CSPC: Janet Jackson Popularity Analysis

Original Albums Sales

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "janet jackson rhythm nation 1814"

Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • America
    • US – 8,100,000
    • Canada – 425,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – N/A
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 780,000
    • Japan – 500,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 200,000
    • New Zealand – 25,000
  • Europe – 950,000
    • UK – 425,000
    • France – N/A
    • Germany – 150,000
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – 35,000
    • Netherlands – 55,000
    • Switzerland – 30,000
    • Austria – 10,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 10,900,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figures pattern of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

52 thoughts on “CSPC: Janet Jackson Popularity Analysis”

  1. Thank you so much for doing this! I’ve been waiting on a Janet article for a while! I must say, I expected her totals to be higher (mostly because of fans inflating sales, as it happens with every artist), but her sales are still very respectable and consistent up until some point. Nice to see Janet. nearing 20 million CSPC, hopefully it will get there one day although it’s unlikely right now.

    Do you think you can share your breakdown for Design Of A Decade? I’d love to know its individual sales in Europe, Asia, etc.

    Also, amazing job once again!

  2. Wow! I thought Janet had big sales… but im mistake.

    Please! Can you edit Madonna’s profile? With her compilations albums country by country?

    Thank you!

    I love your work!

    The next! Mariah!

  3. Hi, awesome job! I have a small question, how did you arrive at 100k for “Control” in Australia? Its chart run was rather weak and it’s not even certified Gold

    48-49-31-29-26-25-31-25-30-31-34-35-40 44-43-48

    Just wondering haha. Awesome job regardless.

    1. Hello Glory!

      The chart run you post make it look like the album sold averagely during 3/4 months. The complete one inside the Top 100 tells a different story yet:
      21/07/1986 86-78-52-60-61-48-49-31-29-26-25-31-25-30-31-34-25-40-44-43-59-61-57-59-67-55-51-48-53-52-69-74-76-93
      15/06/1987 97-99-78-77-50-49-53-51-55-73-75

      As you can see, it was selling for one month before, then 2 months separate your last two entries (43 / 48), then it charted 6 more weeks and returned a full 3 months later for a 11 weeks run.

      All certifications are available from 1990 only and year end charts started in 1988, but had them been available, Control would have in all likelyhood been certified Gold in 1986 and close to Platinum by the end of 1987 hitting the bottom of the year end Top 100 both times.

      Then, the album of course continued selling a bit every year until the release of Design of a Decade. Both RN1814 and Janet. were #1 records there and Control sales have been estimated on close to 5,000 units per year from 1988 to 1994. You get almost on the 100,000 units territory, which I rounded to that figure since there is still 23 years of low catalog sales to factore in!

  4. Hey MJ,

    did you miss her remix album “janet. remixed”?, which did have some respectable success in the UK for example. I couldn’t find it under “Full Length related records Sales”, where you do have “Control: The Remixes”?

    Otherwise thankds for the superb work again and I’m impatiently waiting for Mariah….. 😉

    1. Hi Luminator!

      I should have explained it inside the article itself but I directly added “Janet. remixed” to “Janet.”.

      The main place of that remix album was the UK and there they got combined both for chart and certification purpose so it wasn’t possible to divide them, which is why I merged those releases especially since it ends up with the same numbers in a CSPC logic!

  5. This was a really good read! Thanks a lot for this amazing post 🙂 I’m not gonna lie, I wish Janet’s sales were closer to the likes of Madonna/Whitney/Mariah, but she’s nearing 60m albums and that’s a very impressive feat no matter what.

