CSPC: Britney Spears Popularity Analysis (new)

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Britney Spears

Nearly one year ago we were pending results of the Glory album. We wondered if it would be able to positively reverse the ongoing trend of Britney Spears‘ career. Although the answer appears to be an obvious no, there are plenty of figures to accurately update.

The years 1998/1999 were massive for all divas from the first generation which emerged from the 80s to 1990. Madonna was recovering in a big way thanks to Ray Of LightWhitney Houston got her biggest hit in years with My Love Is Your LoveMariah Carey was enjoying her seventh consecutive 3 million selling album in the US with Rainbow and Celine Dion was killing it with My Heart Will Go On and related albums. Even Cher made a surprise comeback with cult hit Believe, while Janet Jackson broke the last markets which were still resisting her when she dropped Together Again.

If this period appeared to be the golden age of those divas at the time, it was actually a pivotal era. It turned out to be some kind of swan song for 80s-90s superstars. Time ended telling us that all of them were going to face hard flops in just a few years time. By 2003, the biggest female stars were Dido, Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Beyonce and P!nk. However, one diva was leading this new army of female superstars… Britney Spears. Arguably, she was the first who’s popularity exploded. As well as probably being the one who did so in the biggest way. This was just the beginning of a trend, as during the following years many more divas would come out. The likes of Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, Duffy, Leona Lewis, Nelly Furtado, Amy Winehouse, Taylor Swift Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, Miley Cyrus and, of course, Adele.

Then, after naming all those popular female singers, I just feel the need to write the name of Barbra Streisand. The legendary star was dropping her first album when Madonna was only 4 and went on to block Britney from debuting at #1 in both the US and the UK with her new album.

With so many competitors, Britney seems to be an old glory by now. Is it only the media deflating her success? If she lost her sparkle, when did she lose it? Her breakthrough was big, but how big? In this article you will get the answers to all those questions.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge their results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all the Britney‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

Let’s go!

120 thoughts on “CSPC: Britney Spears Popularity Analysis (new)”

  1. Hi MJD! I just finished reading through all pages and this is great! Although I do have a few questions

    1. What caused “Femme Fatale” to drop to 1.66 million pure sales? I thought 1.7 million was the official figure from the IFPI?

    IFPI Top 50 Albums Of 2011:

    24 Femme Fatale 1.7 million

    2. In page 3, we see “Glory” at 375,000 units, but page 12 says 370,000, I know it’s a minimal difference, but I couldn’t help but ask, which figure is the correct one? 😛

    3. Regarding the “Circus” single, I’ve always felt like 5.5 million downloads/ringtones is a bit too low. The IFPI confirmed it sold 5.5 million units by November 2009, and U.S. digital sales were only around 2.5 million a month later in December 2009 (http://prince.org/msg/8/327160?jump=7&pg=1). Last summer, Billboard confirmed it’s up to 3.2 million downloads in the U.S., so 5.5 million + 700,000 = 6.2 million, correct? Additionally it has sold around 45,000 in South Korea and 45,000 in the UK since 2010, so I feel like 6.5 million is a pretty reasonable figure as the song was a very nice hit in Australia and Canada as well!

    4. Lastly, do the total album sales in page 31 include everything? Like for example, “Femme Fatale” in Belgium even though it’s not listed in its own page? And the remix albums as well? How much do you estimate for “B In The Mix” in Japan? I know it did better than “Britney Jean” and “Glory” there so maybe around 30-35,000 units?

    Again, thank you so much for doing this, it’s really appreciated! I love that you included pages that weren’t part of the original article (such as Total Album Sales and Biggest Tracks).

    1. Hi Stephen!

      You are most welcome, I always wonder who between you and Raffi will comment first on each CSPC articles, you won that battle ;p

      1) Actually all figures were simply rounded at the closest 100k! Also, sales outside of known markets were estimated with the ratios verified on the details of previous articles. The IFPI rounds its figures too – in fact Kanye & Jay-Z were #19 and on 1,7m too as per Universal Annual Report! Plus, I’m quite sure 2012 shipments were negative for this album.

      2) Haha, sorry, pure typo, as shown in screen shots it is 370,000! 😉

      3) You are fully correct! It’s funny since I had exactly the same reasonning last year, which is why it was on 6,2 million. This afternoon when I re-did all breakdowns I wondered why my old estimate was 700k higher than the calculation implied by formulas, forgot about that IFPI figure so I have let it as it was with the formula. I have a total of 4,59m for it in US/CA/SK/UK/GE/FR/OZ/NL, including ringtones for the US (assumed on 20%, so 640k). It seems that song was especially big in ringtones somewhere in Latin America or in Asia!

      4) Almost yes, I have fill the holes to get full figures for all countries. Playlist / Best Of / The Essential are the only ones not added to individual countries but are included in the WW total! I avoided explaining it in the article since those are very minor sellers (275k combined) so it was better to not get into those details that would have misled non-regular readers rather than brining anything!

      1. I was really looking forward to this update so I was pretty quick. At least I didn’t ask that many questions though! 😛

        And that explains it! Glad that you changed “Circus” to 6.5 million as imo it’s the most reasonable total. I heard “Womanizer” and “Circus” were both huge hits in South Korea, but unfortunately GAON didn’t start reporting figures until 2010, so that might be why.

        1. It is good that you haven’t asked too many questions it means my figures should be valid 😉

          Yes very good point about South Korea, this market shouldn’t be overlooked. In 2009 the digital market was already worth $92,7 million including 48% for downloads. As a comparison, in 2011 the market was $108,3 million with 43% for downloads. It means only a 4% gap between both years for downloads, while we know that even the #100 of the year in 2011 for international tracks was over 200,000 units sold!

          1. babe where did u get these infos from wtf all of them are fake why yall want to drag britney down baby sold 30M ww and oops sold over 25M ww Britney sold 15M www ect even BJ sold 1,5M ww with streams she’s also the last artist who sold over 100M albums even billboard says that pls do some research before u write articles ppl beilive this shit

          2. Hi Yoy_bitch,

            Of course people believe this shit because they are educated enough on charts & sales subject to know it’s the real deal 😉

            All figures of Britney are as accurate as they can be since Jive has been communicating detailed information on per-country basis as well as constantly updating her count of albums sold to date at each new album release. No need to say the real figures are nowhere near the Wikipedia-like figures you state!

  2. Hi MJD,

    Did “Everytime” really sell only 30,000 physical copies? In the original analysis you had it at 750,000.

    1. Hi Cbvnm!

      Stephen got it right, those lines:
      Outrageous – 630,000
      Everytime – 30,000

      Should be instead:
      Everytime – 630,000
      Outrageous – 30,000

      Now fixed 😉

  3. Hi again MJD! I have a couple more things to add/ask

    “Femme Fatale” had a much better chart run than “Circus” in Norway, Finland and Portugal

    Femme Fatale: 
    Finland: 08-07-21-19-30-42-36-45-//-50-//-45-34-48-39-35-43-36-32-35-30-35-29-27-24-44-38-OUT (25 weeks)
    Norway: 03-03-08-14-12-16-19-16-17-//-19-//-19-//-24-OUT (12 weeks, including 11 inside the top 20 and two inside the top 3)
    Portugal: 04-11-17-28-OUT (4 weeks, nothing special, but still far better than “Blackout” and “Circus”).

    Circus:
    Finland: 19-24-24-23-19-16-40-OUT (7 weeks)
    Norway: 21-32-38-37-34-OUT (5 weeks)
    Portugal: 28-30-OUT (2 weeks)

    I’m aware that “Femme Fatale” came out in March 2011 while “Circus” came out in December 2008, but still, “Femme Fatale” had much, much better chart runs in those three countries, in fact, her best since “Oops!… I Did It Again”. Also, according to this link (https://web.archive.org/web/20110703060455/http://www.artistas-espectaculos.com/topafp/pt/201114.htm), Femme Fatale is certified Platinum in Portugal, is this accurate? How much do you estimate for “Femme Fatale” in Norway, Finland, and Portugal? I feel like it might be eligible for gold in Norway and Finland, outselling “Circus” and “Blackout” in those countries!

    Speaking of “Femme Fatale”, it also had a very nice chart run in Belgium
    Flanders: 08-11-17-26-39-35-35-46-67-57-80-70-88-78-89-85-84-83-86-94-97-//-97-//-59-50-91-OUT (25 weeks)
    Wallonia: 08-05-06-16-16-20-31-36-44-46-41-71-49-38-40-36-33-42-42-37-34-41-48-39-66-72-60-47-29-22-62-71-93-OUT (33 weeks)

    How much do you estimate for the album in Belgium? It had a much, much better chart run than “Blackout” there, in fact, it even charted for more weeks than “In The Zone”. I’d love to see your estimates for “Femme Fatale”, “Britney jean” and “Glory” in Belgium as it’s definitely her most supportive European market in my opinion.

