Understanding: Music Clubs #2 – The Eagles, Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

III) Music Clubs Sales Estimations

During the previous pages, we understood that Columbia House had the lead over BMG Music Club until being caught in mid-90s and topped at the end of the decade. Logically, Mariah Carey album sales on those avenues confirm this situation.

While studying the Eagles, we checked known information at the moment of their certifications. The main trap was non-date specific awards that were reflecting sales possibly up close from the next level. With the Without You singer, the trap is different. Unlike the Eagles albums, those from Mariah Carey were contemporary albums, released not that long before being certified. Thus, we need to take care about shipped copies that are still sitting on retailers shelves. Retailers standard was to stock roughly three months of sales, so estimations are based on weekly sales times 13. Below list will display not only Soundscan sales up to their date but also estimated remaining shipment in order to gauge non-Soundscan units shifted.

Mariah Carey

Album – Certification – Date – Soundscan – Unsold units – Gap
Mariah Carey – 3xP – 01/08/1991 –  2,800,000* – 600,000 – 0
Mariah Carey
– 6xP – 09/13/1991 –  5,750,000 – 250,000 – 0
Mariah Carey
– 8xP – 09/27/1994 –  6,900,000 – 50,000 – 1,250,000
Mariah Carey
– 9xP – 12/15/1999 –  7,550,000 – Irrelevant – 1,450,000

*estimated due to the lack of Soundscan in 1990

The good thing with Mariah Carey is that during the 90s she was receiving RIAA awards every quarter so we know they were almost all date-specific. There is still exceptions. In fact, the 3rd Platinum award was likely easily over the mark when awarded due to the Christmas rush shipments. We notice basically no gap between scanned sales and certification climbs before the rules change that made all Club sales eligible from January 1st 1994. The 8xP award was precisely due to Sony Music doing their first Clubs audit for catalog albums in late September 1994 – Michael Jackson albums Thriller, Bad and Dangerous got certified two days later while Mariah Carey own Emotions was certified at the same date. This is the reason why I’m setting the album on 8,2 million instead of 8 million by September 1994 when considering all the data.

Since its last certification, the album moved over 100,000 units plus a few Club sales.

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I noticed that – against the analysis that you give in this article – that both Mariah’s “Merry Christmas” and “Rainbow” actually were available through the Columbia House music club. They even had regular catalog numbers: Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas (Columbia) – 112789 Available as of 1995: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/82467713/ As of 2001: https://archive.org/details/universityofmemp2001unse –> page 142 Mariah Carey – Rainbow (Columbia) 324608 Available as of October 2000: https://newspaperarchive.com/madison-wisconsin-state-journal-oct-22-2000-p-857/ As of 2001: https://archive.org/details/universityofmemp2001unse –> page 137 “Rainbow” is even presented with a picture, which sets it apart from less popular albums. How does that go together with your claim that both… Read more »


hello i dont really understand whats the unsold units?


Hey MJD, can you post a breakdown for Ariana Grande sales, please?

P.S.: I loved the new site <3


Hi dear MJD !!!

congratulations for the beautiful articles for Music Clubs 1 and 2. This weekend do you will realize CSPC analysis of some singer or groups ?
I hope you realize CSPC analysis of The Beatles !!!


Sting is about to release a new album, let’s hope he – along with his band, The Police – are among those who will be treated next!


Fantastic job, as usual. I would like to see how high “Merry Christmas” can get if Sony requests an audit for it + streaming inclusion… it could easily get 7 platinum.

I also wonder if Eagles’ “Greatest hits” can keep up the competition with “Thriller”… it seems unlikely now that streaming is a factor.


I have one further remark: I totally agree with you on all your estimations, but i find Rainbow’s shipment of 3,5 million a tad bit too low. Isn’t it reasonable to estimate 3,6-3,7 million considering the inaccuracy of SoundScan and further shipments?

I would be very grateful if you’d have a word on this remark!

Thanks in advance!


Thank you! I guess the 4,…. numbers were a typo! Of course we’re talking about the 3,…. -range 😉


This is so well explained. Must have taken a lot of time too. Seriously, thank you!


Thank you so much MJ! You really invested a lot of your time for Mariah and cleared up all the stupid discussion concerning her “fake diamond albums”!

I hope to see her overall CSPC article very soon! It’s about time 😉