  6. Wow, i always thought Janet had a bigger career. Im not a hater at all, but let’s be honest, her sales are very underwhelming for someone who debuted in the 80s and was peers with Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion! She sold less in 35 years than Britney Spears sold with 4 albums, and her total sales are lower than Beyonce’s with Destinys Child….. and while theyre still not bad by any means, I dont think its fair to put Janet in the same category as her peers. One thing I gotta admit though, her consistency between 1986-2001 was quite impressive, and two 10 million sellers isnt anything to put down, so shes definitely had a great career. Thank you for giving us an insight into her career, MJD! Much appreciated

    By the way, Im curious as to who you will be analyzing next, is it Mariah or Miley? either way, im looking forward to it!

    1. Hi Ethan!

      We can’t overlook that Janet sold as many or more physical singles than most of those other female singers though. While in the whole vacuum of things Janet can’t be compared to the likes Madonna / Celine / Mariah / Whitney, she has been discussed as part of the same league due to her US success. From that country point of view, she has been truly huge. Also, from 1985 to 2003, which are the golden years of the industry, she issued only 5 albums while the other artists issued way more records. She also lacked a true massive global seller. Even you put apart Music Box, Mariah Carey sales album after album were similar during the 90s than Janet sales, the only difference was the pace of releases!

      Next one will be MC :p

      1. You are quite right MJD! Janet’s weakness was really that she didn’t have a global seller like her peers, and that she released very few albums during her peak.

        However, regarding the comparison with Mariah, I still believe Mariah is by far the more successful act. If you look at album sales only, and that we remove Music Box from Mariah’s discography, Daydream alone was a successful to monster seller in the 3 biggest continents, and that album alone has sold more than Control and RN1814 combined. Mariah also has 2 additional studio albums that sold upwards of 13m copies worldwide (Merry Xmas and her debut), more than Janet., Janet’s biggest selling album. And if we were to add in compilations and live albums, #1’s sold almost twice as many copies as DOAD and even a live album like MTV Unplugged sold more copies than Janet’s AFY and not that far from TVR, and those were studio albums!

        1. Of course Raffi! Mariah overall is undoubtedly way bigger than Janet in more than a way. My comment was referred to average sales. Janet albums from 1986 to 2001 sold 9m on average, I haven’t update Mariah stats so far but I don’t expect her average studio albums to be much higher than that without Music Box for the same period 🙂

      2. I disagree. She is in the league of Britney or Shania Twain in the USA (40-45 million albums equivalent). Mariah and Madonna sold the double there. But she was trully big.
        Why do you think she wasnt so big in Europe?

    2. I’m not sure why you’re bringing in Britney Spears to undermine Janet Jackson though. I’m glad that Britney has had a lot of success but let’s not forget that Britney’s peak years, the TRL era 1999-2004) were filled with imitating Janet Jackson in her music videos/tours that sold all those albums. So she obviously owes Janet Jackson as much as Madonna.

  7. Hey MJD!

    Janet’s one of my favorite artists, so I was pretty hyped when I saw that you completed this analysis!

    While going through her album sales, I was a bit apprehensive on whether you underestimated them as less than a decade ago you had Control above 10m, All For You at 6,7m etc. I’m more surprised by TVR as you had it at 8,5m a year ago on you Fake 10m sellers article. What caused the big decrease? Still, I respect your work and you have several label reports to back up your claim, so I can’t argue with that. By the way, i believe you made a typo in page 13 with Discipline’s sales at 800,000 when it should be 700,000.

    Some comments on her album sales: While almost 60m albums sold is a healthy figure, as you’ve pointed out, it is somewhat disappointing. Although she managed to make it big in markets like Japan with AFY (700K+) and France with TVR (500K+), compared to Celine and Mariah who had multiple million sellers in those places, it certainly pales. Also, I’ve noticed that in countries like Holland and Canada, she never had a big album there, instead having consistent sales across multiple releases. What’s more is that her sales outside Japan in Asia is weaker than i thought. Moreover, her strongest market is indefinitely the US, with close to 40m albums sold, but even I find that somewhat lackluster. Don’t get me wrong, 3 consecutive albums at 7/8m is huge, but considering the numerous hits those albums spawned, and that her peers were scoring multiple diamond albums, those figures again pales. I feel that in terms of album sales, she was closer to Toni Braxton (who i hope you’d do an CSPC analysis on soon) than the likes of Mariah, Celine, Whitney etc. in the 90’s.