    I also wanted to ask, do you think Glory selling 370,000 in August 2016 is better than Britney Jean selling 630,000 in December 2013? I know both “Britney Jean” and “Glory” bombed, but I can’t help but wonder if “Glory” would’ve outsold or at least matched “Britney Jean” if it was released in December 2013. In terms of CSPC, “Britney Jean” is still higher. But like most pre-2000 divas, Britney is hardly a big streaming artist and most of her CSPC comes from pure album sales and digital downloads, both of which have dropped tremendously since 2013. I know album sales have dropped by nearly 50% in the U.S. since 2013 and digital sales have been extremely low over the past year. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Stephen!

      All answers below 🙂

      1) Portugal ) As you can guess, the Platinum award is a typo, it was indeed Mariza’s Fado Tradicional one spot lower that was the Platinum album. The market is dead there, under 5 million albums per year by 2011 with a few local acts taking over the largest part of it. Mariza is a good example of that with albums spending 100+ weeks on charts, 10+ weeks #1 and still selling 3-50,000 units only. Femme Fatale sold likely about 2,000 copies there.
      2) Norway / Finland) Just like Sweden, those countries jumped into streaming way before the rest of the World and started using SPS for their ranking many years ago, which is why it seems that FF did very well there thanks to the success of the singles. Thus, to estimate sales you need to focus on very first weeks when they still happen (just like More Life by Drake has now near to 0 sale, only streams). The week she debuted at #8, there was an all new Top 3. The #1 album by Anna Abreu sold under 12k in spite of 5 weeks top 10, albums which debuted at 2/3 failed to break 10k. It was a 5m market too so going 8-7-21-19-30-42 on the period that matters represents roughly 3,000 units. Norway was a bit bigger at 7 million albums sold in 2011, with a better run too so possibly 5-6,000 units.
      3) The negative part here is that Flanders is easily bigger than Wallonia. It was weaker there than in France, on a 6 times lower market – it sold 90,000 in France. Realistically some 10,000 units have been sold on this country, so it should have come at least very close from Gold status. I would say about 4,500 and 3,000 units for the last two albums.
      4) Glory is definitely worse than Britney Jean, which is logical because of her trajectory. The drop in sales of the global market is not a valid argument since the huge majority of purchasers for both albums are not casual buyers but instead fans. Losing 40% of sales when the bulk of buyers are fans is a harsh drop which shows her fan base is being crippled!

      1. Thank you for your answer, MJD! One last night, the Indonesian album sales add up to 1,100,000

        Baby One More Time – 325,000
        Oops!… I did It Again – 245,000
        Britney – 180,000
        In The Zone – 160,000
        Greatest Hits, My Prerogative – 135,000
        Blackout – 20,000
        Circus – 25,000
        The Singles Collection – 10,000

        However page 31 says 1,025,000. I’m assuming you meant 1,125,000, right? 😛

  4. hi MJD!
    So do you think britney’s commercial performance can be better when she release next album? what is the most important thing she should do now if she want to come back with a better commercial performance?I’d love to hear what you think,thank you!

    1. Hi Max!

      To be honest the only way I see her selling better again is getting rid of pop / electro music and going into the Adult Contemporary territory. I’m not quite sure she is ready for that!

  5. The singles from Britney’s last album could’ve been played on AC radios, they now play Justin Bieber and Maroon5. Gone are the days when they only played torch songs and divas, unfortunately.

  6. I’m happy that Britney is one of the best selling female artists in history.

    Can you make an analysis for Nana Mouskouri?

  7. Hey MJD,

    Thanks for all the info, but are you planning on updating Rihanna’s sales anytime soon, it’s been a year and her album and single sales from her last album have gone up.

    1. Hi Brianna!

      Rihanna is definitely one of the most needed updates. The massive Streaming acts – Drake, Weeknd, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber & Rihanna – are screaming for it. It should be done soon 😉

  8. I’d still like to know where the extra two million in US sales for BOMT comes from. Soundscan and BMG together brings the album to 12 million, yet the RIAA certification is 14x platinim. If BOMT wasn’t available on Columbia House, then where does the two extra million come from?

    1. Hi Jase,

      BOMT was available at Columbia House. In 1998 / 1999, they were still having big sales, it collapsed completely in 2000 as BMG Music Club started to gain exclusive deals for all hot new releases during several months. That’s why albums by Mariah, Celine, Aguilera or Britney had immense sales on Columbia at first while all big sellers, Eminem included, sold close to nothing on Columbia House starting from 2000.

  9. Hi MJD!

    Sorry it took me so long to comment. I just finished my exam finals

    Regarding this new update on Britney, I have to say this is absolutely fantastic! It’s much more informative than the previous article. I love the more detailed breakdown of her album sales and physical single sales!

    I’ve also noticed that you’ve increased Toxic and BOMT digital downloads by 50K each! Although a minimal difference, I thought Toxic was by far Britney’s biggest recurrent hit. In fact, I think Toxic sells much more than just 50K per year in the US alone! Do you mind explaining how you update digital downloads?

    I would also like to ask you on Britney’s biggest song! On the second last page, you’ve listed BOMT, OIDIA and Toxic as her 3 most successful songs. However, based on the market, can we say that Toxic at 7,5m in 2003/2004 when the market started to collapse ,is more impressive than 12,2m for OIDIA, or even 17,9m for BOMT in 1999/2000 when the market was at it’s peak? I even notice that Toxic has the same amount of sales equivalent as Crazy in Love by Beyonce, and that song was a monster!

    Also, I must say that Britney’s streaming numbers for her new materials (Glory, Britney Jean) is very low. They’re even eclipsed by In The Zone and BOMT, albums released a full decade before! Does this show that her catalog is doing amazing numbers, or that she’s preforming poorly with her latest music?

    Lastly, although I don’t want to start a fan war, I’ve heard lots of Janet Jackson fans defending her lower album sales equivalents than Britney because the latter released more albums at her peak and during the peak of the music industry. How do you view this MJD? I agree that had Janet released 1/2 more albums during her golden years, she would be closer to Britney, but I still think that Britney had the bigger career. Sure, Britney enjoyed the biggest years of the music market, but it’s not like Janet was enjoying a much less healthy market. Also, Britney’s peak was much bigger, 30m+ in 1999 compared to 19m+ in 1993.

    That’s all i have to ask! Your article is pretty flawless and i find no mistakes in it! Keep up the good work!

    1. No disrespect to Janet, however, the market doesn’t favor Britney, it actually favors Janet for the most part. Janet released her 9th studio album in 2006. Britney released her 9th studio album in 2016. Janet released her 7th studio album in 2001, Britney released her 7th studio album in 2011. Janet released her 8th studio album in 2004, Britney released her 8th studio album in 2013. Janet released her 6th studio album in 1997, Britney released her 6th studio album in 2008. Janet released her 5th studio album in 1993, Britney released her 5th studio album in 2007. Britney may have peaked during the peak of album sales, but half of her discography was released during the digital/streaming era, while Janet released most of her albums when the album market was a lot healthier.

      Plus, Janet peaked in the early/mid 1990s and all her female peers (Madonna, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, etc) were pulling HUGE 20-30 million selling albums at the time, while Janet’s best selling album barely sold 12 million. It’s clear that Britney has the bigger career. Again, this doesn’t mean Janet wasn’t big nor I’m trying to discredit her.

    2. Why would Janet fans be worried about this? She’s a legend and that will be further confirmed with her eventual induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (She easily has a better critically reviewed catalog than peers that sold more like Whitney, Mariah and Celine.)

      Britney should be compared with her peers like Beyonce, P!nk and Christina Aguilera

    3. Hi Raffi!

      About downloads, it is a combination of small factors. I slightly reduced its UK sales due to streaming being bigger than I first expected. Then there is rounds that at under 20k / over 20k creates a +50k when in reality it is +100k. At last, there is a market collapsing for good. In fact Toxic doesn’t sell much more than 50k nowadays. As per market figures, a song that was selling 200,000 units per year as recently as in 2012 is now well below 100,000. If you check Kworb figures, Toxic has rarely been Top 1000 lately and songs at the bottom of the list do not even sell 1,000 units nowadays. In the UK for example the song is now below 100 copies per week.

      Gaps are too big among her Top 3 songs to reverse the order with the market. In 2003, it was far from being bad. In the US, the overall market was worth $13,7 billion in 1998 and $12,15 billion in 2004. Album sales went down from 847 million to 767 million. As you can see the drop of the music industry was just starting with an overall situation that was still fairly good.

      About streaming, I would say a bit of both. Her catalog isn’t going too bad in comparison to her catalog album sales, while her new material is truly doing bad. There is tons of independent artists that even music enthusiasts never heard about that are outperforming Glory with ease.

      As for Janet / Britney comparison, if we check US market combined from years of their top 6 albums since they are by far the main providers of their respective CSPC total, Janet environment was a $60 billion market while the one of Britney was a $68 billion market. We need to add that Janet enjoyed 15 years of catalog sales with a $12 billion industry per year while Britney’s 15 years of catalog sales happened on a market which averaged under $9 billion. Thus, both had very similar backgrounds, Britney has a higher CSPC total simply because she has been more successful. That’s quite normal since they were similarly big in the US but Britney has a massive lead elsewhere. In the same category, Janet leading Rihanna for example is entirely due to the market environment being better during Janet years, although the new 1,5:10 ratio for digital singles fixes a good part of that gap!

