CSPC: Beyoncé & Destiny’s Child Popularity Analysis

Original Albums Sales – Destiny’s Child

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Destiny’s Child (1998)
  • America
    • US – 1,400,000
    • Canada – 250,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 30,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia
    • Japan – N/A
  • Oceania
    • Australia – N/A
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 450,000
    • UK – 175,000
    • France – 40,000
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherland – 30,000
    • Switzerland – N/A
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 2,300,000

66 thoughts on “CSPC: Beyoncé & Destiny’s Child Popularity Analysis”

  1. Wonderful job

    Beyonce is truly one of big stars of this century. Surely after the underperforming Lemonade she should turn with a bigger album thanks to streaming explosion

  2. Thank you again for this wonderful article!

    In my opinion, Beyonce remained quite consistent with her releases, especially with her first 3 records. Her downloads results are huge! As well as her streaming results. Though i was a bit surprised to see Beyonce to be below Rihanna in terms of album sales equivalents

    On the other hand, DC’s total are extrodionary as well, with Writings on the Wall must belonging to the most successful albums by a girl group!

    I hope you will do more CSPC analysis on other girl groups so we can compare their results. I hope in the near future you will do one for TLC as they are DC’s main rival. Also, I’m curious to find out how successful CrazySexyCool and Fanmail are.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and will have a great New Year! Hope 2017 will be a good year for all of us!

    1. That’s not really true; Destiny’s Child and Beyonce combined would be 14th overall with around 106.8 million. She was not a solo artist when Destiny’s Child released those records. That would be like assuming she would have sold those same amount records from Destiny’s Child as a solo artist during the late 90’s/early 2000s which is obviously highly doubtful.

  3. She is supposed to be a King/albums artist yet she is not even in Top 5 album sellers among her peers. Britney, Xtina, Avril, Shakira and P!nk sold more albums than her (and you cannot count Destiny’s Child to her sales, she shares them with 2/3 other girls) without multiple re-releases (B Day, I Am Sasha Fierce, Beyonce, even 4 had repacked version) and 15153154151 singles. Most of her singles sales are from South Korea were singles were given for free or cost less than 2 cents (for example, you didn’t count Love The Way You Lie Part II for Rihanna which did ~1.1 million saying that we should pay attention to SK chart).

    1. You sound mad. lmao. Majority of artist have done re-releases.

      Beyonce – 33,45m copies over 6 albums
      Alicia Keys – of 33 million over 6 albums
      Shakira – At almost 35 million over 8 albums

      1. Alicia released one more album which is Unplugged (which sold over 1m copies in US)
        Beyonce is not the biggest album seller of her generation but I guess her single sales are huge?

    2. Beyonce was top 5 amongst her peers in the 2000s. She was in a best selling girl group at the turn of the 2000s. She continues to transcend and hold her position in the 2010s as well.

      The numbers prove that it’s fairly plausible to call Beyonce the “best” of this generation. We can at least admit that Beyonce is due respect and isn’t too far behind those who have a string of massive pop hits in the 2010s.

    1. Hi cbvnm!

      Well, let’s just say Britney Spears had the highest peak of both while Beyoncé has been the most consistent!

      At the end of the day, several female singers got huge albums during late 90’s / 00’s – Britney, Christina, Dido, Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga. They have all been massive during 3/4 years but none of them lasted longer at the top of the game. Then you have the likes Beyoncé, Rihanna or Katy Perry that never sold more than 10m with one album but proved impressive consistency over the curse of many years.

      The only one joining both so far, huge peak and real consistency, is obviously Adele. Her career is still short but giving her current popularity her sales won’t collapse enough to be under par before at least 2 more albums.

      1. MJD, may i ask you what you consider that is consistent? I see you use number of years as a factor, which i agree, but what do you also factor in number of albums released?

        Out of all the artists you’ve mentioned that lasted only 3/4 years on top of the game, i don’t agree on Britney being one of them. From the 1999-2004 she was very big, with Baby One More Time and Oops I Did It Again belonging to the top selling albums of the last 20 years. Sure, Britney and In The Zone was far from being as successful as their predecessors, but they both belonged to the most successful albums of their respective years as well! Circus was a nice comeback for Britney as well!

