CSPC: Alicia Keys Popularity Analysis

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Original Album Sales – Comments

2001 Songs in A Minor – 12,600,000
2004 The Diary of Alicia Keys – 8,000,000
2007 As I Am – 6,400,000
2009 The Element of Freedom – 4,000,000
2012 Girl on Fire – 1,800,000
2016 Here – 160,000

Considering how little exposure R&B acts are used to get outside of the US, the total of 33 million studio albums sold including more than 14 million abroad is quite impressive.

Obviously, the curve is constantly going down but up to The Element Of Freedom each Alicia Keys album was able to retain at least 60% of its immediate predecessor sales. Considering how much the album market collapsed during this period, one may wonder in which proportion those sales decreases were due to lower overall appeal of her material or if they were only due to buyers translating into an other format of consumption. Guess what? We will be answering just that within’ the next pages.

The same question may be raised for Girl On Fire. Although much weaker than previous albums in terms of pure album sales, by late 2012 many people had already moved to other formats, which can explain such a drop. We will also be studying very first results of her last record Here too, although the incredible figures it has been moving so far will be hard to compensate in the streaming format. While 160,000 units is already a pretty weak tally, it must be said those are estimated shipments, half of those units are yet to be sold within’ consumers. In all likelihood that total will be reached but second week drops are being so bad that expecting more is being optimistic. In the past, Alicia Keys came out time to time with an unexpected smash hit though so who knows?

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.

    Karma-400,000
    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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