    Regarding her physical singles sales, 40m+ is bigger than i expected! Looking at year end articles from Billboard magazines, I find that most of her singles sold in the range of 1-1,3m in the US, so i assumed she was more of an airplay artist. I didn’t expect her 3 biggest albums to be home of 7/8m+ selling singles! I counted that she has 23 million selling singles in toal in the physical format.

    As for her digital appeal, it’s no doubt weak, but not as bad as i thought. Her steaming results are underwhelming, but understandable considering she’s been out of the spotlight prior to when Spotify blew up. 13m downloads and ringtones is also weak, but she has some singles close to the million mark, so not that bad! I feel that had her 2004 Superbowl performance hadn’t happened, her results in the digital realm would be much better. If you check the final results of her CSPC analysis, you’ll see that a vast majority of her album sales equivalents comes from the physical format, while her downloads and streaming combined is only at 1,6m, which is just an abysmal 2% of her total, similar to acts like Celine. However, I feel like Janet is more of Madonna’s act type (entertainers) than Celine’s (vocal acts), so I believe that Janet had bigger potential in the digital realm, but was completely destroyed with that career-destroying performance.

    Next, 76,5m album equivalents is similar to what I’ve expected. Her 3 albums from 1986-1993 is bigger than I’ve thought. Control at 15m is similar to Whitney’s MLIYL album and Madonna’s Music album, while RN1814 is bigger than any albums Alicia Keys, Xtina and Beyonce released, while Janet at 19m has to be one of the top R&B albums studied so far, topped only by those of Whitney’s.

    Finally, when looking at Janet’s most successful songs, it is pretty obvious that That’s The Way Love Goes is her signature song, despite it’s weak digital appeal. I’m surprised that Together Again is much lower than the aforementioned song, even lower than All For You, as it was that song that revived TVR is several markets and was Janet’s biggest seller in the physical format. What’s more, her pattern of her songs’ success is interesting, as while TTWLG is at a huge 10m units, her other songs are consistent at the range of 1,5-3m. We can also see that both Control and RN1814 didn’t spawn any huge singles, but all commercially released singles were equally successful, building the huge tally for both albums. All 5 of Control’s singles are in Janet’s Top 20 most successful song, with the most successful one at only 3,3m, while RN1814’s most successful song is also at 3,3m, but that album’s remaining 6 singles are at 1,5m or above, with 5 of the 7 singles at 2m units or above, showing that Janet was a very consistent hit maker back in the days.

    I have some questions to ask you:

    1. I have calculated Janet’s career total in Japan at 3,26m from your breakdowns alone, probably more has been sold. Where does that place Janet in the best selling international acts of Japan? What other acts outsold her?

    2. Janet has a total of 23 million selling singles in the physical format, which is quite impressive. How does that compare to other acts in terms of million sellers in that format?

    3. I calculated Janet’s UK, Germany and France album sales at 3,1m+ and 1,8m+ and 1,2m+ respectively, probably more. Based on the market size, which European market was the strongest? Do you think Janet has other stronger European markets?

    4. When can you add a page that shows the total album sales of an artist in each country?

    Thanks and keep up the good work! Looking forward for the next article!

    1. Hey MJD!

      One more question I would like to ask: Are the claims of Janet’s immense success in South Africa true? I’ve heard claims that That’s The Way Love Goes is the best selling single by a female artist there, and that the Janet. album is the best selling album by a foreign act there with 300k sold. Are any of those true. Perhaps you could provide some album sales figures for her in South Africa so we can see how successful she was there?

      Please and Thank You!

      1. Hi again MJD! One final question I forgot to ask!

        In terms of her 40m+ physical singles sales, how many of them comes from the US?

