CSPC: Christina Aguilera Popularity Analysis

Streaming Part 3 – Hard Years

Fan base sales often corrupt the perception of a successful record. Sales of Bionic and Burlesque aren’t that different thanks to them, but in streams Burlesque is building its lead more and more.

This is the most visible with album tracks. Some songs from Bionic are on half a million streams only – everything on Burlesque is over 5 million, the trademark of a widespread appeal which isn’t limited to fans. The soundtrack has no big hit, nevertheless it adds for 115,000 equivalent album sales including 96,000 units from Christina Aguilera songs.

53 thoughts on “CSPC: Christina Aguilera Popularity Analysis”

    1. Hi Mat!

      Yes, putting all figures together this is the closest to the truth you can get. Billboard reported long after its initial run it sold 12,5m and considering how weak of a catalog seller it is that makes sense with individual sales from each country.

    1. Hi Maddy,

      Mediatraffic is everything except trustable, especially when divas are concerned as Freddy always inflates them to death. As per the IFPI, Stripped was #21 of 2002 with 3,9m copies sold and #16 of 2003 with 3,5m, making it 7,4 million copies shipped by the end of 2003. Copies sold in early 2004 were already shipped during 2003 Xmas season and after that it wasn’t selling that well anymore. Since KGB best of, it has low catalog sales. There is absolutely no way it sold 11 million copies, not even close.

  1. Wow, thank you for this! You did a terrific job as usual.

    Although to be honest I was expecting some of her eras to be bigger, like her debut and Stripped. Obviously she has some great numbers but I was expecting them to be a bit bigger, considering she’s always compared to Britney and Beyonce.

      1. Hi Luminator!

        This is indeed the figure reported by the OCC – a wrong one. Their numbers are way less accurate than most people think, especially for years around 2000. I was discussing this issue a few days ago with Hernan with Queen Greatest Hits III as an example – claimed to be on 650,000 units by 2008 as per the OCC, its real shipment to that date was only 560,000 copies.

        The case of Stripped is fairly obvious – by August 20 2006 while the album was still 3xP, it was on 1,818,939 as per the OCC. One month later, her catalog was fully audited and updated by the BPI. This led to a new certification – a surprising 5xPlatinum award, showing it had yet to ship 1,8m units. As the album reached 2xPlatinum in Europe in December 2003 only and never made it to 3xP, it appears clear that the OCC figure is way too high.

        The same happens with her debut album, supposedly on 364,414 units by August 2006 but which had yet to cross 300,000 units shipped by September 2006.

  2. Thank You MJD, Anthony and Hernan for this wonderful piece of work! I guessed right that it was Xtina to be analyzed! In fact, I’ve always been interested in how she performed compared to Britney. This analysis really shows that they were on both different levels, though in my opinion, the fact that Britney was more successful than Xtina was pretty obvious, despite the rivalry between them.

    I don’t think the comparison between them is fair though, as Britney fully exploited her popularity during her peak, while Xtina released one studio album every 4 years, with her image evolving drastically with each release, causing an inconsistent fanbase. This can be seen by the relatively low opening sales of her albums, especially Stripped, despite having strong predecessors.

    Regarding her album sales, her debut numbers are reasonable and didn’t surprised me much. It did tremendous in North America, plus a few countries elsewhere. It’s strong physical singles sales and the solid amount of related releases. 16,7m is a higher figure than expected, on par with Shakira’s huge debut Laundry Service. I guess the high figure can also be attributed to the fact it was released during the best years in music commercially.

    Stripped is the album that surprised me the most though! It’s album sales in the US was higher than I expected, but it being so under 10m copies was a huge surprise! I guess lots of charts experts overestimated it’s total in Europe being at 4m copies sold there, hence creating the 10-11m figure reported. But what surprised me the most was it’s relatively low 12,2m album sales equivalents. That’s lower than Britney’s self-titled album, despite in many people’s minds that Stripped was the much bigger era. In fact, Stripped sold much more digital downloads and is streamed much more than the Britney album. I guess the disadvantage of not having a huge selling live/compilation album affected it’s total. I see that for most artists, while digital downloads are good increase to an album’s total, it can’t compete with other related releases, as this situation can be seen with other artists like Alicia Keys and Xtina. I expect artists that haven’t been analyzed like Usher to have suffered this same fate as acts like him didn’t put out any big compilation albums.