        For 7/8 years, Britney was one of the top selling artists of those respective years, over the curse of 4/5 studio albums and a compilation album that did very well. Sure, Beyonce is somewhat more consistent than Britney, but saying that Britney was only successful for a few years is wrong as Beyonce only has the same number of albums released today compared to when Britney in 2004, hence Beyonce being more successful for more years.

        The only artists I can think of who remained consistently successfully over the curse of many years with many albums released is Mariah Carey during the 90’s. All 9 albums released during that decade sold an upward of 8m copies worldwide, and I’m betting that when you do a CSPC analysis on her, all of her 90’s studio albums are past the 10m mark on albums sales equivalents, as well as The Emancipation of Mimi!

        I’ve heard that you will be doing a CPSC analysis on both David Bowie and Whitney Houston for their upcoming anniversaries. Is that true? If so, then i can’t wait! Two legends within 2 months! Who else are you going to analyze?

        1. Hi Raffi!

          If we look retrospectively at all artists, it is easier to get 4 successful albums within’ 4 years than 2 within’ 6 years. It is no coincidence if all acts relying a lot in hype drop a new album every year – we saw it recently with One Direction. Many artists got big during a 5 years window, like Britney with her 1999-2003 releases, but getting an album as big after that span is already rare.

          It is really the years that matter because of the age of the public. From 12 to 16, 17 to 20 or 21 to 25 one average music consumer will completely change his favorite tunes again and again, which is why it isn’t that difficult to get back-to-back smashes, but is much harder when your target audience isn’t anymore in the same group of listeners.

          What’s interesting is that even artists that lasted longer with really A-League releases all did so thanks to a huge turnaround. Madonna was massive in the second half of the 80s then struggled, then with Frozen she came back strong. U2 wasn’t able to reproduce its 87-91 years during the 90s until Beautiful Day changed everything. Same for Bon Jovi until It’s My Life. Beyoncé herself was going to flop with B’Day until Irreplaceable turned it around, just like Maroon 5 was bombing with Overexposed until the reissue with Moves Like Jagger, Rihanna with Rated R until Rude Boy. Just check the dates of albums released in the prime of all artists and you will easily identify that 5-years window. Thus, what I call being consistent is being able to maintain the same level of success in spite of a target audience that moved away from their previous position. Beyoncé did it, so did Michael Bublé or Rihanna for example. Britney failed to do so. For sure Circus was a nice comeback but that’s in comparison to the huge flop that was Blackout. If you compare Circus to blockbusters from its years like Back To Black, The Fame, I Am… Sasha Fierce, Good Girl Gone Bad, Viva La Vida or Fearless it is really a B-League album while Baby One More Time or Oops were A-League albums.

          1. You said three years, and were six massive years: 1999-2005 (Baby one more time, Oops I did it again, Britney, In the zone and My perrogative). And, since 2007, she shold 17 million equivalent albums, which is ok. And she had four number one singles after of more than a decade of career (Womanizer, 3, Hold it against me and SM remix). So we cant compare Britney with Lady Gaga or Norah Jones.

          2. I said 3/4 years and In The Zone got released four years after BOMT. It doesn’t make sense at all to consider My Prerogative which was a best of, it is barely exploitation of back catalog, it’s like saying ABBA were still a current A-League act in 1992 because of Gold while they had been disbanded for a decade.

            Indeed, she sold 17 million equivalent albums during the last 10 years, thanks for proving my point as this is less than what she did in her very first year when she debuted, which is clearly an evidence that of her not being consistent with what she used to be, that she is no longer “at the top of the game” as I stated.

          3. Baby one more time (January 12, 1999)- In the zone (12 November 2003): almost 5 years, but In the zone and perrogative sold 3 million copies every one in 2004 (http://www.mediatraffic.de/albums-2004.htm), so 6 years of a great consistence. I know she wasnt so succesful as her first years in the last ten years, but she sold 17 million albums and had a lot of hits (Gimme more, Piece of me, Womanizer, Circus, Hold it against me, 3, Till the world ends, I wanna go, Scream and shout…). So she had longevity (allthough not as Madonna or Beyonce). And why we cant say she is the the most succesful female artist of her generation? She sold almost 40 million equivalent albums more than Beyonce! The numbers dont lie.