        Thank You!

    2. Hi Raffi!

      A lot to diggest as usual 😉

      I’ll try to structure the answer!

      1) Discipline typo is fixed, thanks!

      2) Two main reasons explaining strong decreases. First is the Columbia House study that has been done and which clarified Virgin albums special situation with few to no sales at all there. Second is Asian sales, often claimed to be massive for Janet, comparing known figures with company reports we can notice there is simply no room for supposed big sales. We do have also TVR July 1998 certification breakdown which shows very low certifications as a whole in that continent. She was a good seller in Asia yes, but nowhere near the league of the likes Mariah or Michael.

      3) Yes, results are disappointing overall mostly due to her lack of consistency in the World. She remained strong in the US but elsewhere it was really hit or miss and even hits weren’t that big. After all, she never ever had a million selling album in a market outside the US. None in Japan, UK, Canada, Germany, France like the other big divas do have. Her brother sold past a million with a single album in countries like Australia, Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, Mexico etc. Janet highest ever outside the US is Design of a Decade sales in the UK of 750,000 units – fairly low “best”.

      4) Completely agree on the 2004 career stopper. The fact EMI sold 2,4 million copies of her Damita Jo album (orders were likely even higher one month prior release as the Superbowl possibly resulted in cancellations) and then so many units got returned show the unexpected backlash. This is even more telling after 15 years of solid and continuous success.

      5) Yes, TTWLG has been the biggest song of her career, I wouldn’t call it her signature song yet as asking through the World for one song of Janet to 100 passengers, I don’t expect more than 20/30 to say TTWLG first. I would say this is along 4) a strong reason for low Janet showing in the digital era, the lack of a driving force for her catalog. A 100m-streams song a la Stayin’ Alive, MHWGO or IWALY would drive traffic on her iTunes or Spotify page, make people think about her when walking on a music retailer, would boost promotion of a compilation etc.

      Now about questions:
      1) Really hard to tell, there is many acts with more than 3,5 million sales. About females apart from those mentioned already, we need to add Avril Lavigne too. Most Janet sales are there already – the Japanese total is 3,31 million.

      2) Hard to tell as well, I never tracked a statistic of most million selling singles, but 23 is truly an impressive number there. Celine has 12, Whitney 22, Madonna 38. This is even more impressive for Janet that she has few albums and few tracks outside her albums. Almost half of Madonna million sellers for example are lead singles or orphan tracks, thus selling a million with a 5th or 6th single of a successful album is a real achievement.

      3) I would say Janet biggest European market was the Netherlands with 550,000 albums sold there. It is often a very favorable country for black music artists.

      4) Forgot about it, will see how to insert it on this article!

      5) about South Africa, I’m not sure how legitimate are 4/5/6xP awards of her early albums, and I’m safe that “biggest selling xxx” claims are fake. There is no way an album like Janet. outsold Thriller for example while That’s The Way Love Goes was released when the market was in a hole at an abysmal 100,000 units sold per year for the entire country, so that single being the top seller ever is a nonsense. Her success was real there yet, the 4xP award of All For You was valid for example. So while it is hard to put specific figures on each album, she did perform well in this country.

      1. Hello Raffi!
        To complete MJD’s answer, here is the list of artists who have the most million selling singles (question 2):
        1. Madonna – 38
        2. Beatles – 31
        3. Rolling Stones – 28
        4. Janet Jackson – 24
        4. Whitney Houston – 24
        6. Bee Gees – 21
        7. ABBA – 20
        8. David Bowie – 15
        9. George Michael – 13
        10. Bon Jovi – 12
        10. Céline Dion – 12
        10. Fleetwood Mac – 12

