CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

Spotify

Streaming Sales

The Beatles have got a unique relation with each and every format. The last one which emerged more than 40 years after they disbanded still saw them adopting an atypical strategy. Holding out their catalog for years just like they did on download platforms before, they came into the streaming world for 2015 Christmas day.

The ‘Beatles are on Spotify!‘ was a hot news, the last Splash Strategy used by EMI to date. Results have been fairly strong with 1 billion streams reached by June 30 2016 and 2 billion by December 20 2016. As their arrival was extensively marketed along with the Spotify brand and due to success demographics of the group perfectly fitting with the Swedish giant distribution, their plays on that specific platform have been a tremendous part of their overall streams. By the date 2 billion milestone was hit, their Spotify results amounted for 1,27 billion, a notable 63,5% of their total streams. Thus, this proportion will be used on all figures presented on this category to extrapolate their Spotify numbers into global ones.

We will be reviewing streams from all their songs and all their albums, converting each of them into equivalent album sales. The equivalent album sales is the division of the comprehensive streaming figure by 1500 as it is now the norm in the new industry model.

Streaming Part 1 – Breakthrough Albums

Before getting into big hits, the first striking element from streams of the group first three albums is their consistency. Each and every song on them has at least 1 million plays, a very solid showing, even more considering they have been running for 14 months only.

Still, total equivalent sales show a 3 to 1 lead of Please Please Me over With the Beatles. Streaming make it no different than in the past – it’s the big hits that drive sales, whatever format you are talking about. Both Love Me Do and Twist And Shout crack the 30 million barrier while the likes Please Mister Postman and Roll Over Beethoven have 10 times less streams.

Songs from A Hard Day’s Night are in-between performance wise. The title track has 24 million streams while Can’t Buy Me Love posts a strong 19 million.

19 thoughts on “CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis”

  1. holy moly you guys this is epic!! i knew you were working on something huge!! phenomenal job. wow. i need to read this article a few more times again to fully grasp everything. once again, all 3 of you, BRAVO!!!

  2. Fantastic job! I’ve waited for this moment!!!

    I also noticed these massive sales from Argentina. Their studio albums sold more there than in much larger markets like France, Brazil and Australia, do you know if there’s any particular reason for that?

    1. Hi Al,

      Thanks for your comments and we are very glad you liked the article, that was our purpose!

      As for Argentina, there are a number of reasons, some related to the market’s size and others to the cultural impact made by British groups, starting from The Beatles.

      The first thing to mention is that Argentina isn’t a very strong market now, but it was quite big (let’s say medium-to-big level) until the mid 70s. For instance, 32 million albums and singles were sold during 1975, more than in several key markets like Netherlands, Spain and even slightly bigger than Italy. The Argentinean market was similar, in size, to that of Mexico or Brazil despite the latter two countries being then and now far more populated. If we go further back in time, the mid to late 60s, the Argentinean market was actually the biggest in Latin America. Argentina is almost a unique case in the following sense: the local market was almost in better shape from about 1964 to 1975 than from 1976 to about 1990, which favoured The Beatles.

      The market returned to a big level during the 90s -athough this was a worldwide phenomenon-, in time for the public to start buying The Beatles’ stuff in CD format, whose explosion occurred in 1992/1993.

      And then, of course, we have the cultural reasons, which exceeds the content of the article and would need to be studied more deeply in the future. But Argentina has always had a positive bias toward British groups. The most populated and richer zone of the country is the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, a highly cosmopolitan city and massively open to the music of the world, notably foreign rock/pop and the British one in particular.

      It is a combo that perfectly benefitted The Beatles, I would say.

      1. Thank you for the answer!

        Do you know if The Beatles are the best selling artist of all time in Argentina? (in album sales)

        1. Counting foreign music not sung in Spanish, they are the very best selling act ever and by a huge margin.

          Counting all sort of acts, disregarding the language, then Luis Miguel is likely to have sold a similar amount or even slightly bigger. That would take some research and no doubt that Luis Miguel will eventually be covered on Chartmasters.

          Julio Iglesias and Sandro (local singer) are both very strong selling artists, but highly unlikely to rival The Beatles in albums sales.

          So The Beatles are likely to be either the very best selling act in Argentina or the second best selling, easily the best selling non-Spanish act.

    1. Yes I can’t see either topping The Beatles. I’d also imagine that while MJ (if analysed) will not be an easy or quick task to undertake, Presley (if analysed) would be an absolute nightmare given the plethora of different titles released under his name, globally and locally. I certainly wouldn’t like to undertake the that mission lol

  3. I appreciate your work. Thanks for showing how amazingly well the Fab Four did! The orphan album is just so massive, wow!

    I am hoping for you to finally cover Mariah Carey for her birthday on the 27th of March! See ya!

  4. I was wondering, have you tried putting these figures on Wikipedia, I know the editors there are pretty strict but if these figures are correct (or at least in the same ballpark) then why not put them there?

  5. Very interesting reading and historical overview. Enormous amount of work and documentation are involved here.
    Anyway, I am very surprise by the amount of record sold in south america, especially if the sixties and seventies are concerned.
    This is what I found in Cashbox 1968-7-6 :
    “Sales figures in Argentina remained at the same level of 66/67, with strong hits selling between 60.000 and 100.000 (singles), LP’s ranging from 30.000 to 60.000 and many best sellers lits not surpassing the 15.000 mark.”
    This is about the same than Spain when per hit “Delilah” by Tom Jones did 125.000.

    1. Hi Grendizer!

      In all countries, including in Latin America, sales during the 60s represent only a small fraction of their albums sales to date. Their albums have been tremendous catalog sellers ever since the first day.

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