CSPC: Pink Floyd Popularity Analysis

Syd Barrett

Physical Singles Sales

Pink Floyd weren’t a pure album band during its early days. Under the direction of the late Syd Barrett, they debuted by issuing singles. Arnold Layne and See Emily Play reached #20 and #8 respectively in the UK charts way back in 1967. After his exclusion from the band due to his strong addictions, which led to the arrival of David Gilmour, Pink Floyd focused more and more on albums as a full piece of work.

Some singles still came out sporadically here and there, but it wasn’t until Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) that a proper lead single benefited from a global release. It was a groundbreaking smash, selling 5,6 million copies after topping charts in most countries just like its parent album.

This gap between one all-time top seller and songs barely released in one or two countries conclude on a truly unique fact. Although the band has been active for 3 decades, that 1979 single alone is responsible for 72% of their career sales of physical singles!

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 3 to 1 ratio between one album and one physical single.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) – 15,000 equivalent albums

Flaming – 50,000

A Saucerful of Secrets (1968) – 15,000 equivalent albums

Let There Be More Light – 50,000

More (1969) – 15,000 equivalent albums

The Nile Song – 50,000

Ummagumma (1969) – 0 equivalent albums

No single released

Atom Heart Mother (1970) – 0 equivalent albums

No single released

Meddle (1971) – 15,000 equivalent albums

One of These Days – 50,000

8 thoughts on “CSPC: Pink Floyd Popularity Analysis”

  1. Hi MJD!

    Glad you’re back! It’s been a long wait and it was quite worth it!

    Regarding Pink Floyd’s sales, I have to say their album sales are excellent! 80m+ in both the US and Europe is mind-blowing! They also managed huge sales in almost everywhere except Asia, but that can be explained by the weak market during their peak.

    Still, I was rather disappointed with their performance on other formats. 8,8m physical singles is very low compared to acts of the same time frame, especially since the singles market was huge at the time. I guess not releasing so many singles led to their extraordinary album sales, but The Wall is a perfect example of both huge album sales and singles sales. If they had relased more singles, they probably would end up having slightly less album sales, but much higher album sales equivalents from singles sales.

    I’m not sure how to judge their digital results though. While 23m downloads is quite good considering that the band is already quite old, it pales a lot compared to their album sales. I even find their streaming results more impressive than their download results.

    Lastly, with nearly 170m coming from studio album sales, this format takes up 75% of their total results. What other artists have such a huge proportion of their total results belonging to this format?

    The only acts i can think of right now that would be above Pink Floyd’s are Elvis, Michael Jackson and Queen. Not sure about Sir Elton John though. That means Pink Floyd is most likely in the Top 10.

    What other analysis/updates/projects are you planning to do next?

  2. Great article! I have a question, is it the THE WALL and Moon era the biggest era of all time ? Or Michael’s Thillir era 1983-1985 or Beatles’ 1965-1969 or Celine’s 1996- 1999?

    1. Hi Skkywill!

      I’m not sure to fully understand your question, how do you define ‘era’? Are you referring to a period time-frame or a set of consecutive albums?

      1. time-frame, biggest CSPC sales during their peak time, of course, considered market size and number of album and sales., It’s hard to credit Swift’s era., but adele’s era is 2011-2012, Bad is no doubt an incredible era, but despite of how biggest Thillir is, its, era didnt last 1982—1988, but two era, Whitney as well. era credited for consecutive Year end chart run of artist’s record

  3. outstanding numbers! it is worth mentioning that they are the second artist on your list to have two 40+ million CSPC albums after Celine. Of course in their case, they almost have both their albums over 50 million which is a ridiculous result. Do you reckon any other artist of those left apart from Michael Jackson to have 2 albums generate over 40 million CSPC units (let alone 50 million!!)?

  4. time-frame, biggest CSPC sales during their peak time, of course, considered market size and number of album and sales., It’s hard to credit Swift’s era., but adele’s era is 2011-2012, Bad is no doubt an incredible era, but despite of how biggest Thillir is, its, era didnt last 1982—1988, but two era, Whitney as well. era credited for consecutive Year end chart run of artist’s records

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