Understanding: Japanese Album Sales

D) Avril Lavigne – Let Go

By February 2003, a mere six months after release, Let Go by Avril Lavigne was certified Diamond, representing one million units sold in Japan. At the same time, the album was showing only 544,000 copies sold as per Oricon ranking. Once again, the reason is import sales. This album was the #4 most imported foreign album of 2002 at 174,000 units and #1 of 2003 at 214,000 units.

By June 2003, Oricon tally was up to 749,000 copies plus 133,000 units for the Bonus tracks edition released in May 2003. In 2004, a Tour edition was released, also charting separately. This created the exact situation previously detailed of several editions selling notable amounts week after week, sometimes charting, sometimes not. All in all, if one fill in the holes in its chart run up to its last entry in 2011, this album is up to a massive 1,35 million copies sold at retail – plus 388,000 imports. Up to date sales of this record are on at least 1,7 million, way higher than anything ever shown on Oricon.

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Christian

Hi! I wanted to ask something. You said that The Beatles outsold Mariah Carey there, but, doesn’t Mariah actually have more certified sales than The Beatles in Japan? Mariah has like 14.5 – 15 million, Beatles like 4.5 or 5 Mariah has estimations for more than 20 million already. I just wanted to ask that because i don’t see Mariah’s analysis here since she has one of the (if not the) best selling foreign album there as far as we know! #1s 3.6 million in 2001 https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/78521/careys-glitter-sparkles-in-japan And this page from Billboard Japan shows some sales for some of her… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Mariahshistory
Chika

According to the website Mariah has sold about 13.3 million+ pure albums in Japan and what compilations are listed sold around 4.625 million, bringing her up to a total of at least 18 million.The Beatles have sold about 23 million albums considering everything according to their article.
Mariah’s article: https://chartmasters.org/2017/04/cspc-mariah-carey-popularity-analysis/
The Beatles article: https://chartmasters.org/2017/03/cspc-the-beatles-popularity-analysis/81/

Last edited 9 months ago by Chika
Michael

Probably The Beatles certification hasnt been updated in Japan. Plus back then the certification systems was messy.

Christian

Oh ok, got it, i was asking because there’s no site that can confirm those sales for The Beatles, but if you say so, it’s ok!

Thanks for the reply!

orange

Hi MJD! I meant to post this as a reply to your reply to me (thank you by the way!), but I can’t seem to find the comment so I’ll ask here as this pertains to Japanese artists. My apologies for the long comment. One of the striking things about the Oricon charts is that most albums (especially local acts) seem to have extremely front-loaded sales. Even ignoring idol groups like AKB48 which use gimmicks, it seems the norm even for bands and singer-songwriter-type artists to sell 40-60% of their overall sales in their first week, and 90% or more… Read more »

orange

​​Hi MJD! Thanks so much for this response and your explanation which was very enlightening! I appreciate the incredible attention to detail that goes into the analyses on this site. Based on your explanation it seems like the CSPC system would still be an accurate reflection of the popularity of Japanese album eras. I hadn’t considered the number of consumers who hold out to buy just the compilation album but it makes complete sense especially with CDs being more expensive in Japan. As for the matter of “collectors” buying the same songs across multiple albums, since it affects artists from… Read more »

Donald Miller

I appreciate this exchange. Japan’s a fascinating market with their own stars and superstars. But their music rarely crosses over to foreign nations. I’ve seen several documentaries about their Idol system and it reminds me of the old Hollywood studio system. I saw another on Suzuka Nakamoto. Seems like she was a rising star from the beginning. How about an article about the Idol system combined with a streaming masters on Babymetal?

For those acts not on streaming, maybe you can start a series on pure physical sales focused on vinyl and CD sales?

orange

Hi MJD!
Thanks so much for the insight! I’m very interested to see how various Japanese acts would fare in a CSPC analysis so it’s great to see that you have such detailed information on many of them. I’m also motivated to look into what happened in the 80s to cause that shift in sales!

Christoffer Ekelund

It would be great if you did some analysis of Japanese artists/bands as some domestic acts (like B’z and Mr. Children) are huge and have sold 50-80 millions records in Japan alone.

robby

Hi MJD!

I have always been curious as to how much Janet Jackson has really sold in Japan. Her numbers are good for an international artist but there could be more missing sales (imports, out of the charts etc). I hope you can do a breakdown for her too soon!

Robby

Trish

If I’m not mistaken, Janet’s career will be analysed soon so we will be able to know her sales in Japan (as well as several other countries). I’m quite curious about them too haha.

Paul

Amazing job! Do you know Avril Lavigne numbers for albums and singles? Thanks!

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