    1. I thought the 7,5m of Toxic on page 33 refered to it’s share of sales on studio albums (ITZ for this case) and compilations, combined with it’s physical singles sales (*0.3), downloads (*0.1) and streams in appropriate weighting? Isn’t it?

      Regarding my comparison with Crazy In Love by Beyonce, I vaguely remember the same formula was applied in the Beyonce article and that song was at 7,6m album sales equivalents. Here: http://chartmasters.org/2016/12/cspc-beyonce-destinys-child-popularity-analysis/30/

    1. Hi Marcus,

      As you can see within’ the articles breakdowns, I do not use SPS from various countries, I focus on the raw data only, building totals for each distinct format. Then, at the end, I apply the CSPC own formula using those raw data figures as the basis.

  10. Hi again MJD! I just noticed that Britney’s total got updated to 99.8 million. That’s brilliant. She’s definitely going to join the 100 million club later this year!

    Btw, I wanted to ask you another question. Are you sure “Femme Fatale” only sold 40k in Asia excluding Japan? I’m asking because I was just looking at your Demi Lovato article and I noticed you estimated 80k for her self-titled album released in 2013, which only did 10k in Japan. How did you get 70k for the rest of Asia? Britney is clearly much bigger in Asia than Demi, and “Femme Fatale” was bigger than every Demi album in every continent. Also, if Demi’s sales in Japan and South Korea are anything to go by, her sales are almost non-existent in the Asian continent. Not saying you’re wrong or anything, but I’m just curious about this. How come Demi sold 70k outside of Japan, but Britney only did 40k with a much bigger album? Anyway, thank you again!

    1. Hi Stephen!

      The case of Demi is very tricky for one simple reason – Let It Go. This song was utterly massive in Asia and added to Demi album international version. Then she was still a relatively “new” Disney act in the Asian countries highly favorable to them like the Philippines, where Unbroken sold roughly 10,000 units. Thanks to both elements, especially the Let It Go case, it sold low but steady amounts during 2 years, ending Gold in the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia and Platinum in Malaysia and Indonesia, certifications adding for 42,500 units.

  11. Okay now I really don’t understand this method

    Britney was 96.9 million

    Then she was 95 million

    And now she is 99 million all within the space of 8 months???

    Sorry but now it’s confusing

    1. 96.9M was with Spotify, no Youtube, her old physical single sales and old album sales.

      He changed the formula to weight down Spotify, add Youtube for everyone and updated her album sales and physical singles sales (they went down). Result = 95,8M.

      And now he changed the weight of digital single sales and upped it. So naturally Britney, having 80M digital song sales will get a nice boost.
      80*(1.5/10) – 80*(1/10) = 4M
      95,8 + 4M = 99,8M

    2. Hi Nigel!

      As explained by but, this very last update includes no change at all on all figures. The raw data numbers (albums / singles sales, streams etc) are the same.

      The change is only made on the final CSPC formula to establish the overall popularity of the artist, with the ratio of download singles increased by 50% after studying its prices and its impacts on album sales. This enables the final popularity indicator (for Britney 99,8m) to be more loyal to the artist real popularity independently of its era rather than penalizing strongly stars from the digital era.

  12. *This brings also the answer about Blackout. Many fans denied the album was a flop, arguing about the different market. Those figures show sales weren’t translated to some other format, it was just truly unsuccessful, just like Britney Jean.*

    Blackout sold 4.4 millon equivalent albums, a very decent number for an album without promo and just two singles.

    Britney has 7 studio albums with more of 4 million equivalent albums. That is very impressive. She was more than a super star with a massive peak.

  13. Mjd, why you subestimed Britney success? She sold 22 million albums equivalent between 2007 and 2013, and she debuted in 1998. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga arent still a decade in the industry, and they cant sell two million albums equivalents. And they do a lot of promo. Imagine if Britney hadnt had personal problems…

  14. Porque você não soma as coletâneas na hora de somar o total CSPC?

    o total da britney ta como 99,833. Mas esse numero não soma as vendas físicas do my prerrogative.

    1. Hi Lucas,

      Compilations are already counted on that 99,8m total. They are represented under the “other releases” column of the final table.

    1. Hi Mathew,

      Sony Picture is not Sony Music. The last official statement from Sony Music is “close to 70m” by 2011 and she sold a few millions only since that date. All 100-ish million claims are completely delusional considering how much off the mark they are.

      1. that article is from 2013 which is more recent than 2011. her record label RCA is under SONY, so that article stating she sold close 100 million is accurate. It is an OFFICIAL Press Release from the company that owns her record label. Her company that OWNS her record label wouldn’t release inaccurate information . I think you are not that fond of Britney so when there are official and valid receipts from Sony proving you wrong, you don’t want to accept them. You are using outdated receipts from 2011 that were using outdated information, how about you use that 2013 press release from her company that states she DID sell close 100 million.

        1. Hi Alex,

          Obviously your claim is nowhere near being accurate nor official. Sony is divided into distinct companies, Sony Pictures and Sony Music are completely different. Their annual reports are done seperately and they aren’t responsible for royalties payments of each other.

          Repeating the fanciful 100m albums sold figure won’t make it true. All facts show she hasn’t even come close to that. By repeating this nonsense, you are only doing two things:
          1) highlighting that you have no knowledge whatsoever on the subject, which instantly discredit you
          2) diminishing the real accomplishments of Britney, which are already huge without requiring absurd inflations. By doing so, when people look for accurate data, they end up disappointed with the truth, while they should be impressed. That “Army fight” for inflation has been damaging her more than anything since a decade, so I guess it is time to stop that lost case and be supportive in a more realistic and clever way.

          1. I love Britney Spears, and I really wish she would’ve sold 100 million albums. However, the claim of selling 100 million albums is so overblown. The most she would’ve sold is probably 80 million and probably 150 million albums and singles. 150 million copies is already a huge achievement and correct me if im wrong, is still the best seller among female singers after Madonna, Celine, Whitney and Mariah.

  15. Hey again MJD! Sorry for bothering you for the 100th time, but I was going through “Music & Media” magazine issues and came across this ad from Jive, stating “…Baby One More Time” sold 20,000,000 albums and 11,000,000 singles in 1999. What do you think of this?

    “In 1999 “Baby One More Time” sold over 20 million albums and 11 million singles worldwide.
    At the age of just 17 she became the No.1 selling teen female artist in US music history”

    http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Music-and-Media/00s/2000/MM-2000-05-13.pdf
    (pages 25 & 26)

    All of From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart’s sales come from 2000 since it wasn’t released physically until February 2000 and most of Born To Make You Happy’s sales too (it was released in at the start of December 1999 in German speaking countries and then in January 2000 in the rest of Europe, including the UK where it sold 350,000+ copies), so the 11,000,000 figure wouldn’t even include From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart.

    You estimated 9,730,000 physical singles for the era, which figure is more accurate? Thank you!

    1. Hi Stephen!

      No risk of bothering me when you post data aiming for accuracy 🙂

      By experience, those ads weren’t *that* strict with their claim. The numbers are correct more often than not, the real question is what do they concern exactly?

      Among usual tricks to misled people are the known ones like speaking in discs instead of albums for double packages. Another which relates to Britney is mixing different supports with the same name together. They won’t hesitate claiming “the album Baby One More Time sold 27 units” adding 22 million copies of the album plus 5 million copies of the title-track that were, by extension, sold “by the album BOMT” as it was a single extracted from that era. Sony used this trick extensively with Michael Jackson’s Thriller too.

      On this concrete example from M&M, it is really safe to say 1999 shouldn’t be taken literally. You need to understand “in 1999 the release of the album….” rather than “during 1999”. The single BOMT sold most of its US copies in 1998 and as you say, various singles sold well in early 2000 here and there.

      The only real doubt is on Oops single being accounted for on that 11 million figure or not. It wouldn’t be the first time that a major voluntarily starts speaking of a precise subject and then enlarge it to make a very misleading claim. For example, they will say “The Beatles released 13 albums, they sold over 600 million records”. The “13 albums” fact relates to the act “The Beatles” while the “600 million” figure refers to the members of the band as a whole, e.g. the band discs plus all their solo discographies. That “scope extension” trick works at several levels – one record extended into an era, one era extended into one discography, one band extended into all their careers. It is done by that M&M page as they say “Baby One More Time sold” […] “11 million singles”, something uneducated readers would interpret as “the debut single alone sold 11m copies”. Thus that 11-million singles claim is already not related to the early sentence subject (BOMT in 1999) but to an enlarged scope.

      The commercial tells BOMT album + singles sales plus Oops album initial shipments. It seems weird that they would ignore units sold by Oops single in an ad that highlights how big she got.

