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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Hi MJD. Do you have an estimate for Madame X’s sales? According to Mediattrafic the album did 500k units but this figure seems grossly inflated.


520.000 according IFPI & BPI


Where? Never seen any IFPI figures


first album already hit 10 million sales.

Giannis Drakos

Love your research and devotion on charts and especially on Madonna. She is such an untouchable legend. However, don’t you thing a Madonna update of your charts is long overdue? Especially since there has been a kind of explosion in her videography in comparison to the data you provide above (e.g. La Isla Bonita has 300+ million of additional views to your number and Material Girl 100 million more streams to your data.) Moreover, Madonna’s official album sales haven’t been updated since 2008 or even since late 90s in some cases! Warner and her management are to blame of course,… Read more »


Hi MJD. Is there any other artists that you think might get ahead of her in the 10-20 years? Also, will Eminem pass ahead of her and become the 2nd best selling solo artist ever.


Obviously no one knows what will happen in the future, so it’s impossible to say. Many things could happen in the next 10-20 years, deaths, films, increased interest, decreased interest etc that could drastically change how current sales and streams of artists are.

If things were to stay relatively the same, you could easily see The Stones and Floyd pass her and possibly Eminem but he’d need to out sell/stream her each year, by around 3m to pass her in 20 years and by around 6m to pass her in 10.


Oh dear I forgot about Elvis, my bad. Lol.


Oh and if Eminem passed Madonna, he would become the 3rd best selling solo artist ever, not the 2nd.


Interesting analysis. I guess we cant always count her out since she does have a habit of rebounding strongly everytime people thought her career is over.


Hi MJD, in your Erotica album sales breakdown you have the album at 960K sales in Asia, 500K of which come from Japan. Would you mind posting a breakdown or at least some sort of estimate for the rest of that sum?

Juan Antonio Javier

Madame X has 150Million Stream on Spotify! Sold 500,000 copies WW


First of all congratulations to all that have contributed to this effort. I’m a chart freak and I could spend days reading your findings. I haven’t understood how you count the video streams. For example, when it comes to youtube do you take into consideration only the video that is provided officially by the artist or all the videos of the song (even if it’s a remix or a live recording or even a cover)?? For example the official video of Madonna’s Who’s that girl has today (3 May 2020) 2 million views, while a different one uploaded not by… Read more »

Anthony Blanchard

Hi Dimitris!

Thanks for your nice words 🙂

Concerning youtube videos we take into consideration:
– official video clips
– lyric videos
– remix videos
– individual live videos
– complete concerts if the song is part of it
All the videos that match with these categories are selected, and their views are added together.

In the case of Madonna’s Who’s That Girl, the total would be: 11 + 3 + 2.8 + 2 + 1.2 + 1.2 + 1.1 = 22.3m views!


Thanks. I really appreciate your answering me. When you revisit Madonna, I expect huge overturn between Like A Virgin and True Blue.


Looks Like Madam X album sales have flopped and her tour has been broken up, so Madonna has had a poor 12 months. When she has her update ( hopefully soon) it should show about 5mil increase. Still holding on to 5th place overall though.


Whats your point and nobody cares how she ranked, like 5th or 9th, she is still the most successful female artist of all time. If she cant rank high in the overall chart, its just prove sexism and age discrimination the world show.


First of, you claim nobody cares about ranking, then go straight to ranking her, based on her sex, then have to cheek to claim the world is sexist!


Yeah, Martin, but during Queen years the world was homophobic a lot more than it was sexist, imho. Mercury and Co. were underrated (in media => charts) for more than 40 years. MJD and rockism fans highly doubt the same is going to happen for Madonna, considering her promotion by Interscope Records and ban of her 2010s material on the mainstream radio. Rock fans are happy, Madonna fans are angry about rock fans being happy about poor Madonna sales (as both rock and pop are about selling an image, first). As a classical music fan, I’m more than happy about… Read more »


