CSPC: Backstreet Boys Popularity Analysis

Backstreet Boys Fan Anniversary

Biggest tracks – Backstreet Boys

The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales with appropriate weighting too plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

1 1999 – I Want It That Way [Millennium] – 18,160,000
2 1997 – Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) [Backstreet’s Back] – 14,610,000
3 1997 – As Long as You Love Me [Backstreet’s Back] – 9,250,000
4 1996 – Quit Playin’ Games (with My Heart) [Backstreet Boys] – 8,440,000
5 2000 – Shape of My Heart [Black & Blue] – 6,120,000
6 1999 – Larger than Life [Millennium] – 4,080,000
7 1999 – Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely [Millennium] – 3,640,000
8 2000 – The Call [Black & Blue] – 3,100,000
9 1997 – All I Have to Give [Backstreet’s Back] – 3,070,000
10 1996 – I’ll Never Break Your Heart [Backstreet Boys] – 2,680,000
11 1996 – We’ve Got It Goin’ On [Backstreet Boys] – 2,530,000
12 1996 – Get Down (You’re the One for Me) [Backstreet Boys] – 1,600,000
13 2005 – Incomplete [Never Gone] – 1,540,000
14 2000 – More than That [Black & Blue] – 1,460,000
15 1999 – The One [Millennium] – 1,110,000

22 thoughts on “CSPC: Backstreet Boys Popularity Analysis”

  1. Hi MJD and Hernán! Great job on this analysis on BSB!

    When i calculated the album sales breakdown for their first 3 albums, the remaining countries not listed add up to 1,5-2 million albums.

    Are they really that huge in Southeast Asia and Africa? If so, can you please evaluate their biggest markets there and provide some numbers for us?

    Please and thank you! Keep up the good work! By the way, is the Whitney CSPC analysis coming up? If so, looking forward for it!

    1. Hello Raffi!

      Actually, a lot of certifications came out for them back in the day. By mid-98, their first two albums were certified as listed below:
      Backstreet Boys
      Philippines Platinum x7 280,000
      Taiwan Platinum x5 250,000
      Malaysia Platinum x5 125,000
      Hong Kong Platinum x3 60,000
      Indonesia Platinum x3 150,000
      Singapore Platinum x3 45,000
      Thailand Platinum 50,000
      India Platinum 20,000
      Korea Gold 50,000

      Chile Platinum x5 100,000
      Venezuela Platinum 20,000
      Colombia Gold 25,000

      Backstreet’s Back
      Philippines Platinum x8 320,000
      Malaysia Platinum x6 150,000
      Indonesia Platinum x4 200,000
      Hong Kong Platinum x4 80,000
      Taiwan Platinum x4 200,000
      India Platinum x4 80,000
      Singapore Platinum x3 45,000
      Thailand Platinum x3 150,000
      South Korea Platinum x2 200,000

      Chile Platinum x5 100,000
      Venezuela Platinum x3 60,000
      Colombia Gold 25,000

      South Africa Platinum x2 100,000
      The Gulf Platinum x2 60,000

      Below list of Millennium certifications came out only 6 months after its release.
      Philippines Platinum x5 200,000
      Taiwan Platinum x4 200,000
      Malaysia Platinum x4 100,000
      South Korea Platinum x3 300,000
      Indonesia Platinum x3 150,000
      India Platinum x3 60,000
      Singapore Platinum x3 45,000
      Thailand Platinum x2 100,000
      Hong Kong Platinum x2 40,000

      I’ll let your gauge those figures by yourself but obviously they are strongly impressive.

  2. Hi MJD! Great job on this article (as always). I’m actually a little surprised by their album sales, because even though they’re still massive, I always thought they were around 80-85 million. Nice to see Millennium nearing the 30 million mark in terms of CSPC. Hopefully it will get there one day.

    I have a question involving one of their peers, who has sold more albums (studio + compilation). Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys? Because I only counted 73 million for the Backstreet Boys, and you estimated nearly 77 million for Britney. I always thought the Backstreet Boys had sold more albums so I’m a little confused about that.

    Anyway, fantastic work regardless. When you have the time, you should try to analyze other acts from that era (Christina Aguilera, N’Sync), I feel like that would be really interesting!

    1. Hi Bri!

      I think you missed something on BSB count as they are up to 80 million albums sold overall! The gap was much bigger about a decade ago but is diminishing ever since, although at low pace now.

  3. Hernan, you did a great job. Congratulations. I have a question: which album sold more, millenium or baby one more time?

    Millennium (1999)

    US 14,000,000
    Canada 1,500,000
    Argentina 200,000
    Brazil 700,000
    Japan 1,200,000
    Australia 260,000
    New Zealand  50,000
    Europe 3,410,000
    UK  560,000
    France 110,000
    Germany 850,000
    Italy 340,000
    Spain 425,000
    Netherland 100,000
    Austria 65,000
    Finland 43,000
    World  23,800,000


    Baby One More Time (1999)

    AmericaUS 14,200,000
    Canada 1,400,000
    Argentina 140,000
    Brazil 300,000
    Mexico 425,000
    Japan 500,000
    Australia  320,000
    New Zealand 50,000
    Europe  4,740,000
    UK  1,275,000
    France 675,000
    Germany 850,000
    Italy 200,000
    Spain 350,000
    Sweden 100,000
    Netherland 225,000
    Switzerland 125,000
    Austria  55,000
    Finland  38,000
    World  23,500,000


    1. Hi Cameron!

      Millennium is undoubtedly the biggest seller on markets not listed – rest of Latin America and continental Asia – thus it is quite natural that its Worldwide estimate is higher too with listed countries accounting for the same total!

