CSPC: Taylor Swift Popularity Analysis

Streaming Part 3

With 388 million Spotify streams against 2 billion YouTube views, we notice once again that the album, in this case Red, wasn’t on Spotify when the platform exploded. It still has two songs, soon to be three, with more than 100,000 equivalent album sales for a total of 585,000 units.

The comparison in streaming stats between Spotify and Youtube  in the case of Taylor is obvious with 1989. Even if it is now booming on Spotify after its arrival a few months ago, the album has more than 20 times less streams there than on YouTube. Blank Space and Shake It Off are both over 2 billion plays there. At 938,000 equivalent album sales from streams, it won’t be long before it crosses the million level.

The same can be said for Reputation. While it’s just getting started, it’s already up to 276,000 equivalent album sales with only two songs.

50 thoughts on “CSPC: Taylor Swift Popularity Analysis”

    1. Hi Nathan!

      With 150 million downloads / ringtones, the change of formula alone provides her an extra 7,5 million! YouTube views have also been integrated in-between. Add the new songs, the ongoing catalog sales and the slightly underestimated downloads from 2008/2012 years, you get that 13 million push! Rihanna will have a similar increase or even bigger when updated.

  1. Why Update Taylor Swift? =/
    I’am waiting a CSPC analysis of Queen, AC/DC, Dire Straits, Eagles, RHCP, Aerosmith, etc…

    Good work anyway 🙂

  2. Hi!

    This is a very nice update guys! I didn’t expect her to jump so much in terms of equivalent album sales!

    Regarding album sales, 1989 increased a lot! Outside of the remaining markets, the album sold 600K, a huge amount for today’s sales climate. Can you tell me where it sold that many copies?

    Her Asian success has also been quite amazing as well! Is Taylor the biggest selling international album act there since 2006?

    Also, although not about Taylor, but you mentioned that her albums sold very well due to the absence of a compilation album. However, do those albums still mean a thing in today’s music climate? Since so many people can cherry pick their fav songs on iTunes, and the fact that Spotify allows users to stream tracks, even if a decent album selling act like Adele or Taylor released a greatest hits album today, it wouldn’t sell a thing! Hence, I think this point about no compilation album is quite useless. The only long format release that I see can sell decently today are music videos. Live albums and EPs don’t even sell anymore.

    Anyway, I hope you will update Rihanna, Beyonce and Adele so we can see who is the most successful act of this generation. Also looking forward for your analysis on Sam Smith.

  3. You should have waited like 3 months after the official release of Reputation to update Taylor’s CSPC.
    It would have been better to update Adele, Beyoncé or Rihanna.

  4. I really am looking forward to:
    Elton John
    Queen /freddie mercury
    Rod Stewart /faces /jeff beck
    Phil Collins / genesis

  5. hello!I think video streams converting to sales should be the same as audio streams because 200 views=1 dollar revenue according to socialblade or trackalytics.You can check!

  6. It’s amazing to see how Taylor Swift after about one year of last year’s report (analysis) released has sold 55 to 68 million copies sold. These modern artists today sell more discs (records) with digital singles, streaming songs than studio albums or physical albums, perhaps the only exception is just Taylor Swift and above all Adele.
    Then I imagine that after Taylor Swift’s up-to-date analysis, will be analyzed by a great singer (Elvis Presley, Elton John or Barbra Streisand) or a great group (Queen, Eagles, Aerosmith or AC / DC).

  7. Hey MJD,

    Does this mean that a rihanna update is coming? She was one of the first artists you analyzed and has had huge success since.

  8. I think that for not publishing any analysis apart from Taylor Swift update, I think it will soon be published very early or coming soon a great artist (singer or group).
    I hope Queen !!!

  9. Hey MJD,

    I am very impressed with your works after reading several analyses. Keep up the excellent work. I have several requests, which are:

    1. I think it would be better if you put an extra page about the total album (all types) sales per country. I don’t know if you have included this particular page on every artist as I’ve only seen it on Nirvana and Pink Floyd. It is fascinating to add this page since the readers can see which country generates the most sales and primary markets for the artists.

    2. I would like to see the analyses of these following artists:

    – AC/DC
    – Elton John
    – Pearl Jam
    – Queen
    – Oasis
    – Radiohead
    – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

    I know it’s a lot of work, but it will be great to find out how the published artists compete with their contemporaries. I look forward to reading the in-depth analyses of the artists mentioned above. Good luck!

    1. Hi Al!

      Only figures backed by enough information are explicitely mentioned but all countries are estimated in order to build the Asian and Worldwide totals.