        1. Hey, according with Chartmasters analyses Céline has more than 15 songs that sold at least 1m, not only 12: Mhwgo, Because You Loved Me, It’s all coming back to me now, The Power Of Love, I’m your angel, Think Twice, All By Myself, Beauty and The Beast, A new day has come, Pour que tu m’aimes encore, That’s The way it is, To Love You more, I’m alive, Tell Him, Immortality & Taking Chances (her less sold with 1,150,000), these are her 16 best selling singles… Despite the fact she may have some 1m topping singles. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C57sDDPWUAAYzGm.jpg

  8. Thank you for adding DOAD, MJD! 🙂 Like Raffi said, it’d be cool to have a list of best selling international females in Japan. Where would Janet rank? Based on your other articles, only Madonna, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Britney Spears have outsold her. As far as other females go, I know Cyndi Lauper and Enya have sold a lot in Japan, and Mariah Carey is obviously the biggest seller.

    Japan seems to be Janet’s biggest international market, even bigger than the UK!

  9. Janet sold less than I expected. I remember vivid claims from various people of album sales from 100 to 160 million… but that is clearly not realistic.
    59,6 million is not bad but when you compare it to the other big 80’s and 90’s stars it pales in comparison. But Janet has had an impressive career for her standards.
    Thanks for your analysis, very interesting 🙂

    1. The estimation of 160M sales is actually came from her record sales (albums+singles). Her album sales estimation is around 90M worldwide (with shipments and streaming equivalent sales). Janet’s 80’s and 90’s albums are need to be re-certified, that is why her sales seem so low.

      1. When stating such gross figures as 90m album sales you need to put evidences of it. For Janet we do have financial reports of her labels for most years and there isn’t a single doubt she is nowhere near such a tally no matter how you count it.

      2. To Wibisana:
        90 million? Very inflated. And it’s not like Janet is selling much in catalog sales so most of her certs are probably correct, well except for her U.S sales …

  10. Michael Jackson pleaaaase!

    Love Janet!

    I find your career brilliant and it sold very well. Having the stigma of being the King of Pop’s sister and launching her career at the Michael’s peak was a risky. Just because she left that huge shadow and built her own legacy already shows just how iconic she is. GOD BLESS THE QUEEN!

  11. I thought 14 million for “Janet.” and above 10 million for “Control” and RN1814 was a given.
    In the US she was a force to be reckon, both in albums and singles… but in the singles department is where she outperformed most of her contemporaries from the decade 1986/1995 particularly.

  12. Hi again MJD! I counted a total of 5,220,000 albums sold in Asia for Janet (not counting remix albums or other compilations). With more than 5 million albums sold across the Asian continent, I think it’s safe to say Janet is one of the biggest selling non-Asian divas there, even if her sales outside Japan seem to be a bit underwhelming.

    I looked up some of your older articles, but unfortunately you didn’t start including Asian totals until very recently. If you have the time, would you please tell us how much the following artists have sold in Asia, including compilations?

    Celine Dion
    Whitney Houston
    Britney Spears
    Beyonce/Destiny’s Child
    Lady Gaga
    Taylor Swift

    All of them have been analysed by you at some point. It’d be very helpful and I’d really appreciate it! Unfortunately, Asian sales outside Japan are quite hard to find/estimate and you’re the only person I trust with this. I don’t think the likes of Katy Perry, Rihanna, Adele (shockingly enough), Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, etc. have sold considerable amounts in Asia, so I won’t bother you with them! After Mariah, which diva would you say has sold the most in Asia? Madonna or Celine? From what I’ve seen, they have sold similar amounts, but I could be wrong, of course.

    Thank you so much for your time and once again, great job with this article.

    1. Hi Trish!

      I’ll have to go back to my files to fully answer you. It won’t be easy as the format is constantly evolving as with experience they get better and better. I’ll try answering you in full ASAP!

