CSPC: Sam Smith Popularity Analysis

In The Lonely Hour

Original Album Sales – Comments

2014 In the Lonely Hour – 6,525,000

In this day and age, selling over 6,5 million units in just pure album sales  is extraordinary. Even more so when you are a fresh new act with no established fan base, and who will appeal to young people that aren’t used to buying records in their lifetime.

This negative context explains why this figure makes In The Lonely Hour the biggest selling debut album in years. Sam Smith tops the likes of One Direction, Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons and Lorde. To find a higher selling debut album you will need to go all the way back to Bruno Mars‘ modern-day classic album, 2010’s Doo-Wops & Hooligans.

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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