      Also, while the 9,7m to 11m gap may seem small, at the time JP/US/UK/GE/FR were nearly 90% of global singles sales, thus there is no room for big unknowns. We saw that her early albums sold immense amounts in the Philippines for example – their entire singles market was limited to 100k sales at the time, South Korean one to 40k sales. Those are not Britney sales but indeed how many singles were sold in those countries by all artists in total. Identifying 1,3m “new” copies on top of the already estimated units outside of the Big 5 countries would be equivalent of multiplying by 3/4 sales of estimates from average to low countries, which sounds like way too much. Calculations based on market shares can be very wrong when an artist is weak on big markets but big on weak markets, but it was clearly not the case of Britney who smashed everywhere so already got relevant amounts of copies calculated for “other” countries based on top markets performances.

      To resume:
      – was BOMT up to 20m by then? 100% Yes
      – was her singles up to 11m units by then? 100% Yes
      – were all those sales achieved during 1999 calendar year? 100% No, from 1998 up to May 2000
      – was Oops single included into the 11m units total? Possibly, I would say most likely yes

  16. Hi MJD,
    Are you sure Baby One More Time only sell 5.3 million physical single. Because I read a lot of sources and many said it has sold over 10 million copies. Would love to hear from you.

  17. Hi MJD,

    I was wondering if you happen to know her sales for her officially released remix albums [i]B In The Mix: The Remixes[/i] & [i]B In The Mix: The Remixes – Volume 2[/i]?

    Thanks!

  18. hi, do you know if following France single sales are legit?

    Britney SPEARS …Baby One More Time 1999 678 000
    Britney SPEARS (You Drive Me) Crazy 1999 526 200
    Britney SPEARS Oops!…i Did It Again Britney SPEARS 268 300 2000
    Britney SPEARS I’m A Slave 4 U Britney SPEARS 137 300 2001
    Britney Spears Toxic Britney SPEARS 171 100 2004
    Britney SPEARS Womanizer Britney SPEARS 207 700 2008
    Britney SPEARS Scream & Shout WILL.I.AM Feat. Britney SPEARS 210 300 2012
    Britney SPEARS I Wanna Go 2011 83 700
    Britney SPEARS Sometimes 1999 140 000
    Britney SPEARS Lucky 2000 60 200
    Britney SPEARS Stronger 2000 57 700
    Britney SPEARS Till The World Ends 2011 105 700
    Britney SPEARS Everytime 2004 105 800
    Britney SPEARS Overprotected 2002 102 200
    Britney SPEARS Born To Make You Happy 2000 130 400

    source:
    http://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Chansons_Depuis_2000.php?debut=0
    http://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Chansons_Tout_Temps.php?debut=200
    http://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Chansons_Tout_Temps.php?debut=500
    http://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Chansons_Tout_Temps.php?debut=5200

    thanks!

    1. Hi bsdoacao3,

      Infodisc is a good source for chart runs. Their sales figures are all estimates and very poorly done. Some are off by more than 100%. Just completely ignore them.

  19. Hey MJD,
    It’s been a while but I did think this was notable enough to ask:

    Is it highly impressive for a former teen star’s signature song to not be teen pop (Toxic)?

    That’s atypical.

    What does that say about her career?

  20. Hello MJD. In the article detailing Britney’s sales in Asia, you have updated “In the Zone” sales in India from 5000 to 25.000 copies, but here in Britney’s CSPC article it still says 5000. Does this mean the album is at 6.92M WW instead of 6.9M?

    1. I’d like to know this as well! Also curious about the Greek sales from ifpi.gr being different than the ones from here/Britney.com

      “In The Zone” got certified Gold in 2004 for 10,000 units shipped (https://web.archive.org/web/20040605194410/http://www.ifpi.gr/chart01.htm)
      (5,000 in the CSPC article)

      “Greatest Hits: My Prerogative” got certified Gold in 2004 for 10,000 units shipped (https://web.archive.org/web/20050204045617/http://www.ifpi.gr/chart01.htm)
      (5,000 in the CSPC article)

      “Circus” got certified Gold in March 2009 for 7,500 units shipped (https://www.ukmix.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1592801#p1592801)
      (1,000 in the CSPC article)

  21. MJD,

    Just out of curiousity, are you a big huge fan of Britney Spears. You seems to be putting a lot of effort when it comes to her analysis. A lot more than other artist which I have noticed. 🙂

  22. I have a question MJD, for tracks like “My Only Wish (This Year),” where exactly do you get current information on sales from? Christmas songs seems like exceptional cases because they clearly sell every year and show up on iTunes Charts every year, but to what extent they sell I really have no idea.

    So takes My Only Wish, you have it at 650,000. How much do you think it sells a year in the current climate, and how much do you think it sold per year when the digital era was in full force?

    thx

    1. Also I was thinking that maybe you could do a “Christmas” article and list the top selling Christmas albums, songs, most streamed, etc. Could be interesting.

      1. Biggest female artist in sps and pure sales in the last decade (with a lot of advantage).

        Biggest female artist in sps and pure albums since her debut, in 1998

        Most succesful debut album of all time (at least in sps)

        First female album to ever open with +2m numbers worldwide in music history

        First female with four albums to open with +0.5 million in USA

        She was the artist with most top 10 hits in important markets the last decade, and she hadnt feats.

        She is in the top 10 of artists with most number one and top 10 hits in important markets. She is the third female, behind Madonna and Rihanna. As lead artist, she has 22 top 10 in UK, 17 in Germany, 18 in Australia…

        She is the third artist, behind Madonna and Janet Jackson, to top the Hot 100 in three decades, as well as the seventh artist overal

        She is the second artist in history to debut multiple songs at the top of billboard Hot 100

        She broke three times the record of the biggest opening week for an single in USA

        7 albums with several hits worldwide

        She is a flop now, but she broke a lot of records during ten years. In fact, she broke some records with Circus and femme fatale.

  23. Hi MJD, can you explain how you make estimates for digital sales?

    I’m pretty sure that Gimme More and, mainly, Piece of Me did not sell less than Hold It Against Me

    the numbers for Femme Fatale singles seems coherent, but Gimme More and Piece of Me are too much low

    Gimme More performed better than I Wanna Go in every single market, so they cannot be with the same estimate

    Even more, compared to some another songs by others artists…

    Love on Top – 4,100,000

    Really? More than all the singles listed above?

    and the list goes on, I mean…

    If U Seek Amy – 2,700,000
    Diva – 2,800,000

    is that correct? because the worldwide chart run for IUSA is considerably better. So, ringtones made that difference? And if it’s the case, do you have a breakdown for both singles?

    I’m REALLY curious about that.

    Thank you, Xx

    1. Hi Regan!

      You are comparing songs from very distinct eras. GM / POM came out in 2007 when 819 million downloads were bought in the US. HIAM / IWG came out in 2011 when the market was up to 1,332 million, an increase of 63%.

      These figures refer to the US, the first country to adopt downloads, so the gap is even bigger elsewhere. In the UK, downloads increased from 78 million in 2007 to 177 million in 2011, an increase of 127%. In Canada they increased 278%. In Australia they were up 353% from 2007 to 2011. As you can see, we can’t barely look at which song performed the best on charts to tell the highest seller. All figures are based on real sales in all relevant market (US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, SK, Japan, Mexico) with weightings determined as per market sizes for similar countries.

      Diva was indeed much bigger in ringtones as it landed at #42 of the year in 2009 in the US, higher than Britney has ever got in her career minus Scream & Shout which closed 2013 at position #23. Also, chart runs only represent the visible part of the iceberg for digital sales. Diva continued to sell better than IUSA (and still has higher streams nowadays).

      Love On Top is a Platinum single in the UK, GM and POM are barely Silver while IWG, HIAM and IUSA haven’t even got there. The same is true everywhere. LOT peaked lower (#20) than most of those Britney’s singles in Australia, but it is 2xP, clearly eligible for 3xP, while all Britney’s songs are at best Plat. It’s typical of Britney’s chart history, during years 2007-2013 she amassed a lot of high chart peaks thanks to her fans downloading her songs in a short time frame, but they were nowhere near as successful as those positions suggest among the general public.

      1. Ok, but I’m talking about Britney Spears numbers, in specific

        As for 2016, we have this figure from Billboard (US sales)

        Piece of Me – 1.9 million
        Gimme More – 1.84 million
        I Wanna Go – 1.78 million

        In the UK, both singles from Blackout go silver (in pure sales), I Wanna Go not

        In Australia, Gimme More and I Wanna Go is gold, while Piece of Me is platinum

        In Europe in general, both Blackout songs performed (and definitly has sales) so much better than I Wanna Go, with exception, maybe, of France

        And if you consider the condition of the market for ringtones and mastertones in 2007 and 2011, the difference is even more expressive

        With GM 2x platinum and POM platinum in Canada, for example

        So yeah, for me, the estimates for Gimme More and Piece of Me remain low

        LOT being platinum in UK, thats include streaming, right? I’m talking about digital sales

        And no, Love On Top did not sell more worlwide (in digital sales) than Gimme More and Piece of Me for sure, and I have my doubts if it’s above Hold It Against Me and I Wanna Go as well

        The curious thing is that you mentioned just UK and Australia (where LOT had better sales) to justify the number

        You just forgot that LOT has not sold more than any of these Britney songs on any other chart on the planet (including US), but ringtones should make that difference I guess? LoL

        About Diva x IUSA, I was expected the number for ringtones sales, not status about today’s streaming, but as it did not appear, the same rule can be applied

        I have a lot of respect for your work, but I just think these inconsistencies need to be repaired

        Xx

        1. Hi again Regan,

          The complete first half of your message is purely wrong for one obvious reason: physical sales. Arguments about GM / POM selling more in continental Europe are irrelevant as charts in France or Spain were still pure physical charts and downloads had yet to take off in Italy and Germany. This latter country has a gross chart so even deep into the 00s charts were mostly driven by CDs. Just check physical sales of GM / POM and you will see that they are indeed much higher than a song like Diva or LOT. You repeat the same chart information comparing songs from 2007 and 2011 while the market was multiplied by 2-5 in-between, you can’t ignore that. French chart hasn’t even include downloads until 2011. LOT was selling more per week in 2013 in the US that GM did in its entire run in most European countries.