  13. FINALLY. Thank you so much for your hard work putting all of these together! This is incredible.
    But just for your information, Janet’s albums from 80’s and 90’s need to be re-certified in so many territories, especially US. Rhythm Nation 1814 and janet. should have been certified Diamond in US by now. She is one of the few down to Earth diva who don’t brag about her albums sales that much. If they re-certify her 80’s and 90’s albums I believe we can see her album sales is actually a bit bigger than this. But again, I cannot thank you enough for this. We are a part of a Rhythm Nation!

    1. Hi Wibisana!

      All album sales mentioned in the article are up to date, none is limited to certifications. There is no way albums like RN1814 or Janet. should be Diamond, they are on 8m overall to date each. Remember her albums were removed from Music Clubs in mid-90s so her Soundscan sales were pretty much comprehensive from that point.

  14. WOW” I always knew Janet was sort of a local act but I never thought she would be that much of a flop anywhere else besides the USA… Is this the same woman whose fans claim she’s the queen of pop? is this the same woman who had the nerve to claim that Madonna’s Erotica album was “shipped back”… bitch, please, that album sold more than Janet’s 90% discography. 50 million in 30 years is really not that impressive. Other than Velvet Rope she was a non-event outside of the USA borders

    1. Her album sales stand at 60M, why are you deflating them by a whole 10M? Petty.

      MJD shouldn’t allow this type of replies on his website. There are plenty of forums like ATRL where you can unleash your shade and flamebait comments.

  15. MJD, could you please provide the chart runs of both the Janet. album as well as Design of A Decade in Australia?

    I knew that the Janet. album was under-certified based on it’s chart run (#1 for 4 weeks, 50 weeks on chart) Still, Janet. had a much better chart run than DOAD (#2 for 3 weeks, 25 weeks on chart) I also heard recently that the Janet. album managed to rebound to #1 in early 1995, nearly 2 years after it’s release! I was wondering perhaps it’s sales could be possibly closer to DOAD’s


    1. Hi Raffi!

      For recent albums you would need to go on Pandora website to get full Top 100 charts, I do not have them by hand at the moment. Of course run inside the Top 50 is available at australian-charts.com

      It is true that Janet. went to #1 in both 1993 and 1995 and it is also true that its run looks way more impressive than the one of DOAD. This being said, the lead in charts is strongly artificial. Janet three runs inside the Top 10 (July 1993, February 1994, February 1995) were brief but also at very weak periods of sales. On its side, DOAD got the full fourth quarter inside the Top 10.

      Year end charts perfectly summarize the situation:
      1993 – Janet. #25
      1994 – Janet. outside Top 50
      1995 – Janet. outside Top 50
      1995 – DOAD #6

      As you can see, in spite of hitting #1 in 1995, the album Janet failed to make the YE Top 50, which highlights how low it sold at that spot – which is confirmed by its quick 3-10-15 drop in following weeks. BTW, at the time under the Annual Top 20 an album used to sell 100,000 copies or less, with only from 5 to 15 albums a year reaching multi-platinum status. From 35 to 60 albums a year were hitting Platinum. Thus, YECs severely reduce the window of strong sales for Janet.

  16. I wanted to ask whether your estimation for the janet. album in the US isn’t a bit too conservative.

    I mean did it really sell less than 100,000 copies outside of SoundScan and BMG music club?
    SoundScan: 7,041,457 (updated 8/1/13) + 860,000 BMG = 7,901,457+ That’s about the same total as reached by “Music Box” by Mariah Carey, for which you stated that it sold well past the 10,000,000 mark!

    I thought that SoundScan was far from being comprehensive in 1993 and there were other small music clubs next to BMG and Columbia House (where janet. wasn’t available)., so that the janet. album is closer to the 9 million mark.

    1. Hi Luminator (& Robby),

      Janet US album Club sales were explained in the related Columbia House article. Virgin stopped selling their albums in all Clubs very early, it wasn’t only an issue with Columbia House but all of them.

