CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

Beatles

Do you feel this very special moment when starting to read such an article? That’s what happens when the daily subject is the Beatles. I won’t be creating a fake suspense – they are the biggest selling music act of all-time. The music industry hasn’t been the same after they fully redesigned the map when debuting way back in 1963. More than half a century later, identifying accurate information about their sales and their achievements is still a nightmare. Well, it still was until today!

You surely read it all – they sold more than anyone, their popularity is unparalleled, they topped 1 billion sales, shifted over 600 million albums, Sgt. Pepper LP is past 5 million copies in the UK, they broke every chart record in 1964 and got more million sellers than every other act. That’s what you read, not necessarily what is true. Indeed, all the numerical claims are purely fake.

Myself I have been going back and forth with their sales figures for 12 years until reaching at last a high point of satisfaction in an accuracy objective. I would like to particularly thanks the massive input from both Hernán Lopez and Anthony Blanchard that helped building what I can proudly announce as the most comprehensive, accurate and enlighting article ever published about the Beatles charts and sales.

Some of the information published in this post may surprise you and can also contradict official data, data which happens to be wrong. If anything concerns you, feel free to request additional details within’ comments section about data source and methods used to grant accuracy.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge the band results. The concept will not only bring you raw data of all the Beatles albums, physical singles, download singles, music videos and streaming, it will also accurately weight all this information to conclude on meaningful popularity indicators. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea, the next page explains it with a short video, I fully recommend you to check it before getting into sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to jump to the following pages. Let’s go!

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Richard Dakin

You show the US sales for the White Album at around 12 million. It is a double album. The RIAA has its sales at 24 million plus, making allowance for the fact that it is 2 records that were purchased. Ditto for the red and blue albums. The Anthologies were triple albums, as were the BBC albums.
Do your numbers make allowance for this?

Martin

Nope. The White Album, Physical Graffiti, The Wall etc are counted as one album, one sale, no multiplication of discs included, times sales.

One of the albums you mention, is probably the best example against multi counting. The double disc, Red Album, which has less tracks and a shorter total running time, than single disc 1.

Richard Dakin

I’m not sure I follow. If one buys and pays for an album that contains 2 records, have 2 records not been sold?
Do you allow for this by using the total number of tracks on the album?

Richard Dakin

MJD:Thank you for expaining that!
I really enjoy and appreciate the work that went into, and still goes into, your website. I look forward to updates as they appear.

tom riise

Update would be nice 🙂

Walter

Hi MJD,
the RIAA certifications on red album and blue album also include download and streaming, seen how much higher are they ?

César

I’ve just realized that the physical single sales of Beatles For Sale and A Hard Day’s Night are swapped.

César

I think this should get an update. It’s been 3 years and a lot of things have happened like the anniversary editions of Abbey Road and the White Album. (Also pls do George and Ringo’s CSPC 🙂 )

Dan

I’m positive they’ll be well above 420 mill after the update.

Al

Beatles featuring Tony Sheridan is included in the compilation section on page 46

Mark Lupi

Amazing work, congratulations! However you’ve missed one important EP release. The Beatles fifth Ep release, Long Tall Sally, which was released in Britain in June 1964 and is another reported global million seller.

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