  10. How could Love Story sold 11,700,000,even combined downloads and ringtones?It can’t have sold more than Katy’s California Gurls.California Gurls had sold 6,700,000 pure with ringtones in 2010 according to IFPI,about 8,000,000 downloads without ringtones in countries which have specific numbers according to Wiki and reached #1 in over 10 countries;Love Story had sold 6,500,000 pure with ringtones in 2009 according to IFPI,about 7,500,000 downloads in countries which have specific numbers according to Wiki and reached top 10 in less than 20 countries.So I think Love Sory would never outsold California Gurls,whatever with ringtones or only downloads.If Love Story has sold 11,700,000,California Gurls has sold over 12,000,000?Don’t think it is possible.

    1. Hi LMAO!

      The case of Love Story was raised on the first version of the article. It sold 6,5 million units from Dec 2008 to Nov 2009 as per the IFPI while scanning only 2,92 million in the US during the same period. It’s receipts were fairly weak elsewhere during that time, suggesting nearly 3 million sales for the two biggest off the radar avenues, e.g. US ringtones (where it went Platinum) and South Korean downloads. It was indeed massive in this latter country as it sold an estimated 750,000 units there since 2010. Figures of Taylor are now fairly safe and validated, perfectly in line with the amount confirmed by the IFPI two years ago of 130 million downloads.

      As previously mentioned, early articles from mid-2016 under-estimated 2008-2010 singles that were big in Asia, Katy Perry will be revised by the end of her current era and if a gap is noticed it will be fixed.

      1. I think you under-estimated Shake It Off.It had sold 7.8m with streams in 2014 according to IFPI(#14,didn’t in the top 10),but taylor was off on-demand audio streams(Spotify) and IFPI units didn’t Include video streams in that time,so I think it might have sold 7.5m pure in 2014.It had sold 3.43m pure downloads in US in 2014 according to Nielsen Soundscan and now 5.2m,so about 1.8m pure downloads without ringtones in US since January 2015.I estimated at 4m with ringtones worldwide.7.5m+4m=11.5m.

      2. wait.I made amistake.IFPI units did Include video streams in 2014.I read 2015 Dightal Music Report again.But Dark Horse had been streamed 268m(181m video streams,87m audio streams) times and Happy had been streamed 230m(157m video streams,73m audio streams(Happy had more streams on Spotify worldwide)) times combined on-demand video and audio streams in US in 2014 according to Nielsen Soundscan,so These two singles still had similar streams in 2014.Happy had over 12m pure downloads in countries which have specific numbers by the end of 2014.I estimated at 13m worldwide.And it had sold less than 500k in US in 2013,so it must have sold over 12m pure in 2014.It had sold 13.9m with streams in 2014 according to IFPI,so track-equivalent streams must be less than 2m.Then Dark Horse 2.2m at most.

      3. And Dark Horse overall
        2013: about 1.3m in US,2m worldwide estimated
        2014: 13.2m-1.9m(87m/43%/208(208 on-demand streams=1 track according to Billboard(HDD)+757m/(11750/1500*100)(I remember Billboard says 750 video streams=1 track))=11.3m
        2015/2016/2017: about 600k in US,1.2m worldwide estimated
        Total: 2m+12.3m+1.2m=14.5m

  11. By the way,I think Katy’s Dark Horse has sold over 14m with ringtones.It had sold about 1.3m pure downloads in US in 2013,and I estimated at 2m with ringtones worldwide.In 2014,it had sold 13.2m with streams according to IFPI,but it didn’t Include video streams and it had been streamed about 87m times on-demand audio streams in US according to Nielsen Soundscan,so I estimated at 200m worldwide.200m/100=2m(no.1 of 2014 Happy had been streamed similar times in that time,whatever videos streams(it just became worse since 2015)or audio streams,and it had sold 12m pure downloads by the end of 2014 in countries which have specific numbers according to Wiki).13.2m-2m≈11m.2m+11m=13m.It has sold over 500k in US since January 2015,I estimated at 1m worldwide.13m+1m=14m.

  12. Wait.I made a mistake.IFPI units did include video streams in 2014.I read 2015 Dightal Music Report again.But according to Nielsen Soundscan,Dark Horse had been streamed 268m(181m video streams,87m audio streams) times and Happy had been streamed 230m(157m video streams,73m audio streams(Happy had much more streams on Spotify worldwide)) times combined on-demand video and audio streams in US in 2014,so I think these 2 singles still have similar streams in 2014 worldwide.Happy had sold over 12m pure downloads in countries which have specific numbers according to Wiki.I estimated it at 13m worldwide.It had sold less than 500k in US in 2013,so I think it must have sold over 12m pure with ringtones in 2014 worldwide.Happy had sold 13.9m with track-equivalent streams in 2014 according to IFPI,so track-equivalent strams must be less than 2m.So Dark Horse’s track-equivalent streams must be 2.2m at most in 2014.

  13. 2m+(13.2m-2.2m)+1m=14m.Still over 14m worldwide(I think it can be up to 15m).So Shake It Off’s track-equivalent streams in 2014 might be around 800k-1m.7m+4m=11m.