      About Soundscan not covering the entire market, it is actually an argument to be even more careful with Janet. As a big pop artist, formulas used by Soundscan to extrapolate scans to the full market were most likely in the high side, something that remained true during the entire 90s. Every evidence suggest white pop acts a la Britney Spears or Aguilera happen to have Soundscan sales higher than their real retail sales for example. Janet case is not that extreme as she did had poorly scanned urban retails on her side but still she was a big star, acts slightly inflated by Soundscan overall in the early days of the system.

      Soundscan and Clubs assumptions should never be regarded as fundamentals to estimate sales to date, the starting point is the RIAA certification, the only tool involving no calculation whatsoever. The album Janet was updated as it was breaking criterias, 3xP in 08/93, 4xP in 11/93, 5xP in 12/93 and 6xP in 04/94. At the time, Soundscan sales were already way past 5 million, retail shipments on about 5,5 million, plus a bit more than 1,5 million after. This latter figure of 1,5 million post-certification shipment is the only one you can safely add to the certified amount. As the album was removed from BMG not that long after, it has obviously not ship much in the mean-time, with a figure around 8 million making perfect sense.

      Music Box is a completely different case. When both albums entered catalog status and should have start selling high amounts at discount price at Columbia House, Mariah Carey was smashing with Daydream, heavily boosting MB. On her side, Janet was not only removed from all music clubs, but DOAD was released destroying the appeal of her studio albums.

      An important element to keep in mind are annual reports from the label. All figures are consistent with them. In concrete words, if you assume the US figure is underestimated, then every unit you add you will need to subtract it from sales abroad. Considering the information available for other markets, the most realistic scenario is the most sensible one – that Janet album sold near nothing outside SS/BMG.

      As for DOAD, the album wasn’t certified 3xP while new. If certs in the long run can be well overdue, during the initial promotion of a record labels used to get them up to date. It is visible in all Janet own albums and A&M also certified many albums all over 1996. Thus, the starting point is that DOAD shipped less than 3m units by the start of 1997. Soon clubs vanished and its Soundscan total isn’t that great so the amount of catalog sales managed afterwards is limited.

      The “it was big on BMG so it must have been big on Columbia” reasoning is wrong, even if some exceptions managed that like Mariah or Shania, the logic was pretty much the opposite. A bit like YouTube vs Spotify, they cannibalize each other. DOAD was fairly expensive at Columbia. Also, BMG Club was a club mostly for young / pop audience, while Columbia was way more into vocal acts / MOR / Folk / Rock / adult music. Obviously, Janet audience was way more BMG-oriented and its initial sales there suggest it was likely an exclusive there during its initial era.

      1. Wow, that was extremely insightful! I fully agree on each point and i can understand your estimation a lot better now.

        Thank you for actually taking the time to deal with all of the questions in the comment section. I really appreciate that!

        Keep up the great work!

      2. Thank you for the explanation. Truly appreciate it!

        Just a few more clarifications regarding DOAD:
        1. How can we be certain that DOAD shipped less than 3M by the start of 1997? Janet was back with Virgin records at that time and could it be that A&M just didn’t bother with its recertification since she is no longer their artist?
        2. You mentioned that soon clubs vanished after 1997 implying that DOAD couldn’t have benefited from additional club sales from either BMG or Columbia. There were still ads as late as 2002 advertising columbia music club in magazines (with DOAD albums included in the listings) so might it have sold more copies in Columbia as you might have originally thought?

        All the best!

        1. Hi again Robbie!

          A&M certified many albums in 1996 including from artists not in their roster anymore. Janet own DOAD music video was certified in 1996! Plus, second year shipments of big holiday season compilation cash-ins are negative more often than not. Retailers used to order a lot of copies for such releases, not needing to be feed anymore the following year. Even now you can see how high Bruno Mars, Metallica and the Rolling Stones are in the IFPI Report, because they got heavily shipped. Adele shipped barely 12% of her last year numbers due to that and this is an album that has been selling all year long. DOAD was dead after 1996 Q1 and there was no digital sales at the time so the gap sales-shipments in first months was even bigger.

