CSPC: Mariah Carey Popularity Analysis

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Original Albums Sales

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Rainbow (1999)
  • America
    • US – 3,500,000
    • Canada – 250,000
    • Argentina – 40,000
    • Brazil – 275,000
    • Mexico – 70,000
  • Asia – 1,325,000
    • Japan – 875,000
    • South Korea – 100,000
    • Taiwan – 75,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 45,000
    • New Zealand – 15,000
  • Europe – 1,650,000
    • UK – 230,000
    • France – 485,000
    • Germany – 300,000
    • Italy – 75,000
    • Spain – 110,000
    • Sweden – 10,000
    • Netherlands – 50,000
    • Switzerland – 30,000
    • Austria – 20,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 7,250,000

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

87 thoughts on “CSPC: Mariah Carey Popularity Analysis”

  1. MJD, there are absolutely no words that i say will be able to express my gratitude to you for this. Mariah Carey means so much to me, and I’ve always wanted to know your professional opinion of her success. Unexpectedly, she ends up lower than Celine and Madonna, and above both Janet and Whitney. Still, there’s no doubt all of their successes were extraordinary!

    Regarding her album sales, there are a few comments I would like to make.

    Her debut album at 2m in Asia is bigger than i imagined! Didn’t Sony reported that it only sold 500K in Southeast Asia? What’s more, you’ve upgraded it’s sales in Europe since your last update by 250K! Any reason for that? What’s more, regarding the debut album sales in Australia, it ranked #6 on the YEC and had a chart run as good as Daydream (despite the different release schedule). Plus, all albums from #1-#5 from that year were really big sellers, some going 5XP or above. Is it possible the debut album could be higher there?

    Emotions: It’s obvious this album was bigger than it’s predecessor in the UK, but just by only 20K? It enjoyed Xmas sales plus it had a way better chart run.

    Music Box: I thought it was confirmed that it sold 1m in South Korea? Also, I remember a report saying that is was at 1,4m in Germany.

    Daydream: Outside of the figures listed, it sold 175K. Perhaps this is too small? After all, I’ve heard Daydream was her biggest seller there (don’t know if it’s true). I guess I just want to see it at 20m copies.

    Butterfly: Wasn’t it certified 8XP in Japan for 1,6m copies? Why did you have it at 1,3m? Moreover, if you compare Janet’s TVR and this album in the Australian YEC, Butterfly ranked #24 in 1997, while TVR ranked below the Top 40 in 1997 and below the Top 80 in 1998. Shouldn’t Butterfly be higher?

    Rainbow: Again, it was certified as a million seller there, yet you have it at 875K?. Besides, I think you underestimated it’s Asian sales. The album was reported as a 3XP album (120K) in the Philippines. Also, it was reported in 2000 that Rainbow was approaching 300K in Canada. I’m pretty sure with the following singles it broke that mark? Finally, 80K outside all the countries/continent listed is really low. Was it that much of a flop in Africa? Besides, Billboard reported shipments of over 7m by early 2000’s.

    #1’s: Are you sure about it’s European sales. 3,6m is huge, especially since it’s only certified 2XP. Also, do you mind providing sales of other Asian countries’ sales and tell me where it would rank among biggest selling foreign albums in Asia (with Japan).

    As for her singles sales, both physical and digital, they’re both quite good. 37m for the physical format is what I expected. She sold close to 20m alone in the US, so 17m+ outside the States, a really good showing. As for her downloads, close to 50m is very good. Could you tell me how AIWFCIY ranks among 90’s songs for download sales? I also don’t think her steaming is weak, as most of her hit singles has very good showing. Mariah also outperforms Madonna, Celine, Janet and Whitney in this sector.

    As a whole, her career in the 90’s was absolutely huge. Both MB and DD were global smashes and she had a couple more very successful releases all decade long. Rainbow was a strong drop, though still respectable. TEOM is lower than I thought, though it could be explained by the fact that it wasn’t cannibalized by a big compilation album. Had Mariah release a live album or waited to release 2001’s Greatest Hits in late 2005/2006, when the hype for her was huge, TEOM would obviously end up a lot higher. It has pretty low catalog sales anyway, with the exception of WBT. Can you tell me how it ranks among 2005 songs?

    Final questions like to ask:
    1. When will you add the total sales of individual countries I asked before?
    2. What’s the gap between Mariah and The Beatles as the top selling foreign artists in Japan (in album sales)?
    3. Is Mariah the biggest selling International artist in Asia, or does someone else challenges her. Probably The Beatles or MJ.
    4. Who’s up next? Miley Cyrus?

    Thank you and keep up the good work all of you!

    1. Hi Raffi!

      Sorry to answer you last but I had limited time frames while there was many things to tell for your questions so I have let it for the end 😉

      Debut Album
      – Asia: Please refer to the answer to Luminator 🙂
      – Europe: Yes, it increased well. In 2009, it was close to Music Box as her top selling catalog studio album, selling at least twice more than every other album. Figures were low, but it is a good representation of this album doing well in the long run. For a 8 million seller that wouldn’t bring too much of a difference, but since it first sold low amounts catalog sales it got, mostly in 1993 to 1998, were a strong addition. I also slightly increased its 1990 sales as I noticed that its singles did at least OK even in countries where the album hasn’t chart since rankings were often short (at best Top 50 lists).
      – Australia: I myself got misled by this annual ranking, which got clarified by Nelson with detailed monthly (instead of yearly) certifications. It ended ##6 while albums at #5/7/8 went 4/5/6xPlatinum. The trap is that those same three albums were #2/4/5 of 1990 already, thus hitting roughly 300,000 units accross two big years rather than one. Plus, Joyride by Roxette at #10 went 3xPlatinum at the very end of the year thanks to large shipments at Christmas. Natalie Cole, which wasn’t selling anymore by Christmas and thus had sales and shipments better aligned, ended at #4 of the year and reached 3xPlatinum at the very end of 1991 only. Eurythmics at #3 went 3xPlatinum, same for Rod Stewart at #2 – went 4xPlatinum in 1992 – and the #1 of the year stopped its way at 3xPlatinum only too. The own Mariah Carey album went 2xPlatinum after the solid Top 10 run, selling those shipped copies during next month and topping this level thanks to August rebound, but as it is a low period of sales this wasn’t enough to get 3xPlatinum status. I did estimate it past that criteria but only thanks to latter catalog sales.

      I wouldn’t say it did that much better than the debut album in the UK. No doubt the peak is better looking, but in the long run Mariah Carey was much bigger. The only post-1992 week that saw Emotions charting was in June 1994 at #196. On that same week, the debut album was #45, showing it was outperforming it in catalog sales by roughly 4 to 1. It means that if we assume the debut sold 100k in some time-frame, then Emotions did only 25k. Artist Year End Charts suggest Mariah sold around 200,000 albums in 1991 and less than 350,000 in 1992, which doesn’t let any room for Emotions over its Platinum status after subtracting Mariah Carey / MTV Unplugged sales, while the debut itself made it past Platinum in 1994.

      Various “Sony” claims
      As answered elsewhere, 1,4m in Germany / 1m in South Korea for Music Box, Rainbow at 1m in Japan, 120k in Philippines etc. are all unconfirmed or even truly wrong (like Rainbow in Japan). Same goes for 8xPlatinum supposed “award” in Japan, RIAJ doesn’t certify albums at all at this level, they go 1/2/3/4 Platinum then 1/2/3… Million, there is no “8xPlatinum” certifications.