          LOT Platinum awards in the UK is mostly downloads, it charted more weeks inside the Top 200 than any Britney single until the introduction of streams on charts. I mentioned UK / Australia simply because it’s were the data is the best tracked. It doesn’t mean the song is unknown elsewhere. In fact, if you check YT Insights, you will notice that LOT is charted in the range 11-20 among Beyoncé’s most seen videos in each the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia, so there is no reason to assume it is unknown in Europe only because DLs were poorly tracked on charts. Beyoncé’s songs you mention weren’t even released physically so it makes no sense to argue with physicals-only rankings to justify they sold nothing on downloads.

          BTW, in case you really care about facts, you need to realize that LOT sold more than 1,2 million units in SK alone. Selling 20k-ish in France and 10k-ish in Italy won’t make some other song a bigger seller “for sure” Worldwide, I’m sure you agree with that.

          1. “The complete first half of your message is purely wrong for one obvious reason: physical sales. Arguments about GM / POM selling more in continental Europe are irrelevant the charts in France or Spain were still pure physical charts and downloads had yet to take off in Italy and Germany. ”

            No, it’s not. I’m talking about digital sales. Exclusively digital sales.

            And in digital sales, GM and POM sold more than HIAM and IWG in the US, UK, Canada (including mastertone), Germany…

            Among the main markets, only in Australia this logic can be applied, because even with a better chart run, GM sold the same as IWG, and POM the same as HIAM

            How do you say that physical sales make a difference and estimate 120,000 for Gimme More and 90,000 for Piece of Me? Joke, huh?

            “LOT was selling more per week in 2013 in the US that GM did in its entire run in most European countries”

            Good for her, a pity that was not enough to overcome NONE of these 4 Britney singles, at least until 2016, since last figure for Love On Top is 1,525,000 in the US 🙁

            But, wait, maybe your 4,100,000 estimate is for 2023 … So, yeah, by then she can reach it. You were right all along. My bad 🙁

            “It does not mean the song is unknown elsewhere. In fact, if you check YT Insights, you will notice that LOT is charted in the range 11-20 among Beyoncé’s most seen videos in each US, UK, France, Germany and Australia, so there is no reason to assume it is unknown in Europe only because DLs were poorly tracked on charts”

            I challenge you to copy and paste here, the part of my post where I said I think this song is unknown, I just said that it did not perform expressively on the world charts, that is just nothing but the truth.

            This estimate is grossly inflated and totally incorrect, I do not know why you have such resistance in assuming this little mistake

            But I’m going to bend over. In fact, streaming is an excellent representation of songs that have really been successful, that have stood the test of time, in that I can say that we agree

            So it’s awesome to see flop singles like Overprotected, I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman, Lucky, Stronger with more views than smash # 1’s hits like Bootylicious, Survivor, Baby Boy, Naughty Girl

            More impressive still is to realize that a single that did not even enter the Hot 100 (Do not Let Me Be the Last to Know, Boys) above one that spent 11 weeks at the top (Independent Women Pt.1)

          2. Oh, I almost forgot.

            1,2 million units for LOT in SK… is the same chart where Ooh La La has 850k? LoL

          3. So basically, you answer tons of nonsense when you repeat “I know it” with 0 valid facts, and you “forget” the market where LOT sold way, way more than GM, POM, etc, in the entire Europe?

            Yeah, SK is the country where Britney’s stans invented the fake figure of 850k. It’s also the country where IWG sold 600k plus and HIAM sold 700k plus, but you seem to ignore all that together, you prefer gauging digital sales thanks to 2007 physical charts from European countries. You are correct, 4,1m WW for a song that is close to 2m downloads in the US/UK, over 1,2m in SK and over half a million ringtones in the US alone is “grossly inflated and totally incorrect” indeed. And yes, 120k/90k physical sales were easily enough to propel songs in the Top 10 at that time in Europe. I hope you realize at least how your YT claims are ridiculously fake, but I’m not sure you really mind. Keep being a dumb ignorant if you like it, I’m done using my time explaining facts to trolls.

          4. Okay, I think it’s best to end this discussion here. When a person departs for personal offenses means that he is no longer right about his actions.

            My point about the sales of these Britney singles is based on facts, data known in the big markets, since I have followed her career almost daily since 2006. So I do not consider seeing such inconsistencies and not questioning, I think I have that right, so as you have to disagree. And that’s all there is, no one owns the truth.

            The point is that you have a good reputation on charts and sales, so your estimates, right or wrong, end up spreading and people tend to believe that your numbers are an absolute and unquestionable truth, but that’s not quite the way it works. you know it.

            I have several other questions: the unjustified decrease in sales of In The Zone from 7.4M to 6.9M; this (silly) insistence on keeping the Oops below the 20M mark, among others. I really do not think it’s worth arguing over because you, perhaps out of pride, will never admit that you’re wrong.

            At the end of the day, I still find your estimates for GM and POM low. And yes, I think many of the numbers you have estimated for Beyoncé are too high. Love On Top and Diva, perhaps, are the most expressive, but there are many others.

            Like Irreplaceable’s 9,400,000, I know you’ll use the fact that it’s 3x platinum in mastertone sales as an argument, but the curious thing is that by IFPI that song was #10 on 2007 YEC, sold “only” 4.66M in digital sales (including mastertones) from November 2006 to November 2007, which coincides with the release period of the song. If in the first year this song sold “only” this, how can have another 4.74M in the following years? There is no logic to this estimate, another value totally out of reality.

            But as I said, I will finish the questions here. It seems that I’m hater, when in fact I’m not, I only use her as an example because I also follow her career. I’ll only make one last request, you do not have to have respect for me, because I’m just a dumb and ignorant troll, but I have to say for artists and for the musical taste of people, I mean…

            http://chartmasters.org/2016/12/cspc-beyonce-destinys-child-popularity-analysis/27/

            Putting such a satire is something totally disrespectful for what it represents (VMA 2007 / Era Blackout) for Britney fans. I close my considerations here. I do not want to lose the respect I (still) have for your work, not for you anymore.

            Peace, Xx

          5. What’s disrespectful is trolling someone else’s huge work because of fanatical views. What’s silly is the insistance of trolls of your kind insisting in unsupported figures like Ooops’ 20 million just because they wish it was true. You don’t care about facts, you come here to try to inflate Britney’s results and suggest I’m “grossly inflating” someone else with arguments which barely prove your incredible ignorance on the matter. I’ll never understand how people can criticize the hard work of others on something when they obviously don’t know a thing about it.

            You continue ignoring every data I provide, arguying you “know the facts”, and that figures are “too high”, even if 3 countries only account for 3,7m out of a global estimate of 4,1m. How absurd is that? You follow “daily” statistics of Britney since 2006, yet you have absolutely no idea of her sales in her 2nd best market for single sales. Ok, good job man.

            The most laughable part of your comment is how you say that I’m “too proud” to fix an error while pointing out a figure that I precisely fixed. Learn one, two, 10, 1 thousand, 1 million things, then talk. Right now, you are barely acting as a dumb and ignorant troll indeed. If you don’t like the finding, then rather than blaming the messenger, stop acting that way.

          6. Be happy, man

            You and your numbers for Beyoncé

            Judging by the altered reaction you had when I confronted them, they are all you have

            I’ll put in my prayers
            Peace

          7. Acting as if you don’t see the numbers doesn’t mean I haven’t posted them. Keep on ignoring all numbers I providing in order to prove how much of a troll you are. Repeating lies won’t make them true. You have 0 evidence, now that’s clear.

      2. “It’s typical of Britney’s chart history, during years 2007-2013 she amassed a lot of high chart peaks thanks to her fans downloading her songs in a short time frame, but they were nowhere near as successful as those positions suggest among the general public.”

        I disagree with this statement, you could say this about songs like Hold It Against Me, Work Bitch or S&M (Remix), but songs like Womanizer, Circus, TTWE, I Wanna Go, Scream & Shout, etc all hits among the general public.

