U2 are without any doubt one of the biggest groups of all time after almost 4 decades together. They are a great study case as they have been pretty much the greatest selling band ever since they formed.
Their success can be explained in several different ways. As seen with Metallica, U2 seem to be a case of an act being at the right time and the right place to capitalize the best possible conditions, including huge market’s size for the most important part of their career, that is from 1987 to 2000, plus a great level of airplay and praise from the critics. All resulted, of course, in massive sales.
But not everything was easy for them. On the contrary, they were a bit of a slow burner, getting bigger and bigger with every new release until they finally broke all barriers of success in 1987 with The Joshua Tree, their biggest classic album, after a string of albums that added great sales little by little. It was quite a progressive highway to stardom, which means that the band needed to be patient.
Whichever way you look at it, the Irish group are an incredible act to fully examine, and more now when they seem not to be at their peak and they aren’t equally talked about as in previous years. A CSPC analysis on their whole catalogue sounds like a great journey!
As a reminder for users who are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea you do not need to worry, it is quite simple as it only consists in merging every format sales an artist has been getting and attributing them to respective studio albums. We will start by focusing on raw data, setting how much each album sold. Then, 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. To complete the study, we will study sales of the all compilations, live albums and music videos they dropped. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of the classic band’s career results.
Said that, let’s get into their deep discography and see the results!