Understanding: Music Clubs #1 – Janet Jackson, Celine Dion


III) AnalyZing

Below is the list of BMG Music Club top selling albums from its 1987 introduction until early 2003. This is the only raw data available for Music Clubs. There is way more to analyze from it that what has been done so far so let publish the list and check what we can extract from it.

A) The List

1. Shania Twain – Come On Over (Mercury Nashville) (1.99 million units)
2. Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys (Jive) (1.72 million units)
3. Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time (Jive) (1.60 million units)
4. Backstreet Boys – Millennium (Jive) (1.59 million units)
5. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers Lp (Interscope) (1.54 million units)
6. ‘N Sync – No Strings Attached (Jive) (1.52 million units)
7. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971 – 1975 (Elektra) (1.52 million units)
8. ‘N Sync – ‘N Sync (Jive) (1.50 million units)
9. Janet Jackson – Design Of A Decade – 1986/1996 (A&M) (1.48 million units)
10. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection (Warner Bros) (1.46 million units)

11. Jewel – Pieces Of You (Atlantic) (1.40 million units)
12. Ac/Dc – Back In Black (Atco) (1.33 million units)
13. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom (Trauma) (1.32 million units)
14. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (Warner Bros) (1.31 million units)
15. Kid Rock – Devil Without A Cause (Lava) (1.31 million units)
16. Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard (Soundtrack) (Arista) (1.31 million units)
17. Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View (Atlantic) (1.30 million units)
18. Boyz II Men – II (Motown) (1.29 million units)
19. Kenny G – Breathless (Arista) (1.29 million units)
20. Will Smith – Big Willie Style (Columbia) (1.29 million units)

21. Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces (Monument) (1.28 million units)
22. Tlc – Crazysexycool (Laface) (1.27 million units)
23. Green Day – Dookie (Reprise) (1.26 million units)
24. Santana – Supernatural (Arista) (1.26 million units)
25. Shania Twain – The Woman In Me (Mercury Nashville) (1.24 million units)
26. Nirvana – Nevermind (Geffen) (1.24 million units)
27. Britney Spears – Oops!… I Did It Again (Jive) (1.21 million units)
28. Matchbox Twenty – Yourself Or Someone Like You (Atlantic) (1.18 million units)
29. Eminem – The Slim Shady Lp (Interscope) (1.16 million units)
30. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill (Def Jam) (1.13 million units)

31. Boyz II Men – Cooleyhighharmony (Motown) (1.13 million units)
32. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death (Bad Boy) (1.12 million units)
33. Celine Dion – Let’s Talk About Love (550 Music) (1.11 million units)
34. Celine Dion – All The Way… A Decade Of Song (550 Music) (1.10 million units)
35. Janet Jackson – Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (A&M) (1.10 million units)
36. Ace Of Base – The Sign (Arista) (1.08 million units)
37. Billy Ray Cyrus – Some Gave All (Mercury) (1.08 million units)
38. Natalie Cole – Unforgettable (Elektra) (1.03 million units)
39. Mariah Carey – #1’s (Sony) (1.00 million units)
40. Alicia Keys – Songs In A Minor (J) (995,000 units)

41. Backstreet Boys – Black & Blue (Jive) (992,000 units)
42. Ricky Martin – Ricky Martin (Sony) (987,000 units)
43. Celine Dion – Falling Into You (550 Music) (987,000 units)
44. Sarah Mclachlan – Surfacing (Arista) (985,000 units)
45. Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out (Bad Boy) (978,000 units)
46. Toni Braxton – Toni Braxton (Laface) (972,000 units)
47. Soundtrack – Titanic (Sony) (971,000 units)
48. Christina Aguilera – Christina Aguilera (Rca) (935,000 units)
49. Toni Braxton – Secrets (Laface) (927,000 units)
50. Michael Jackson – Thriller (Epic) (923,000 units)

