Understanding: Billboard BB200 vs US Album Sales

2017 - Japan - Naha Okinawa - Public Market - 13 of 21

I) Establishing Key Formulas

A) The Market Size

You don’t need to follow charts carefully to know that hitting #1 or the Top 10 in 1965, 1985 or 2005 isn’t the same thing. The market evolves constantly with album sales varying a lot over spans of several years. The number of albums sold per year in the US are known since 1973 thanks to this RIAA page. For the years prior we needed to go through Billboard history to identify the edition from each year that reported the new market numbers when they came out. Some of them detail figures in gross only rather than units, but that was converted thanks to the prices in place at the time.

It starts to look difficult – don’t be afraid, I did this job for you!

No real surprise here with a dreadful market by 1962 that increased consistently almost every year until 1980. Then came the first crisis of the music industry during the first half of the 80s. From 1987, the market recovered and the new boom thanks to the arrival of the CD started.

Those market figures will enable us to put a factor that will adjust our charts-to-sales conversion formula depending on the period. We also need to convert positions into sales, this is the second phase…

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Please reply back soon MJD, I’m trying to do an analysis on Zara Larsson and I need 2017 album sales, audio streams and downloads for all markets please 🙏🏻

Donald Miller

I found the part about Teddy Pendergrass interesting because of his comparable lack of crossover success. Would have been nice if you had included a non-crossover country act or two for contrast.


Hi MJD, You are really good at getting the more accurate figures. It is your unstinting skill, why don’t you and your team start a worldwide top 100 songs in a weekly basis. What i dont like in us billboard hot 100 charts is that there is a limit now on the number of weeks for a song staying on the charts and if it reaches that limit, the song will not appear on the following week even if its sales are still enough to be in the hot 100. For the uk charts, i dont like their new rule… Read more »


And 2013 Album sales for Europe, Australia, new Zealand, Canada and the United States


Actually I changed my mind, can I instead get CD, Vinyl and digital Album Sales and the total number of streams and singles sales for all markets in 2017, if you can can you list them on here please?