      Same in “other” countries
      By other countries we are almost looking at Argentina plus South Africa times 2. Argentina because it is roughly the equivalent of all latin American countries not already listed and South Africa because it is half of African sales. I used to over-estimate those “rest of world” areas because I included countries like Israel or Turkey until realizing they were already part of the IFPI Europe panel, thus already factored into ratios I worked out from Europe certifications. To be fully transparent, Daydream doesn’t have 175k units outside of listed countries but instead 200k – this is as explained Rest of Latin America + Africa and got calculated using Argentina + (US/150+UK/15) = 75 + 125 = 200k. This provides a total of 19,925,400 units, automatically rounded at the closest 100k. BTW, I’m perfectly aware of South African certifications claims but once again I never saw a valid source for them, most likely more made up material.

      Australia round 2
      Outside of the Top 10 an annual chart will be fairly linear, thus #24 and #42 won’t be *so* different. To prove the point, I randomly opened the first official Year End chart with figures I add on my computer, French 2005 list – #24 = 212k, #42 + #82 = 167k + 90k = 257k! Also, Butterfly stopped selling after 1998 since Ones was released while DOAD got issued before The Velvet Rope, letting it a few catalog sales for several years, not much but enough to create a 10/20k gap apart from the original run.

      Add together following conditions:
      – November release
      – Big household name
      – Short-lived era
      And you will get an album that in all likelyhood reached its highest ever point of shipment in the month of January after its release. Christmas shipments are massive in such cases and in several countries the album will necessarily never cross the mark. Japanese case is striking for Rainbow. Look at recent Rolling Stones case. Even a decent success like this one will never reach its shipment. Sales are so high in December in comparison to the rest of the year than the number of copies needed to safely supply 100% of the demand will last months and months to be sold. Even when they held very well the following year such Christmas cash-ins barely add more units, that’s how Adele added barely 2+ million this year and Madonna’s COADF missed 2006 Top 50 chart. This is because even when copies are still being sold, some more are still shipped in some shops / countries, others will be returning some from January since 100% of retailers can’t have got exactly right the number of copies they were going to sell. Thus I’m perfectly fine with my estimate when I see Billboard claiming over 7 million by early 2000 since I don’t think it net shipped a positive amount of units since that moment.

      You are right about IFPI certification and myself I have my doubts. One of the possible explanations is that it may be one more of those albums that the OCC largely overestimated around 1998/2002 years as it went 2xP only after auto-certifications started, precisely based on those OCC figures. Also, I assumed it sold the 300,000 units it shipped upon release in Italy, maybe it wasn’t the case. I’m quite safe that the certification wasn’t date specific yet, meaning it was already well past 2 million when certified, although no doubt under 3 million. I would need to dig into various files to tell you where it ranks in Asian top sellers, by mind I would say top 5 is safe, but at 4AM forgive me if I’m not faithfull enough to verify all detailed figures ^^

      Digital World
      Same for AIWFCIY, as I haven’t estimate songs like Wonderwall or the Red Hot Chili Peppers hits, thus this is a difficult call, just like top 2005 songs. I would say the former is likely higher in the 90s list than the latter in the 2005 one yet. You are right about her streams not being bad, she has the highest percentage of her overall CSPC coming from streams among all four big divas in spite of the recent less favorable method.

      Final questions
      – silly me, I knew I was again forgetting something, though about it a bit but it hasn’t cross my mind!
      – Mariah is just over 18m, the Beatles just over 23m, so the gap is a significant 5m! This is for album sales alone.
      – Totals are 30,5m in Asia for Mariah and 33 million for the Beatles, so the UK group wins again! I don’t want to commit on a total for MJ before I study all his details too!
      – Yes 😉

    2. I wasnt surprise that Mariah ended lower than Madonna and Celine Dion. Madonna and Celine had amazing2 results in Europe. Madonna sold like 80 million copies or something in Europe and Celine was close to 60 million if I’m not mistaken. Mariah on the other hand managed to sell less than 30 million. That is a huge gap. She is the best selling female artist in Asia, but Madonna and Celine was huge there too, and their sales difference in that region shouldnt be that much. Therefore, Madonna and Celine is a bigger star at their peak. Although not by much.

  2. Thank you so much for this! Outstanding work as usual and 99% of your figures perfectly fit with what i came up with over the years watching and analyzing her career.

    I DO have some minor, some bigger remarks on a few figures that i’d like to discuss with you:

    1) I don’t really understand why all of your estimations perfectly fit with the info from Sony Music Japan in 1999 regarding her album sales…

    Sony Music Japan from 1999:
    • Mariah Carey 850.000
    • Emotions 1 million
    • MTV Unplugged 500.0000
    • Music Box 2.2 million
    • Merry Christmas 2.6 million
    • Daydream 2.4 million
    • Butterfly 1.5 million
    • #1‘s 3.5 million

    bar two explicit albums: One is Butterfly (1,300,000), for which Sony gave 1,5 million in 1999 and the other is Rainbow, which even got certified as a so called “Million Seller” by the RIAJ, yet you put it at 825,000 only. Can you clear up why you put these two destincly lower than the official sources, yet agreeing with the other ones?

    2) Wasn’t Music Box confirmed to have sold a full million in South Korea as late as in 2002?

    3) Are Butterfly’s (2,040,000) Rainbow’s Asian (1,325,000) really that much lower than her 1993-1995 albums, because that leaves not that many copies outside of Japan? That would have been such a massive downfall. Does that have to do with the Asian financial crisis?

    4) As for Glitter, it seems that you once again considered returns, right? (as the album is certified Platinum in the US for example)

    5) A big mystery for me remains China. Do you have any insight into that? For “The Emancipation of Mimi”, her label at time claimed that the album did 200,000 copies there and was named the year’s best-selling international effort. Can you clear that up?

    Also regarding “The Emancipation of Mimi”. Is is possible that the album only did a mere 190,000 in the whole of Asia bar Japan? That seems atrociously low to me considering the performance of her albums up to that point.

    I have to more little “wishes”:

    3) Would you be so nice to explain how you got the figures for South Korea and Taiwan. I have been searching for years, but didn’t get any clear insight into those markets. Can you give us a little more info for her Asian stats there?
    Where for example did you get the information that Daydream sold more than 600k in South Korea? Is that reliable?
    Could you maybe even give us an estimation for her sales in each of the Asian core markets album by album if you would dare to?

    4) Can you give us some links for the respective official label reports as you did for Janet Jackson if you have them? I would love to read up some figures from Sony.

    That’s it for the moment. Thanks again and i might add some questions later on (as you know me 😉 ).

    1. Hi Luminator!

      I’ll try to answer most of your message although I have limited time right now. First I have to say that there is always a gap between “official figures” and “forums official figures”. Many numbers are claimed to come from Sony / Warner / Universal or whatever on boards and then it is impossible to trace the real source of it. This is the case with those Chinese and Philippines claims for example, which do not match at all with listings of certifications when they came out as it happened with The Emancipation of Mimi. There is no way this album (and the others) sold that much in China. I may remind it shipped 7,7 million ‘only’ in 2005 in spite of shipping well past of 5 million in the US alone. If you do the math with known figures in Australia, Canada, Europe, Brazil and Japan you will notice there isn’t much left for remaining countries.

      About Japan, several fake legends exist too. The most known is surely Rainbow, argued again and again as a RIAJ certified million seller – it is not, the album went 4xPlatinum in November 1999 and never got certified again after that. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the album sold only 422,000 copies that month and left the Top 50 in January with 553,000 units. For such a household name, it is ludicrous to assume massive imports. Thus, this million sales is just one more boards myth.

