Understanding: Billboard BB200 vs US Album Sales


I) Establishing Key Formulas

B) Scaling the Ranking

For a very long time the Billboard Album Chart has been a Top 200 ranking. During the last 15 years we have enjoyed tons of leaked charts with sales from the US, the UK, France, Australia, Canada and Japan. Thanks to those elements we have been able to know how many units an album sells at each position.

Obviously, it would be way too painful to create specific formulas for each and every position of the Top 200. Even more painful would be compiling each and every position of an album that we would like to estimate. As similar positions represent similar sales, grouping them and using an average for each group is far more relevant.

Consequently, chart runs will be studied by setting how many weeks an album spent:

  • At #1
  • Charting 2-5
  • Charting 6-10
  • Charting 11-20
  • Charting 21-40
  • Charting 41-100
  • Charting 101-200

Our experience with leaked charts tell us that a dozen years ago, the #200 album inside the BB200 was selling over 5,000 units a week, the #100 was moving more than 10,000 copies, about 20,000 units for the #40 album, the #20 was selling 40,000  copies, inside the Top 10 selling over 60,000 units was the norm and the Top 5 used to be close to 100,000 units or surpassing that figure.

The #1 album obviously sold more, with fluctuating numbers depending on its strength. The longest an album spent at the top and the most it was selling per week. This was ever truer before the Soundscan era when the high debuts on the back of the fan base and strong pre-orders didn’t exist. If we transform all those elements into a scale, we get following results:

  • At #1 = weight 22+3*the number of weeks at #1
  • Charting 2-5 = weight 14
  • Charting 6-10 = weight 10
  • Charting 11-20 = weight 7
  • Charting 21-40 = weight 4
  • Charting 41-100 =weight 2
  • Charting 101-200 = weight 1
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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?