CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

I Want to Hold Your Hand

Controversy #2: I Want To Hold Your Hand US / Global Sales

As the first and biggest selling single emerging during the Beatles invasion, I Want To Hold Your Hand has been the subject of various sales myths. Maybe more surprisingly, it is in the middle of myths in both sides – deflating and inflating its results.

Previously stated at 12 million in the US alone on various Medias, the accepted figure nowadays happens to be 5 million US sales, with the 12 million claim being assigned to Worldwide sales. This being said, those figures are strongly inflated.

In Hunter Davies official 1968 biography, following figures were revealed:

In fact, I Want To Hold Your Hand sold a bit more than 3 million – some 3,2 million to date. So 3,2 million in the US, 5 million worldwide, case closed? Not exactly. Figures from this scan are fully correct but they refer to EMI owned releases only.

In their initial years, the Beatles records were sold on a leasing agreement by Odeon in various countries. Among areas where it sold relevant numbers, I Want To Hold Your Hand wasn’t issued by EMI in Germany, France and Japan. This is why the single is well past 7 million units by now. It is even over the 7,5 million units sold by Hey Jude stated by EMI as the group top seller in their October 1972 report. The song Hey Jude itself hasn’t sold 7,5 million units but past 8 million instead by selling near half a million units in Japan plus some more copies in Latin America under various other labels.

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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!

Jazz

Dont think so. Based on this site Btitney and Coldplay should sold more based on album sales alone. And pretty sure they sold more singles too.

Analord

This was discussed like two weeks ago in the “Best selling artists of all time” comments, Britney wouldn’t even be top 10… Coldplay might be #5, and indeed the Beatles would be #2, way behind Eminem.

WV27

Jeric, that is true but it needs some clarification. In the USA point of sales are measured by Nielsen SoundCard (now called MRC Nielsen). At the end of 2009 Nielsen estimated that Feminism was the #1 Artist of the first decade of the New Century (32m Album units sold) with The Beatles #2 (30m). Again this constitutes US album sales only from 2000-2009, and did not factor in Digital Downloads, Streaming, Video Streams, etc. Hope this helps.

WV27

Oops … sorry @Jericho. “feminism” is supposed to be EMINEM.

WV27

@jeric (sorry)

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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