CSPC: Mariah Carey Popularity Analysis

Mariah Carey Picture

Its arrived. The one many of you wanted to be studied. For various months many of you have been requesting to add Mariah Carey among the studied acts. After completing career-listings of Madonna, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston this demand increased even more. From the mid-80s to early 00s these four singers sold so many records that talks about those iconic divas started to gain ground and haven’t stopped since.

So who sold the most? In reality, wondering which one did the best out of those four females is kind of a rich person’s problem. In fact, the first thing that needs to be said is that they all did insanely well. They all broke various records here and there and they all have no competition at all in their respective leagues – well, sorry Barbra Streisand, I haven’t forgotten about you but your career is too different to fairly include you inside this Madonna – generation legends battle.

Among Mariah Carey’s achievements feature her 18 US #1 hits, a tally putting her on par with Elvis Presley and runner up to the Beatles. She did so in a relatively smooth period for singles sales and the Hot 100 heavily factored Airplay during this era. So has she really sold that well? Let’s not forget she owns several of the very top selling foreign albums of all-time in Japan so surely she moved some units. How many though? Her 90s decade was undoubtedly intense, but that is still only 10 years. Can she really challenge the all-time top sellers within such a short period of high sales?

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge her results. The concept will not only bring you sales information for all Mariah Carey albums, physical singles, download singles, music videos and streaming, it will also accurately weight all this information to conclude the truth on meaningful popularity indicators. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend you to check it out before getting into sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to get straight into the sales figures. Let’s go!

4 84 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marcus André

You miss the Brazilian sales of her Greatest Hits album. It was certified Platinum here (125,000). http://abpd.org.br/home/certificados/?busca_artista=mariah+carey


I thought she’d be higher but I guess she just doesn’t shift on catalogue and her streaming (Spotify) is pretty weak, for a relatively contemporary artist, with a lot of her most successful albums having numerous tracks under 1m and some under 500k.

On the top 90’s streaming tracks, are Californication & Under The Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers also not above AIFCIY. They have 201,273,988 & 202,097,313 streams respectively on Spotify alone, while AIFCIY only has 190,236,616.


Hi mate,

Yes I see that now but I can only find 201m, not 225m. Which versions am I missing or not seeing?

Now That’s What I Call Christmas — 190,256,240
Merry Christmas — 190,256,240
Christmas Hits — 190,256,240
Merry Christmas II You — 10,597,711
Christmas R & B — 672,339
Greatest Hits — 672,339
Oh Santa! AIWCIY (Holiday Mashup) — 296,897
Total — 201,823,187


Mariah’s catalog sales and streaming are actually very healthy. She is the highest streamed artist out of her peers (Madonna, Whitney, Celine, Janet) and AIWFCIY is easily the biggest recurrent hit out of all those artists as well.


Hi MJD, Thank you so much for your latest CSPS! Could we have a list of best performers as per the 4 categories below for all the artiste studied so far under the master series 1) Original album format (Not individual album but rather cumulative total albums for artiste) 2) Physical single format (Not individual single but rather cumulative total singles for artiste) 3) Digital download single format (Not individual single but rather cumulative total singles for artist) 4) Streaming single format (Cumulative total singles for artist) – I know streaming is exploding, it add sizeable streams in just a… Read more »


It is a bit out of date and quite a few notable artists have been analysed since but here is the last update, if you’ve not seen it.


Looking forward to that.

Marlon Serpa

Legendary Mimi. Next Michael Jackson pleeeeease


Wow. And than Rihanna has sold more records than Mariah. And she is still very young.


Yay! You finally analysed Mariah’s career! She’s one of the acts I anticipated the most, and you did not disappoint. I just finished reading through the whole article and everything looks great. I also appreciate the fact that you included sales breakdowns for her compilation albums! It’s interesting that Daydream seems to be bigger than Music Box in many ways. Daydream has the advantage in digital sales, streaming sales AND physical sales despite Music Box selling 6 million more in physical format! Their CSPC totals are also way closer than I expected them to be. I’m also surprised Hero is… Read more »


Thank you so much for this! Outstanding work as usual and 99% of your figures perfectly fit with what i came up with over the years watching and analyzing her career. I DO have some minor, some bigger remarks on a few figures that i’d like to discuss with you: 1) I don’t really understand why all of your estimations perfectly fit with the info from Sony Music Japan in 1999 regarding her album sales… Sony Music Japan from 1999: • Mariah Carey 850.000 • Emotions 1 million • MTV Unplugged 500.0000 • Music Box 2.2 million • Merry Christmas… Read more »


Thanks for the reply. I’m still not sold on the point that Sony Music Japan would be given such a randomly inflated number when all the other numbers perfectly fit the overall picture. That’s seems to remain as a debatable point….. A few more questions: 1) One refers to the overall Asian estimation: What made you come to the conclusion that her debut album (2,000,000) sold basically just as much as Butterfly (2,040,000) in overall Asia? I see absolutely no indication that the debut album would have sold and considerably more copies outside of Japan than Butterfly (2,000,000 – 925,000… Read more »


MJD, there are absolutely no words that i say will be able to express my gratitude to you for this. Mariah Carey means so much to me, and I’ve always wanted to know your professional opinion of her success. Unexpectedly, she ends up lower than Celine and Madonna, and above both Janet and Whitney. Still, there’s no doubt all of their successes were extraordinary! Regarding her album sales, there are a few comments I would like to make. Her debut album at 2m in Asia is bigger than i imagined! Didn’t Sony reported that it only sold 500K in Southeast… Read more »


I wasnt surprise that Mariah ended lower than Madonna and Celine Dion. Madonna and Celine had amazing2 results in Europe. Madonna sold like 80 million copies or something in Europe and Celine was close to 60 million if I’m not mistaken. Mariah on the other hand managed to sell less than 30 million. That is a huge gap. She is the best selling female artist in Asia, but Madonna and Celine was huge there too, and their sales difference in that region shouldnt be that much. Therefore, Madonna and Celine is a bigger star at their peak. Although not by… Read more »


Where’s MJ?



1 2 3 11