CSPC: Pink Floyd Popularity Analysis

Syd Barrett

Physical Singles Sales

Pink Floyd weren’t a pure album band during its early days. Under the direction of the late Syd Barrett, they debuted by issuing singles. Arnold Layne and See Emily Play reached #20 and #8 respectively in the UK charts way back in 1967. After his exclusion from the band due to his strong addictions, which led to the arrival of David Gilmour, Pink Floyd focused more and more on albums as a full piece of work.

Some singles still came out sporadically here and there, but it wasn’t until Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) that a proper lead single benefited from a global release. It was a groundbreaking smash, selling 5,6 million copies after topping charts in most countries just like its parent album.

This gap between one all-time top seller and songs barely released in one or two countries conclude on a truly unique fact. Although the band has been active for 3 decades, that 1979 single alone is responsible for 72% of their career sales of physical singles!

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) – 15,000 equivalent albums

Flaming – 50,000

A Saucerful of Secrets (1968) – 15,000 equivalent albums

Let There Be More Light – 50,000

More (1969) – 15,000 equivalent albums

The Nile Song – 50,000

Ummagumma (1969) – 0 equivalent albums

No single released

Atom Heart Mother (1970) – 0 equivalent albums

No single released

Meddle (1971) – 15,000 equivalent albums

One of These Days – 50,000

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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.