CSPC Battle: 1975 Monster Rock Albums

March on the Temple

Now that we defined the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept, it is time to apply the method on a concrete example! This first clash will be a 5-way battle between some of the biggest rock acts of all-time: Pink Floyd, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen.

Why do we focus on those five acts? Quite simply because they are responsible for all 10+ million selling studio albums (in absolute terms) issued in 1975. Concerned albums are listed below:

AerosmithToys In The Attic
Bruce SpringsteenBorn To Run
Led ZeppelinPhysical Graffiti
Pink FloydWish You Were Here
QueenA Night At The Opera

A sixth 1975 album sold upper 10 million units. This is ABBA output Greatest Hits. As noted in the introduction yet, in the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept sales of hits packages are spread over the original studio albums so they can’t appear by themselves on such a study. Let’s do the analysis to understand deeply how the concept goes and how it enables to reflect much better which albums are the most successful than simple untreated raw data of album sales.

First, we will focus on this latter raw data, setting how much each of those five monster albums sold. Second, we will check sales of each track from those albums on each format – physical, digital and streaming – and weight them to value those figures on a par with album sales. Third, where the concept fully shows its strength, we will study sales of each long format – live album, compilation, music video – which contain tracks of those original albums to attribute their sales into the original proportionally to the impact of those tracks on it. Sounds complicated? Not that much, you just need to read upcoming pages with concrete examples to understand completely the method.

So, which album out of the five mentioned previously is the biggest? Any idea? Let’s define the answer.

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Thomas

Very interesting article! Strong result from Queen topping Floyd!

One question. Did you include Run DMC’s 1986 cover version of Walk This Way in your Spotify analysis? I know it featured Steven Tyler and Joe Perry as guests on vocals/guitars, but one could argue it is an orphan track in the Aerosmith catalog. The cover does not appear on either Toys in the Attic (1975) or Greatest Hits (1980). It does appear on latter compilations like Essential Aerosmith, along with the original version of the song.

Regards, Thomas

Hernán

Thanks! The only thing I’m not sure about, for future battles, is if there is any possible formula to wigtht the way some discographies are structured. You made that point several times about Pink Floyd not releasing a truly official compilation until 2001 (just like Metallica or AC/DC not releasing one ever), and therefore benefitting from more spread sales given that all their essential songs were split in various albums. That was opposed to what the likes of Michael Jackson or Queen did where you could own all the vital songs with 1-2 compilation. Basically, Queen and Michael Jackson are… Read more »

Hernán

Spotify is a vital part of any sales work at the moment. I must admit I wasn’t sure when you first mentioned how it makes things easier in several aspects, I think I didn’t get it. But now I realize it is probably a purer way to calculate popularity and compare different acts, and in this case not just for how they structured their catalogue but also when acts come from different eras, were huge in different parts of the world, their discographies have a different size, etc. All that doesn’t matter much with Spotify and similar. Which is very… Read more »

Hernán

Thank you, Guillaume!

I understand why it took so long, the most difficult part is, of course, checking the Spotify’s numbers and calculate the percentages. I wish it was easier to do that.

And course, proud that Queen won the battle, haha.

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