          4. It is all about how you define “artist”, “her generation”, “she is” and “most successful”, it just seem you look of numbers in the most convenient way for Britney Spears.

            First, about “artist”. As a person, Beyoncé sold more equivalent albums than Britney Spears. As a music act, Britney Spears sold more equivalent albums than Beyoncé. The “Britney Spears is the biggest female” isn’t consistent, if we refer to a ranking based on the sex of the artist, then we can only be talking about the person, on which Beyoncé leads. If you want to talk about music acts then sex doesn’t matter and on that you would need to include Eminem and the likes.

            Second, it’s easy to claim Britney is the biggest of “her generation” when she started 4 years ahead of Beyoncé and released 4 more albums. What’s more, that 4 years lead happened at the all-time peak of the industy while Beyoncé started when the market started to slow down. When Dangerously In Love came out, Britney Spears had accumulated way, way more than 40 million equivalent album sales which means she is ahead today only thanks to the advance she started with. From 2003 to date Beyoncé is on 61,9 million equivalent album sales with 6 albums, Britney on 31 million, less than half, with one more album.

            Third, “she is” the biggest of her generation. She was, yes. She is, no. At present, she is far from being the biggest female artist in her 30s. Can we really call her the biggest from her generation over a period of 17 years when she has been crushed for 15 of them?

            Fourth, “most successful”. Most successful isn’t the same as best selling. If we define the CSPC total of both artists achieved each individual year and weight it as per the market of the related year, we will most likely found out that Beyoncé 61,7m equivalent albums have a similar or bigger weight in the music industry since 2003 than Britney 97m have since 1999. The Backstreet Boys easily outperformed Coldplay overall as just like Britney they enjoyed the late 90s market madness, I don’t think anyone would claim they have been the most successful band of the two though.

    1. Hi Bey!

      I used the criteria Gold 100,000 ; Platinum 200,000 for 06/2006 ringtones certifications. In fact, from their introduction in 2004 to July 2006, Digital sales were certified over that criteria, moving to 500,000 / 1,000,000 in August 2006 only. After your comment I checked various articles and also old RIAA versions of their ‘Certifications Criteria’ page I saved to see they never specified that level at the time. Luckily, I just retrieved the original news posted by them to confirm that you are right – level was 500,000 from ringtones introduction of June 2006, two months prior the switch of downloads certifications!

      I’ll update not only that song but each of the 4 singles concerned. 🙂

      EDIT: All download figures adjusted for singles of the first two albums. I edited all texts too, just missing is the update of the screenshot of the page 28 which I’ll do tonight as I haven’t the file on my mobile!

  4. Thanks for verifying that Beyonce does indeed have a strong catalog spanning 20 years total. Recently she got the #2 position on Billboards year end with a serious streaming handicap.

    If I recall Beyonce was right below Britney in the decade soundscan list during her transition from DC to solo. She is a solid act in entertainment and is due respect.

    Beyonce solo is right below Rihanna with fewer #1 chart hits, LPs and without certain titles such as “best selling digital act of all time”. Quality over quanity. Beyonce has done a fine job transcending 3 decades of music now and has as phenomenal standing.

    It shouldn’t be questioned at this point.

  5. The lil shady remarks in your write up towards Bey is telling… You truly underestimated Beyoncé’s numbers. All you did was take numbers from Mediatraffic when it came to B. Blah. An undercover hater.

    1. A lot of people underestimate Beyonce’s numbers and longevity. They questioned Beyonce’s touring numbers cause others who have more streams, radio and charted hits can’t tour as well.

      Newsflash, your fave has their success while Beyonce has her’s and it speaks volumes. She has physicals, digital sales, dvd’s, touring and streams. I’m glad this person broke it down and even admitted that Bey’s consistency is overlooked.

  6. I am sorry but you overestimated her single sales waaaayyy too much. According to you Single Ladies sold more than We Found Love,but how is that possible when We Found Love not only outsold it in the US (the only place where it was a #1 hit ) but it also sold double of Single Ladies everywhere else.

    How come according to you Irreplaceable sold almost 3 milllion (!!!) more than Stay when Stay sold 1.5M more in the US alone and also did much better in most of the countries WW.