    What did positively surprised me was Xtina’s singles sales. 70m digital downloads and ringtones are a great result, being close to Britney ‘s 80m figure in the same format. On a negative note, with almost half of her digital sales coming from features/duets, this shows Xtina isn’t doing so well with her solo releases, especially since 2008-now.

    Love that you added Asian sales to your album sales breakdown! I hope you’ll add a page where the cumulative sales for each country will be available soon for convenience!

    By the way, I’d like to suggest a few artists you can analyze. Some of these artists have relatively small discography so you can do them quite convieniently.
    1. Brandy 2. Monica 3. Fugees and Lauryn Hill 4. The Notorious B.I.G 5. Ariana Grande
    6. Nelly 7. Nelly Furtado 8. TLC 9. Ginuwine 10. Kylie Minogue
    Of course, I hope you’ll analyze popular legends like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Barbara Streisand etc. soon, but I know you’ll need more time for those artists, so take your time!

    Keep up the good work, and perhaps you can give us a clue onto whose up next to be analyzed?

    1. Hi Raffi!

      If followers of Chartmasters.org had a name (like the navy, fighters or little monsters), no doubt you would be the leading one! Great analysis as usual 😉

      I’m still considering how / where to put the comprehensive tally per countries but this should be available from the next CSPC article!

      Indeed Xtina figures are no doubt lower than expected. Just like Britney, she has got several wrong numbers going on for various years. Her debut album was inflated due to the supposed Columbia House sales which never existed, then the OCC tally of Stripped is wrong, Back to Basics is always assigned with more than 300,000 units in Canada since it is 3xP but it was certified as a double album for 150,000 units ‘only’. Plus Stripped and Back to Basics both had their best peaks in summer time and on years with strong market drops from previous years, in a Mediatraffic-like methodology, this inflates their figures a lot. In mid-00s, Top 10s during August in countries like Italy or the Netherlands doesn’t bring much sales. It’s quite simple – Christina never had a big album during an holiday season. In the UK for example, she has never been Top 20 at Christmas time.

      Of course a higher selling compilation would have help – but had Keeps Gettin’ Better been released earlier, her first two albums wouldn’t have been selling so well in 2004-2007 years so all in all the story is quite similar. I guess her discography mostly lacks volume, as you rightfully notice she hasn’t been prolific enough!

  3. THANK YOU so much for this! This is such a great analysis of album sales from Xtina.

    Can I request the same thing for Janet Jackson too? I would love to see it, thankyou

  4. Exelent article as always! 😉

    It was interesting to see estimates for Asia but it lead me to a question, does figures from Russia and Turkey go into the Asian or the European estimates?

  5. Hi, I would just like to clarify. Is the World sales count the accumulated sales of America to Europe to Asia etc? Or is it the sales in the countries outside America, Europe and Asia? Thanks.

    1. Hi Fred!

      Yes, estimates include all countries – although very few outside of America / Europe / Asia / Oceania have a legal market.

  6. Hi MJD! I know Miley Cyrus is from another generation, but I believe she’s the best selling artist born in the 1990s (or it might be Bieber), so her career should be interesting to study at one point!

    1. Hi Trish!

      No doubt Miley Cyrus is a good case to study. As requests are more and more numerous I’ll maybe do a poll requesting for next artists!

    1. Hi Roulze,

      Your figures, now that’s false 😉

      Both Stripped and B2B figures are just delusional and completely contradicted by both IFPI official figures and countries breakdowns.

  7. Great sales! She sold more than Lady Gaga or Spice Girls. If Britney sold more than her was because she released a lot of albums during her best years. And she still is young. She can get a big comeback. She deserves. She is the biggest voice in the industry and she is smart. She only need beeing ambitius again.

    1. If Britney sold more it’s because she was more popular than Christina and their debut albums completely prove it.

      I see people say that everybody was getting diamond albums during that time to try to reduce Britney’s accomplishments but Christina was blatantly the second most popular artist during that time and had zero diamond certified albums. If her debut went diamond then that would lessen Britney’s accomplishments, but it didn’t. And without Britney’s music videos (which were her idea) during the TRL era neither album goes diamond so she’s just as responsible for their diamond status as Max Martin.