I’m not sure it was more homophobic, than sexist. Obviously homophobia was more outlawed and people were more vociferous about it but sexism was rife, still is. I think the thing with a lot of sexism, back in Queens time, was that it was accepted as the norm and entrenched within society. The general public, I don’t think viewed a lot of things as sexist, just as “that’s the way things are”, with a lot of women/girls etc included in this way of thinking or perceiving things. IMO and from a UK perspective, the majority of people just did not… Read more »


Thanks for your opinion about the central Anglosphere, Martin. Based on my experience, Queen fans seem to be pretty sure Madonna fans are stupid and poorly educated morons who have a bad taste because they can’t tell which music is more virtuous and better in general, while thinking it’s obvious as 2+2*4 than Queen music is better than Madonna music, and only gays and feminists support Madonna because of non-musical causes: her sex, image, political message. Considering Queen and their third world success, e.g. in Russia, the”righteousness” and the legitimacy of Freddie was based on his popularisation of classical music… Read more »


All Madonna albums from the 80s and 90s sold more than any Queen’s studio albums released during their time. To say you’re a fan of classic music to overvalue Queen repertoire is pathetic.


The world is surely sexist during the last century. Especially in the third world. Period. Before Madonna female artists are even much harder to beat male artists.


No one is saying it wasn’t or that it still isn’t or that it wasn’t long before the 20th century.

I was highlighting you saying; “Whats your point and nobody cares how she ranked, like 5th or 9th”. Only to then comment about her being ranked 1st amongst females!? So, you do care about how she is ranked but only amongst females, not overall? I just found it ironic, to bring up sexism (and ageism) as the problem, when you’re the one that is being sexist, by wanting to just rank females against females and not everyone.


It isn’t about sexism, it’s about the lasting appeal of music. Rock acts will pass her because rock doesn’t go out of style like pop music. Hence why pop artists have to reinvent themselves all the time, whereas rock musicians just do their own thing and it works. So madonna falling down the list is simply due to her being the only pop artist up there; it has nothing to do with sexism. It’s actually quite impressive for a pure pop act to even get up that high in the first place! So there’s nothing to be upset about and… Read more »


If you don’t care about rankings/numbers/charts, then why are you in chartmasters.com? Oh, piss off!! Lol Xoxox


That’s fine. At least she’s still earning weĺl as a solo artist. Madonna has a lot of successful albums and tours before and continues to release albums and do tours cos she’s still alive.


Dear MJD, you might have missed the fact Madonna’s legacy has been partly annexed (for lack of a better word) by MM (Modest Mussorgsky) supporters. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_impact_of_Madonna#In_Russia
I’ve noticed 9 of her songs (she is styled in local script https://kworb.net/itunes/artist/D0BCD0B0D0B4D0BED0BDD0BDD0B0.html) on Russian iTunes all-time chart: https://kworb.net/popru/cumulative.html
Can you tell her overall iTunes sales in Russia for each of her recent releases, please?


Hi MJD do you know how many copies Madame X sold since it’s been out Last June


COADF Japan ———– (week no. – international chart pos. – global chart pos. – title – weekly scan – cumulative scan) 2005/11/28 01 [05] COADF (53,063)[53,063] 2005/12/05 02 [07] COADF (43,854)[96,917] 2005/12/12 03 [06] COADF (30,210)[127,127] 2005/12/19 03 [08] COADF (28,295)[155,422] 2005/12/26 03 [11] COADF (22,048)[177,470] 2006/01/02 02 [09] COADF (34,384)[211,854] 2006/01/16 03 [13] COADF (47,448)[259,302]* 2006/01/23 03 [15] COADF (15,294)[274,596] 2006/01/30 01 [11] COADF (17,213)[291,809] 2006/02/06 02 [17] COADF (13,707)[305,516] 2006/02/13 05 [21] COADF (10,007)[315,523] 2006/02/20 07 [27] COADF (8,026) [323,549] 2006/02/27 07 [29] COADF (6,759) [330,308] 2006/03/06 07 [36] COADF (6,667) [336,975] 2006/03/13 06 [27] COADF (7,983) [344,958]… Read more »


Also, LAP only certified P=60k in Argentina and it was certified in the 90s I remember, so how could it climb to 200k in total?

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