CSPC: The Weeknd Popularity Analysis

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The Weeknd

Some 20 years ago, when divas were everywhere, Canadians were dominating the music industry with the likes of Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Alanis Morissette. Nowadays, streaming beasts are the real deal. The type of act and the way of music consumption changed, but Canadians are still doing it best. If Justin Bieber and Drake are the two best known current stars from the country, The Weeknd has very little reasons to be envious of them.

The 26-years old R&B singer started just like Drake by dropping widely praised mixtapes before getting a major label contract. His first tour de force was a duet with his fellow countryman on the Take Care album with the song Crew Love in 2011. His profile has been increasing in each passing year. While he grew thanks to collaborations, like Elastic Heart with Sia and Love Me Harder with Ariana Grande, and stepped up even more with 50 Shades Of Grey Soundtrack song Earned It, his solo efforts built some kind of cult following themselves even before those successes. Indeed, by 2012 he was already debuting inside the US Top 5 album chart.

Since he broke the into the main audience as late as in 2014, I’m sure even his fans wouldn’t expect many people to own a The Weeknd CD. This raises one fundamental question for the upcoming years of the music industry, can an artist create a valuable and profitable catalog on the back of digital achievements alone? As you may expect given the title of the article, we will be applying the CSPC methodology defining all results of the artist to clear this up this doubt.

A small note on the artist’s catalog first. The Weeknd debuted with three mix tapes released for free on the internet before commercially releasing them one year later when he signed his first contract for the Trilogy album which encapsulated those three records together. As all sales and promotion happened around the Trilogy release rather than the mixtapes, I’m considering it as the artist’s first studio album rather than a compilation.

As a reminder for users who are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea you do not need to worry, it is quite simple as it only consists in merging every format sales an artist has been getting and attributing them to respective studio albums. We will start by focusing on raw data, setting out how much each album sold. Then, we will check sales of each track from those albums in each format – digital and streaming – and weight them to value those figures on a par with album sales. The concept goes further by analyzing all compilations, live albums and music videos released by an artist. However, The Weeknd doesn’t have  these. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of the superstar in the career results.

Let’s go!

5 thoughts on “CSPC: The Weeknd Popularity Analysis”

  1. Considering that The Weekend only achieved his breakthrough less than 3 years ago, his results are pretty impressive! Also, Starboy with almost 2m copies in one week is amazing, and will increase a lot with the upcoming holdiday season.

    I imagine acts that have debuted or broke through in these past few years (eg. Ariana Grande) will have similar sales distribution as The Weekend (streaming taking up large portion of their sales, with rather weak album sales)

    Once again, fantastic job MJD! I really hope you’d do an analysis on Tupac soon, considering he’ll have a biopic coming out soon and the fact that you haven’t done any analysis on rappers (aside from Eminem). Though a majority of sales will mainly be focused on North America, it would be interesting to see how the late legend has achieved with his output.

    Looking forward for your next project! Keep up the good work!

  2. Yawn! These newbies’ numbers aren’t impressive AT ALL, most of their sales come from Spotify. Please, make one about Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera o Prince. That would be more interesting.

    1. Hi LT,

      I’ll have to disagree. Spotify, Wallmart or iTunes, it doesn’t matter. That music gets consumed and brings in money to the music industry now that matters! Within’ one or two years Beauty Behind the Madness will be higher than anything Mariah released in 15 years and higher than anything ever issued by Kylie Minogue so that can’t be overlooked really.

    2. Weeknd’s music videos push almost 1 billion views on youtube, the artists you mention have none in that stratosphere even with many, many more years to soak and accumulate views. It’s only one venue, but it allows you to see numbers in an apples-to-apples comparison to get an idea of scale.

      Catch up bruh, weeknd might be the next MJ

  3. Hi everyone!

    Here are the 4 The Weeknd’s tracks that have generated the most sales:
    1 2015 Can’t Feel My Face [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 2,170,000
    2 2015 The Hills [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 1,890,000
    3 2015 Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey) [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 1,530,000
    4 2016 Starboy [Starboy] – 1,030,000

    The top 3 comes from “Beautiful Behind the Madness”, which is his the first real success.
    “Starboy” (track) is now #4, but was released in September and the album only in November. We can easily say that this song will go higher in this ranking very soon!

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

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