CSPC: Madonna Popularity Analysis

Madonna Career CSPC Results

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So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each Madonna album achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!

In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.

*Pure sales figures updated on 08/20/17.
'Av.' stands for Average, 'LD' for Last Day.

As a reminder:

  • Studio Album: sales of the original album
  • Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
  • Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
  • Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/6750 for Video stream)

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers


This is it! We started this article mentioning Madonna has no album among the very best selling female studio albums of all-time, wondering how high would True Blue feature in terms of real popularity. In the end, the dark horse Like A Virgin appears to be the singer’s biggest album. Surprising? Well, not that much.

True Blue was clearly the fastest seller out of both, up to 15,5 million by the end of 1987 while Like A Virgin, with two more years of sales, was on 13 million by the same time. By mid-1988 though Like A Virgin was already the one selling the most and started to slowly catch album sales of True Blue. Considering The Immaculate Collection shot down catalog sales of those two albums soon after, Like A Virgin never completed its come back in terms of original album sales, but did generate more sales to all subsequent compilations and is still her most appealing record as shown by both catalog digital sales and streaming results.

Apart from the ranking, the volume of sales is very interesting. Like A Virgin is now close to 40 million equivalent album sales in total. This puts it ahead of many other female albums that sold more copies in original album format, including debuts of Britney SpearsNorah Jones and Tracy Chapman, Carole King‘s Tapestry, Whitney Houston‘s first two albums and Mariah Carey‘s Music Box / Daydream. This makes Like A Virgin the #6 most successful female album ever while True Blue scraps into the Top 10.

In the same way, Like A Prayer tops Ray Of Light album. Considering the 1,4 million lead of the latter record in original album format, this isn’t that surprising as without the cannibalization from The Immaculate Collection, the former would have filled this gap easily.

In the other end of the jigsaw, we can notice how little added value MDNA or Rebel Heart brought to the artist’s catalog. Albums like I’m Breathless and Bedtime Stories ain’t bad at all everything considered, while American Life still has a very long and difficult way to do before saving itself from the flop rating.

Everything considered, Madonna totals 241,1 million equivalent albums sales, more than Britney Spears, Adele and Rihanna combined. While the pop star is well known as the most successful female artist ever, this comparison is still worth it to best illustrate the magnitude of her success.

The following page lists her most successful songs.

Do not forget to check our amazing lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector which includes the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far to better gauge her position in the history of the music industry.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Warner, Chartmasters.org.

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Jazz

Like A Virgin finally reached 40 million EAS. The album absolutely deserves it.

Bobby

Finally Enough Love (Remix Album) was released last month and sold above 200k worldwide already.

Tom

Madonna really is long overdue for an update. You should do it now that she’s celebrating her 40th anniversary of being in the businness.

Clockingbell

Her numbers aren’t growing that fast. If she’s updated, they should do Beatles, MJ, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac first. Longer ago since the update and better sellers.

Analord

A typical example of why this upvote/downvote system is so inappropriate for this website…

Martin

I agree, they are pointless, they serve no real purpose.

The main problem here though, is people. People who do not care about sales per se, just their faves sales. They never look at things objectively or even care that other artists are longer without an update or have added more since their last update.

Bev

Absolutely shocked people like Adele had albums that sold more than Madonna best one. Damn

Gabriel

ONE album. And Madonna doesn’t update her certifications of a lot of albuns in decades.

Denysanatol

Celine Dion has two !

Last edited 3 months ago by DenysAnatol
Mikko

Adele voice is a unique. Within ten years she will be number one.

Togetic

Has 4 Minutes really only sold 5 million?? That seems awfully low. Much lower than many other top hits of the time. And it went #1 almost everywhere and had very good placements in year-end lists. Was it all airplay? Very frontloaded sales? It just seems super low.

Maison

https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Music/Billboard/90s/1991/BB-1991-04-13.pdf/
http://golddisc.jp/award/05/index.html
I’m Breathless shipped 329k by 01/20/1991 according to RIAJ (Japan Gold Disc Award). However, according to Oricon, it scanned 322k copies in 15 charted weeks since its release in June 1990. Can it be inferred that imports were not actually sold and it had terrible catalog sales? Why is the total estimation set on 475k? I think it’s a little overestimated. Thanx

Last edited 4 months ago by Maison
Gabriel

page not found

Maison

Delete “/” and then you have it

ChartGeek

Your numbers for sales before 2010 are so incomplete! I can’t believe you’re spreading false information this way! Some of Madonna physical singles even sold twice what you wrote they did! You should really contact her Record Labels to get the real info but not sure they have it available to get it to you (if they are lazy to even re-certify albums that sold multiple platinums more in some countries (for over 3 decades) I wouldn’t be that helpfull. Some of your single sales for Madonna are just US + UK and a little more sales (when those singles… Read more »

Kris

Why don’t you post your sources for these sales? If you have the “correct” information, then provide the sources to back it up.

Mikko

Why do you have to re-certify old discs? Those platinum and other discs are problem waste.
Graceland is full prolem waste.

Dimitris

Imo LIB was the most commercially successful Madonna single. Although it was released as the 5th single of the album, it managed to outsell all previously released with the exception of PDP which was released before the album release, which obviously boosted sales. Had it been the other way around, I believe the numbers would be like more than 5m for LIB and about 2 m for PDP. And if one takes into consideration that LIB, a summer anthem, as the 2nd single would be released in the beginning of summer 1986 and not in February, or the fact that… Read more »

Tony

She’s a spent force , get over it. Most successful single of all time ? Your having a laugh l😂 😂😂😂😂😂😂

TapestryCK

He said La Isla Bonita is Madonna’s most successful single, Not all time best.
You ARE SO BIASED!

Martin

Maybe that’s what he meant but the last paragraph does state “the most commercially successful single of all time”, not her most successful.

Last edited 6 months ago by Martin
Lammar

it makes total sense since he is puting candle in the wind, all the soundtracks and all the holiday songs a part.

But i do not think so, since Everithing i do i do it for you was really huge, so i do not know.

Ignacio

After reading Madonna’s popularity analisys, the first thought I have is what if Youtube and Spotify would be exist since 1985, and the instant reply is that she would be still the biggest female artist of all times, easily in the top 3. Beside, she is the most pirated artist in all times (leaked albums, black market, piracy), countless unofficial channels in Youtube with her videos, shows, performances with dismissed views, etc.

Mikko

Madonna isn’t the most pirated artist in all times. Never heard about that. Led Zeppelin, Dylan, Pink Floyd, Bowie are most boolegged artists. First bootleg record was Great White Wonder by Dylan, price was 12-17 dollars! and year 1970. It sold 350 000 copies in US. Information from Clinton Heylin book about bootleg record history from 1960s.

Bev

isn’t she the biggest female artist of all time already? Not much would change

Gabriel

Are you guys including the new versions of Frozen’s remixes in the Ray Of Light EAS? The song became viral on tik tok and she took advantage and realeased A LOT of versions. YOUTUBE: Madonna Vs Sickick – Frozen (feat. 070 Shake) 1,4 Milion Madonna Vs Sickick – Frozen (Firebou DML Remix) 7 milion Madonna – Frozen (Sickick Remix) | Circles Bob – Frozen (TikTok Remix) 11 milioon Madonna Vs. Sickick – Frozen (Sickick Remix) 8,3 milion Madonna Vs. Sickick – Frozen Remix – 2,7 milion = 30,4 milion on youtube One version of these on Spotify has more than… Read more »

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