CSPC: Oasis Popularity Analysis

Oasis Electric Guitar

Original Album Sales – Comments

1994 Definitely Maybe – 6,680,000
1995 (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – 17,660,000
1997 Be Here Now – 7,410,000
2000 Standing on the Shoulder of Giants – 2,620,000
2002 Heathen Chemistry – 2,750,000
2005 Don’t Believe the Truth – 2,240,000
2008 Dig Out Your Soul – 1,690,000

Definitely Maybe was a solid debut with more than 2 million sales prior to the release of Morning Glory. This sophomore effort put the band on a roll. Issued in October 1995, Morning Glory was up to 5 million sales by January 1996, 7 million by March and topped 10 million before the end of that year. This immense surge pushed catalog sales of its predecessor too and by March 1998 their first two albums had sold 18 million cumulatively.

This success led Be Here Now to record breaking sales when it debuted in August 1997. In the UK its first week, which was only 3 days, saw 663,389 sales be registered, the highest debut ever up to that point. Here is the interesting fact though: after the massive splash the album failed to have continuity, ending its road at 7,4 million units to date, almost the same number as units shipped upon release. We must then ponder how to regard this album. Is it a success because it sold 7 million copies or a flop because it completely destroyed the momentum of the band?

Oasis‘ 1997 situation is fairly close to what Taylor Swift is facing today. Both artists were / are ridiculously popular in their own country and both had their global sales questioned in spite of great sales (only because of the misguided comparison with their local sales). Be Here Now and Reputation debuted in their respective country with record breaking sales. Both were the top sellers of their year of release on the back of their fan base alone. Both had a #1 lead single that failed to be consistent. Both dropped fairly quickly. Although Swift has had a fan base established for a while, she is warned, she better get a hit soon if she wants to remain a A-League event.

Back to Oasis, their 2000s albums sold around 2 million each. At least they managed to remain consistent, although these figures are nowhere near good enough to claim to be a major global band, especially back in 2000 when the market was at its best.

In total Oasis sold 41 million units of their 7 studio albums combined, including 43% from Morning Glory alone.

This 1995 album sold over 5 million in the US. This is huge. It is impossible to argue the band never broke the main audience there considering this figure. Morning Glory is responsible for 63% of their US studio album sales though. Plus, the remaining two decent sellers sold half of their copies thanks to Morning Glory. In other words, if Oasis definitely cracked the US market, they were a one-album wonder there.

Were they mostly a local band then? Certainly not. While the band was undoubtedly much more consistent throughout their career in the UK than in the US, they remained a force up to their disbanding in several markets like Japan, Brazil and Italy.

16 thoughts on “CSPC: Oasis Popularity Analysis”

    1. Hi Matty!

      Champagne Supernova was certified in 2005 for Digital Sales, it wasn’t released as a physical single which is why it never made the Hot 100 in spite of charting 4 months inside the Top 75 Airplay Chart. Until June 2006, the Gold criteria for digital sales was 100,000 units, so this is what this song is certified for 🙂

      1. Thanks MJD,

        Probably if the broke the US mainstream (specially in 96/97) we’d be talking about all other numbers,
        although I believe it could never happen 🙂

        1. Another question: on the band’s official site we can see that Don’t Believe the Truth sold around 7 million copies worldwide while in this report only 2,2. Why this difference?
          Same thing with Morning Glory 22 million counter 17.

          1. Hi Matty!

            Labels need to be accurate on their claims, they can’t inflate figures. If they publish an official statement saying an album sold 7m while it sold 2m, the artist can use it to sue them and claim for royalties on 7m units sold. Thus, claims from labels have a legal value.

            This is when tricks get part of the game. It is very easy to be misled about the legal value of a claim. The general public gives credit to claims from the artists, their managers and Medias, but none of them are legal representatives of a label, so their claims have no legal value. This is written on credits of Oasis’ website: This website (“website”) is operated by Oasis Merchandising Ltd (OML), in other words they can claim whatever they want.

            If you check a document which has a legal value, you will see the real figures claimed by Sony: Be Here Now shipped 7m units by March 31, 1998, while the remaining two albums did 18m. In fact, on my Excel sheet, I estimated Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory figures up to that date and got 4,48m and 13,54m respectively, perfectly in line with the (real) official figures. Don’t Believe the Truth was only #45 for the year Worldwide, which represents about 2 million units shipped. In the same way, Oasis got no mention on Sony’s annual report, while they did report the Foo Fighters (3m), SOAD (5m) and Il Divo (8,5m) to illustrate the success of their artists.

  1. Hi MJD

    Do you include live versions in you streaming analysis?
    Familiar to Millions doesn’t have any huge streaming giants, although Don’t Look Back in Anger is close to 3m.
    Other acts have some rather popular live tracks. Hotel California has two pretty big live versions (8.23m+6.35m) as well as some smaller ones. That adds up quite well.
    The AC/DC track Hell Ain’t a Bad Place To Be has two live versions (4.27m/3.09m) rivaling the studio version (3.56m), as well as some much small versions (<0.2m each).

    Thomas

    1. And Metallica has very healthy live tracks.
      All tracks on S&M are 2.5m-10m, all tracks on Through the Never are 3m-8m

    2. Hi Thomas!

      Yes, all versions of tracks are added together, it isn’t rare to get more than 5 versions of one song on our Excel sheets 🙂

  2. Oasis are soooo huge in U.K………there are artists in all the major markets that are only big in their respective markets (Oasis is lucky to have 3 successful albums in the U.S.A.)
    I’d love to see a few more artists that are only big in specific markets…(but HUGE in those markets, aka “the Beatles” of Cambodia or whatever “insert country here”)
    Example……….I’d love to see Robbie Williams or Simply Red

  3. I dont know the song “dont look back in anger” but i know wonderwall, stand by me and champagne supernova. Ill check the songs i dont recognize later when i go to an internet cafe.

  4. Oasis’ early singles stayed over 100 weeks in the uk top 200 as they were really EPs with 3 extra tracks that were unavailable elsewhere at the time.
    The uk sales figures for Definitely Maybe,(What’s the Story) Morning Glory and to a lesser extent Be Here Now are much higher than the figures given by the OCC – can you explain the difference?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      The OCC is much less accurate that it claims to be. Just like Soundscan, it excludes Music Club sales. Morning Glory alone sold nearly 400,000 units at Brittania Music Club. This is why the early albums (as long as Brittania was still going strong) have a sizable gap with their OCC figures.

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