CSPC: Backstreet Boys Popularity Analysis

Original Albums Sales

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This Is Us (2009)
  • America
    • US – 130,000
    • Canada – 20,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 15,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia
    • Japan – 325,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 10,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 110,000
    • UK – 25,000
    • France – 2,000
    • Germany – 25,000
    • Italy – 10,000
    • Spain – 10,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherland – 5,000
    • Switzerland – 5,000
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 750,000

31 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. Backstreet Boys was really2 huge in South East Asia. I can only speak from where I came from which is Malaysia. And here even the local artist would struggle to sell 25,000 (Platinum certification). For a foreign artist to have all 3 of their first albums selling above 100,000 copies and having 4 times platinum or more, is ridiculously huge. Their numbers in Philippines and Indonesia are really strong too, though not as impressive as Britney Spears. I also am pretty surprised that other than their album “Millennium”, none of their albums was really that big in North East Asia. I always assumed they were the biggest thing ever growing up, because from where I came from, they were crazy big.

  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)

    America
    US 14,000,000
    Canada 1,500,000
    Argentina 200,000
    Brazil 700,000
    Mexico750,000
    Asia
    Japan 1,200,000
    Oceania
    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
    Sweden135,000
    Netherland 100,000
    Switzerland100,000
    Austria 65,000
    Finland 43,000
    World  23,800,000

    14,000,000+1,500,000
    +200,000+700,000
    +750,000+1,200,000
    +260,000+50,000
    +3,410,000
    =22,070,000

    Baby One More Time (1999)

    AmericaUS 14,200,000
    Canada 1,400,000
    Argentina 140,000
    Brazil 300,000
    Mexico 425,000
    Asia
    Japan 500,000
    Oceania
    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

    14,200,000+1,400,000
    +140,000+300,000
    +425,000+500,000
    +320,000+50,000
    +4,740,000
    =22,075,000

    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?

      2. MJD
        I guess both were equally big in album sales ,24m in 2010s isn’t less than 75m in late 90s/early 2000s ,there was no yt, no streaming service, no way of illegally download, internet wasn’t that big ,.also albums weren’t that front looded and US isn’t only country in the world I bet 1D has a lot better chart runs in European markets than black street boys ,OK
        .
        Also 1d were huge touring force ,
        2013: 123m
        2014: 290m
        2015: 210m
        BSB can’t compete with them in touring ,

        I am not saying 1d are bigger than BSB let’s say they both were equally big , both had big impact on pop culture ,they are on same boat

        1. Hi Yes!

          One Direction’s albums sold on par with standard top sellers of their years. They haven’t reach the impact of the likes Adele, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith etc. On their side, the BSB were the very top sellers of their era. Millennium outsold the contemporary albums by Dida, Aguilera, Eminem, Dixie Chicks, TLC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, N Sync or Creed by 10-15 million. That’s where the difference between 1D and the BSB is, the first group was one of the top sellers, the second a blockbuster. 1D faced better the test of time (although it was still short) but at their respective peaks, BSB were one level higher.

          As for tours, the inflation corrupts comparisons if you speak about grossed dollars. You should watch annual rankings and you will be surprised to see the BSB were second to Bruce Springsteen among top touring acts of 1999, so they definitely compete with 1D there!

          1. Britney, Eminem, Santana, Celine Dion were as big as backstreet boys and 1 (beatles) and Supernatural sold far more than millenium. One direction did not have so many competitors of theirs same level or higher. And they sold 45 million equivalent albums since 2012. And I think that 45 million equivalente albums since 2012 is much more impressive than 94 million equivalents albums during the peak of albums sales.

          2. Hi Duddy,

            You are wrong there. Millennium outsold both Supernatural and One during their respective promotion campaigns, they catched it (and topped it for One) only thanks to catalog sales. In the same way, they outdid Britney and Eminem too, both topped them in the long run, but focusing on their first 5 years, none of them crack the BSB. Celine is the only one that was ahead, and the margin wasn’t even that big while Adele to name only her outperformed massively 1D. So did the others I quoted like Ed Sheeran, Amy or Gaga.

            I’m really the first one to give credit to 1D even in a perspective covering the last 50 years, but the BSB were bigger than them. You can argue about the market drop, but CSPC figures add downloads and streams to compensate, enough to make albums from Bruno Mars or so comparable with big 90s albums, still 1D are nowhere near BSB.