  4. Definitely One Direction is bigger than Backstreet Boys. 25 million albums in this decade are more impressive than 75 million in the end of 90s.

    1. Hi Tomas,

      One Direction have been obviously incredibly popular, on which argument can you safely claim they got bigger than the Backstreet Boys though? Millennium had 26 weeks inside the US Top 3 Album Chart at the most competitive era of all-time, that’s more than One Direction full discography combined.

      1. Ricky Martin and Britney Spears also had a lot of weeks inside top 3 that year. And Santana. It’s nothing special. Sales were huge then. I wish you could adjust those sales to be able to compare them with One direction´s sales. Thank you for your kindness and job. And sorry for my english.

        1. Millennium was the #1 album of the year – 26 weeks Top 3 is definitely an awful lot. Britney Spears only had 1 week Top 3 and both Santana & Ricky Martin had much less weeks there than Millennium in spite of their own success being already special. This is even more impressive considering that BSB album debuted with a gigantic number, selling bucket loads in a few weeks only.
          Saying sales were huge then is ok, but arguying selling an average of 315,000 copies of an album per week during 30 weeks is nothing special is delusional. I don’t even mention their success in countries like Germany or Japan that was much bigger than 1D one. No hate against One Direction – but Backstreet Boys were just bigger than them, even factoring in the market context.

          1. Ok. I admit that Backstreet Boys were bigger in album sales, but One Direction are bigger in tours and singles, and they had more longevity (Backstreet Boys were eclipsed very quickly by nsync and destiny’s child).

            I now you havent hate against One Direction. Thank you for answer me.

          2. Sadly I still can’t agree 😉

            Both bands had 6 Top 10 singles, those of the BSB lasting much longer as 1D mostly benefitted from big selling debut weeks. In Tours, their 1999 shows ranked second to Bruce Springsteen in Pollstar annual biggest tours list. They also smashed from 1996 to 2001, the same time frame as 1D. The DC & N’ Sync never reached their level of success. Their supposed flop album Black & Blue sold on par with Destiny’s Survivor, which was a huge smash for them, which perfectly reveal they weren’t on the same league.

          3. Interesting discussing MJD

            But wouldn’t Spears’s first three albums each spending only one week at number one make the sales for those three albums more impressive than some might give them credit for?

  5. It was difficult for me, but… You are right.
    Do you know where I can see albuI chart of albums? Billboard page is very slow and complicated.
    I know tha may be impossible but can you make, in a future, a methology to adjust albums of differents context of sales ? I think that billboard made one. What is your opinion about that methology? Thanks.

    1. Hi Cbvnm!

      Weeks at #1 depend too much on the competition. You must look at Top 3/5/10 weeks. BOMT managed 50 consecutive weeks inside the Top 10 (47 at #7 or better) in spite of a huge debut. Then Oops had 17 consecutive weeks Top 3 sticking long at #2 due to heavy Eminem / Nelly albums. Britney sold bucket loads within’ 7 weeks due to the late release and Top 5 placing during the crucial Holiday season. It’s not the same at all as, say, Femme Fatale which debuted at #1 thanks to low April competition and then dropped fast!

      1. Wow. Britney’s peak was monstrous. BOMT and OIDIA managed more weeks inside top 10 than the whole discography of Beyonce, for example, and at the most competitive era of all-time. And she was so young…

        Are you goint to analyze Spice Girls soon? I wanna know if her peak was so succesful as the Backstreet Boys´s peak.

      2. Thanks for that info MJD.

        One would think that weeks inside the top 10 or top 3 are a more tangible testament of popularity than sales being large during a given period, unlike the poster you went back forth with suggested.

  6. I may be mistaken but I don’t think you’ve mentioned The Essential BSB (which charted in South Korea) and the collaboration album with the New Kids On The Block. The latter charted in Australia, the US, Canada and probably elsewhere too. It contains 5 BSB hits and 3 new songs recorded with TNKOTB. Only one song out of those last 3 is available on streaming platforms.
    It didn’t do much in the charts but it still counts ! 🙂

    By the way, I think their carreer trajectory is very similar to that of TNKOTB who were hugely successful from 1986 to 1991, even though sales were weaker at that time.
    It’s funny how BSB never really made it in France.

  7. Hi MJD!

    I was looking back at this analysis and I have thought up some questions regarding the Backstreet Boys’ album sales, mainly concerning that in Europe.

    Their distribution of sales in Europe was quite weird. They were absolutely massive in Spain and Germany, but were relatively weak in the UK, France and Netherlands. Could you explain this phenomenon? Was teen pop more successful in certain European countries than others? Britney Spears and the Spice Girls had a more linear album sales distribution across Europe though.

    Another country where their sales confused me is Japan. Their first 2 albums sold modestly there, when they were experiencing their peak in several other markets. Then, suddenly with Millineum, they somehow achieved a huge 1,2m seller? What’s more, they managed impressive sales in Japan even after their golden years (1997-2001). Could you please explain this? Also, are they the biggest selling western acts in Japan out of the teen pop acts that emerged during the same time period? Their studio albums combined have sold an impressive 4m albums, much more than Destiny’s Child, Britney, Christina and The Spice Girls.

    Finally, could you please provide the album sales breakdown for their The Hits album?

    Please and Thank You!

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