    And so on and on….

    1. Hi Arep!

      I’m afraid you are getting confused with Soundscan download sales only. Stay hasn’t outsold Irreplaceable by 1,5m in the US, quite the opposite as Irreplaceable sold 2 million more. The point is that you are fully missing Ringtones.

      Before smartphone propagation, people were buying ringtones as there was no iTunes app / proper music players on phones. You are comparing songs from the ringtones era of Beyoncé with songs from the downloads era of Rihanna while looking only at figures of the latter format. Please refer to below US figures.

      2006 – era of Irreplaceable
      Downloads: 586m
      Ringtones: 315m
      Addition to downloads: 54%

      2008 – era of Single Ladies
      Downloads: 1033m
      Ringtones: 338m
      Addition to downloads: 33%

      2011 – era of We Found Love
      Downloads: 1306m
      Ringtones: 116m
      Addition to downloads: 9%

      2012 – era of Stay
      Downloads: 1392m
      Ringtones: 69m
      Addition to downloads: 5%

      As you can see, you can’t just look at downloads to argue your point as while you are considering almost 100% of Rihanna singles sales, you are missing 33-54% of Beyoncé singles sales. While we do know some US figures for Ringtones – Irreplaceable alone shifted 3 million units in that format in 9 months in the US only – you need to consider the same situation was true in all other markets as well.

      1. oh so ringtones…

        were those also incoorporated for Rihanna? It seems like the single sales for A Girl Like Me and Good Girl Gone Bad are just pure download sales?

        I am sorry but this all seems so counter-intuitive, if you follow the charts worldwide you know Rihanna scores bigger (in terms of chart run and sales) hits at a way faster rate than Beyonce everywhere. Their single sales shouldn’t be this close.

        1. Yes they were!

          One key element in digital sales is the period. They keep selling forever. A mid-range hit can end up selling as much or more than a big #1 with several more years of sales. Beyoncé hits have been selling for more years, selling in ringtones too. Their sales are also more spread over years post-inital reception. If you check Rihanna streaming equivalent figures I posted, you will notice I Am… Sasha Fierce alone did as much as Music Of The Sun, A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R combined – although within’ last months they added some streams. The same is true for downloads, songs from Beyoncé albums kept selling at a much higher rate for many years than Rihanna songs. A hit like Halo wasn’t that big first in many places but ended up amassing huge figures everywhere.

          In any case, Rihanna was the first artist to be posted and did a lot since plus my formulas also got refined more and more over the various studies I posted so I fully expect her to be the first one I’ll completely re-vamp at some point.

    2. WFL did not even outsell Single Ladies in the U.S. in traditional download sales.

      The 5 million figure from Wikipedia, which I guess you used, is from 2012 and is therefore completely irrelevant and outdated.

      1. It did everywhere else though (even in the US the gap is not that big, 300-400k at best). Single Ladies is ahead of it only because of South Korean cheap/free singles. The same goes for Halo (over 2 million of its total comes from GAON chart). I wonder how Beyonce singles sales would look without their inclusion. Over 10-15 million less.

        1. Does it matter? The one you’re arguing for is well known to participate in 0.99 Black Friday sales, Groupons and giveaways for the past decade.

          1. $0.99 is still more than $0.02 or $0. Don’t Beyonce fans drag Anti for being given away for free? What’s the difference here when it comes to her singles sales (which are counted btw)? And the other one is well known for using payola (Sony was proved guilty in court), rigging awards and being a self proclaimed King who is still stuggling to crack Top 5 albums sellers among her peers. Even Avril sold more albums than her.

        2. There was an open investigation for Sony pushing J. Lo, Justin Timberlake, Avril Lavigne and several other acts with Payola. Bey was not named at all in this investigation.

          The original argument is bias and shortsighted. Even today, Lemonade still clocks in at #2 best album sold in 2016 without a Samsung giveaway. Perhaps were shocked that even without all the charted #1’s, Beyonce has a quite strong catalog without relying on radio these past few years?

  7. While she might not be on anyone’s list for the best selling artist, could you make a estimate of Aaliyah Dana Haughton’s sales?

    1. Hi AA,

      Surely this can be done! She has a short discography for obvious reasons so this can be completed quite easily. There is several huge artists already planned though so I’ll work on her once I have a couple of days free in-between!

