CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

Now On Apple's iTunes: The Beatles! (Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA)

Controversy #4: The Splash Strategy Illusion Part 1

As sales are nowhere near to be not known for all acts, all records about highest selling artists, albums or singles can be put under a shadow of doubt. Chart records can’t though. That’s what we think, but that is wrong too.

The Beatles chart achievements have been mind-blowing from their beginning, it is impossible to deny that. They still suggest higher success than what it has really been. The band got countless of chart toppers since disbanding, they also invade charts at every reissue campaign.

Rather than being simply impressed, our role at Chartmasters.org is to analyze those phenomenoms. Are they due to pure success only? The answer is no. In every business, everything depends on the supply to demand ratio.

The music industry, thanks to its print in the world culture, has many mechanics in place that create continuous interest in some records. Recurrent airplay, TV shows usage, covers, live shows, music magazines, playlists etc, the background is there providing the Beatles catalog linear exposure all year long. Whatever EMI does tomorrow, there will still be people regularly getting interested in buying Abbey Road or Revolver. Something EMI fully control though is the offer. For decades now they have been handling it to perfection with their gold mine named the Beatles.

What is called here the splash strategy is quite simple and well-known in various industries – held the supply for some time then flood the market. Exactly 30 years ago, they issued the first CD versions of the group albums. They performed better than anyone else CD releases.

Clearly, the worth of those albums helps, but if the splash upon release has been so big it is also due to a double retention from EMI. First, they waited quite long before dropping them. Most classic albums got issued in 1983 to 1985 in CD, in bulk among many other artists albums. EMI awaited for 1987 before dropping them in the spotlight of everyone. As music industry mecanics are still in place and creating interest as time passes no matter what and the supply wasn’t there, the demand was ever higher while waiting for those sets. More, EMI also took care of not releasing a CD compilation to first sell studio albums, adding to the offer Past Masters packages that contained missing hits from studio albums. Not only the demand was high for those CDs, but there had been no offer at all, not even a work around, to satisfy them.

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Is Beatles the best selling musical act in UK?




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


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


@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?


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 🙂


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


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


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 🙂 )


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


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.


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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