The truth about Britney Spears’ album sales in American continent

NORTH AMERICA – Canada

So, how does this work? By 2006, Britney.com listed “sales equivalent certifications” listed in the second column. The following two columns give you the related minimum and maximum sales each album then sold. For real certifications, this max value doesn’t make sense since they are not automatic. The albums may have topped higher certifications but haven’t been audited. Here, awards were sales to date converted, so the max value becomes meaningful.

On columns 5 to 7 the same information is listed, but as listed by 2011 in the website. In-between, in 2008, the Canadian music industry changed the Gold and Platinum criteria from 50,000/100,000 to 40,000/80,000 respectively. As a result, sales converted into certifications were impacted. This resulted in, for example, Oops! being listed as 10xP instead of 8xP.

This is where the process gets incredibly powerful. With the criteria being lower, this gives a smaller possible interval for sales. If we take the example of In The Zone, rather than sales anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 units, we now know it sold at least 320,000 units.

Even better, this process provides figures for uncertified or outdated albums. Oops! remains 5xPlatinum since June 2000. This information confirms it sold over 800,000 units. Greatest Hits, which isn’t certified at all, sold at least 160,000 units and at most 240,000 copies.

An interesting case is the one of Baby One More Time. By 2006, it had sold at most 1,1 million units, by 2011 it was at least on 1,12 million. This illustrates that Britney.com wasn’t switching criteria, but rather updating numbers with ongoing catalog sales forming a jump in sales during the years.

The last column displays the estimate from us on our CSPC analysis. Britney’s debut album was overstated with a 1,4 million estimate. This was assumed because the album sold 14 million in the US, while it went Diamond in both the US and Canada at the exact same date, December 9 1999. As per Soundscan, the album did sell a little less in proportion in Canada with 856,000 sales by August 2000 while it was on 9,7 million in the US. So it seems Canadian retailers had been more optimistic before the 1999 holidays, ordering heavy amounts of discs. The figure of Oops was slightly rounded too high, although we need to consider our figure is from 2016 while the interval was relative to sales from six years ago.

Merging all the data together concludes on the following album sales to date:

  • Baby One More Time – 1,130,000
  • Oops!… I did It Again – 880,000
  • Britney – 400,000
  • In The Zone – 350,000
  • Greatest Hits, My Prerogative – 175,000
  • Blackout – 180,000
  • Circus – 260,000
  • The Singles Collection – 50,000
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GaryHuston

where is the 2006 archive? Please Post that! Thanks

GaryHuston

where is the 2006 archive

Jase

Where does the 14 million RIAA certification for BOMT in the US come from? The album sold 12 million combined with both Nielsen and BMG Music Club sales. I thought albums which were big sellers on BMG tended to not be on Columbia House and vice versa, indeed, were Britney’s albums even available from Columbia? So where does the extra two million from BOMT come from?

trish

You were wrong. 12 million is from nielsen alone and almost 2 million came from BMG music club. It is widely reported already and it is widely reported that BOMT was certified 14 times by the RIAA

Danny

Why is there never a “bottom line” to these summaries? So how many albums did she sell?

GaryHuston

Hello MJD,Would you please give me the link of web archive for the sales by 2006 .I Only found the 2007 version.which said she sold 83 million units worldwide

Trish

It’s crazy how she’s bigger in South America than many bigger divas like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Barbra Streisand

Darie

Wonderful idea. Keep up the good job 🙂

Eternium

Wow, this is a very nice thing to do, thanks you very much 🙂

Would you say her sales in Mexico+South America are weak, good, or great?

cyrus

……………….

Chrysalynne Lingling

Highly anticipating the update of the Asian sales! 🙂 Thanks so much for doing this!

Stephen

Hi MJD! Thank you for doing this article! I’ve always been confused about the sales/certifications provided on Britney.com, so I really appreciate that you’re explaining this to us, and the fact that you’re providing figures for the majority of her albums. She’s had a very big career in Latin America, even if some figures have been inflated in the past (like the Brazilian sales for “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again”), the real figures are also very impressive. Could you please post your estimations for “Femme Fatale”, “Britney Jean,” and “Glory” in Latin America? Not only… Read more »

Stephen

Fair point about the CSPC article! And thank you for fixing the typo! 65,000 definitely seems accurate.

I’d love it if you could do Asia first and then Europe. 🙂 Thank you so much again!

Luminator

MJD, could you later do the same for Mariah? I would eternally be thankful for an overview over her stats in Asia, since that is her personal “region of controversial figures”.

Thanks in advance and massive props to your work and this nice idea of “gifting” fans and chart-followers with further insights!

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