        Womanizer spent several weeks inside the Top 10 in most countries, in fact, it was a 5-week #1 hit in France and Canada. In the UK it spent like 7 or 8 weeks inside the Top 10, the most for any of her singles since her debut. And it also hit #1 or #2 in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Israel, Switzerland, Poland and Ireland. Clearly not just a fan-driven single.

        Circus was officially the 10th best-selling single of 2009 despite not setting the charts on fire in Europe, so I doubt her fan base was enough to get it that high. It was also a pop radio #1 just like Womanizer.

        TTWE wasn’t as big as Womanizer but it did have longevity and wasn’t fan-driven at all, it made it as high as #26 on the French Year-End chart, higher than any song by Beyonce to date. It also made the Top 30 in the US, Canada, Belgium and Lebanon, the Top 40 in Spain, the Top 50 in Switzerland and Denmark, and the Top 60 in Sweden and South Korea.

        I Wanna Go wasn’t a big hit worldwide, but it was a pop radio #1, so how exactly was it driven by downloads? I Wanna Go was definitely more popular within the general public than any Beyonce song in 2011.

        1. Hi Stephen!

          My comment was obviously related to the singles pointed out by Regan. Songs from Blackout era in general peaked high at the time thanks to her fanbase / charts in disastrous conditions. It was a transitional period and on those years it is always easier for established artists to get charts that look great. Songs have spent months inside the Top 10 in France at that time and nobody knew them among the GP.

          Womaniez, S&S or Circus was undoubtedly big hits. They got high sales for many weeks, that’s a very distinct situation. The market was already healthy, so to feature on high waters for various weeks a song needs to smash, a fan base won’t help there. Singles-wise, her early 10s years were definitely big.

  24. You dont like Britney, but I know that you are objective with your data. I have a question: the sales of South Korea, ridiculously cheap, also includes them ipfi in their figures?

    1. Hi Crater, yes they are considered by the IFPI too. Labels never wanted sales to be widely available to avoid flops to be too visible and in case they are late on royalties’ purposes. It is a touchy matter for them!

      1. Thank you very much, Mjd. I know how involved you are in this and all the research work that you do.

        If some day all the exact data were made public by IFPI, the difference with your data, could be different in some cases? (I know that Britney’s case does not, because her sales are clear)

        Another question: Olivia Newton Jones and Dolly Parton were very successful in the 60s and 70s. However, they have very few certifications. The sales of them are greater than they seem?

  25. MJD
    I want to ask about BBMA Britney performance that stated she had sold 140 Millions records sold. It is US selling or WW?

    1. Hi Elena,

      What’s inaccurate (and known to be for long) is that fanciful claim. Please check already posted comments which descontruct this fake figure of 100m.

        1. Would you mind reading the previous comments? This has already been discussed again and again. Anyone with a tiny knowledge in charts and sales will tell you she is nowhere near 100 million pure album sales.

        2. Record labels always wants to inflate their artists record sales. For example, Beatles record label have said on many occasion, that they have sold 1 billion records, when we know for sure Beatles are not even close to reaching that amount of sales.

  26. Britney has always been able to sell much more … In the zone she could have had, at least, two more singles, that after the massive success of toxic and everytime they would have done well. And the album could have sold at least a million more.

    Blackout had everything against him: it had no promotion on television and Britney was (literally) vetoed on the radio, at a time when TV promotion and radio were the most important thing. And despite only having two singles, it sold 4.4M in sps. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, in their times flops, are light years away from this supposed flop…

    Circus did have the support of the radio and some TV promotion, but Britney only promoted Womanizer and Circus. Even so, the album sold well, 7M in sps. If Britney had promoted If you seek amy and another single, Circus could have sold 9 M. Femme Fatale had a very important support by radio, but at that time the television promotion was still very important and Britney did very little promo there. If she had done as much promotion as her rivals (they did a massive TV promo), the album could have sold at least one million more.

    What I mean by this is that Britney, even with a low profile, had hits and sold decently. Therefore, if she had been as competitive as she was in the beginning of her career, ITZ, Blackout, Circus and Femme fatale could have sold at least 20 or 30 percent more. In fact, I think that if its context had been the streaming era, gimme more or piece of me would have been big viral successes (without the support of the radio, they sold 2 M in the USA).

    I am delusional?😃

    1. I think she was very competitive with In The Zone, but its just too bad that her knee got injured. I always2 feels like if Toxic were released as a first single, during the busy christmas season, ITZ would’ve sold a lot more. Choosing “Me Against The Music” as the first single is a big mistake. It got all the hype from the duet with Madonna, but it really isn’t radio friendly.

  27. I believe that the author of this article belittles Britney’s success. He called Femme Fatale a flop. 4.3 M albums is a failure? And this album sold 60% of Circus, and it only had 4 singles … Furthemore, in sps, Femme Fatale is between 60 most succesful album of thid decade, no? Amazing for a flop no?

    He also says that Britney’s sales are irregular, but between 2007 (she already had a 9-year career) and 2013, she sold 17 million equivalent albums. Its not amazing that almost a decade after her debut, she sold 17 M albums equivalents in 5 years? And she only had 12 singles and two feats during that period.

    1. Hi Yayne!

      Figures need to be considered inside their context. Every album comes out with a production and promotion budget adjusted to the popularity of an artist. If Britney sells 4m and P!nk does the same, then P!nk’s release has been the biggest since the promotion budget assigned to her release will be necessarily much lower in many territories. That’s P!nk, if we speak about a lower profile artist, the gap becomes even wider.
      FF is among the Top 60 albums among albums studied only, it won’t be Top 100 overall. By the end of the decade, it will be most likely out of the Top 200 or barely into it. You can’t on one side expect Britney’s success to be highlighted again and again and then say Top 200 for her is good. By her standards, it isn’t. This is even more true considering the amount of ‘free sales’ Britney has got from her fanbase during those years.

      When I mention putting figures into their context I refer to expectations way back in 2007. We are re-writing history when we consider that 4m is great for her, simply because her last albums bombed. By 2007, she was coming off 4 albums that averaged nearly 20m CSPC, her last era was home to Toxic / Everytime that led many of her fans to say it was the beginning of a very promising future, plus she was back from a 4-years absence full of gossips/drama, 17m was what many were expecting for that album alone. Ending at 4m on that context was a disaster. When Circus / FF came out, the target wasn’t to reproduce what was seen as an absolute failure but instead to recover her past glory. Both albums had solid hits, but it is also true to say that several artists did 3/4 times better at the same time, meaning Britney hasn’t recovered her status of biggest pop star on Earth. The 2007-2013 era for Britney is similar to 1990-1996 years of Madonna, very average sellers considering the amount of money put into them, consistent fanbase still, occasional hits, but more than anything years of patience waiting for one true comeback. Britney never got her Ray Of Light though, instead she dropped even more, which makes this period look good while in reality it marked the end of her hey-days and shot down her chances of entering the club of the Big 5.

      At the end of the day, nobody doubts that Britney has been a huge selling machine for several years. It doesn’t prevent us from saying that results of her releases are better / worst than expected nor to gauge them as per appropriate standards.

      1. The era had disappointing success for her standards, but considering everything that happened before the album release, 17m CSPC for Blackout sounds like an absolutely delusional expectation. Yes, she received a lot of media attention during those 4 years off but for negative events that deeply tarnished her image, including shaving her head (which led people to think she was crazy), losing custody of her children, showing up drunk and messing up at the VMAs and being taking to a mental hospital. These things don’t sell your music, especially not for female popstars.

        The material on Blackout was good and had a lot of hit potential. She would have had another 10M+ CSPC era had she been able to support the album and had some events been suppressed from her life. I also feel like a couple more millions of album equivalents could have easily been squeezed out of Circus with more singles, promotion and commitment on her part. The era didn’t reach its full potential, like In the Zone.

  28. Blackout was a disappointment, because it was the successor of In the zone. But the album had everything against it (radio and promotion), and still sold 4 million. For her circumstances, she did not do so badly. Another super star would have made it much worse …

    Britney only promoted Circus when the album came out. She quickly abandoned the promotion. And she could have released more singles. Circus only had 4 singles. Her competitors drew up to seven singles, even if they have flops singles. If she sold 7M with four singles and one month of promotion, imagine if she would have released more singles and did promotion of more months, like her rivals. Even so, 7M is an important success. And it was the sixth most successful album of the year on billboard 200. And circus was the fifth most successful tour of the year.

    Femme Fatale had ten percent of the Born this way or Teenage Dream promotion, and it’s sold 60 percent of Circus. And it could have gotten much more out of singles too (it only had 4).

    What I mean is that the standards of the Britney post 2008 are others. Despite her low profile (he made 10 or 20 percent of the promotion of his rivals) and only 12 singles released, she sold 16 million with 3 albums. It’s not bad, right? How many singles did their opponents release, the double?

    Why you compare Britney with Madonna and not with Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Miley … Britney had much more longevity than all of them … And she has overcome them without effort, with a low profile.