51. En Vogue – Funky Divas (Eastwest) (916,000 units)
52. Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell II – Back Into Hell (Mca) (909,000 units)
53. Soundtrack – Dirty Dancing (Rca) (904,000 units)
54. Soundtrack – Grease (Polydor) (899,000 units)
55. Guns & Roses – Appetite For Destruction (Geffen) (890,000 units)
56. Soundtrack – Waiting To Exhale (Arista) (886,000 units)
57. Abba – Gold Greatest Hits (Polydor) (884,000 units)
58. Janet Jackson – Control (A&M) (883,000 units)
59. Madonna – Like A Virgin (Warner Bros) (882,000 units)
60. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (Sony) (880,000 units)

61. Michael Jackson – Bad (Sony) (879,000 units)
62. Tlc – Fanmail (Laface) (877,000 units)
63. Janet Jackson – Janet. (Virgin) (860,000 units) *
64. Dmx – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot (Def Jam) (857,000 units)
65. Mariah Carey – Daydream (Sony) (848,000 Units)
66. Third Eye Blind – Third Eye Blind (Elektra) (842,000 units)
67. Sheryl Crow – Tuesday Night Music Club (A&M) (833,000 units)
68. ‘N Sync – Celebrity (Jive) (826,000 units)
69. Linkin’ Park – Hybrid Theory (Warner Bros) (826,000 units)
70. Fugees – The Score (Sony) (822,000 units)

71. Whitney Houston – Whitney (Arista) (806,000 units)
72. Usher – My Way (Laface) (796,000 units)
73. U2 – The Joshua Tree (Island) (779,000 units)
74. Aaliyah – One In A Million (Atlantic) (756,000 units) *
75. Selena – Dreaming Of You (Emi) (745,000 units)
76. Mariah Carey – Music Box (Sony) (735,000 units)
77. Blackstreet – Another Level (Interscope) (733,000 units)
78. Michael Jackson – History (Epic) (730,000 units)
79. Destiny’s Child – The Writing’s On The Wall (Columbia) (703,000 units)
80. Nickelback – Silver Side Up (Roadrunner) (692,000 units)

81. Brandy – Never Say Never (Atlantic) (665,000 units)
82. Soundtrack – Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (Def Jam) (642,000 units)
83. Celine Dion – Celine Dion (550 Music) (624,000 units)
84. Britney Spears – Britney (Jive) (588,000 units)
85. Mary J. Blige – Share My World (Mca) (559,000 units)
86. Jewel – Spirit (Atlantic) (521,000 units)
87. Kenny G – Faith/A Holiday Album (Arista) (503,000 units)
88. Prince – The Hits 1 (Warner Bros) (501,000 units)
89. Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow (A&M) (500,000 units)
90. Shania Twain – Up! (Mercury Nashville) (477,000 units) *

91. Madonna – Ray Of Light (Warner Bros.) (459,000 units)
92. Lfo – Lfo (Arista) (456,000 units)
93. Mariah Carey – Rainbow (Sony) (443,000 units)
94. Destiny’s Child – Survivor (Sony) (439,000 units)
95. Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope (Virgin) (420,000 units) *
96. Shania Twain – Shania Twain (Mercury Nashville) (390,000 units)
97. Aaliyah – Aaliyah (Virgin) (350,000 units) *
98. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (Maverick) (350,000 units) *
99. Madonna – True Blue (Warner Bros). (301,000 units)
100. Michael Jackson – Dangerous (Sony) (298,000 units)

* Items that were at one time apart of a Special Promotion, sales restricted titles available for a limited time due to popular demand.

If you have a mathematical mind, you certainly noticed something rather weird – the list distribution. On such a list, deeper you go, closer are each title. Here, many groups of albums are insanely close, including at the very top. Albums from #3 to #10 are separated by only 9%, the gap between albums #94 to #99, expectedly much lower, is 32%. While the #80 album is at a healthy 692,000 units sold, the #100 album is way lower at 298,000 units sold.