      1. Thanks so much, many Aaliyah fans such as myself would love a estimated break down since so many (now a days) discredit her and deflate her sales / streams (due to her uncle’s incompetence; removing her music from all services.)

      2. Looking forward for your Aaliyah project MJD! I hope you’d also do one for Brandy and Monica to see whose the most succcesful “Princesses of R&B” of the 90’s.

        Though i think Aaliyah might be in an disadvatage when it comes to a CSPC analysis. I belive a majority of her album sales equivalents will mainly come from pure album sales. Her label didn’t commercially release her singles at the time, so she has limited physical singles sales. Moreover, Aaliyah only has 1 album (Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number) on Spotify, which not only limits her streaming numbers, but how are you going to apply her compilations sales to her studio albums without her other albums available on Spotify? Finally, i doubt Aaliyah has good digital sales. Hence, she has so many disadvantages.

        Would you also do a CSPC analysis for Tupac Shakur as well? I would love to see how high he ranks among rappers. Obviously not anywhere near Eminem, but definitely huge nonetheless.

      3. Hi MJD,

        This is TIfan from UKmix (hopefully you remember me). I am excited to see your estimations for Aaliyah. I do believe her sales would be…

        Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number= 4,000,000
        One in a Million= 4,000,000
        Aaliyah= 6,000,000
        I Care 4 U= 3,000,000
        Ultimate Collection= 300,000
        Total= 17,300,000

  8. Hi dear MJD
    Congratulations for CSPC: Beyoncé & Destiny’s Child.
    Yet many wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year dear MJD.
    Then I now do not want to know which artist you will analyze in the future, I would just like to know if since we are in the Christmas period, the staff of chartmasters.org will be paused or the same will be published new analyzes or articles !!!

  9. Some people are so pressed over ringtone SALES…like. Don’t they know label used to make off it and it should therefore NATURALLY count toward sales?!

  10. Hello,

    Are you going to do an overall CSPC for Whitney Houston anytime soon? I would very much love to read that.

    Also, are you going to re-vamp Rihanna’s CSPC anytime soon also? Considering she was one of the first artists you covered, I’m sure their are certain elements that could be updated such as the ringtones vs downloads saga etc.

    Thank You. This page is wonderful by the way.

  11. MJD (great work by the way), but one thing I would add is that when some claim Spears was lucky to have started her career in the era she did, you’d also have to acknowledge that Beyonce was very fortunate not to have started her solo career in that era, going head to head with Spears and other much bigger names at the time, because it’s highly doubtful she would have that success we see today as a solo artist.

    The reasons for this aren’t limited to one (competition: a talented but rare and highly controversial white rapper in Eminem, thus making him distinct, a music video that was a pop cultural phenomenon from Spears and another highly popular music video of the time with her second album, and of course the teen boy bands and others) but not entirely or even mostly due to race. While ultimately less talented performers than Beyonce but arguably better vocalists than Spears, similar artists such as Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore did not attain commercial success anywhere near that of Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears despite debuting in that era.

    So yes, Beyonce’s 61.7m equivalent albums in the music industry since 2003 demonstrates her superior consistency over Spears while in Spears’ 97m equivalent albums in the music industry since 1999 demonstrates that she obviously had the higher peak.

    1. I think Bey is fine and secure in her position then and now. Basically the 40 million albums used to uphold Britney as the best female artist of the 21st century were sold by Bey as well in the late 90s while she was in a group.

      Their stats aren’t that many leagues apart. They were indeed peers taking the same tips and development courses. Britney outsold Bey/DC in the late 90s-2002, fact. Bey has been consistently outselling Brit for over 10 years before the breakdown. Fact.

      1. Like it’s been stated, Beyonce is a more consistent album seller than Spears since she’s been outselling Spears for more than a decade while Spears had the higher peak than Beyonce given that she’s still sold more albums than Beyonce and Destiny’s Child combined.

  12. Sorry to bother you again MJD, but could you also do the sales of Aaliyah’s peers…Brandy Norwood, Mya and Monica ? I would like to see how they stack up against one another, whenever you get a chance.