      In the same way, no doubt Butterfly shipped immense amounts upon release – I would expect 1,6 million to have been its initial orders – does it mean those copies have been sold yet? In your listing, it appears 900,000 units behind Daydream, while its Oricon sales fall 1,2 million behind and that it had obviously less sales outside charts since #1’s quickly replaced it. No doubt assuming massive imports again is tempting, but all Oricon vs overall shipments available suggest from 10% to 20% such imports only, it is highly unlikely that Butterfly outsold Daydream by 3 to 1 on that avenue. The most sensible scenario is that the huge initial orders got communicated and then got repeated everywhere. Remember that Japan was the first country to have utterly frontloaded sales, which almost always ended on returns for albums selling much less than their predecessors. Just imagine how difficult it is to appropriately ship an album that sells over 400,000 units in a week then 5,000 copies per week a few weeks later – especially since first week could have been realistically expected on 600,000-800,000 units.

      BTW, for albums fitting with claimed Sony figures, it is only because I got similar results using Oricon / RIAJ / Billboard data. I haven’t take them seriously since they weren’t an official press release but instead random online bios that were also stating fanciful stuff like 30 million sold Worldwide by Music Box or the 6 octaves thing.

      The only official statement that came for TEOM after Hong Kong show cancellation mentioned way lower figures than suggested by fans. That country (Hong Kong) was the only Asian market where it had made it to multi-Platinum. It wasn’t even Platinum in China were the criteria was 30,000 units. The same was true for Singapore, Indonesia or India, all countries missing from markets where it made Platinum status. Is it really that surprising when the album did 10 times less her top seller in Japan, the Asian market that held the best into the 00s? Plus, keep in mind the World total of 7,7 million for 2005 – and absence from 2006 Top 50.

      Yes, same for Glitter in the US. All figures are aimed to be up to date net shipments and obviously that tally for Glitter is under 1 million.

      The 600,000 figure for Daydream in South Korea came from the year end article posted at the time, a neutral source, not axed around Mariah. I barely extrapolated to date total with Japanese sales evolution. You are right about Asian sales going down due to the crisis, but it even started earlier. When Music Box came out, 60 million albums were sold per year in South Korea. The market held OK until 1997 with 46 million. From there, drops got horrendous, in 1998 the market lost 40% (!!!) of its size with 28,8 million albums sold – a few years later by 2005 sales were on 9 million only. It went from a France-like market to not even challenge Switzerland in no time.

      This is very visible with Mariah. While Daydream was confirmed on 600k, 25% of its Japanese sales, Rainbow shipped 87,000 units (shipped, not sold), a tenth of its initial Japanese shipment that made it 4xPlatinum. Thus, in 4 years only, sales lost 60% of their strength in comparison, in spite of Japanese sales themselves already going down a lot with Rainbow selling a third of Daydream only.

      Sadly, Sony Music Financial Reports include “popular” albums of the year in text blocks but they never print figures! We can only go by the IFPI when available. Well, if everything was available, it would be much less fun to be on charts and sales, wouldn’t it ? 😉

      1. Thanks for the reply.

        I’m still not sold on the point that Sony Music Japan would be given such a randomly inflated number when all the other numbers perfectly fit the overall picture. That’s seems to remain as a debatable point…..

        A few more questions:

        1) One refers to the overall Asian estimation: What made you come to the conclusion that her debut album (2,000,000) sold basically just as much as Butterfly (2,040,000) in overall Asia?
        I see absolutely no indication that the debut album would have sold and considerably more copies outside of Japan than Butterfly (2,000,000 – 925,000 for Japan = 1,075,000 for the debut vs. 2,040,000 – 1,300,000 = 740,000 copies for Butterfly), when her popularity was clearly much higher in 1997 and the debut album doesn’t even have certifications for any country outside of Japan in Asia?
        I mean she was basically unknown as an artists in a lot of Asian countries prior to 1993 and the overall success of Music Box. Yet, your estimation states that her debut album was an overall bigger success throughout Asia than Butterfly?

        I don’t see how that fits the overall picture of her Asian sales trajectory.

        2) Next up would be Sony Music Japans report of having sold 450,000 copies of Glitter in 2001. What do you think of that one? Isn’t that trustworthy?

        3) I would underline that back in 1995, Music Box was reported to have sold 1,4 million copies by the German Sony Music chief. The same applies to Music Box and its figures of 1,0 million in in South Korea (confirmed in 2002). What do you think of these figures?

        Thanks in advance. And please don’t feel compelled by all these questions. It just means quite a lot for me to finally have the opportunity to discuss all these points with a reliable source like yours on the Internet (and not obscure sites like mediatrafffic….. ;))

        1. Hi Luminator!

          The debut album and Butterfly are two very different cases. The debut sold well for many years, enjoying strong boosts thanks to latter successes while Butterfly shipped a lot upon release then disappeared.

          In fact, Billboard reported half a million units in Asia, but that happened while it was on 400,000 units only in Japan, a country where it ultimately sold over 900,000 units. Thus, the 2 million estimate was natural. As certifications are widely unknown in Asia, we do get some only in promotion reports when an album is hot. Records selling well over several years do not enjoy such press.

          Asian figure of Butterfly is one of the most tricky as there is really few information. From old Nelson posting, the album was barely Gold in Hong Kong after various months, it also sold a third of Daydream in Taiwan. The missing figure is obviously the South Korean one, but considering Rainbow shipped only 60,000 copies in its first month, Butterfly seems very unlikely to have perform near Music Box / Daydream levels there. Using albums ratios, I went with 390,000 copies sold in Taiwan + SK + HK, three markets that used to represent about 65% of her continental Asian sales. I already ‘inflated’ the extrapolation of under 600,000 units overall by 150k to allow some room for possible greatest than expected sales in China or the Phillipines. As you can see, this is no exact science as we just miss too many information, but I never saw a legitimate figure that can allow us to assume massive Asian sales for this album – and anything close / over 1 million is already enormous there.

          I believe at 100% that 450,000 copies of Glitter got shipped upon release in Japan – please notice this data really came from the release period. They weren’t sold yet and Oricon confirms they are all the more unlikely to have ever been sold.

          About the point 3), they are part of “forum legends”, figures for which nobody ever saw a real source. Music Box went Gold, Platinum, 3xGold, 2xPlatinum at different moments, being properly tracked by Sony and reaching the last criteria in late 1994. I’ll not deny certifications and charts (that give me 1,073,000 units sold when I apply calculations I always use) because of a forum claim. Same goes for the supposed million in South Korea, I never saw a valid source for it, just claims on forums pretending the information came from Sony.

          It is great that you ask so many questions. If you wonder them, no doubt many others do, this comments section enables me to provide explanations / insights of figures, detailing where everything comes from, so it is very usefull even for me. I never want to “pollute” articles with too many sources / explanations because for non-chart fans it just gets way too complicated and tiring to read, thus providing explanations in comments is perfectly fitting!

  3. Yay! You finally analysed Mariah’s career! She’s one of the acts I anticipated the most, and you did not disappoint. I just finished reading through the whole article and everything looks great. I also appreciate the fact that you included sales breakdowns for her compilation albums!

    It’s interesting that Daydream seems to be bigger than Music Box in many ways. Daydream has the advantage in digital sales, streaming sales AND physical sales despite Music Box selling 6 million more in physical format! Their CSPC totals are also way closer than I expected them to be.

    I’m also surprised Hero is her biggest song in terms of CSPC and not All I Want, but that’ll definitely change this Christmas.