          3. –I’m really the first one to give credit to 1D even in a perspective covering the last 50 years, but the BSB were bigger than them. You can argue about the market drop, but CSPC figures add downloads and streams to compensate, enough to make albums from Bruno Mars or so comparable with big 90s albums, still 1D are nowhere near BSB.—

            Thank you very much for answering. It’s very interesting what you said. So the industry has not had any crises? Dowlands and streams have made up the decline of albums sales? I find it hard to believe… Chrstina Aguilera and Lady Gaga have sold the same, but the sales of Lady Gaga, after of 2008, are not more impressive? I have lived the peak of the two and I think Gaga was bigger. I also lived the peaks of backstreet boys and One Direction and I think they were similar … I’m not a fan of any, though.

          4. Hi again Duddy!

            Obviously, the market evolved, but not on those proportions. First, CSPC method make up for most of the drop. Second, even factoring in the market overall drop, they are still way too far. 1D had 5 albums, they sold less than 24 million units combined in pure album sales, 43 million CSPC. The first 3 and a half (as 2 came out as 1 in the US) BSB albums sold 68 million pure albums and 87 million CSPC. Twice as much as 1D with only two thirds of 1D’s albums. Millennium alone sold the same in pure album format as the 5 1D albums combined. The market hasn’t drop by 80%, especially not for a group with the demographics of 1D that benefit album sales towards downloads. To resume, the average of 1D / BSB first 3,5 albums were:

            Pure album sales
            1D – 4,8 million per album
            BSB – 19,4 million per album

            CSPC units
            1D – 8,6 million per album
            BSB – 24,9 million per album

            This is including Black & Blue, flagged as a flop at the time. Without it, averages climb to 22,7 million and 29,6 million respectively.

            If I get deeper into analysis, I would say that 1D was possibly bigger among 12-17 community, but the BSB had a wider appeal overall with older girls buying their records too. This is always why 1D managed to be more consistent over their 5 golden years, while BSB reached a higher peak. Millennium is one of the fastest selling albums of all-time, you will struggle to find an album that reached 20 million as fast as that one!

    2. Young kids these days doesnt know how big Backstreet Boys were back then. Backstreet Boys was the biggest thing ever back then. Their first 3 studio albums alone sold more than 50 million copies worldwide(Backstreet Back and Backstreet Boys are literally the same album with different marketing name in different area). That is already something very extremely impressive. Their songs are much bigger than one direction anyway. Plus, selling more on tours is a good way to gauge somebody’s popularity. You need to consider inflation, how much shows were they covering for every tours, etc. I remember Britney Spears in 2002 was probably the biggest superstar in the world but she made only 56 million total gross. That is because she only perform on 60+ shows only. So total tour gross, is not really a good method to gauge someone’s popularity.

  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!

  8. //Hi again Duddy!

    Obviously, the market evolved, but not on those proportions. First, CSPC method make up for most of the drop. Second, even factoring in the market overall drop, they are still way too far. 1D had 5 albums, they sold less than 24 million units combined in pure album sales, 43 million CSPC. The first 3 and a half (as 2 came out as 1 in the US) BSB albums sold 68 million pure albums and 87 million CSPC. Twice as much as 1D with only two thirds of 1D’s albums. Millennium alone sold the same in pure album format as the 5 1D albums combined. The market hasn’t drop by 80%, especially not for a group with the demographics of 1D that benefit album sales towards downloads. To resume, the average of 1D / BSB first 3,5 albums were:

    Pure album sales
    1D – 4,8 million per album
    BSB – 19,4 million per album

    CSPC units
    1D – 8,6 million per album
    BSB – 24,9 million per album

    This is including Black & Blue, flagged as a flop at the time. Without it, averages climb to 22,7 million and 29,6 million respectively.

    If I get deeper into analysis, I would say that 1D was possibly bigger among 12-17 community, but the BSB had a wider appeal overall with older girls buying their records too. This is always why 1D managed to be more consistent over their 5 golden years, while BSB reached a higher peak. Millennium is one of the fastest selling albums of all-time, you will struggle to find an album that reached 20 million as fast as that one!//

    I understand … I know it’s hard to know, but I wonder what sales you might have had the Backstreet Boys and Britney in the context of One Direction and Lady Gaga would have been. Would they have sold more albums in downloads than in pure albums? The first four BB and Britney albums sold 88 and 75 million respectively. Maybe BB would have sold 50 million albums and 200 million downloads and Britney Spears, 40 million albums and 200 million downloads. In your opinion, are these numbers possible? This topic is so interesting … Thank you for your time.

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