  13. MJD, it’s interesting that you suggest Beyonce’s 61.7m album equivalents since 2003 may have had a bigger weight in the music industry than Britney Spears’ 97m since 1999.

    I think this naturally raises the inquiry as to if competition matters and, if so, who had the stronger competition in their respective markets?

    Beyonce (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Norah Jones, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, etc.)

    Britney Spears (Eminem, The Backstreet Boys, Coldplay, Lincoln Park, Creed, NSYNC, Nelly, Kid Rock etc.)

  14. Hi Mjd I’m your fan since UKMIX forum…

    I’m asking if you can consider also rock band like Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine inch Nails, that sold something like 30 millions in album sales….

    Thank you again for your work, to me it’s a Bible!!

    1. Hi Rick!

      For sure I remember you from UKmix years too! Your comment make me think that I covered various 80s and 00s bands but very few – none? – 90s bands, not even the likes of Radiohead or Oasis. I’ll try to fix that situation as soon as the already expected artists are completed!

  15. Hey mjd, as we all know Halo was a monster in Brazil in 09/10. But we know nothing of it’s sales there other than being the best selling single there in either 09/10

  16. Dude you need to weight down those (almost) free south korea downloads or exclude them alltogether.
    You make it look like Beyonce had so many huge hits when in reality most of her hits (excluding Beautiful Liar and Telephone) were local and didn’t go #1 in more than 5 countries.

    Also forget ringtones, there is a reason Billboard doesn’t count them LMAO.

    1. Hello Rexx,

      Your comment lacks too much consistency. How can you argue one should exclude Korean sales because they are too cheap and at the same time argue we should forget about ringtones which were more than 3 times more expensive than downloads?

      As I already mentioned in the past, as cheap as they may be, those Korean downloads replaced a very relevant album market. Albums which moved 5 million units combined of all its singles are albums that would have sold 500,000 units in the 90s so it is fully fair to consider them.

      Billboard never ignored ringtones, they got a ranking running for years. The RIAA list them on their annual shipment statistics report too, just like Soundscan listed them when they were still relevant. It isn’t because their figures haven’t leak as much over internet that we should act as it never existed. Irreplaceable alone grossed more than $10 million in the US on that format, the equivalent of 10 million downloads / 1,5 billion streams!

      1. Afternoon MJD many thanks for your hard work it’s greatly appreciated!

        I wanted your opinion/analysis on Beyonce’s current career position. Is she blacklisted by radio as her songs since 2009 haven’t really performed well in that format. Also why does she withhold music from the public through exclusivity, not being available on iTunes (formation), not putting music up on all streaming platforms/not putting music videos on her official VEVO channel.

        I wonder is she blacklisted and is her commercial career winding down? These little things have cost her millions in downloads/streams/sales. Do you think she’ll be successful in the charts again?

    2. So you’re basically saying digitals sales shouldn’t count either since streaming is replacing them as did digital downloads did to ringtones?

  17. Hi MJD! I want to ask you something regarding Destiny’s Child. People claim that they’re the biggest selling female group behind the Spice Girls worldwide and the biggest selling girl group in the US. Are those claims true? I thought perhaps TLC could rival them in terms of worldwide sales and US sales. Also, if you were to make a list of most successful albums by a girl group, would both The Writings on the Wall and Survivor be in the Top 10? What other albums have surprassed those 2?

    Speaking of girl groups, is it true that it is really The Supremes that are the biggest selling girl group, more than the Spice Girls? If so, I’m quite surprised since the 60’s had such an awful music sales climate. Perhaps you would do a CSPC analysis on The Supremes and Diana Ross in the near future to clear up these claims

    Also, is a Whitney CSPC analysis coming soon? I remember you saying that you would do one for her upcoming anniversary of her death. If so, looking forward to it! I also hope you’d a CSPC analysis on Janet Jackson. Although not a part of the Big 5 female artist, i feel she is highly underrated by others as they feel she isn’t successful compared to her peers. I hope you’d prove all these people wrong!

    Anyway, looking forward for your upcoming projects. Love your France best selling albums update!

  18. Hi MJD! I have some questions and perhaps some doubt on your methodology.

    The doubt i have is regarding your methodology on singles success. I find you converting all formats of an album to determine its success is very reasonable, but i don’t find it reasonable to convert an album’s success and related albums to a single.