    By the way, I compiled this list of the biggest female albums of all time in terms of pure album sales, and Mariah appears on it twice. I used your figures for pretty much every album except Tapestry, Tracy Chapman, and Jagged Little Pill, and updated 25 and 21’s sales! Am I missing anything? Can we say this is accurate?

    1. Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard – 41,100,000
    2. Shania Twain – Come On Over – 33,500,000
    3. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill – 32,000,000
    4. Adele – 21 – 30,000,000
    5. Celine Dion – Let’s Talk About Love – 29,800,000
    6. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection – 28,600,000
    7. Celine Dion – Falling Into You – 28,100,000
    8. Mariah Carey – Music Box – 26,100,000
    9. Norah Jones – Come Away With Me – 23,900,000
    10. Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time – 23,500,000

    11. Celine Dion – All The Way… A Decade Of Songs – 22,900,000
    12. Madonna – True Blue – 22,400,000
    13. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston – 21,900,000
    14. Madonna – Like A Virgin – 21,200,000
    15. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman – 21,000,000
    16. Adele – 25 – 20,000,000
    17. Carole King – Tapestry – 20,000,000
    18. Mariah Carey – Daydream – 19,900,000
    19. Whitney Houston – Whitney – 19,800,000
    20. Britney Spears – Oops!… I Did It Again – 18,600,000

    1. Hi Trish!

      Yes, definitely accurate – also quite certain no other album challenge this top 20 as there is a real gap below it. I wouldn’t expect this ranking to change before long!

  4. Hi MJD,
    Thank you so much for your latest CSPS!
    Could we have a list of best performers as per the 4 categories below for all the artiste studied so far under the master series
    1) Original album format (Not individual album but rather cumulative total albums for artiste)
    2) Physical single format (Not individual single but rather cumulative total singles for artiste)
    3) Digital download single format (Not individual single but rather cumulative total singles for artist)
    4) Streaming single format (Cumulative total singles for artist) – I know streaming is exploding, it add sizeable streams in just a month for top streaming artists. But would be cool to know acts from 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s would fair to those in the 10s as of now.

    1. It is a bit out of date and quite a few notable artists have been analysed since but here is the last update, if you’ve not seen it.

    2. Hi CJ!

      I just updated the Fixing Log to point out how Physical Singles Sales will be re-constructed when needed. The same is going to be done with Streaming as I’ll be updating the article next week with new methodology according to updated IFPI numbers. After that, Miley Cyrus article will come with this new process. That will mark the 50th artist studied which implies a new “Summary” article on which you will get all your answers with updated numbers! So you will need a little patience but all this should come out next week 😉

  5. I thought she’d be higher but I guess she just doesn’t shift on catalogue and her streaming (Spotify) is pretty weak, for a relatively contemporary artist, with a lot of her most successful albums having numerous tracks under 1m and some under 500k.

    On the top 90’s streaming tracks, are Californication & Under The Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers also not above AIFCIY. They have 201,273,988 & 202,097,313 streams respectively on Spotify alone, while AIFCIY only has 190,236,616.

    1. Hi Martin!

      The 225 million figure of AIWFCIY refers to Spotify alone – the song has several versions available within’ the platform!

      1. Hi mate,

        Yes I see that now but I can only find 201m, not 225m. Which versions am I missing or not seeing?

        Now That’s What I Call Christmas — 190,256,240
        Merry Christmas — 190,256,240
        Christmas Hits — 190,256,240
        Merry Christmas II You — 10,597,711
        Christmas R & B — 672,339
        Greatest Hits — 672,339
        Oh Santa! AIWCIY (Holiday Mashup) — 296,897
        Total — 201,823,187

    2. Mariah’s catalog sales and streaming are actually very healthy. She is the highest streamed artist out of her peers (Madonna, Whitney, Celine, Janet) and AIWFCIY is easily the biggest recurrent hit out of all those artists as well.

  6. Your Sales for Music Box And Daydream are simple inaccurate, she sold much more in South America and is a shame that you can’t count these sales. The same goes for the debut and Butterfly

    1. Hi Breakdowncarey,

      Sales from all areas, including South America, are factored in. She sold nothing massive there around Music Box and Daydream though.

    2. Wake up and accept the truth that Celine is still a legend while Mariah is no longer an icon of the currect people.

    1. This is very exactly why Chartmasters.org is accurate – because we don’t stick with old flaws. With years, tons of claims appear to have been fake (like old Brazilian claims, Asian fanciful results, supposed mega-platinum albums in every small country, huge Columbia sales for unreleased albums etc) but yet some sources (look at my eyes) stick with the same Worldwide total and just remove the incorrect value from the breakdown. The global total should never be a manually fixed, wished total, but barely the result logical as per the breakdown. Thus, each and everytime a raw data evolves / appears to have contain a flaw / is first published, it is just logical that the Worldwide total changes. Sticking with the same figure for all albums year after year is the signature of a fake site.

  7. Female ranking:

    01 – 244,062,000 – Madonna
    02 – 192,088,000 – Céline Dion
    03 – 164,642,000 – Mariah Carey
    04 – 151,051,000 – Whitney Houston
    05 – 96,942,000 – Britney Spears
    06 – 79,944,000 – Shania Twain
    07 – 76,462,000 – Janet Jackson
    08 – 72,937,000 – Adele
    09 – 65,334,000 – Rihanna
    10 – 61,702,000 – Beyoncé

    Madonna is truly the undisputed Queen of Pop. She is also the highest grossing solo touring artist of all time. No one comes close even Celine. Celine is amazing. Not only she has sold MORE albums than Mariah, her tours have also grossed MUCH more than Mariah’s.

    1. Whitney’s sales actually impress me the most considering her catalog is very small. Keep in mind, Madonna, Celine and Mariah have massive catalogs (in size). Celine has more advantage considering she sings in English and French. Celine has a very large discography. Madonna has the advantage since many of her releases were compilations. Had Whitney released just 1 or 2 more pop albums in her prime, recorded the full Waiting To Exhale soundtrack, she would be well surpass Celine and Mariah, and possibly Madonna.

    2. Celine is a real legend, Mariah is not, that’s why. Mariah is a huge flop when it comes to touring and despite having 18 #1s her singles sales are horrible! Her albums sales are impressive, yes, but that’s because she debuted during the peak of albums sales when everyone and their mother was going multiplatinum (see Teen Pop – Backstreet Boys, Britney, Spice Girls etc.). In the 2000s her sales are not good at all sans The Empancipation of Mimi and that album was local as hell. If she was a legend, she would be able to tour and sell out arenas/stadiums everywhere, but that’s not the case. Her music is forgotten and she’s an atrocious performer.
      And if we count Titanic Soundtrack (which sold that much only because of MHWGO, don’t even try it, Avatar Soundtrack flopped hard despite being bigger than Titanic in revenue gross), Celine’s ahead of Madonna in albums sales. Encore Un Soir outsold Rebel Heart as well. Madonna is a singles artist compared to Celine.

      1. Madonna is much a single artist???

        Madonna solds albums, singles, dvds and tours.

        Celine just sold albums, never was a huge hits, never was a huge single sales artist. just one or 2.


        Madonna >>> Celine!