      People need to stop discrediting Britney Spears’ achievements. She worked since she was a kid just like Christina, Justin, Ryan (and Keri Russell)

      1. If Cristina had not physically released her singles, as used to do Britney to sell more albums, she would also have a diamond album. In fact, Christina Aguilera album is almost platinum.
        And she was more popular than Britney, because she had more airplay and hits. In Usa. I know that Britney was more popular worldwide.

        1. Xtina only had better peaks on the BB Hot 100 because Britney didn’t release most of her singles physically. BOMT sold 14.2 million, CA sold 9.5 million. That gap (4.7 million) is bigger than Stripped’s sales. Xtina was not bigger than Britney in the US, at ALL.

        2. Well the lead single “…Baby One More Time” was released as a single in the US just as “Genie in a Bottle” was. And the other single she released in the US from that album, “From the Bottom of My Broken Heart”, was certified platinum, unlike “Come on Over” or What a Girl Wants, which were each certified gold.

          Britney released two singles in the US from her debut album while Christina released three singles in the US from her debut album. That is not some colossal difference. If you added the total sales from the singles released in the US from each album it would probably come out nearly the same.

          So the fact remains ….Baby One More Time went Diamond and Christina Aguilera didn’t.

          Christina got better airplay than Britney but 3 other singles not being released as singles in the US has nothing to do with that ?

          And Britney was also blacklisted on the radio during 2001-2003.
          http://articles.latimes.com/2002/feb/25/business/fi-clear25

          And of course, without counting features, Britney pummels Christina in digital sales and streaming. Even with features she still comfortably leads Christina.

          She has to be given her recognition. She’s in the top 10 for females in album sales, physical single sales and, in an era that is totally not hers whatsoever, digital single sales.

          1. However, If Britney was more popular, ¿why she didnt get a top 3 in radio during baby or oops? Christina had three. No doubt, the audience (the general public) preferred to listen to Christina.

        3. The general public also preferred buying Britney’s music. People spending their hard earned money on your music >>> airplay.

        4. Sales will always be more important than airplay no matter how hard you reach or try to re-write history. Britney was much bigger and popular than Xtina in the US (and everywhere). End of.

          1. And then, radio ejecutives were silly. And Billboard, where Cristina was the artist of the year, too.

            Why are you discrediting radio radio airplay? Radio airplay is so important as streaming. Radio airplay= popularity. Billboard are agree with me.

          2. MJD, you are the expert. If Britney was the most popular, why she hadnt a top 5 in radio, while Christina had 3 number one?

    2. “If Britney sold more than her was because she released a lot of albums during her best years”
      Actually, BOMT + OIDIA alone have sold way more than Xtina’s entire discography including her greatest hits.

      Also….

      France
      …Baby One More Time – 675,000

      Christina Aguilera – 75,000
      Stripped – 140,000
      Back To Basics – 130,000
      Keeps Getting Better: A Decade Of Hits – 30,000
      Bionic – 15,000
      Burlesque – 5,000
      Lotus – 5,000
      = 400,000

      Germany
      Oops!… I Did It Again – 1,025,000

      Christina Aguilera – 175,000
      Stripped- 425,000
      Back To Basics – 235,000
      Keeps Getting Better: A Decade Of Hits – 50,000
      Bionic – 35,000
      Burlesque – 60,000
      Lotus – 15,000
      = 995,000

      Japan
      Greatest Hits: My Prerogative – 1,000,000

      Christina Aguilera – 250,000
      My Kind Of Christmas – 25,000
      Stripped – 225,000
      Back To Basics – 140,000
      Keeps Getting Better: A Decade Of Hits – 120,000
      Bionic – 65,000
      Burlesque – 120,000
      Lotus – 30,000
      = 975,000

  8. Billboard posted an article and had her US album sales at around 18 million and US single sales around 40 million. Are you sure this is right? They have her debut at 8 million sold and when you add catalog sales in it’s at 9 million, so do you honestly think she only sold around 3 million more worldwide?

