Original Album Sales – Comments
1996 Spice – 21,900,000
1997 Spiceworld – 13,950,000
2000 Forever – 1,200,000
Obviously, it is always tempting to simply believe figures we will read on Wikipedia and the likes. Not only country breakdowns prove the Spice Girls albums haven’t sold as many units as always claimed, EMI, owners of Virgin Records, also fully reported their results on their annual reports.
In fact, up to the end of March 1997, the debut album shipped 9,5 million units. From April 1997 to March 1998, it added over 10 million copies. From April 1998 to March 1999, shipments reached 1,5 million units. In other words, by that latter date, the album had shipped the total of 21 million units. Of course, one may think about catalog sales since that time. They have been absolutely dreadful yet. In the US, since mid-1999 to now Spice sold a mere 200,000 units. In the UK, it is selling less than 2,000 copies a year while in Italy the figure is around 100 units. That’s Spice – arguably by far their ‘best’ catalog seller.
The same links will show you that Spiceworld shipped 11 million units up to March 1998 and 2,6 million the following year.
If widely reported figures are strongly inflated, this takes off nothing from the ground breaking sales they achieved in no time. In slightly over two years, those albums moved close to 35 million units. The few additional shipments brought the tally to 35,2 million by the time they were awarded a life-time price at the Brits in 2000.
On its side, Forever quickly shipped 2,2 million units. It bombed truly hard though, coming nowhere near such numbers. In all countries where both sales indicators and certifications are available, we can easily see that first week deliveries have never been sold, concluding on extensive returns.