          1. That’s why Madonna is more of a singles artist, she always needed huge hits/controversy in order to push albums sales. Celine doesn’t, she’s an albums artist because she achieved respectable amounts of albums with no many big hits (over 60 million singles is still a great number though). With The Titanic Soundtrack counted, she’s ahead of Madonna in albums sales and MHWGO is a bigger classic and more remembered than all Madonna’s songs combined. Celine is as huge as Madonna when it comes to touring, she can sell out stadiums everywhere but she doesn’t tour the world that often because of her Vegas residency.
            The fact that Madonna’s best selling album is her collection of singles tells you that she’s a singles artist. She’s never had a huge selling studio album a la Falling Into You/ Lets Talk About Love/21/Come On Over/Music Box. Even Baby One More Time sold more than any of her studio albums. Btw Celine holds the record for the best selling French album of all time and she sold bunch of live albums and DVDs as well (get your facts straight) without gimmicks/embarrassing herself. The voice was and is still enough, that’s why Encore Un Soir outsold Rebel Heart (which had Grammys/Brits/Ellen promo).

          2. I think that’s true. Madonna can’t sell her albums without hit singles. I was shocked by that, too. But something’s wrong with this world where Confessions on a Dance Floor is “just a good commercial album”. Maybe after her death in 50+ years people will recognize her more as a songwriter and musician. But not in recent future. And not in US.

          3. Hi Didi,

            How come Madonna is a single artist, when IN FACT she sold way more albums than Celine Dion. Nice try! 😀
            Madonna is a multimedia and multi-format artist. In Canada (Celine’s homeland), she got two diamond albums and 20 number-one singles (faaaar more than Celine).

            Yeah, Celine got the VOICE, but that’s only thing she got. Madonna is a musician, a songwriter, a producer who controls every single aspect of her musical output. Celine only sings what her producers give her to sing. That’s why she’s more acclaimed as an artist compared to Celine.

      2. Céline is a untalented trash, she doesn’t have any hits except that titanic thing. Mariah sold more singles and almost more records. Céline just sold more because of her french catalogue. Bye hater

        1. Celine sold more albums than Mooriah with her English material alone. After all those #1s the difference in their singles sales is like 15-20 million. Don’t shade Mooriah like that.
          Mooriah is an embarrasing flop in 2017. Can’t sing, can’t even sell out an amphitheatre in the market where she has 18 #1s (mostly fueled by massive payola and cheap discounts tricks), can’t sell albums, can’t even lipsync properly. Imagine stanning that fat whale in 2017.

          1. Hey guys,

            Can you both keep it friendly and chart related? I don’t like to spam users so I don’t want to have to do that. Plus as a side note, you are giving a very bad image of your faves by fighting in a heavily biased way as soon as it is about them 😉

          2. Mariah’s still a talent legend who changed the Music Industry. Celine is a basic AC that old people still buys. Besides her forgotten songs

          3. you think that Mariah’s not a legend? I think you forgot that she influenced Beyoncé, Rihanna, Christina Aguillera, Leona Lewis, Fifth Harmony and Kelly Clarkson. If you think that she’s not, well Patti Labelle, MJ, Whitney, Aretha, Prince, Beyoncé and Rihanna would disagree.

          4. Celine is a good lip-syncer trust me. Mariah’s not that’s why she always get caught. Anyway, album sales doesn’t define you as a legend. Mariah influenced many artists today, so as Vision of Love( VOL alone inspired the American Idol family, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna).
            If you think she can’t sing, watch her performance on Dubai Jazz Festival.
            Mariah and Whitney influenced many artist than Celine. If you think Mariah’s not a legend, why the hell singers today using the rap/sung collaboration which MC popularized in 1995?

          5. Yes she sold more albums than Mariah. But you can’t deny the fact that she’s still a legend. She’s the ‘Queen of Melisma’ , hailed as the ‘Songbird Supreme’ by the GUINESS WORLD OF RECORD, she’s a STAR LISTER vocalist accrdng to CRITICS OF MUSIC why Celine is only an A-lister.

    3. I disagree for two reasons. I think that it’s important to take under consideration how many albums were released when we talk about overall sales, and what was the climate in the music industry when each of these artists were active and popular. That being said, I think that Whitney was the most successful, and I’m not even a fan. The climate was great in her case, but she released only few albums. It’s impressive that she sold them in over 150 million. To me that showcases popularity more than someone’s 244 million with nearly 30 releases. Overall sales is never telling a full story. With Whitney’s average sales, Madonna would sell 400 million albums by now.

  8. Hi MJD! It’s me again, and i wanted to ask a few more questions about Mariah’s stats.

    1. On page 38 of Greatest Hits album sales breakdown, you had it at 90,000 in Argentina. Are you sure you didn’t mix that up with the Brazilian figures, or did it really sell that much there?

    2. Based on all your album sales breakdown, Mariah’s total album sales in Europe are at 29,285,000 while in Asia the figure is 30,525,000. Obviously, those figures should be higher due to other minor compilations. Still, the question is, has Mariah sold more albums in Asia than in Europe? If so, would that show how massive she was in Asia, or would it rather show that she was rather weak in Europe?

    3. Back to the Greatest Hits album, your Australian figure is at 150,000. However, myself and a lot of estimators thought it would be closer to 3XP (210,000) due to it being certified 2XP a long time, and the fact that it’s a great catalog seller there, being featured in their itunes album chart for a long time.

    4. Is MTV Unplugged the biggest selling live album by a female artist of all time?

    5. Is Merry Christmas the biggest selling and most successful Xmas album of all time?

    6. How long do you think the debut and the Xmas would eclipse the 20m mark in album sales equivalents? I suppose the former will do that first as there’s only a 300K gap, but the latter adds significant amounts every Xmas season. Moreover, how long will TEOM reach the 10m mark? Is it a good catalog seller?

    7. I see that you were quite generous with her Canadian figures, with some being over what they were certified for. What’s the reason for this? Do you have information on what they sold through Soundscan? If so, can you share them?

    8. Regarding your update on physical singles, have you already done this with this analysis, or is it required for further update?

    9. Which European market was the biggest for her in terms of the market size? In absolute terms, the UK obviously comes first with 7,5-8m albums sold. Still, she did very well in other EU countries, She was pretty big in Netherlands during 1990-1994, but she somehow decreased in sales later on, never having an album cross 200K since Daydream. As for Italy, the trend was reverse, with her starting stable during her early years, peaking big during the mid 90’s, and remaining pretty big during the late 90’s and has been a supportive market in the early 2000s. However, what impressed me the most was France. Although a smaller market that Germany, almost every Mariah album sold more in France than in Germany. All in all, which EU country did she dominate the most?

    10. Regarding my question of WBT’s ranking among 2005 songs, I was talking about album sales equivalents. I think only songs from 50 cent, Madonna, Coldplay and Shakira can challenge WBT as one of the most successful songs of 2005?

    11. Are you sure that Butterfly is under 10m units sold worldwide? All of your figures are pretty in line with what Sony Music Japan reported during early 1999:

    Mariah Carey – 12 million
    Emotions – 8 million
    Unplugged – 7 million (Universal’s Retrospective gave 6.5 million in ’02)
    Music Box – 24 million
    Merry Christmas – 11 million
    Daydream – 19 million
    Butterfly – 10 million
    #1’s – 11 million

    12. Does Music Box and Daydream rank within the Top 10 most successful female albums of all time? Based on the artists you’ve already analysed, only Celine’s two blockbusters, Shania’s COO, Adele’s 21, Madonna’s LAV and TB, and The Bodyguard by Whitney are above Mariah’s top 2 albums. No doubt Jagged Little Pill will be above it. That leaves 2 more spots. Do any other female albums challenge MB and DD? Britney’s biggest selling album is under Daydream. I don’t know about Carole Kings and Tracy Chapman’s blockbuster albums though.

