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!

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Jorge Suárez

Why “We Belong Together” is at 3,4M in digital sales? I think it’s more than that. That was a HUGE hit.


I think We Belong Together was a big hit in the US, but outside of the US it really wasn’t that big of a deal and it can be clearly seen from her Mimi album sales. Mariah has always been a global album seller but for this particular album it has been somewhat pretty local. She always struggled to sell outside of the US with her R&B albums.


Hi MJD, based on how AIWFCIY is performing every xmas, how many years before it could beat whitney’s i will always love you eas?


Hi RLAAMJR! Allow me to tell you a definite answer: it won’t. The gap between the 2 songs is immense, with a 19,4m lead in IWALY’s favour. Even when comparing catalog sales and streams, Mariah doesn’t lead by “much” as Whitney’s death and the fact that it’s Whitney’s signature song allows to have stable streams and OK DL’s. You can probably say that AIWFCIY has more catalog appeal as it can be seen from its lead over IWALY in downloads and Spotify streams. In a few more years, it might also surpass IWALY in YT streams. However, in terms of… Read more »


Emotions still remains my favorite Mariah album. Interesting to see how it has sold with all of his factored in over the years. Also it’s interesting how it was seen as a bit of a commercial disappointment at the time and for a while, while it remains one of her best sellers.

Also, when might we be seeing an analysis for Kelly Clarkson? I know she got quite a few votes on one of the polls for different artists to do, and I would love to see how the formula translates with her material.


Will you update Mariah’s article by using the new formulas for digital song sales and streaming?


Oh thanks for your effort so far.

But i was also hoping for the page “BONUS: Total Album (all types) Sales per Country” and an overview over the “Chart & Sales Achievements” to be added, both of which are incorporated in the newer articles, but are missing in Mariah’s article since it is one of the older ones.


Hi MJD. I was just wondering why you didnt include Mariah Carey No 1’s. If Im not mistaken it sells somewhere around 15 million copies worldwide. It will greatly increased her total cspc results and probably increased her rankings too.


Her #1’s album, along with her other compilation albums, were included in the total CSPC results in the Remaining Long Formats on page 32-34. MJD doesn’t include those albums in the album sales breakdown because those records were mainly exploited on the back of hits from studio albums, and his main goal is to reflect the popularity of each album. #1’s sold close to 16m copies, in which 6,2m copies is generated from Daydream as that album has 39% share of #1’s on Spotify. The same method is used for other compilations in calculating how many album sales were generated… Read more »


Oh yeah. Didnt noticed that. Thanks btw.


Brazil it’s wrong. Before 2003, Music Box sold at least 1,000,000 copies. After 2003, ABPD started to put shipment data in each CD/DVD sold, like “AA10000”, for example. The first shipment had 10000 copies, and then AB10000, AC10000, AD05000, etc


Thank you very much for the response!

Is there still a way to get a rough picture of what these albums sold in the bigger markets, meaning South Korea and Taiwan?


Hey MJD, since you are currently on the verge of talking about Asia and indicated that Mariah hasn’t done *that well* there outside of Japan and SK, i stumbled upon this Billboard report from the 15/01/2000 issue, in which Mariah was presented with an award for 1,6 million copies of #1’s sold throughout Asia (outside of Japan). That would indicate that she actually did really good there. https://books.google.de/books?id=oQ0EAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&rview=1&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=mariah&f=false How you split those copies over the remaining countries considering their market share? If you take the time (which i did) and compile all chart information that was presented by Billboard in… Read more »


Plus: The 1,6 estimate would actually fall perfectly in line with what you estimated for the album in the whole of Asia (3,7 million in Japan + 1,6 million in Asia as of 2000) 😉


Thanks again for your insights and time spent! The figure for Malaysia had been floating around on mariahdaily.com (the site has been down now) for at least 10 years: http://web.archive.org/web/20081210112132/http://www.mariahdaily.com:80/infozone/charts/albums/malaysia/index.shtml I was always skeptical about it until i found out that the album did have that spectacular chart run on the overall chart which was very rare the the time (you can only find the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and interestingly Westlife as other western artists to appear on the overall chart for more than just a few weeks). Could you give me your personal estimate for Music Box, Merry… Read more »


MJD, I wonder when Billboard said “xxx sold in Asia”,Did that mean 8 markets in Southeast Asia or the whole Asia excluded Japan(including China and India)?




Hey MJD, would you mind sharing the numbers you have on your spreadsheet/ your personal estimations for the remainig Asian markets? So far, you provided us with the following numbers, but there’s still so many “question marks” left. I would be highly interested in the numbers/your estimations for countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, which did have some respectable market size in the 90s. I would be very thankful for that. Year – Total Asia – Album 1990 – 2,000,000 – Mariah Carey Japan: 925,000 South Korea: ? Taiwan: ? Hong Kong: ? Singapore: ? Malaysia: ? Indonesia: ? Thailand: ?… Read more »


Hi MJD! Me again! This time, can you help verify whether these “claims” of Mariah’s success in Asia is true or not? 1. #1’s was reported to be a 10XP album in Malaysia with 250K shipped! Do you find this true? I suppose it is, as according to Billboard’s Hits of the World, it had a highly impressive chart run and even re-entered the Top 10 in 2001! How much do estimate for this album, and do you have any information on her other albums in Malaysia? 2. The Glitter album was reported as the biggest selling album in China… Read more »


Hi there, i want to add one more note: If you actually search for the Malaysian album chart displayed in the Billboard magazine, you will find that #1’s actually had a really impressive run there, spending months and months in the Top 10, only challenged by the Backstreet Boys and Westlife, and to a lessor extent Britney at the time – meaning that she must have sold good amounts in Malaysia (whatever that means in concrete numbers!). I would once again like to ask you for your estimation of her Asian sales in the core markets for her big albums… Read more »


Rafifi, I was just looking at the billboard news weekly archive. They would published the top 10 weekly Malaysian top album sales based on figures given by Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Based on hours and hours of doing my own analysis, #1’s spent a total of 27 weeks inside the top 10 and 9 weeks at no. 1. MJD has previously said that Backstreet’s Back sold 150,000 in Malaysia. So I started doing research on Backstreet’s Back weekly chart performance. Based on what I could detect, Backstreet’s Back spent a total of 7 weeks at no 1 and also… Read more »


Hi MJD. While I do agree that the pretty much same chart runs would give Mariah around the same amount of sales that Backstreet’s Back would have had. Wouldn’t you consider the fact that #1’s has way more longevity that BSB. Because it reentered the top 10 in 1999 as well as in 2001. Seems like everytime she was to release a new album up to Glitter, the albums seems to be rebounding. Also, I believe that Teen Pop ships huge amount of records in the first year or two. But the popularity of their album seems to fade away… Read more »


Nice to know we are on the same page. I actually bought the album in late 2005. I became a Mariah fan late in her career, :). It was really worth my money and I feel like that it is the favorite album that I have ever purchased. She does have a collection of very2 great love songs.


Good work! I’m a lit bit impressioned how Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel shipped only 65k in Brazil since “I want to know what love is” was a big hit in brazilian stations.

Would be amazing a CSPC analisys from Ayumi Hamasaki’s carrer or an analysis of japanese divas.