CSPC: Sam Smith Popularity Analysis


Grammy Awards 2015

So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has Sam Smith achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!

In the following table, all categories display figures that way, e.g. in equivalent album sales. For example, singles from In the Lonely Hour released in digital format sold the equivalent of 3,383,000 albums – 22,550,000 downloads with a 10 to 1,5 weighting.





As a reminder:

  • Studio Album: sales of the original album
  • Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
  • Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
  • Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/11750 for Video stream)

A few days ago we updated Taylor Swift‘s article to learn that her hyper-successful 1989 was up to 15,88 million equivalent album sales overall. In the Lonely Hour was released in 2014 too and performs nearly as well with a tremendous total of 14,1 million. Ironically, while only 3 albums from 2014 crack the overall total of 10 million EAS, huge figures from Taylor and Sam are only good enough for spots #2 and #3 respectively as Ed Sheeran‘s X is well ahead of the pack. Being in such good company with a debut album shows how massive this era has been for Sam.

The Thrill of It All just started to gain equivalent units. It will need at the very least 5 million EAS when all is said and done to not look too bad in comparison to its predecessor. That’s the issue when you start so big, confirming this success is no easy task. In the Lonely Hour also continues to enjoy an outstanding ride so, you can expect its total to climb more and more.

Overall, we are talking of more than 16 million equivalent album sales for Sam, an insane result with only one era. Stay tuned to see if The Thrill of It All puts him over 20 million during the next months!

The following pages list his most successful songs as well as his records and achievements. Do not forget to check our amazing cross-artists lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector which includes the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far to better gauge his position in the history of the music industry.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Chartmasters.org.

11 thoughts on “CSPC: Sam Smith Popularity Analysis”

  1. Wow! I never expected Sam Smith’s debut to be so successful! I guess it benefited from being released at a time when downloads were still pretty big, with streaming starting to grow, allowing it to be successful on both sides. In fact, a lot of successful albums from 2013-2014 benefited from a strong download market and catalog streaming.

    By the way, you calculated the downloads ratio wrong. According to your figures, Hour sold 23,15 downloads, equaling to 3,472.5m equivalent album sales.

    I also wanted to ask how much has the album sales market of Germany and France has fallen, especially to international acts. Adele aside, all globally successful artists like Taylor, Ed and Sam seem to be getting relatively weak results there with album sales. The only exceptions I can think of is Lana, where her debut album smashed in both countries, and Bruno, who smashed there with his second LP.

    By the way, you said once there were 2 male, 2 females and 2 groups up for analysis. Now that Foo Fighters, Sam Smith and MJ are done, does that mean there’s 2 ladies and 1 group left? Could you hint who they could be? Are they new artists or old legends? Really looking forward for the next one! Hope it’s Barbara!

    1. Hi Raffi!

      The totals were correct, ‘Omen’ was incorrectly displayed under the album rather than Orphan which translated 90,000 equivalent album sales, now fixed!

      When an industry goes down, lower markets become less and less profitable. As streaming is partially ‘free’ promotion-wise, majors tend to do very little effort to promote the new acts outside the main English-speaking markets, some way we are back to the 60s situation. Instead, they prefer investing for promotion on confirmed acts like Metallica, the Stones, AC/DC etc. So unless a new act truly break over in a big way, the promotion will remain restricted to internet / low channels on countries like France or Germany.

      Three more acts have been added to the pending list so there is still the previous 2 ladies and one group, plus one male and two more groups. The male artist and one female are fairly recent acts, the other female and two groups have a 15-20 years old history while the last one is an old legend, hope this helps! 😉

      1. Hi MJD !!!

        Always compliments for your work, your articles and your analyzes I always read it with great care, as you have said in many you should deal with updating Wikipedia, you are really a living encyclopedia.
        I just have a question to ask, I would like to know if in this list of these 3 groups there are also Queen !

  2. The Wikipedia Page, about ‘In The Lonely Hour’ claims, that it has sold 12 Million Globally, with 4.4 Million of them in the USA. Both of which are a lot higher than your figures. I’m not saying that you are wrong. I’m just pointing out what Wikipedia says. (Or, more accurately, what the Sam Smith Fan, who wrote the Wikipedia Page, claims).

    1. Hi Colin!

      Hope you are doing well 😉

      Yes, the major of Sam has been using this figure while starting the promotion of his new album. It is a full current trend from labels to quote figures in SPS rather than on old pure units sold. This figure of 12 million must be compared to mine of 14,1 million rather than the 6,5 million pure sales.

      Why the gap between 12 and 14 million still? For two reasons. I changed on purpose the downloads to album sales sales from 1:10 to 1,5:10, it is less intuitive but more accurate in terms of consumption meaning. Then standard SPS excludes YouTube from which majors do very little money.

      Below are my figures / industry-like figures per avenue, all in equivalent album sales:
      Pure album sales 6,525,000 6,525,000
      Other releases 24,000 0
      Downloads 3,383,000 2,255,000
      Audio Streams 3,849,000 3,849,000
      Video Streams 335,000 0
      Total 14,124,000 12,629,000

      It is also likely that Sam is bigger in proportion on Spotify than on Apple Music / Deezer so the 3,8 million albums from audio streams could be a little lower, which brings us under 12,5 million and on a communicated figure of 12 million. Hope it clears doubts around this transitional period!

  3. Does enyone know how many records has Susan Boyle sold up to now? As of 2013, she had sold over 25 million records worldwide.

  4. Very impressive sales for the first album. Sam should enjoy it, because I don’t think his upcoming album well sell that strongly

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