    13. Lastly, although low sellers, do you mind providing your album sales breakdown for both The Remixes and The Ballads?

    Hope that wasn’t too hard for you! Please and Thank You!

    1. Hi again Raffi!

      In order 🙂

      1) You are correct! Thanks for noticing the typo, now I better understand Marcus comment!

      2) Adding minor releases, she climbs to 29,8 million in Europe, so definitely under the Asian estimate. I would say it shows both, mega sales in Asia, in all likelyhood in the Top 3 ever, and relatively low European sales for an artist with such a monster status, although many big stars would dream to be on 30 million in the old continent!

      3) Not sure Greatest Hits is close to 3xP as it would mean the album keeps selling 10-15k a year as in mid00s while the market is way weaker now and several compilations got issued in last years. The 150k figure is definitely in the low side yet, I may have forgot to update it after the copy (the album preceeding it in the spreadsheet is Ones, itself at 150k there too). Since the exact tally of the album is 4087k, upgrading to 170/180k will not change the total as it will remain rounded to 4,1m!

      4) I can’t see another one topping it, maybe I’m forgetting something but I don’t think so.

      5) No to both questions, Elvis Presley Christmas Album is slighty bigger in pure sales and massively bigger in success (CSPC total).

      6) I would expect the debut album to gain from 25,000 to 50,000 units a year overall. Multiply it by 10 for the Christmas release. Thus it will take some time, but they will definitely get there. TEOM will most likely get into the 8 digits territory by 2020 as WBT has a nice impact on compilations and its streams are good. Plus, they will all get a little bonus in next days, stay tuned for that 😉

      7) Soundscan in Canada started only in April 1997 IIRC, plus it is insanely incomplete. Late 90s figures are in general 30% higher than the reality. Sadly no information there, only estimates from runs / certifications in comparison to the US trajectory. I do not consider Canadian certs as a roof for estimates since they are way less often updated than the US ones.

      8) Mariah Carey singles have been estimated with new method, just like the Spice Girls, the Bee Gees and Janet Jackson.

      9) I would still put the Netherlands (near 1,9m overall) on a tie with France (at 4,8m) as her biggest markets in Europe.

      10) Sorry missunderstood your first question! As of now it ranks 4th (Fix You / Hips Don’t Lie / Hung Up ahead) and surely 5th after adding Candy Shop. As you mention, there is no other song likely to be ahead.

      11) Five points here:
      a) I have never see those supposed Sony claims on an official Sony statement, only claims copied on boards
      b) Assuming they are legitimate, all figures are rounded, 10m would be clearly a figure rounded in the high side from 9 and a half million.
      c) If I mention that 10m by early 1999 is at best rounded up is that the only 100% valid figure for it is 8 million by the end of March 1998 in Sony Annual Reports (one of those which feature a numbered value)
      d) In the same way, Merry Christmas shipped 8 million units in its first 2 seasons, 11 million by 1999 is difficult to believe
      e) I’m trying to get additional information about Butterfly, I’ll keep you updated on that

      12) Both Tapestry and Tracy Chapman are 20+ million sellers but not sure their CSPC would be that much ahead of their pure album sales so your Top 10 summarizes it very well

      13) By region as their chart runs are too limited to make sense on various small markets. Remixes first:
      US – 300k
      CA – 20k
      BR – 30k
      JP – 15k
      SK – 10k
      Oz – 5k
      EU – 70k
      – UK – 40k

      US – 200k
      CA – 15k
      BR – 45k
      JP – 80k
      SK – 10k
      Oz – 10k
      EU – 340k
      – UK – 240k
      – FR / NL / IT – 10k+ each

  9. Best selling female artists according your data
    3.Celine Dion
    4.Mariah Carey
    5.Whitney Houston
    7.Taylor Swift
    8.Lady Gaga
    9.Katy Perry

    1. Hi Russelll,

      I have to say this ranking makes no sense. Putting Rihanna ahead of Celine Dion / Mariah Carey makes it a mockery of a list. You can’t cheat people due to technicalities by counting unlimitedly cheap download sales on par with album sales. No one in the street would take that claim seriously.

      1. It is a joke for us, because we know about charts, but unfortunately people confuse records with albums, including the media.

      2. I think you should give Rihanna more respect because even her peers and the newer artists are not even close to what she has achieved. And still young. She’s the only female artist who can possibly beat Madonna.

        But in terms of album sales only, then yes, Rihanna still has to work more on that category.

        1. Hi RLAAMJR,

          There is definitely no lack of respect against Rihanna from me, my comment was against the cheap methodology which adds all sales as if they were equal while there is sales of albums as well as sales of singles downloads. Rihanna has been an insane hit maker for more than a decade now but saying she is bigger than Mariah or Celine is just wrong. It isn’t a case of respect nor a mention to quality or whatever, the value she created for the music industry so far is just well under the one created by those other divas.

  10. You said there’s no miss in Greatest Hits, but if you see in the page, there are a N/A about the sales of the album in Brazil. Also, like in the UK, double CDs are certified like single CDs, so the album sold 125,000 here…

    1. Hi Marcus,

      Brazil, just like Canada, the US and Poland certifies albums per disc. As mentioned by Raffi, I wrongly allocated the Brazilian figure into Argentina line, this is now fixed!

  11. Also one thing abt AIWFCIY is that it’s often featured in digital xmas compilation albums so I can only imagine its real selling power

    Like the rest, thanks for all the hardwork MJD 🙂

  12. Great Analysis! Mimi is queen of us and queen of singles in 90s, it’s a pity she didn’t have worldwide success and longevity as Madonna and Celine. As for your refer to in the article, “they all have no competition at all in their respective leagues – well, sorry Barbra Streisand, I haven’t forgot about you but your career is too different to fairly include you inside this Madonna-generation legends battle.” Do you include Barbra in your next plans to study? She is the top2 choice in vote, and now the only “miss” one of the Biggest Five Divas in your site.

    1. I wanted to kindly ask if you could provide a breakdown for Mariah’s HUGE albums in Asia (from Music Box to Rainbow) with a country-by-country estimation of yours here in the comment section if you have some free time, because these countries unfortunately don’t appear in the article (i do understand that you try to keep the article well-arranged and not too “packed”).

      I see that most of those numbers will be educated guesses, but i would LOVE to see your opinion on it.

      That would be cool and a very special treat for us Mariah fans since she has such a special status in that region.

  13. Good work! I’m a lit bit impressioned how Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel shipped only 65k in Brazil since “I want to know what love is” was a big hit in brazilian stations.

    Would be amazing a CSPC analisys from Ayumi Hamasaki’s carrer or an analysis of japanese divas.

  14. Hi MJD!

    Me again! This time, can you help verify whether these “claims” of Mariah’s success in Asia is true or not?

    1. #1’s was reported to be a 10XP album in Malaysia with 250K shipped! Do you find this true? I suppose it is, as according to Billboard’s Hits of the World, it had a highly impressive chart run and even re-entered the Top 10 in 2001! How much do estimate for this album, and do you have any information on her other albums in Malaysia?

    2. The Glitter album was reported as the biggest selling album in China of 2001. Since you say that the 200K figure in China was a fake, I guess this is fake too? Still, do you have any info on her success in China?

    3. For Music Box, you have it at 160K in Singapore, when it’s only certified 120K there. Mind telling me the wide increase? Do you do that for her other albums too?

    4. On Mariah Daily Journal, her HK certs were reported as below:
    Music Box 5XP
    Daydream 5XP
    Butterfly 4XP
    Rainbow P
    TEOM 2XP

    Are these true? If so, then Butterfly must have had some success greater than estimated in Asia. I even heard it outsold Daydream in Singapore!

