CSPC: David Bowie Popularity Analysis

Rebel Rebel

Exactly one year ago on January 10 2016, the music World lost one of the most talented and influential artist of all-time, David Bowie. The legendary singer of Heroes has been active from his young years until his very last days, dropping Blackstar, stylized , a mere two days before his passing.

From his very first single way back in 1964 to this last LP, the singer built an impressive catalog of 27 albums and countless of cult songs. His ever-changing style at times left out some of his public, at times attracted a complete new one, the fact that remained consistent is the artist dedication to be as innovative as possible. While following trends is the easiest way to be successful, creating them isn’t always efficient in a commercial point of view. After over half a century of active career plus one year of tribute moments, the overall success of the artist is difficult to define. Anyone would be able to tell Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson have been huge and that Leonard Cohen or Roy Orbison surely haven’t sold that much, but David Bowie status in a commercial point of view is unclear. Thanks to the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept, we will be able to set a viable conclusion.

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 David Bowie 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 legendary Ziggy Stardust author career results.

Let’s go!

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Matrix

A two-three solidly sold albums, and a lot of average ones, is quite surprising to me. Although David’s final CSPC figure is relatively large, it is mostly due to his long career, imo.

Matrix

You have a point, MJD. Bowie’s career was long and pretty consistent. But still, David’s average CSPC percentage per album is 4.38 milion. 118.5 milion CSPC : 27 albums = 4.38milion (Orphan album excluded).

If we take for example Guns N’ Roses, their average CSPC percentage per album is huge 19.6 milion! 117.7 milion CSPC : 6 albums = 19.6 milion. (Orphan album excluded).

But not to be confused, I like David Bowie. I really do, It’s just, I personally thought his CSPC number was a little higher. : )

Nuno

Both are impressive. Yet 27 multi-million sellers is more amazing and hard to get than 6 albums where 3 best seller albums on the peak of their fame are responsible for 82% of their sales in a 5 years period of release. In fact their 4 albums from their peak of fame represent 92% of their total CSPC points and 7 years release span. David Bowie 3 best sellers represent just 34% of his sales and are from a period over 13 years span with many other albums in between. His 4 best sellers would increase that span a bit… Read more »

Matrix

Is there CSPC life on Mars? Yes, 125m in total.

Mxthx

David sales are at 175M records with all formats. Very impressive

Tony

He is at number 30 on Eas, 125m Total.

Jsak

But Let’s dance has not sold over 15 million copies with republication?

Archi

I would love to see Jethto Tull popularity analysis

Speed of Life

Hi – thanks for a very comprehensively researched article.One question what about the sales of Under Pressure on Queen albums – Greatest hits and Platinum Collection?? Regards

Raffi

David’s total is quite good, amazing considering he doesn’t have a hugely successful album but surpassed those who have one (Britney, Guns and Roses etc.) He is definitely up there among the most successful artists in history, despite going against the typical music industry rules and being highly risky and innovative. Anyway, i don’t know if you know this, but January 16 would mark Aaliyah’s 38th Birthday! I hope you would do a CSPC analysis on her as it would be quite fitting. I don’t expect her to have a huge result, but as an R&B artist who only released… Read more »

Chanterz

Bowie did well for the kind of act he was.

I really like this series. Can you do wholr popularity analyses for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Little Mix, Janet Jackson, Radiohead and Queen?

Thanks =)

sonia

What about CSPC for Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam?

skkywill

Great articel! I know the legend because Barbra covered her classic Life on mars. I still waiting for articels abou France Sales and CSPC for Barbra

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