn’t get into false claims either. In all likelihood, Stig Anderson – the band manager and owner of their Swedish label – communicated figures about Eastern Europe were estimates of illegal copies more than anything else. Unreal Polish figures he claimed clearly include exports to various other countries. Arrival million orders in Australia was never met as the album suffered from returns after such heavy shipments. I could go on and on with many more claims. If you happen to have doubts about something you read, feel free to ask for details in comments I’ll be answering you!
As you understood, studio album sales isn’t the be-all and end-all of ABBA record sales. The band also sold heavy amounts of compilations and, of course, singles. This is exactly what comes next…