    6. Is Mariah the biggest selling foreign artist in South Korea and Taiwan? How about in other Asian markets? Is she the biggest selling international artist there as well?

    7. Lastly, there was a discussion of the rather low sales of TEOM estimated in Ukmix. It was argued that the gap between TEOM and Madonna’s COADF album was too big (8,6m vs 9,4m, a 800K gap) when TEOM and COADF is similar in total sales when factoring the main markets listed (North America, Japan, Europe, South America) but COADF managed to outsell TEOM by 600K in the remaining markets? I think that’s way too much. Also, TEOM shipped 7,7m in 2005, are you telling me it added only 900K since, when it added 1,1m in SoundScan since, and probably some more in other countries?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Raffi!

      1) I would need to see where the “report” comes from! I have evidences of the “Sony Music Japan” claims being made up, so if this is from similar sources I wouldn’t take it seriously. In any case, Malaysia is one of the countries that dropped a lot in 1998 – from 17m to 11m in that year alone – so 250k would be equal to 5 million in the UK, as you can see it seems pushing the expectations to the limits!

      2) While China has been a weak market for international releases, it was still a 150m+ albums industry, thus top sellers (local) were selling way more than 200,000 units per year, making the claim automatically wrong. Just like TEOM claim, it was the “top selling international album” of her label, which means truly nothing as very few such albums are even issued in China. Also, flop albums all over the World aren’t going to be huge smashes in random countries, it is an old trick used by fans to claim the album hasn’t done that badly. I would be seriously surprised if Glitter reached 10k sold in China. As per boxofficemojo.com, the movie wasn’t even released in that country.

      3 & 4) Music Box was in 80k in HK and 110k in Singapore by July 1994 so I do believe it ended way higher than 100k / 120k respectively as the TV Promotion there started only in early June, doubling their sales in those markets. I barely applied the same % of growth to those countries as what the album did in South Korea / Japan. This automatically invalidate the Mariah Daily Journal claim for HK.

      6) (yes, your message has no 5 :p) I take it that by foreign you mean non-Asian as some Japanese acts sold way more! To be honest I wouldn’t bet on it. She is an obvious contender and even the favorite, the information is just too sparse on other acts to give you a definitive answer, but in continental Asia her sales are not as out of this world as in Japan while comparing to her peers. MB / Merry Christmas / Daydream / Ones outsold most big foreign albums easily in Japan, they are on the same league or even lower in continental Asia than albums like Bodyguard, Dangerous or Titanic. Thus the insanely high sales she had on a few albums that grant her the lead in Japan against all minus the Beatles in spite of a not that big discography may hurt them still in continental Asia.

      7) To be honest, if I had to assume one of the two figure is wrong I would surely decrease COADF rather than increase TEOM. This being said, I read that (highly biased ^^) UKMix conversation and two points need to be raised. The cumulative tally for areas listed in common is 8,330,000 (I assumed 15k in Argentina) for Mariah and 8,790,000 for Madonna, leaving 270,000 and 610,000 units for unknown markets. One may say “while they sold the same on known markets” but that is just wrong as Madonna album sold way more in every market minus the US, so while estimating missing markets that are unrelated to the US we must check sales from those other countries. Outside the US, both albums add for 2,185,000 and 6,940,000 units respectively, a massive lead for COADF. Applying the formulas I go with when we lack information:
      – other Latin America markets = Argentina (TEOM 15k, COADF 110k)
      – African sales = UK / 10 (TEOM 660k, COADF 1400k)
      – continental Asia = Japan * 0,6 (TEOM 330k, COADF 600k)
      We get for missing countries:
      TEOM = 279k
      COADF = 610k

      Pretty spot on, the few Ks gap due to rounded figures. As you can see, there is no bias but consistent methods!

      The second issue to mention is about adding only 900k after 2005 while it sold 1,1m since in the US, my answer is a big yes. You are comparing apples with oranges – shipments with sales. The reality is that TEOM went 5xP in December 1st 2005 and kept shipping tons in December while it ended at 4,9m at Soundscan. It shipped so much that it went 6xP in February 2016 while Soundscan sales were at 5,3 million only. As you can see, there was still tons of copies to be sold inside those 7,7 million units shipped. Realistically, US shipments were on about 5,7 million units by the end of 2005, letting only 2 million for sales elsewhere. It then shipped “only” 450,000 copies in the US afterwards, while that country represented more than 70% of its sales, so I’m definitely fine with “only” 900,000 units shipped post-2005 Worldwide!

      1. Hi there,

        i want to add one more note:

        If you actually search for the Malaysian album chart displayed in the Billboard magazine, you will find that #1’s actually had a really impressive run there, spending months and months in the Top 10, only challenged by the Backstreet Boys and Westlife, and to a lessor extent Britney at the time – meaning that she must have sold good amounts in Malaysia (whatever that means in concrete numbers!).

        I would once again like to ask you for your estimation of her Asian sales in the core markets for her big albums (Music Box, MC, Daydream, #1’s, Butterfly).

    1. Hey MJD,
      would you mind sharing the numbers you have on your spreadsheet/ your personal estimations for the remainig Asian markets?

      So far, you provided us with the following numbers, but there’s still so many “question marks” left. I would be highly interested in the numbers/your estimations for countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, which did have some respectable market size in the 90s.

      I would be very thankful for that.

      Year – Total Asia – Album
      1990 – 2,000,000 – Mariah Carey
      Japan: 925,000
      South Korea: ?
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1991 – 1,700,000 – Emotions
      Japan: 1,025,000
      South Korea: ?
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1992 – 1,025,000 – MTV Unplugged
      Japan: 525,000
      South Korea:
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1993 – 4,840,000 – Music Box
      Japan: 2,400,000
      South Korea: 900,000
      Taiwan: 500,000
      Hong Kong: 120,000
      Singapore: 160,000
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1994 – 4,170,000 – Merry Christmas
      Japan: 2,750,000
      South Korea: 570,000
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1995 – 4,410,000 – Daydream
      Japan: 2,600,000
      South Korea: 675,000
      Taiwan: 400,000
      Hong Kong: 100,000
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1997 – 2,040,000 – Butterfly
      Japan: 1,300,000
      South Korea: ?
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1998 – 5,480,000 – #1’s
      Japan: 3,700,000
      South Korea: 380,000
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      1999 – 1,325,000 – Rainbow
      Japan: 875,000
      South Korea: 100,000
      Taiwan: 75,000
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      2001 – 660,000 – Glitter
      Japan: 390,000
      South Korea: 70,000
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      2001 – 850,000 – Greatest Hits
      Japan: 400,000
      South Korea: ?
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      2002 – 620,000 – Charmbracelet
      Japan: 360,000
      South Korea: 60,000
      Taiwan: ?
      Hong Kong: ?
      Singapore: ?
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?
      India: ?

      2005 – 520,000 – The Emancipation of Mimi
      Japan: 330,000
      South Korea: 30,000
      Taiwan: 35,000
      Hong Kong: 40,000
      Singapore: 5,000
      Malaysia: ?
      Indonesia: ?
      Thailand: ?

  15. Hi Luminator!

    I honestly think it is pretty hazardous to guess specific numbers per album and per market without additional information. I easily prefer analyzing available data and evolution statistics in one side, an working with known sales from unknown places in the other side.

    The first way of looking at it tells us her debut album had sold half a million units in Southeast Asia before reaching it in Japan. It also tells us that out of the 1,6m sales of Music Box there, near 40% came from South Korea and 20% from Taiwan, letting only 40% for all other markets. Then you can work on those markets evolution to calculate their share in latter releases while information is lacking. How to do that?

