CSPC: Dire Straits Popularity Analysis

Day 41

Original Album Sales – Comments

1978 Dire Straits – 10,320,000
1979 Communiqué – 6,870,000
1980 Making Movies – 7,040,000
1982 Love over Gold – 7,510,000
1985 Brothers in Arms – 30,850,000
1991 On Every Street – 9,140,000

Studio albums of Dire Straits moved 71,7 million units collectively, a tremendous achievement with 6 LPs only. It is all the more impressive considering that the US resisted to most of these albums, just like Asian markets. I’m not even talking about the fact that the global market was facing tough years in mid-80s when the band was peaking.

How can they be so high with this context? Well, thanks to sensational success in all other areas like Europe, Brazil and Oceania. As an example, the band’s 6 studio albums sold 200,000 units on average in Switzerland, as much as Madonna‘s True Blue, her career-peak in this market. Brothers In Arms alone outsold the legendary diva’s albums Like A Virgin, True Blue and Like A Prayer combined, which shows how much the band dominated these years.

Their insane sales in some places along with their weak ones elsewhere conclude on truly weird spots. The band sold more albums in New-Zealand than in Japan. All their post-1988 releases combined, including compilations, sold more units in France than in the US.

This situation is the reason why I struggle a bit to point out their apparent consistency. While their weakest seller sold nearly 7 million units, a superb total, the consistency is kind of superficial. A better claim is that all their albums managed to make it big in at least one region.

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“How can they be so high with this context? Well, thanks to sensational success in all other areas like Europe, Brazil and Oceania.”
But how many copies did they sell in Brazil?


I have rediscovered Dire Straits recently, and starting getting the MFSL SACD’s of their albums. Very good group.


Btw, do you know how many copies Brother in Arms sold in Portugal? It was a HUGE sucess, i guess its the best selling international record in Portugal




I just wanted to make a small correction, Romanza is not the only album that has confirmed more than 200,000 copies in Portugal, several Brazilian artists have passed the mark of 200000 there


One of my favorite bands of all time, great work!

They toured A LOT in europe, massive sales there


Impressive how Brother is Arms managed to sell 31M pure and I never heard about it or see it in any best selling lists.


I’m in the same boat, I couldn’t even think of one song by this band so I looked them up on Spotify and only recognized one song and didn’t like anything else I heard. It’s just not for me and I don’t know anyone who listens to them in my generation. However their spotify numbers are decent so someone is listening haha


You are probably not of the same generation as me 🙂
Brothers in Arms collected certifications everywhere: Diamond both in Canada and France, 24x Platinum in New Zealand, 17x in Australia, 14x in U.K., 9x in U.S.A. and a lot of others… Not my favorite album of them, but commercially a great success


I never thought that rock bands has extremely impressive sales. I never heard of Dire Straits. That is however some really2 impressive total.


Out of the top 10 best selling artists of all time, 8 are rock, in one way or another. Including Elvis, who hasn’t been studied yet.


Yeah, you are right. I only noticed that now. I also noticed that rockstars does not create as much as hype as a solo artists would. I mean MJ and Madonna was all over the media, but I guess since many of this rock stars are group. They somewhat receives less media attention as opposed to solo artists.


Impressive indeed. They should have not stop creating music.


You’re right, Dan, of course ! I was just talking about my faves but didn’t want to be too selfish… 😉


Mark Knopfler is still making albums, and he wrote all the Dire Straits songs.


I find the BIGGEST TRACKS is a very useful chapter! People not a fan of them like me can choose listening to the songs acoording to the list.


The Sound Of Music owns the longest run at #1 with 76 weeks in Australia. Unless you’re not including it?

Impressive sales in France but not too surprising given how popular they were here.


Very interesting, as always, MJD.
As you mention the fact that Dire Straits sales outsold The Beatles, may I suggest you to add (when you find time for that, of course) a total sales per country page for 3 acts : The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. It would be very, very appreciated. Maybe when you’ll update their sales ? Cheers.


Oups, I meant “Dire Straits outsold The Beatles IN FRANCE”, of course. Sorry…


I’d like to see per country for all acts, not just those 3.