CSPC: Nirvana Popularity Analysis

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Kia.

Exactly one year ago I posted the fifth CSPC article. The artist studied was the cult rock band Nirvana. Some 25 years after the hype around Nevermind, their popularity is still soaring. At current pace, this album is looking to become the very best selling catalog record on Earth. How come?

Taking into account that a mere two and a half years passed from the release of Nevermind to the death of lead singer Kurt Cobain, the impact of this Seattle band in the history of the music industry is unparalleled.

In total, Nirvana released only three albums, including one before their cross over. With such a tiny discography, and the fact that even Nevermind is not higher than the all-time Top 40 best selling albums, many millions behind other rock albums such as Led Zeppelin IVAC/DC Back In BlackPink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon and even Guns N’ Roses own Appetite For Destruction, among various others, one may cast Nirvana‘s real popularity under a shadow of doubt. The early passing of Kurt Cobain led Geffen Records label to extensively milk the group’s existing material. Inclusively issuing two major live sets and later several compilations. All those records took catalog sales away from the band’s original albums which turn out to be lower sellers than their popularity would justify. Thus, it is needed to merge and weight together all records sold on the back of the Nevermind LP.

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 Nirvana‘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!

11 thoughts on “CSPC: Nirvana Popularity Analysis”

    1. Must agree it’s a little frustrating seeing Thriller in so many articles but still not having its CSPC! It must be over 80M, far and away the biggest ever!

  1. Well, I see that with the new update the Nirvana have increased by about 2 million albums sold equivalent, in fact last year were 87 million and today are 89 million.
    Then I would like to know if U2 with the new updates the sales of their albums will be increased or decreased.

  2. So, I think I understand most of the methods used here but there are two things that I require explaining. Firstly, on the Physical Singles Page (page 8) the song “About a Girl” has been listed under the Bleach studio album – there was no physical single of the Bleach version of this song. The physical single of the song “About a Girl” came from the Unplugged album. Secondly, on the same page physical sales are listed for the song “You Know You’re Right” and again there was never any physical retail single for the song “You Know You’re Right”, it was only available as a download commercially. So I am guessing it has something to do with the “equivalent albums” figures.

    1. Hi Michael!

      “About A Girl” being displayed under Bleach is due to the concept. We focus on albums that created the value, About A Girl was created at that time so independently on when it got promoted, its sales go under that album only!

      As for You Know You’re Right I need to go throughout my files as I can’t locate the source of that figure. Since my old template from 1 year ago had both physical and download sales on the same page, it looks like that song sales glitched from one section to an other when separating everything! I’ll fix that, thanks for noticing 😉

  3. Great job!

    With only 3 regular studio albums and a bunch of post mortem releases it must have been some task to figure out which songs were orphans 🙂

    Nevermind is a monster! I just finished my own update of Nirvana Spotify streaming figures and Nevermind is possibly the biggest pre-2000 Spotify album ever! It’s just a question of days before it crosses 1 billion plays ( 982.9 million on my count). Bigger than Metallica, Appetite for Destruction and even Thriller.

    1. The smallest figure for a Nevermind track (not counting bonus tracks) is Stay Away: 13,624,000! This is insane. All 3 albums mentioned above have tracks <10,000,000. In fact Metallica and GnR each has a track <7,000,000 plays – half of Stay Away!!!
      Back in Black looks pale with 4 tracks <6,000,000.
      One factor could be the short career of Nirvana. Listeners of MJ, Metallica and AC/DC has sooo many eras to dig into, unlike Nirvana (and GnR…)

      1. I think it’s depend on popularity. usually we would click our favorite things. Nirvana relese various albums with different songs.

  4. I have a question for volume of With The Light Out.

    I can remember some source with different soundscan Number of it. that number are 925,000(Wrong)-625,000 in Jan. 2007. 10 years have passed but still Soundscan may not collect whole box set format.

    MJD, would you tell me the reason you know please. thanks.

  5. Why was the fall between nevermind and in utero so big? More than 60 percent. And in utero he had a great sales boost with the death of Kurt Cobain …

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