    The hypothesis are below:
    – Music Box sold 1,6 million in Southeast Asia
    – 600,000 units came from South Korea
    – South Korea represented 24% of sales from the region (59,6m out of 249,3m) during MB era
    – Rainbow sold roughly 100,000 units in South Korea
    – South Korea represented 15% of sales from the region (28,8m out of 194,3m) during Rainbox

    Thus we can calculate that Rainbow sold 100,000 * 24/15 * 600/ 1600 = ~430,000 units there. Those are its sales if Mariah Carey remained equally popular in the region from 1994 to 1999. Obviously, we can suppose that Mariah Carey popularity haven’t evolve the same way in all countries, wish that she got bigger in Singapore or whatever, but that would get into the guessing territory. I aim to focus on purely valid information. I prefer an educated formula, even if I know its limits, rather than a pure guess / assumption.

    NB: I voluntarily used Southeast Asia as an extension of ‘Asia’ since it is better to extrapolate market figures as India / China have big markets due to local acts which represent near nothing for international sellers.

    The second way of looking at things, ‘known sales from unknown places’, consists in checking known global data and known local places to identify unknown countries sales. For example, Music Box had sold 22m by March 1996, this is 100% known. We also know it had shipped 9m in the US (9xP two months before), over 7m in Europe (7xP in April 95), 700k in Canada, near 900k in Australia / NZ and past 2m in Japan. As you can see, there is very few room – if not no room at all – for big sales in other markets.

    1. Thank you very much for the response!

      Is there still a way to get a rough picture of what these albums sold in the bigger markets, meaning South Korea and Taiwan?

      1. Hey MJD,

        since you are currently on the verge of talking about Asia and indicated that Mariah hasn’t done *that well* there outside of Japan and SK, i stumbled upon this Billboard report from the 15/01/2000 issue, in which Mariah was presented with an award for 1,6 million copies of #1’s sold throughout Asia (outside of Japan). That would indicate that she actually did really good there.


        How you split those copies over the remaining countries considering their market share?

        If you take the time (which i did) and compile all chart information that was presented by Billboard in its “Hits Of The World” section, you will also find that #1’s did have the most impressive chart run in Malaysia ever for a female:

        #1’s: #1(9 weeks) / 31weeks Top 10
        (05/12/1998): 10-*1*-1-1-2-1-|1999|-2-1-2-1-1-1-2-1-2-4-3-4-4-3-4-2-4-4-3-3-4-6-7
        (Re 28/09/1999): 7
        (Re 23/01/2001): 9

        Is that enough to justify the claim of #1’s being 10xPlatinum in Malaysia = 250.000 copies shipped?

        1. Plus: The 1,6 estimate would actually fall perfectly in line with what you estimated for the album in the whole of Asia (3,7 million in Japan + 1,6 million in Asia as of 2000) 😉

        2. Hi Luminator!

          I was careful telling she hasn’t done *that well* by the standards she has set herself in Japan, by average international pop stars she did obviously wonders! Ones is a good example, at 1,8m in Asia to date it did roughly half of its Japanese sales there, Baby One More Time did almost 7 times less in Japan but 80% of its sales in the rest of Asia!

          Asian markets excluding India / China / Pakistan were as below in 1998:
          Hong Kong 10,5 (million albums sold)
          Indonesia 40,2
          Malaysia 10,9
          Philippines 11,44
          Singapore 5
          S Korea 28,8
          Taiwan 39,3
          Thailand 48,2

          Total of 194 million. If we assume the album did 1,6 million there to date (let say 1,8 million to date all over Asia then subtracting specific countries like China), it means you need to divide the market by 120 to get a quick idea. For example Singapore at 5 million would be roughly 40k. This is using ‘vulgar’ calculations, without considering the dynamics we saw in Britney’s article. We would need to consider she outperformed that 120 ratio average in countries from the East, like Korea, while she under-performed it in countries from the South, like Indonesia. We would basically get something closer to (in thousands):
          Hong Kong 120
          Indonesia 220
          Malaysia 140
          Philippines 120
          Singapore 50
          S Korea 380
          Taiwan 350
          Thailand 220

          250k in Malaysia seems optimistic although not completely impossible. Albums big enough to be #1 of the year sell usually 1 to 2% of the overall market, with blockbusters pushing the level even higher, so on a 11m industry we can’t rule out that figure. When did that figure emerge ? It could very well be an award based on more recent criteria if it is a recent one!

          1. Thanks again for your insights and time spent!

            The figure for Malaysia had been floating around on mariahdaily.com (the site has been down now) for at least 10 years:


            I was always skeptical about it until i found out that the album did have that spectacular chart run on the overall chart which was very rare the the time (you can only find the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and interestingly Westlife as other western artists to appear on the overall chart for more than just a few weeks).

            Could you give me your personal estimate for Music Box, Merry Christmas, Daydream and Butterfly, too? (acknowledging market shares of the respective year and the typical dynamics for Mariah)

            That would be a very nice gift.

            Thank you for your ambitious work, man!

  16. Brazil it’s wrong. Before 2003, Music Box sold at least 1,000,000 copies. After 2003, ABPD started to put shipment data in each CD/DVD sold, like “AA10000”, for example. The first shipment had 10000 copies, and then AB10000, AC10000, AD05000, etc

    1. Hi Timber,

      The usage of printing shipment codes within’ the albums is done by the labels, it has nothing to do with ABPD. Those information are obviously already part of the sources used within’ all articles.

      No need to say Music Box sold nowhere near 1 million copies in Brazil.

  17. Hi MJD. I was just wondering why you didnt include Mariah Carey No 1’s. If Im not mistaken it sells somewhere around 15 million copies worldwide. It will greatly increased her total cspc results and probably increased her rankings too.

    1. Her #1’s album, along with her other compilation albums, were included in the total CSPC results in the Remaining Long Formats on page 32-34. MJD doesn’t include those albums in the album sales breakdown because those records were mainly exploited on the back of hits from studio albums, and his main goal is to reflect the popularity of each album. #1’s sold close to 16m copies, in which 6,2m copies is generated from Daydream as that album has 39% share of #1’s on Spotify. The same method is used for other compilations in calculating how many album sales were generated for each studio album to give a clearer picture of their success. Hope this helps you understand!

    1. Hi Luminator!

      The new formula of digital songs has been implemented last week for all artists, thus including Mariah!

      For streams the old formula remains for the old articles – It was too much of a work for virtually 0 impact as the increase of ongoing streams of catalog songs since 1 year is almost on par with decrease implied by the new ratio. I only switched of formula for the huge ‘streamers’ of 2016 (Bieber, Drake, Weeknd, Ed) because it was inflating their numbers a bit as they enjoyed the current streaming market with the former ratio.

      1. Oh thanks for your effort so far.

        But i was also hoping for the page “BONUS: Total Album (all types) Sales per Country” and an overview over the “Chart & Sales Achievements” to be added, both of which are incorporated in the newer articles, but are missing in Mariah’s article since it is one of the older ones.

  18. Emotions still remains my favorite Mariah album. Interesting to see how it has sold with all of his factored in over the years. Also it’s interesting how it was seen as a bit of a commercial disappointment at the time and for a while, while it remains one of her best sellers.

    Also, when might we be seeing an analysis for Kelly Clarkson? I know she got quite a few votes on one of the polls for different artists to do, and I would love to see how the formula translates with her material.

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