Understanding: Billboard BB200 vs US Album Sales


I) Establishing Key Formulas

C) Considering RIAA specificities

Until 1975, RIAA album certifications were awarded for a gross of $1 million. There was no units plateau needed. During the first years of the 70s, the list price, e.g. the price to consumers, was on average $4,45 per LP and $5,30 per cassette album.

The million dollar gross awarded wasn’t based on the price to consumers though, but instead on the wholesale price which was paid by distributors to the manufacturer. There are many articles from that period showing this dealer price was about half of the list price, such as this one or this one.

By 1973 when the first set of data came in from the RIAA, the average price of albums was $4,69. Using 50% of that price, it means it was needed to sell more than 426,283 albums to gross $1 million. Choosing data from various Billboard articles from 1962 to 1975, we were able to build the following table to include the average wholesale price per year up to the introduction of the units criteria by the RIAA.

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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?