    1. Hi Jason,

      Billboard themselves stated 12,5m worldwide not that long ago! Indeed, it sold very poorly outside of North America. It peaked at #13 in Germany, #21 in the Netherlands, #44 in France, #21 in Australia, #14 in the UK, #60 in Sweden etc. Those peaks are similar with an album like Can’t Take Me Home by P!nk that nobody expects to be a huge seller outside of the US.

      Sales-wise it barely crossed the million mark in Europe by the end of its run and got only Platinum in countries like Australia and Japan. You can see its entire breakdown on page 3 which shows well that its success was pretty moderate in most countries.

  9. Because radio play will never be more important than album sales.*

    My question was serious. MJD, why Britney hadnt a top 5 in radio during her peak, and Christina Aguilera, whose music was teen pop too, had various number one? Maybe, Britney music wasnt so demanded in radio as Christina music?

    1. Firstly, your comment about Christina Aguilera’s debut album not releasing singles has been pretty much disproven. Her debut album released 3 singles (one platinum, 2 gold) in the US while Britney’s debut album still had two platinum selling singles in the US. If Christina gets her debut album certified diamond it would be well over 20 years after its debut while Britney’s album was certified diamond literally in 1999.

      As for the radio play, Christina had some of her songs cross over to other Billboard charts. (Obviously 3 other singles from Britney’s debut album weren’t released in the US)

      And, of course, she was essentially banned on the radio from 2001-2003)
      http://articles.latimes.com/2002/feb/25/business/fi-clear25

      1. My question is very interesting and is for MJD. I dont understand why Baby one more time or Oops I Did It Again, the biggest hits of Briney in her peak, werent big in airplay. The banned
        was in 2001-2003, not 1998-2000.

        1. Hi Teen Pop,

          Airplay is segregated into various music categories. To be or not to be #1 fully depends on crossing over those categories. Teen Pop never had that cross over skill being too deeply axed around a specific target audience. That’s why even a song like Wannabe which was 4 weeks #1 and 14 weeks Top 3 in sales peaked at #6 in the US Airplay Chart.

          Christina Aguilera may be regarded as teen pop now, but she hadn’t that flag at the time – which is in part why other countries haven’t jump into buying her debut album. In fact, Genie in a Bottle was #1 in Adult Top 40 Airplay list. What A Girl Wants topped the Rhythmic ranking.

          One other reasons why Christina Aguilera did so well in Airplay ranking is the availability of Spanish versions of her hits. All her songs crossed over Latin lists thanks to them. Come on Over Baby went #1 in the Latin ranking, I Turn to You #2.

          Thus, those better peaks were down to technicalities more than revealing a higher popularity. It’s precisely because Britney was bigger that she got more cleaving, impacting negatively her Airplay results.

  10. To teen_pop

    Britney selling more than Christina despite having less airplay in 1999-2000 only proves further that Brit was bigger. I don’t know why you think this is in Christina’s favor. It’s not. You’re literally admitting that Christina was selling less despite having more exposure through radio. It only makes Britney’s sales look more impressive. People hearing Christina frequently on the radio and not buying her music proves that people weren’t as interested in her music.

  11. Hi MJD! Great work with this website! Very impressive and interesting to follow your analysis. I do have a question regarding the overall streaming figures, however. Under Christina’s analysis you have the total streams for Moves Like Jagger at 409.5m while under the analysis for Maroon 5 this was listed as 605.6m streams. I understand this is to do with the reported increase in Spotify’s market share, but I wonder if it makes sense to apply this market share retroactively? If the song accrued the bulk of those streams in years when Spotify held a lower market share, does it make sense to suddenly apply the recent ~61% figure to all its streams? Does this also not create some incongruity when the song translates into a larger number of “equivalent albums” under Maroon 5’s calculated total as compared to Christina’s total?

    1. Hello Geoffrey!

      You are fully correct on your figures! The current formula is temporary, I’m waiting for the IFPI Global 2016 Report to define the new one. The new formula will not only adjust the current ratio, it will also take into account historical evolution, factor in free and paid users as well as introducing video streams.

      I’m pending that formula to see how much of an impact (high or low) it makes on previously posted artists. While it is not a definitive decision, I’m tempted to update retrospectively all artists who have at least 10% of their CSPC total coming from streams with this new formula once it is available!

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