    1. Hi Yayne (and but!),

      It is key to understand that it isn’t promotion which creates success, but success which generates promotion. Majors invest big dollars into promotion only when the return on investment is positive. The objective isn’t to maximize sales but instead to maximize profits. When an album gets 5 singles, it is because the 4th was big enough to expect a positive return on investment from the 5th, and so on for the 6th, 7th, etc… this is why it happens so rarely.

      Results of If U Seek Amy were very average and Radar was a complete bomb, it isn’t like a 5th or 6th single would have change a thing except making her label losing money. I Wanna Go sold OK on its own (1,8m in the US was nothing big by 2011 and it did poorly elsewhere) but was unable to put the album even inside the Top 50, again it was useless to continue the promotion. They still continued with Criminal which bombed and did nothing for the album.

      The “abandoned the promotion” thing is a nonsense, boards are obsessed with TV shows performances but they are low-key events in terms of records promotion. We see quick improvements on iTunes so we think that they are a big thing, but TV shows never created any kind of success, they are barely good to shorten the promotional campaign a bit by hitting upcoming purchasers faster. Most top selling albums of all-time had 0 performance quite simply because it is a cheap promotion. At best it helps Adult Contemporary acts since some housewifes never turn on the radio and are heavily TV-influenced, but for pop stars TV shows are useless.

      There wasn’t “everything against” Britney / Blackout either. No pop artist has been more supported than Britney by US pop stations in the last 20 years. Gimme More was even shot to #1 on its first day inside Z100’s ranking. Radios welcomed it, there was obviously payola involved thanks to the label as for every big comeback single, but feedbacks from listeners were simply bad.

      All fans of all artists always (like to) believe that all their records from their fave could have done much better. Fact is majors use the same promotional tools, with the same key performance indicators (typically, since DLs kicked in when a new single fails to reach the Top 20 in the US, the promotion is stopped), to decide when and how to continue to market a product. If she got less singles than others, it’s simply because her singles were being less effective. The only thing that changes on promotional campaigns is the initial budget allowed, which depends on the artist profile, two elements that largely benefit to Britney in comparison to anyone else bar Eminem (and Madonna / U2 until late 00s). Albums from 2007 to 2013 were milked fairly well. If there has been a waste in Britney’s career, it is the one pointed out a few days ago of Toxic not coming out as the lead single of ITZ, which is the real “loser” in terms of final sales vs maximum potential. It’s a common mistake from labels. The Girl is Mine (MJ / Macca), 4 Minutes (Madonna / JT) or recently Walk On Water (Eminem / Beyoncé) are other examples of duets between two names so big that labels feel the need to put them as lead singles to maximize hype, like MATM, but duets have never been efficient to sell albums.

      As for comparison purpose, it’s Britney fans who use to put her among the very top sellers, arguying she isn’t in the same league than Christina Aguilera or Alicia Keys. The simple fact you know expect her to be compared to them show that the 2007-2013 era dropped her status considerably. Plus, let’s be honest, you are cherry-picking artists who recently flopped badly since the likes Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Rihanna or P!nk are having as much / more longevity than Britney.

      Again, Britney did wonders, nobody contradicts it. It’s when you put things into this kind of inaccurate perspectives that you force objective people to point out it simply isn’t true. It isn’t true that results of Blackout / Circus / FF were similar to BTW or Teenage Dream bar lack of promotion, honestly that’s nonsense. It would be like saying that with as many promotion as Britney’s BOMT, Dido or Norah Jones would have outsold her by 5 to 1. Or that with as many airplay as Circus / FF singles, Michael Bublé’s albums from those years would be 50 million sellers. Fact is Britney’s first 2 albums were massive, the following two have been fairly big too, maintaining her on high waters, Blackout was an undeniable disaster, Circus / FF did well to limit damages but without recovering her status, then following albums were disasters too. Putting this into her own perspective, this means out of 8 albums there is 2 huge smashes, 3 clear flops, 2 good+ successes (ITZ / Circus) and one good-ok success (Britney), which is definitely an “irregular” trajectory.

      1. “There wasn’t “everything against” Britney / Blackout either. No pop artist has been more supported than Britney by US pop stations in the last 20 years. Gimme More was even shot to #1 on its first day inside Z100’s ranking. Radios welcomed it, there was obviously payola involved thanks to the label as for every big comeback single, but feedbacks from listeners were simply bad. ”

        I lost it here lolll
        I didn’t know u disliked Britney that much to say something wrong
        Britney was left to do whatever she wants (why she was an executive producer) the label didn’t care at this point because they thought that her wild antics will cause her to flop.
        That’s why Blackout was such an explict record.
        When they saw the success, they took her back and made the safe Circus and fixed her image for more commercial success.
        In fact, the Blackout singles had worse adds then her recent era.
        The only reason it was a hit is because all eyes were on her and because it was a good record.
        She didn’t even promote the era.Only 1 (horrible) appearance on the VMAs

        About the longevity, Christina and Alicia were relevant for a decade.
        Taylor has 12 years.
        Rihanna has 13 years.
        Beyonce has 15 years (and only because of the features)
        P!nk has 17 years (which is the closest to Britney who has 14 years (15 if we count her feature)

        The only name I am surprised he used it Miley,Katy and Gaga.
        Maybe Alicia too but the others were the closest to Britney in terms of debut so I don’t know what u are talking about cherry picking?

        1. Hi tens,

          Why always this childish need to flag as “hater” / “anti” everything that is not stupid stanning? It’s funny to see that 90% of the times when it comes out that is from Britney fans while I do no difference between her and all other divas. This is what I dislike, dumb fanatic stanning.

          To say that the label, which put millions into Blackout, did nothing, but then they “saw its success”, when it was a clear disaster, is one of the most delusional things I have ever read. Again the same rubbish about performances, again the same rubbish about lack of support, bla, bla, bla. Always the same cheap excuses used by fanatics to explain why the World hasn’t embrace their fave the same way as they do. Guess what? Some songs are simply less popular than others.

          You comparison about longevity is nonsense. You put Britney’s “consistency” at the same stage of Taylor / Rihanna / Beyoncé / P!nk while they are all able to register at least 50% of their peak years, while what you define as Britney’s consistency is doing a mere 14% of her top albums. Hot news, dividing your results by 7 isn’t being consistent. By those standards, Madonna’s American Life was a hit and Eminem’s Relapse a monster smash, which is obviously ridiculous.

          1. OK The promotion was not important. Simply some songs are less popular than others. So why did artists promote their music? In my other comment, I put all the performances that other singers have done. Truly, they were idiots. If they had stayed at home, as Britney did during blackout, they would have sold as many millions as they did. They did not even need a marketing team. They did not need to appear in their music videos either.. Surely, when Britney literally made 0 promo when blackout came out, the label expected that week the album would sell a million copies. But she does not have the capacity she should have had to sell millions without doing anything. Other artists would have been able to do it. Interestingly, there is no pop diva of that period who sold millions without doing 10 or 15 performances on television. But that’s why I say, because they did not know they could stay at home.

            The listeners did not want Britney’s music, but a year later they wanted Womanizer and Circus? The two million copies sold by Gimme More and Piece of me in the USA were all from Britney fans?

            You are an expert in charts, so you should know how radio was then. Do you think that Despacito would have been number one in 2007? It would not have even been top 5. The streaming has changed everything. That is why artists no longer need radio or television. Good songs become viral successes. Gimme more and Piece of me, no doubt, they would have done very well in this context.In fact, I remember that in 2007 Gimme more had more visits than Umbrella on YouTube, and Gimme More came out later.

            The trajectory of Britney has not been very regular, but what divas of her generation has a sixth album with more than 7 million copies (only Pink) and a seventh album with more than 4 million?

            You can say what you want. I hope I do not sound defensive. Britney fans appreciate all the research work you has done with her. I think this topic has already become heavy. I have nothing more to say. I hope you do not take us (Britney fans) mania.

        2. Here are some facts: http://chartmasters.org/divascomparison/

          – Albums 1-3:
          All 8 divas remain over 40% of their top sellers with all their albums except P!nk which flops with Try This.

          – Album 4:
          Five out of the 8 divas register from 45% to 65% of their top seller. The 3 who start losing group are Rihanna and Britney at 38%, but it is still fairly decent, and Aguilera who completely vanishes at 11%.

          – Album 5:
          Four artists manage to record 75% of more of their top seller. Beyoncé helds close to half of her best, Madonna slows down to 32% with I’m Breathless. Two divas are truly collapsing: Britney, at 14%, and Aguilera, at 8%. Thus, Britney is the 7th ‘best’ consistency out of the 8.

          – Album 6:
          Taylor Swift registers her career-best (1989) while Rihanna and P!nk both stay over 50%, Mariah comes next close to 40%. At 22%, Britney is again 7th, once again with only Aguilera doing worst at a dreadful 6%.

          – Album 7:
          Only 4 of those singers released 7 albums or more, Rihanna, who remains over 50% of her best, Mariah and Madonna, both on 26-30%, and then Britney, well behind under 14%. P!nk (Beautiful Drama) and Taylor Swift (Reputation) both released albums when their last article was posted, both albums are already well over 14% of their respective best, meaning Britney will remain the worst showing in terms of consistency out of all (well, until Aguilera releases an album).

