CSPC: Pink Floyd Popularity Analysis

Pink Floyd Forever

Original Album Sales – Comments

1967 The Piper at the Gates of Dawn – 2,450,000
1968 A Saucerful of Secrets – 1,900,000
1969 More – 2,700,000
1969 Ummagumma – 5,050,000
1970 Atom Heart Mother – 5,700,000
1971 Meddle – 7,950,000
1972 Obscured by Clouds – 3,600,000
1973 The Dark Side of the Moon – 43,300,000
1975 Wish You Were Here – 22,300,000
1977 Animals – 12,150,000
1979 The Wall – 31,300,000
1983 The Final Cut – 6,800,000
1987 A Momentary Lapse of Reason – 10,200,000
1994 The Division Bell – 11,550,000
2014 The Endless River – 2,650,000

Over the course of 47 years, The 15 studio LPs of Pink Floyd moved the unbelievable total of 169,6 million copies. May I say this tops the 160,65 million studio albums sold by the Beatles?

An average of 11,3 million is truly stunning. It is even more incredible considering the circumstances. As many as 7 of those albums came out before the explosion of the group’s popularity and during a singles-axed era, selling well under 1 million copies during their promotional campaigns. The first two albums were mostly deleted too during the golden days of the band given A Nice Pair box set replaced them. This set is considered within the compilations category coming later. 2014’s The Endless River came out in a disastrous market environment and contains almost exclusively instrumentals. Also, the band stopped releasing new albums while they were still massively popular. 2 or 3 additional albums issued in the period of 1995-2005 would have done wonders, possibly pushing the tally all the way up to 200 million.

Owning one album which is a 43,3 million seller obviously helps in building an average as impressive as theirs. This figure eclipses the 41,1 million sales of The Bodyguard soundtrack which was the top selling album in original format studied so far. No need to say Michael Jackson’s Thriller still needs to be added to this tally.

At 22,3 million, Wish You Were Here would be the blockbuster album of many giant artists. For Pink Floyd however, it is a distant third.

Out of a near 170 million total, there is tons of individual figures of note in those albums breakdowns. Consequently, before moving into the physical singles sales category, let’s go back to some key numbers like Dark Side of the Moon sales in the UK or in Italy. After that, I’ll be displaying sales timelines of the band’s biggest albums, e.g. their sales up to various dates, to better gauge their initial reception as well as their appeal in the long run.

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Smiley

Just out of interest, after Queen, Michael Jackson and The Beatles, are Pink Floyd the biggest selling album artist (all types) in Europe?

Analord

Yes, just above Madonna, who obviously sold much more singles.

Clockingbell

I wonder how much Abba and U2 are separated from this top 5

Analord

ABBA would be #6 with around 70m albums sold (Pink Floyd sold 82m), U2 sold maybe 67m, less than the Stones.

Dan

According to Chartmasters – sales in Europe:

Queen – 97,259,000
MJ – 90,730,000
The Beatles – 86,230,000
Pink Floyd – 80,780,000
Madonna – 79,330,000
Rolling Stones – ~70m
Elvis – 58,445,000
Elton John – 53,790,000
U2 – unclear (not in the analysis)
Rod Stewart – 52,348,500
AC/DC – 50,810,000

Clockingbell

I think you missed some artists, like Phil Collins (61 m), or 2016 researched Abba and Celine Dion, whose exact Europe totals I can’t discover here, as well as those of the Rolling Stones

Analord

Céline Dion sold over 60m albums in Europe, the Stones around 69m. Dan’s list is missing a bunch of acts indeed (Dire Straits, Johnny Hallyday…etc.) and I’ve no idea why he put U2 beneath Elton John…

Clockingbell

Thanks! Missed Johnny Halliday myself…

Martin

Robbie Williams low 50ms also.

Smiley

Has the album ‘Wish You Were Here’ lost about a million or so EAS recently?

Matrix

Pink Floyd are the one of two artists to have two 50+ million albums each. The another one is Michael Jackson.