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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Once the up dates for Queen and Madonna are done, then we will find Queen will jump ahead of Madonna into fourth place and will leave quite a gap!! I would of thought this will happen before the end of the year.


Thanks for the great analysis. Is really good! Yet, I have a few more comments, questions and would love an update soon (if not this year maybe next year after her tour ended as streams and overall sales certainly go up during a tour). Do 12″ maxi-single counts the same as a 7″ single on your method? 12″ price was double or triple from a 7″ single. Angel/Into The Groove was gold ( (over 500k) but also the best selling Maxi-Single of the 80’s with sales over 860k as stated by Billboard 80’s Decade End issue (you can find most… Read more »


MJD, I worked with Warner Music Portugal in the 90’s and the shipments in reality are sales from labels to stores. Returns are always taken down on the system and are rarely big so if awards were issued it means it did sold that to stores and the record label does what it takes to guarantee it won’t have a lower number because of returns. And I know Warner from inside and most of the time they would not ask for awards certifications, would wait a bit to ask later and just pay once (everytime they ask they pay…). That… Read more »


The “True Blue” numbers can’t be right. You under estimated 8,360 millions for Europe, yet in 1987 the album was already 8 platinum in Europe for shipments over 8 million while still TOP 10 selling album in Europe. After that the album was re-issued on CD and later in 2001 it got a new REMASTER (while Madonna did “Drowned World Tour”). Even this year got a new vinyl limited editions and returned to TOP 5 chart placements in Greece and other countries. Those total for Europe seem to be the same as 1987. Are sales for all albums just what… Read more »


Is there any info for DVD/VHS markets in 90s?I wonder how do you estimate 1.6 million video sales for TIC. I think music video markets was small in Southeast Asia,Middle East, Africa, and continental Europe (except UK).


Do Maxi Singles from Japan count as albums or singles?True Blue (Super Club Mix) and La Isla Bonita (Super Club Mix), both Maxi Singles released in April this year in Japan shipped 13k copies and 12.5k copies according to the physical cover.


I would like to know who the artists that you will analyze in these weeks and then I would like to know if you will update artists such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Queen, U2 and Rolling Stones since all these 5 artists have released new material that rightly were not present in the previous articles.
I hope you will answer me soon


Thank you for your detailed reply, you were very kind, just one last thing I wanted to ask you, if the sales of the Bohemian Rhapsody Dvd and blu- ray will be attributed to Queen when you analyze them.
Sorry for the inconvenience, I hope you will answer me soon.


But I wonder if they do count into physical single sales or album sales?


Both Madonna and Bruce Springsteen release their new album June 14th

Who do you think is going to come out on top??


Dont know about Bruce. But Madonna’s new single suck. I dont see that album smashing. Unless she release a strong second single before the albun is release. I dont think she will make it big.


– The album’s main focus is not US this time. Rather Europe (the Eurovision performance) + Latin markets
– she will release another single early May
– the album ‘s likely to be accompanied by a visual album that can help her earn decent streams on Youtube

But yeah I dont see her make it big too, Rebel Heart was pretty much a flop anyway


Rebel Heart was a flop for Madonna standards as ended Being the #38 best selling album from that year selling 875k pure sales. Next year as Madonna toured it crossed the 1 million pure sales. It is her lowest sales album until today and will certainly take a while until cross the 2 million pure sales but as equivalent should not be that far away now the album have been gaining streams as a new album release is approaching..


Do we know if either of them are doing tour bundles? I think that’s what has been getting older artists big numbers lately (like Backstreet Boys, Pink, etc).


The only female artist with a CSPC of over 20 million for 4 albums.


According to AMPROFON only albums since Music got certified. And Billboard magazine reported Erotica at 250k in 90s. Where did the LAP and ROL figures for Mexico from? On the ukmix page it was said that LAP at 2xP+G and ROL at P, but AMPROFON showed nothing about these certications.


STR never certified Platinum in Brazil. But it upgraded its certification from 1996 (Gold) to 1998. That remains a mystery.


Based on discogs data, STR and ROL sold pretty well in China. M, LAV, TB and YCD were actually officially issued in China in 80s by China National Publications Import and Export (Group)Corporation.[I don’t know why discogs didn’t show them, these were offcially issued back in 80s when they were hot] But LAP was issued in 1996 and TIC in 1998 so maybe catalog sales were not much. Some albums were never offcially issued in China like WTG or Erotica or BS or COADF or HC. And in the Billboard article 1993/08/21 about China”The western music that does sell is… Read more »


How do you estimated 2.81 million Asian sales for TIC?


True Blue sold only 425k through retail shops since 1991 (I know it didn’t include club sales but double this figure is way too much since the figure was counted since 1991 not 1995) and it certified 7M in 1995. How did it climb to 7.7M sales in total?


Well then how do you estimated 7.7 million for True Blue? Was it the same for other albums released before SS era? I just wonder this^^


https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Billboard/90s/1993/BB-1993-05-15.pdf “Warner Music says Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” has sold 450,000 units across Southeast Asia, including more than 200,000 in South Korea (regionally, Warner Music previously reached 1 million units with a Madonna release).” All albums mentioned in the article were all from 90s, so it mostly like speaking about TIC reached 1 million in Southeast Asia by 15/05/1993. According to RIAJ, TIC was 2xP by 1992 and 3xP by 1994, which suggested about 500k-600k shipped in Japan by then, where it eventually sold 1135k copies. So, is it possible that TIC topped 2 million mark there up to date? BTW,… Read more »


Hi MJD Madonna never came to Southeast Asia until Rebel Heart Tour and pure sales there already ended since then, so no need to check her tour history. BTW, can you give a receipt that how you estimated 1135k for Japan, just like you gave a receipt for estimate of 750k for Brazil? Its oricon sales is at 409k and RIAJ certified it shipped 800k by 1998. I remember back then imports were not that big? And, when you estimate continental Asian sales, do you usually only calculate the main 8 markets and ignored countries like China or India or… Read more »

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