CSPC: Alicia Keys Popularity Analysis

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Streaming Part 3 – On Fire no more


With Girl On Fire we go back to Alicia Keys early albums pattern but translated into the streaming era where figures are higher overall. Thus, the 70+ million plays hit is Girl On Fire at 132 million, remaining singles are up to an average of more than 15 million rather than 10 million while album tracks are on 2 to 4 million. Overall, this equals to 390,000 units.

This implies a very, very atypical situation. Previously, we noted how each of the artist first five albums saw their album sales decrease in comparison to its predecessors. In streaming, this is very exactly the opposite with each album outperforming its previous album. While Girl On Fire case may be explained by the boom of streaming, this can’t be the root cause for the other albums trend. How to explain such a bizarre situation then? What happened is that her albums are rated as more and more consistent by her fans and black music lovers, which is why streams are favorable to latter records. In the other side, R&B music genre went from being the hottest thing on Earth to be a truly unfashioned style, decreasing a lot the interest of the general public which impacted negatively album sales as years went by.

Obviously, to maintain that increasing streak the last album Here still has plenty of work to do as it remains so far on a fairly weak 89,000 equivalent album units, although that’s a really nice addition to the album poor shipments.

8 thoughts on “CSPC: Alicia Keys Popularity Analysis”

  1. Job well done again MJD! Glad you did an analysis on one of my favourite R&B artists!

    While Alicia might be under artists that debuted after her, you’re right that her total is impressive for a R&B act. Moreover, you cannot deny her consistency over the 00s. Sure, her last 2 albums are a little disappointing success wise, but that still doesn’t takes away what she has accomplished.

    I hope you will do an analysis on other R&B artists as well so we can compare them. They’ll probably be under pop/rock acts, but it’s nice to see a comparison between R&B acts like Brandy, Aaliyah, Monica etc. The only R&B acts of the 00s i can think of that can rival pop acts are Usher and Beyonce, so i hope you can do an analysis on them two.

    Finally, looking forward for your analysis on Whitney Houston and David Bowie. Interested to see how Nippy rivals both Celine and Madonna. Of course, i hope you will do one for Mariah as well, so the Big 4 will be complete.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi dear MJD !!!

    congratulations for the site and also for CSPC analyisis of Alicia Keys.
    Then after Alicia Keys I think you will analyze the Rolling Stones, I guessed right?

  3. By the way, MJD, do you mind posting Alicia’s Unplugged album album sales breakdown? I know it’s not a big seller, but i would really appreciate it if you posted your breakdown for it. Thanks!

  4. Hi everyone!

    Here are the 10 Alicia’s tracks that have generated the most sales:

    1 2001 Fallin’ [Songs in A Minor] – 9,620,000
    2 2004 If I Ain’t Got You [The Diary of Alicia Keys] – 7,160,000
    3 2007 No One [As I Am] – 4,560,000
    4 2012 Girl On Fire [Girl on Fire] – 1,900,000
    5 2009 Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down [The Element of Freedom] – 1,730,000
    6 2001 A Woman’s Worth [Songs in A Minor] – 1,570,000
    7 2009 Empire State Of Mind [Orphan] – 1,360,000
    8 2009 Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart [The Element of Freedom] – 1,230,000
    9 2004 You Don’t Know My Name [The Diary of Alicia Keys] – 1,010,000
    10 2007 Like You’ll Never See Me Again [As I Am] – 690,000

    The first 5 tracks come from 5 different albums, that confirms what Guillaume wrote in the article: there is one big hit per album, and several good successes.

    “Empire State of Mind” is only #7. It is because this track is not in an album by Alicia Keys. So it do not generate studio album sales for her.

    If you have any questions / remarks, do not hesitate to let a comment!

  5. Hi, MJD.

    Really enjoyed this breakdown. I’d really like you to do one for Usher next, since he’s another R&B icon experiencing a downward trajectory like Alicia.

    Also, would your sales figure report be considered legitimate enough to be used as a citation for entries such as Wikipedia? Your work really serves as a great source to reference, especially considering how long it takes other music publications to announce updates on sales figures.

    Thanks, and keep going!

    1. Hello Noah!

      No doubt I’ll be working on Usher at some point as Confessions belongs to the most successful albums of the 00s!

      I don’t doubt my figures are way more accurate than the huge majority of the information available on Wikipedia, it is up to them to decide if my website is legitimate enough to be used as a source though!

  6. Hi MJD! I’ve been checking the RIAA website and wanted to ask you about Alicia Key’s single sales.

    RIAA: Gold (500,000) digital

    My Boo-1,900,000
    RIAA: Gold (500,000) digital
    Platinum (1,000,000) Mastertones
    Only 400,000 for the rest of the world, when it was Top 10/20 in several countries?

    Could you explain this please? And if it isn’t too much trouble, do you have any Soundscan sales for Alicia Key’s singles sales? Please and thank you!

    1. Hi Raffi!

      The RIAA first introduced digital certifications in 2004 when the market was just getting started. Thus, they have set criteria in line with that market – 100,000 units for Gold and 200,000 units for Platinum. Those levels remained true until the end of July 2006 when they were removed, adjusting all them to standard levels of 500,000 and 1 million units.

      Up to date, the RIAA database is still displaying those old entries with the automatic amount, e.g. 500,000 and 1 million units, but records like Karma and My Boo got awarded as per former criterias only.

      When I get home I’ll check for detailed information that I have.

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