          – Album 8:
          The same four divas issued 8 albums or more. Rihanna stays healthy at 30%. Madonna is slowly going down at 19% with Ray Of Light coming soon. Mariah tumbes severely to 6,5%, hello Glitter. It’s still better than Britney’s Britney Jean at 4,1%.

          – Album 9:
          Rihanna hasn’t got there so far. Madonna did a huge 53% of her best with her 9th album. Mariah fails to recover with Charmbracelet at 8,7%, Britney is down to 2,3% of her past glory.

          To summarize, from album 4, in terms of consistency, Britney ranks:
          Album 4: 6th out of 8
          Album 5: 7th out of 8
          Album 6: 7th out of 8
          Album 7: 6th out of 6
          Album 8: 4th out of 4
          Album 9: 3rd out of 3

          Facts speak by themselves.

          1. MJD,

            I dont agree with you. She is not consistent when you consider the fact that Baby sell like 23 million copies and Circus sell like 4 million. Yeah, of course it sounded bad on her level and sounded as if she is not consistent at all. But when you consider the fact that Beyonce sixth studio album Lemonade sell less than Britney’s sixth studio album Circus, and even has a lower CSPC results, again to ur own figures. Its not as if all the other divas were doing much better than her. Yeah, true Pink has amazing consistency. But I will say, she had amazing consistency of being mediocre while never even once reached a peak like Britney, Mariah, Whitney, Madonna, ever had. So to paint a picture as if Pink is doing better than Britney. I dont think so.

      2. “There wasn’t “everything against” Britney / Blackout either. No pop artist has been more supported than Britney by US pop stations in the last 20 years. Gimme More was even shot to #1 on its first day inside Z100’s ranking. Radios welcomed it, there was obviously payola involved thanks to the label as for every big comeback single, but feedbacks from listeners were simply bad.”

        Is this a joke? You shouldn’t even talk about payola since you’re always rooting for the queen of 2000’s payola. LMAO

      3. I researched on wikipedia and …

        Rihanna
        Rating R.
        1. Russian roulette: moderate hit. TV promo.
        2. Hard: moderate hit. Promo TV
        3. Wait your turn: flop. TV Promo (2009 American Music Awards)
        4.Rude boy: hit. TV Promotion (The Ellen DeGeneres Show, 2010 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards)
        5.Rockstar 101: flop. TV promo (American Idol on April 7, 2010).
        6. Te amo: flop.

        Rihanna Loud.
        2. What’s My Name ?: Saturday Night Live, Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, 53rd Grammy Awards, NBA All Star Game, NBC’s Today, Brit awards)
        3.SM: BRIT Awards, The X Factor, the Billboard Music Awards, NBC’s Today)
        4.Man down: flop
        5.California king bed (American Idol, ACM Awards)

        Alicia Keys. The element of freedom
        1. Does not mean anything: flop.
        2. Try to sleep with a broken heart: flop. TV promo (Dancing With The Stars, American Music Awards 2009, Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Britain’s Got Talent).
        3. Put it in a love song: flop. TV promo.
        4.Empire State of Mind (Part II) Analyzed: flop. Television promotion (The X Factor, Saturday Night Live).
        Un-Thinkable: flop
        5. Wait until you see my smile: flop.

        Pink. Funhouse
        1. SO what: hit. TV Promo (ema, vma).
        2.Sober: hit. Tv promo ( American Music Awards)
        3. Please, do not leave me: moderate hit.
        4.Funhouse: big. Promo TV (Jimmy Kimmel Live)
        5. I do not believe you: big flop. TV promo (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live ).
        6. Glitter in the air: flop. TV promo (Grammy Awards 2010).

        Lay Gaga Born this way. 2011
        1.Born this way: hit. Promo TV (grammys)
        2. Judas: flop. TV promo (Good Morning America, factor X, Good Morning America, Ellen).
        3. The edge of glory: hit. Promo TV (a lot too)
        4. You and I TV promo (2011 MTV Video Music Awards, The Jonathan Ross Show, the special abc).
        5. Marry the night TV promo (2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, X Factor, Alan Carr: Chatty Man, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more …).

        I could give you more examples, especially of a well-known super star LOL. As I show you, during that period all stars promoted all their singles in many television programs. If tv promo wasnt as importan as I said, why they did all that promotion there? Its obvius… That you deny it is absurd …
        A third single of Rihanna or Lady Gaga had more television promotion that a whole album of Britney (literally), so this hurt Britney a lot. .

        Circus
        Womanizer: In Usa, only a tv perfomance at good morning america.
        Circus: only a tv perfomance at good morning america (not a big show).
        If you seek amy: 0 TV Promo.
        Radar: 0 TV Promo.

        Femme Fatale
        Hold it against me: 0 tv perfomance
        Till the world ends: TV promo.
        I wanna go: 0 TV promo.
        Criminal: 0 TV promo.

        No vmas, emas, grammys, american music awards, american idol… All her rivals perfomanced at all that shows. They did not know it was not necessary, that if they made the same effort as Britney, they would sell the same that they sold lol

        Of course, she could have released more singles, but if she didnt want doing promo… As I show you, if her rivals failed with a third single, they released a fourth or a fifth single and promoted it. They did not finish the promotion of the album in its week of departure, as literally did Britney.

        Gimme More and Piece of me are as good and commercial songs as Womanizer and Circus. So why did not Blackout have the success of Circus? Why Womanizer did not have the support of the radio, while Gimme more or Piece of me were ignored? Obviously, because during Circus she had a team that helped her clean up her image and get the radio back to support her. Also, on this occasion, she was willing to do a bit of television promotion. It is so obvious …

        Femme fatale would never have sold as many as Born this way, but if Britney had promoted I wanna go or Till the world ends as much as Lady Gaga or Rihanna promoted their singles, the album could have made it considerably better … She had to face a lot of pop divas who did more television promotion than her by thousands.

        # – There was not “everything against” Britney / Blackout either. No pop artist has received more thanks from Britney for American pop stations in the last 20 years. Gimme More received # 1 on his first day in the Z100 ranking. Radios welcomed, obviously, Payola was involved thanks to the label as for each great return, but the reactions of the listeners were simply bad .— #

        It’s a joke? She was not even in the top 5 on the radio during her heyday, and is more than confirmed that during 2001-2003 her music was boycotted by a clear channel (http://adage.com/article/news/clear-channel – castish-britney-spears / 33694 /). Despite the fact that Britney sold more than 5 million copies in the United States and it was the successor of a huge album, all his singles did ridiculously bad in airplay, even if they had the sound that was fashionable then . It’s as if Born this way, that came after The Fame, would not have been top 20 in airplay. Obviously something was happening …Piece of me (it was a second single, so you can not use the excuse of the fans) sold 2 million copies in the United States, more than I wanna go, and it was not even in the top 30 on the radio It’s clear that Blackout did not have any radio support.

        Be honest. Really do you think that if Britney had been as competitive as she was in her beginnings and she had been everywhere, like her rivals, she wuldnt have more consistent?

  29. “There wasn’t “everything against” Britney / Blackout either. No pop artist has been more supported than Britney by US pop stations in the last 20 years. Gimme More was even shot to #1 on its first day inside Z100’s ranking. Radios welcomed it, there was obviously payola involved thanks to the label as for every big comeback single, but feedbacks from listeners were simply bad. ”

    This is the most delusional thing I have read about Brit.Like I get it you don’t like her but what? Now I know not to take anything on this site seriously,always thought the entire article was trying too hard to discredit her.So much bs.

    1. Im a Britney fan. But to be honest, Blackout is so overrated. Yeah true it has no boring songs. But none of the songs, are potential hit singles such as Umbrella and Bad Romance, which were released around the same time. Even with heavy promotion, the most Blackout could get is an additional 2-3 million worldwide sales, that’s it. Dont tell me “Gimme More” or “Piece of Me” or “Break The Ice” can be as big as “Umbrella” or “Bad Romance” with heavy promotion, because none of the singles from the Blackout albums have the potential to be a really2 big huge hit. Plus, what MJD was saying was right. Britney really had heavy airplay early on in her career. She did have that banned from clear channel, but soon afterwards she received heavy airplay again. Even with her being in trouble with her personal life during 2007-2008. She did received considerable airplay with the blackout album.

      1. Considerable airplay is 20 M for two songs that sold almost 2M??? Considerable airplay is 20 M for Make me or pretty Girls.

        What songs of 2007 with similar sales werent top 10 on radio?

      2. Gime more (pop radio and sales)

        28
        21
        19
        18
        18-1
        18-2
        17-3
        21-8
        28-9
        34-8
        35-12
        35-16
        Piece of me (pop songs and sales)

        42-21
        37-38
        33-40
        31-41
        28-20
        28-22
        29-20
        28-14
        28-22
        29-19
        28-14
        34-10
        33-8
        34-10
        33-12

        Top 20 on pop radio: 0 weeks
        Top 20 on sales: 9

        TV perfomance: 0

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