CSPC: Nirvana Popularity Analysis

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Full Length related record Sales

It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.

All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP. Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.

Remaining Long Format – Part 1 – Compilations & Boxes

How to understand this table? If you check for example the Nirvana compilation line, those figures mean it sold 7,700,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 1,291,000 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.

The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package. Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from Nevermind are responsible for 59% of the Greatest Hits track list attractiveness. This means it generated 4,548,000 of its 7,700,000 album sales and so forth for the other records.

A few comments now, Nevermind is obviously the main selling machine of the group’s catalog. It represents more than 50% of the strength of all compilations and boxes. Line after line, the album amasses huge sales. Truly huge.

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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