CSPC: Madonna Popularity Analysis

CSPC Madonna

The Queen of Pop. Madonna is widely recognized as the biggest female star of all-time. As you know if you have been following Chartmasters.org for long, we created the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to validate or not those assumptions.

Applying it to historical albums and young popular artists helped us to understand that album sales aren’t the only valid indicator of popularity both because of the impact of various compilations and of large singles sales. Some artists have been able to pull great numbers in all fronts.

One perfect example appears to be Madonna. Consequently, it is time to apply this concept on this case which involves both situations combined to see how much it impacts our perception of each album popularity.

In fact, the American superstar had strong singles sales all over her career as well as notorious compilations downgrading a lot catalog results of her original albums.

No one can seriously doubt Madonna‘s popularity, just like no one can seriously argue against the fact she is the best selling female artist of all-time. One ranking on which she is often overshadowed by several of her peers yet is the best selling studio album by a female artist.

Incredibly enough, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Adele, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Norah Jones and soon both Tracy Chapman and Carole King all have at least one studio album that outsold every Madonna‘s studio set. The latter biggest seller, True Blue, ends up being pushed out of the all-time Top 10 female studio albums.

While an unexperienced eye would conclude that Madonna never really had a true massive hit album, others will notice most of those female artists had one standout album that was well other the par inside their own discography. This situation is clearly favorable to the one-off record that keeps getting enduring catalog appeal – which is precisely why Tracy Chapman and Carole King blockbusters are now passing by True Blue – while the extensive career of Madonna makes compilations more relevant to the casual buyer.

Indeed, the singer outsold all other previously mentioned females minus Celine Dion by over 2 to 1 in terms of compilation sales. No need to say she also outsold all those females in terms of physical singles sales by a considerable margin.

Considering this context, merging results of all her records ends up being absolutely necessary to properly define how successful – or unsuccessful! – her albums have been. If there is little doubt that True Blue would appear into a Top 10 most successful, in opposition to best selling, female studio albums list it is interesting to know how high it would be and if additional Madonna‘s albums can climb into those high waters as well.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge her results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Madonna‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

Let’s go!

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This analysis is the first I’ve encountered on your site. Amazing. Notably missing is my other favorite artist – Elton John. I realize it’s a big project considering he has 30 studio albums….but I’m looking forward to seeing you get there!


Please Do R.E.M, Alanis Morissette, Genesis, Jethro Tull….:-)


I hope Michael Jackson is next. We’ve been waiting for it too long MJD. 🙂


Looks like Madonna will not be outsold by any other female artists unless we only count singles and albums sold, then Rihanna has a huge chance especially that she’s still young and relevant.

Among the Big Four, Madonna somehow doesnt have an immortal song unlike Whitney with IWALY, Celine with MHWGO and Mariah with AIWFCIY.

Or maybe Madonna shouldnt be compared to the Vocal Trinity because she’s way, way higher than them that she is compared to male artists record sales too.

Celine really has huge 4 singles, compared to other female artists.


Madonna is know for multiple worldwide “big” hits, instead of only one signature “monster” hit.
Like a Virgin, Into the Groove, Like a Prayer, Vogue, Music, Hung Up were all huge hits worldwide. You’re just never able to pick only one song to define her career 🙂


and, Rihanna could sell 300 million digital tracks. But they are only equal to 30 million albums.

I strongly disagree putting “records” vs “records”, you just can compare one copy of album sold with one copy of iTunes track.


Hi MJD! Glad you’re back! I’m glad you’ve updated the stats of the biggest female artist of all time! There are some minor errors I would like to point out! First, you said that Like A Virgin is more successful than Adele’s 21. However, on the last article of Adele, 21 was at 39,5m. With the new ratio of downloads, 21 would undoubtedly be 40m+, even topping FIY by Celine. Still, LIV could still be the #6 most successful album of all time. Although Jagged Little Pill is a 30m+ seller, I doubt it has big additional sales as Alanis… Read more »


Always compliments for the site and your good work dear MJD, I remember that last year Madonna’s sales were around 244 million, now with your latest update being around 241 million, so there is a decrease of about 3 million. Why is this decrease ?


I guess Madonna is the best selling female artist of all time in Italy and also when it comes to international acts, only Pink Floyd have sold more. Overall she’s probably behind quite a few local stars (Zucchero, Ramazzotti, Dalla…) But top 10 maybe?


Do you know how to read?

marcus andre

Great work, thank You! s2


What the hell??? What’s going on here! Michael Jackson Dangerous! I hate you!


Her sales down! Why???
Well… now we have the sales of You Can Dance, TIC, Something To Remember, GHV2 and Celebration per country.

Thank you so much!

I love you work!


Thank you for the answer but i can’t understand. She sold 90 million single! How now sold 75 million single???

I believe on my life she sold more than 90 million fisical single.


This is great she is def a top seller what is her total ? And do you think anyone current can over take her numbers ? , hope not , amazing work , thank you !


Please Do George Michael, I’m sure he’s sold more throughout the year.


Sales Doesn’t matter…………George was literally creme de la creme

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