          DOAD sold 1,1m units in 1995 and 1,5m+ by the end of 1996, shipped likely about 1,7m for the period at retail only. The strong gap in Soundscan sales in 1995 and its 2xPlatinum award that year means BMG got the album earlier than usual – the norm was to put it on Clubs 3 months after release, which implies they negotiated an exclusivity over the content and certainly committed in a minimum of copies they were going to sell, which is why the cert came so fast and why the unnatural ratio retail / club sales of this release. Thus, you can expect the main part of the 1,48m BMG Club to have come fast, plus 1,7m sales at retail and yet it wasn’t certified 3xP which suggest low – or zero, if indeed as it seems the album was first a BMG exclusive – sales in other retailers. This is even more confirmed as from late 1995 / early 1996 Columbia House adds I have seen, DOAD was indeed absent from there – I would be inclined to change the figure if this ends up proven wrong! I won’t expect it to happen yet as this 2-pages full Columbia House add from Mai 1996 shows Janet being completely absent from it, just like from this 5-pages 1999 ad!

          Since then, it added less than 800,000 units at retail. If you check Columbia sales of all big late 90s albums by doing Certification minus Soundscan plus BMG, you will notice they pretty much disappeared from 1998 to 1999. That’s really the breaking point when BMG took the definitive lead, getting exclusivity on all big albums and letting only low catalog sales for Columbia. Even if we assume DOAD sold 10% of its retail sales at Columbia from 1997 to 2002, which is truly pushing it over the limits as entire club sales went from 8% of the market to 4% of it in the period, most of which were for BMG, that would still represent only about 60,000 copies, just enough to push the total on 4 million once combining with Soundscan / BMG sales.

          Hope it helps!

          1. Hello MJD!
            Thank you for taking the time and explaning this to me. I understand where you are coming from and your logic is sound.
            I do however want to also point out that Columbia continued to advertise DOAD in 1997 and also in 1999 so i do not think the album was completely absent from their roster but you are probably right that it most probably had a exclusivity deal with BMG early on.

            Thank you again and keep up the good work! 🙂
            1997 ad
            1999 ad

          2. Hi again Robby!

            Yes, a few years ago I posted the complete catalog of Columbia House as of 1997 on UKmix and DOAD was definitely part of it from that year, that’s why I used the 1997-2002 period in previous calculation.

            In both articles about Columbia House, I pointed out the “scale” issue with pictured albums selling way more than listed albums, themselves selling more than albums part of the comprehensive club catalog but absent from main ads. The 1997 ad is interesting – it is from Black Enterprise, as it names evidence a black magazine. On SPIN – a generalist magazine – issues from that year it wasn’t present. Kind of normal if we notice the album wasn’t part of the Top 23 sellers from 1997 black catalog, so it was logically absent from cross-over ads. The album was also listed in a couple of Latin magazines too and it made Vibe listing when The Velvet Rope came out. It is interesting to notice those clubs used a logic very similar to FM radios in their albums listings for marketing purpose!

            Also worth highlighting is that albums ranked at #1, #2 and #4 were all Columbia House exclusives showing very well the cannibalization effect a la YouTube vs Spotify!

  17. Hi! I have the same question as Luminator above but for DOAD

    It sold about 2.5M according to soundscan
    Add the 1.48M sold in BMG which isn’t tracked by soundscan
    You get 3.98M sold already enough for the 4x platinum certification
    However this album was available in Columbia Music Club (as were her other AM releases Control, and Rhythm Nation) and considering how big it was in BMG, one would assume it also sold well at Columbia (which was an even bigger music club in terms of membership)

    Did it sell next to nothing at Columbia?

    Thank you in advance

  18. Hello MJD!
    Much appreciated! It would save us all these speculations if Columbia published their bestsellers ala BMG wouldn’t it? One can wish! 🙂
    Thank you again

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