CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

hey jude

Controversy #3: Cumulative Singles Sales

As you may understand, the case of I Want To Hold Your Hand and Hey Jude isn’t limited to those two songs.

In their October 1972 report, EMI stated the Beatles sold 100 million singles. There is a double-trick that we need to understand to take out the truth behind this figure.

The first in the negative side is that the figure indeed included all singles released in 1969/1971 by George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartne as solo artists. This suggests sales of over 80 million only by them as a band. This number sounds way too low, especially for a band supposed to have sold over 1 billion records.

The figure is factual though, although it does refer to strictly EMI-owned sales. Those are sales of Capitol, Parlophone, Apple Records, but without Odeon, Mursaut, Vee-Jay, Swan etc.

In the US, Love Me Do, Please Please Me, She Loves You, Twist And Shout and Do You Want To Know A Secret combined for almost 7 million sales, all of them under non-EMI contracts. In France, all singles until Hello Goodbye included weren’t issued by EMI. In Germany, it was until Lady Madonna, while the first Japanese single owned by them was Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da. Argentina, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, all had singles issued by distinct labels.

Thus, while fully factual the 100-million combined singles claim of EMI is misleading more than anything. By that date, the act the Beatles, without solo singles of its members, had sold already 110 million singles, plus a few millions more since.

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Nick

I’m curious why their digital singles sales are so low compared to the likes of Queen and MJ?

jt1916

I guess that one important reason is that they wait many years until put the catalogue there (2009), and 5 years later that market started to collapse, so they had few years to make sales. I mean, even Elvis have a little more digital sales, when the Beatles outstream him x2.

Al

It’s explained on page 31 of this article.

NicholasNiner

I would love to see the sales of George Harrison. Both John Lennon and Paul Mccartney are updated while George and Ringo are missing. I assume Ringo hasn’t sold that well but George had string of succesful albums starting with All Things Must Pass. Maybe in the future when The Beatles sales are going to be updated you could also do George and Ringo, same as it was done with Neil Young, when both Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were done at the same time. I’m sure a lot of people would love to see that. Thank… Read more »

Tom Riise

An update on The Beatles would be great.

Eric Williams

BFD on amount of records sold. Theres more people in the world. All these groups/people are playing because of the BEATLES. I bought my first guitar from a guys living room. I traded my flute in for an electric guitar, at Jacks Drum Shop, after Feb. 1964 when they were on Ed Sullivan. There was no Guitar Center, or anything like that. Since the BEATLES, everyone and their brother play guitar.

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