    In my opinion, different singles have different functions. Lead singles are usually used to build up hype for an album prior to it’s release. The success of lead singles determines the opening week sales of an album and the following few weeks. The follow up singles, mainly the 2nd and 3rd single, are used to maintain the momentum of an era and to help stabilize album sales in the middle of an era. Remaining singles are used either as exploitation of the album’s success or the same reasons as the 2nd and 3rd single.

    With different singles performing different functions for an album’s success, i don’t think it’s fair to convert album sales to singles sales.

    I shall give an example of a situation. When a lead single becomes a huge hit, the album will have huge sales during it’s first month. However, if follow up singles bomb, the album will drop out of the charts soon later, meaning the majority of sales comes from it’s first month. In this case, the lead single would be the most successful song of the album. However, if the follow up singles have withstand the tests of the time better than the lead singles and have more streams, then using Spotify to convert album sales to singles success would give the follow up singles the advantage. However, if we look at the era itself, it should be the lead single that is the most successful as it helped built the majority of sales of the album, while using your methodology will give it a deflated view to the lead single simply because it didn’t gain enough streams on Spotify. .You might argue that the follow up singles helped built the catalog sales of the album, but catalog sales often pale in comparison to the sales generated during the album era.

    In conclusion, i believe that using Spotify to convert album sales to singles success is quite flawed. This is more true to albums released prior to the existence of the Spotify platform. For songs released prior Spotify, the number of streams only can tell which song is more remembered and has withstand the tests of time. However, not all hit singles manage to do that. In fact, less successful songs during the same time period are able to generate more streams. In fact, certain album tracks are able to generate more streams than hit singles, but saying that these album tracks are bigger than the singles released is quite absurd. During the album era, the song that was the bigger hit should definitely be more successful as it is that specific song that helped generate the majority of the album sales. I don’t think we should mix up most successful song to most remembered song, while using Spotify is more of a reflection of the latter.

    What do you think of my analysis? I like to hear what you think of this, MJD.

    Thank You!

    1. Hi Raffi!

      While I fully understand your point in concrete terms I think the impact is way weaker than you may be thinking. The main reason is the artist profile.

      If you check, say, a hit from Madonna and a hit from the same era from U2, you will most likely get that U2 songs faced the test of time better than Madonna songs. Now, if you take various songs from the same artist, you will often notice they held proportionally about the same as they performed upon release.

      In the case a song held much better, then yes the argument will be catalog sales. You mentioned they often pale, it can be true on an pure album sales-logic for some albums, but you need to consider we are working on CSPC sales. This means we are also factoring in replacement products of original albums like live and compilation albums, that would have sold way more copies thanks to the secondary single that lasted better than the day 1 big hit.

      An other case would be an artist with truly no catalog sales, nor the original albums nor best of albums. Even there, this would be the kind of acts that sold based on hype, which thus likely sold tons of physical singles and not that many albums in the end, so the possible flaw window is again limited since singles sales will compensate that, and because anyway this kind of act has no song facing well the test of time whatsoever.

      I think the flaw is more in historical patterns. We used to believe lead singles were so much bigger than other singles only because their impact was more focused within’ a sales period and because their release prior the album was letting them with no competition. Just check Madonna peaks in UK with her lead and non-lead singles to notice that. One can quickly argue her leads were her biggest hits, he would be wrong as the reality is that leads barely had a much more favorable context to sell well in physical format, which doesn’t mean they were necessarily more successful. For example, Madonna’s Frozen went to #1 in the UK, The Power of Goodbye to #6. Both songs have roughly 6m plays on Spotify. Which information is the most accurate to underline the success of each? Yes, streaming figures. TPOG peaked lower only because of the album having sold many copies already. As an evidence of its success it boosted Ray Of Light from #56 to #7 in the run for Christmas. Now, imagine TPOG was the lead and Frozen the fourth single, which one would have peaked higher? Yes, undoubtedly TPOG.

      So while I understand your point, I think it is more a theoretical case than one really likely to happen. I’m sure we can find such cases, but definitely not on huge selling artists that sold a lot of compilations / live records, that smooth down the possible impact of such popularity change between several tracks of one artist.

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