CSPC: Green Day Popularity Analysis


A wave. That’s pretty much the easiest way to define the popularity of most artists. Some acts have a bigger wave than others, but they still go up, and then after reaching their peak, inevitably slow down more and more as the years pass by. Among groups not fitting this description belongs Green Day.

An underground punk act in the early 90s, Billie Joe Armstrong‘s band suddenly became hugely popular in 1994 thanks to a trio of chart topping hits on the Modern Rock Tracks ranking. With their popularity quickly vanishing after that streak, the band managed an impressive return to form a decade later with the American Idiot album. Maybe even more incredibly, that seventh album was their first to truly break a global audience.

Initial reception isn’t the be-all and end-all of popularity. A song like Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) came out during difficult years for Green Day and failed to change that trend. Still, it is undoubtedly one of their most famous songs to date.

So, which song and album are the most popular among the modern age classic rock band’s catalog? How big are Green Day? How is their 2016 output Revolution Radio performing? It is time to answer all those questions!

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge the band’s results. The concept will not only bring you raw data of all Green Day albums, physical singles, download singles, and music videos and streaming, but it will also accurately weight all this information to conclude in to meaningful popularity indicators. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend you to check it out before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to jump into the figures. Let’s go!

10 thoughts on “CSPC: Green Day Popularity Analysis”

  1. Great work MJD, Anthony and Hernan!

    Green Day is an interesting case to read and study! Starting so slow, they became so massive with Dookie! The following 3 albums did well, and then they became massive again with American Idiot! I have to say, while Dookie is more successful, I consider American Idiot as their most impressive album in their catalog in terms of success, because they achieved it so deep into their career, and that that album is their only one that spawned numerous sizable hits!

    Regarding American Idiot, could you tell me whether it is the best selling and most successful album released in 2004? I remember Usher’s Confessions album was ahead of American Idiot in terms of album sales before, but has catalog sales changed that lead? I also suppose Confessions is the only album that can rival American Idiot as the most successful album released in 2004, since other successful alums that year (Eg. Eminem, Norah Jones etc.) fell behind Green Day.

    Regarding their physical singles sales, I was surprised to see them being so low in that format, despite having success in the 90’s, where that format was very healthy. I suppose as rock bands, their main fort in singles is airplay, which comes to my attention. I would like to ask why don’t you factor airplay in the CSPC analysis? Does airplay not have any value in the music industry? It’s still a way of consumption of music, and the success of airplay is factored in numerous singles charts worldwide, so why shouldn’t airplay be factored into the success of an album? I think that it would compensate lots of acts, most notably rock acts and acts who were successful in the early 2000’s, a time when both the physical singles and digital downloads markets were abysmal and the main determination of a single’s success was airplay.

    Finally, I love how you’ve updated the format of your analysis! Still, there are a few suggestions I would like to make. Firstly, would it be possible to post your overall Asian sales in the album sales breakdown like you did with Europe? Also, would it be possible for you to post Asian countries (aside from Japan) in your album sales breakdown as well. I think this is most favorable to acts like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey etc. who achieved tremendous success in that particular continent, and it would save you some time from posting it in the comment sections when asked. Also, regarding album sales, I saw that Green Day had impressive and stable success in countries like Japan, and wanted to know how much they sold in total in Japan, but I had to go back to each page and calculate that total. Hence, do you mind summing up how much an act sold in each continent/main countries after all your album sales breakdown? I hope that wouldn’t be too much work.

    Anyway, looking forward for your upcoming projects! Mind telling us which act(s) you’re going to analyze next?

    1. Hi Raffi!

      Very precise and detailed views as usual! Thanks for your continuous suggestions which are really helpful 🙂

      About Green Day physical singles sales, you need to consider none of their hits got released in the US. They were also not popular during the 90s in France, a huge market for that format. This limits a lot their potential of sales on this category.

      About Asian sales, at least for big 90s pop stars this can be done as we do have such information. For most other artists sadly the info about continental Asian sales are just too disparate to commit in detailing figures. For older / rock acts most of the time we have to handle it with only a few popularity indicators (like Hong Kong old certs, recent Korean shipments, tours, gaps between known sales elsewhere and global shipment when known etc) to gauge if the act did proportionally weaker, as well or better than in Japan. I’ll be following your suggestion as soon as an album has enough information to do so!

      About Airplay, they do bring some money for the industry. To be honest, I just don’t see a reliable / accurate way to count it. Depending on the country / era / catalog-new, this is just way too complex with too little information available. Indirectly, this ends up being weighted in a bit since as you mention airplay impacts some rankings like the Hot 100, so when estimating single sales for old records on the back of those lists hits which got big airplay will get rewarded a more favorable figure.

      About cumulative tallies per country, surely this can be done. I still need to see how I’ll handle “the holes” – for example Swiss sales pre-1983, sales off the radar of some compilations here and there, often known in the US but not elsewhere etc, all those figures displayed as “N/A” in breakdowns. Depending on the act / country, this part of the discography with no figure may be tiny or big. At least a range for smallest countries with no data, while I can surely commit on a precise figure for countries like the US, the UK or France.

      About the next act coming, hmm may I only say that it will be What some users Want 😉

      1. What some users Wants? Is that perhaps a reference to Christina Aguilera?😉 If so, pretty excited for it! Been dying to know whether her debut or Stripped was the more successful album, and how she compared with her peers

          1. Only a few days left to see if one of you is correct 😉


            In the middle of such a message I was sure I missed one question! About the biggest album from 2004, yes I fully expect American Idiot to be the one as Confessions would most likely fall below in a CSPC logic!

  2. These rankings are simply amazing! Thanks for all the work! I just discovered your page and can’t stop reading. I’m a big fan!

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