  14. Blank Space got no audio streams,but 1.1b views on youtube in 2015.In 2015,RIAA use 100 on-demand streams=1 track to get track-equivalent streams’ numbers.1.1b/(11750/1500*100)≈1.4m.It had sold 9.2m in 2015 with streams according to IFPI,so 9.2m-1.4m=7.8m.It had sold about 2m downloads in US in 2014.I estimated it at 4m worldwide.4m+7.8m=11.8m.Plus sales since 2016,should be about 12m.

  15. Just forget what I said…
    Dark Horse overall:
    2013: about 1.3m in US,2m worldwide estimated
    2014: 13.2m(IFPI#02)-1.9m(87m(in US in 2014 according to Niesen Soundscan)/43%(converting to global numbers)/208(208 on-demand streams=1 track according to Billboard(HDD)+757m(YouTube)/(11750/1500*100)(I remember Billboard says 750 video streams=1 track,both similar numbers))=11.3m
    2015/2016/2017: about 600k in US,1.2m worldwide estimated
    Total: 2m+11.3m+1.2m=14.5m

    In this way,
    Shake It Off: 11m
    Blank Space: 12m
    (Roar: 13.5m)
    So,in my opinion,you under-estimated too much…

    1. Hi LMAO!

      The thing is that your ratios are valid in the US but the IFPI has been very secretive about the ratio they use. It may be 750=1 just like it can be 500=1. Also, the 11,750 weighting was created by me and to get equivalent sales in albums only. For those reasons we can’t really work out pure sales on the basis of IFPI data.

      As for ringtones, we can’t add relevant numbers for recent songs as they are dead for several years. Below is the annual number of rintones and downloads in the US in millions with the share of ringtones:
      2005 421,6 363,3 53,7%
      2006 773,8 580,6 57,1%
      2007 880,8 801,6 52,4%
      2008 816,3 1022,7 44,4%
      2009 728,8 1220,3 37,4%
      2010 526,7 1366,8 27,8%
      2011 276,2 1522,4 15,4%
      2012 166,9 1623,6 9,3%
      2013 98 1567,6 5,9%
      2014 66,3 1407,8 4,5%
      2015 54,6 1226,9 4,3%
      2016 40,1 906,8 4,2%

      As you can see, when a song like ‘Love Story’ was hyped, ringtones were nearly as big as downloads. The song still sold only about a third of its downloads in ringtones as this later format is way, way more favorable to urban acts. From 2007 to 2013 they truly collapsed every year, selling 200k in 2008 is equivalent of selling 25k in 2013, so even 5-7 million sellers from 2013/2014 sold at best 100k-ish in downloads.

      A third element which is misleading you is Wikipedia certifications. For example you mention that ‘Happy’ is over 12 million pure sales based on figures listed. The Swedish figure (160k) is almost only streams. Canadian and Australian certs (8/11xP) were awarded after the inclusion of streams too, same in Italy, Belgium etc. A good 20-40% of sales from all those awards were due to streaming. Plus, Happy was one hell of a seller in proportion just like Uptown Funk, the streaming share of a song like Dark Horse was definitely higher.

      Behind every single estimated, I do go through every certification to dig out the real value from each market depending on when streaming was included and how the digital market of each of them was structured. After falling into the South Korean trap, I went deep into IFPI RIN numbers to check the size of download market from every country in order to make sure there is no miss. Figures posted in 2017 is highly reliable, apart from the early estimates from mid-2016 that had the SK flaw, you can rely on them in full.

      1. I think Dark Horse should have sold over 11m with ringtones,Roar/Firework over 13m,
        Hot n Cold/California Gurls over 12m(maybe over 11m if I over-estimated),I Kissed A Girl over 10m(1.18m ringtones in US alone in 2008 according to Nielsen Soundscan,200+k ringtones in Canada in 2008(?)certified,so it must have sold over 2m ringtones in my opinion)

  16. This is my estimates as for now:
    I Kissed A Girl 10m-11m
    Hot N Cold 11m-12m
    California Gurls 11m-12m
    Firework 13m-14m
    Roar 10m-14m
    Dark Horse 10m-13m

    1. Hi LMAO,

      This is your 21st comment about Katy Perry download sales under Taylor Swift article. Don’t you think it makes sense to simply wait for the said update? 😉

  17. I was just reading the Wikipedia page “List of best-selling music artists”, and to my surprise it says Taylor Swift sold in total 158.7 millions certified units (albums) !? I know the Wikipedia is not very reliable source……. but still it’s such big difference from your data (68,538,000) MJD.

  18. Thank you so much for this article. All the updates with the new formula are so interesting.

    Looking forward to your next updates of old artists as well as the new artists you post. Hopefully it’ll be my fave artists rih/bey but honestly anything is interesting.

    Thanks for still doing this.

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