This is the consequence of the ad listing effect that hugely favorited the few albums which populated magazines ads against those only noted on the global catalog. Let deeply analyze this list!

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I don’t understand how you estimate US sales for FIY.
First,it was not available on Columbia House. When it certified 10xP, SoundScan plus BMG club sales was 10 million, this is perfect. Then, when it certified 11xP, SoundScan plus BMG club sales was 11.5 million, so the certification was late. But it didn’t justify anything, how did you calculate the 700k copies from other clubs or whatever? “This creates a little gap which suggests a few sales achieved outside those two avenues, other music clubs, slightly incorrect Soundscan sales or whatever.”I don’t really understand this.


I cannot answer you conclusively, as I did not create the article but I can offer you a reasonable answer. The last known Soundscan/Pure sales figure is 10,850,00 from October 2018 https://twitter.com/chartdata/status/1048269090886844417?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1048269090886844417&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ukmix.org%2Fshowthread.php%3F33386-Celine-Dion-Charts-amp-Sales-History%2Fpage338, the previous was was from February 2013 of 10,812,000, so not much at all in 5.5 years. The last known BMG figure was from early 2003 of 987,000. BMG closed sometime around June 2009, so there will also be additional sales between early 2003 and it’s closure. I’m guessing they wont be great, as music clubs in general, had been dying a death for many years by time… Read more »


Hi, Martin
I know that there were lots of other clubs (except BMG club and Columbia House) and grocery and drug stores or whatever can sell a lot of albums in the 90s. Those sales were not included into SoundScan. I just kind of wonder how the 700k figure was calculated. Based on your calculations, it seems like the real figure for the stores or whatever was way more than the calculated 700k. Maybe way more than 1 million or something?…


Yes, but my answer was not based on an exact science or figures, it was just a loose explanation, to show where those extra shipments could have come from.

We have no real way of knowing how many copies went to onestops, she could have shipped say only 7% of shipped copies to them. As stated it was just to highlight where the extra/missing shipments most likely came from.


Mjd all madonna’s album was in columbia house club sales?
How come to know what album was bmg, or columbia, or both?


the link is dead! Ukmix upgrade their service

Marcus André

You really are a master in this. Thank for this wonderful article!


Hi MJD! I would like to ask how do you come to the conclusion of Janet Jackson’s Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 selling 7m and 8,1m copies in the US respectively?

The only information we have are SoundScan figures for sales after 1991, their out-of-date certification (5 and 6 times platinum) and their BMG club sales, which are probably already included within their certifications. As a result, can you explain to me how you managed to conclude that they both sold 2m above their certifications?

Thank You!


Question MJD,

What if their labels are late with their certifications? What if Janet’s albums are certified 6 times platinum with 6.7 million shipped? How can certs determine sales?


Hello! And Happy New Year! I do not want to bore you, but you have an idea of what could have sold Harvest summing Music Club and Military bases?


I wonder if Janet’s catalog will ever be recertified… she is more than 10 platinum behind of what should be… such a shame.


This is a very good article, thank you! As music clubs mainly targeted a 30+ year-old audience, I wouldn’t be surprised if many easy-listening/jazz/classical music/country singers got to sell high amounts of records with those clubs whereas they were not big sellers in traditional record stores (especially at a time when Billboard record charts only ranked the music sold in big cities). Do you have any information about those over-looked artists ?


Of course everybody is waiting for a detailed article on Mariah Carey as her album sales via music clubs remain one of the huge mysteries of the chart debate in several music forums. It would be both helpful and a great contribution to the debate if you granted the world an insightful view in Mariah’s history concerning music clubs, especially since she has often been accused of having “fake diamond” albums as both Music Box and Daydream are quite a bit off the 10 million mark on SoundScan. I hope you dedicate her a good bit of your time. I… Read more »


Hi MJD, great article. Thanks for explaining this to us. Music club sales have always been so confusing to me but I’m glad you cleared it up.

Do you have music club figures for Britney Spears and Madonna?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x