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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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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