CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

'With The Beatles'

Original Album Sales – Comments

1963 Please Please Me – 5,900,000
1963 With the Beatles – 5,850,000
1964 A Hard Day’s Night – 9,350,000
1964 Beatles for Sale – 5,650,000
1965 Help! – 9,850,000
1965 Rubber Soul – 14,400,000
1966 Revolver – 12,450,000
1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 24,800,000
1967 Magical Mystery Tour – 10,600,000
1968 The Beatles (White Album) – 19,000,000
1969 Yellow Submarine – 4,200,000
1969 Abbey Road – 26,700,000
1970 Let It Be – 11,900,000

A gran total of 160,65 million copies sold across 13 studio albums, which include their various soundtracks. No doubt many will rate this total as kind of disappointing. For several reasons, it would be jumping on conclusions too fast though.

First, you need to consider market constraints. Their mid-60s albums were selling in the 10,000 to 30,000 range in Italy, a pale number. Not that big there? Far from that, along with local legend Mina they were the biggest sellers. Album sales were just abysmal as a whole. Apply that situation to most markets and you realize that the huge majority of their sales came as catalog results. Even a monster like Sgt Pepper’s on a solid market like Germany only sold an estimated 155,000 units in its first year, multiplying its sales by five since.

Second, not all studio albums of the Beatles were studio albums. Until Rubber Soul, their LPs were getting local releases, most notably in the US. This is why Please Please Me, With The Beatles and Beatles For Sale sold so much less than the others, because they first came out in that country during their 1987 CD releases. Instead, they got 7 major US albums from 1964 to 1966 which sold a huge 19 million units to date, led by Meet The Beatles! at 5,8 million. Of course, we are not going to ignore those releases. In a CSPC logic, they will be treated within’ the Compilations Category which comes later on the article with their sales re-assigned to original albums depending on their tracklist.

Third, from their earliest years the band issued various compilations, with Red / Blue albums from 1973 and 2000 set One leading the pack. Such releases invariably diminish the catalog appeal of original albums. Just like locally issued records, those greatest hits type of LPs will be treated later in this article inside the Compilations Category.

Fourth, the Beatles weren’t exclusive album sellers. During their hey-days, they sold tons of singles too. This is very precisely the next format to be detailed on following pages…

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Sonique

Is Beatles the best selling musical act in UK?

Martin

Yes.

Sonique

I hope you would update and make a record and achievement section for the Beatles

Jeric

Will BTS surpass the Beatles eventually? And is it possible that a current artist at present will surpass them?

Jeric

Thank you for your response!

Someone shared on Twitter that the Beatles is the second best selling artist of the century. Eminem took the first place. Can you pls confirm this fact? Thanks ahead and more power!

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.

Sonique

Has this already been included in the analysis? If not, I hope Chartmasters would consider verifying this one and include its sales in computing the Beatles CSPC points

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