8 Official Data Which Are Just False

Taylor's Tracks

Taylor Swift’s reputation sold 4,5 million pure units Worldwide? (IFPI)

Massively hyped upon release, Swift‘s reputation was claimed 4,5 million sales during 2017 as per the last IFPI report. If you follow charts and sales, you know that it did about 2/3rds of that number. Technically speaking, this claim is correct though. Provided by Big Machine Records, the number reflects the number of copies they have sold as of December 31st, 2017.

This shipment vs retail sales trick is one of the first we learn to avoid when getting into music industry news. Basically, the label sold these copies, but they sold them to retailers which still need to find consumers for them. Throughout the years, agreements between retailers and labels have evolved. As of now, most contracts grant retailers the possibility to return copies they haven’t managed to sell. Frequently, labels refund unsold units up to a capped amount, usually 20%.

It’s important to realize that records labels earn money on shipments rather than retail sales. Still, returned copies result on losses for them. We can’t ignore it does happen.

The example of reputation is the most recent and obvious one, but there have been thousands of similar cases. How to identify them? The big gaps between shipments and sales happen in particular with Christmas cash-ins. More precisely, all records expected to sell a lot of units over a short period of time will be concerned. In the past, reports about sales of physical singles were always highly misleading because of that.

Of course, successful albums can match the highest hopes and even require additional shipments on a regular basis. Ultimately, reports made upon release from industry sources aren’t evidences of sales but instead a reflection of expectations.

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So did “Reputation” sell around 3 million copies during 2017 or to date?


So on the last page, you stated that many people are skeptical about Mariah Carey’s two diamond certifications but never went further into detail into that. Would you mind explaining why people have this perception/skepticism about her certifications?


Hi Isaiah! If you didn’t know, Mariah’s 2 US diamond-certified albums (Music Box and Daydream) are on around 7,3m and 7,7m respectively on SoundScan. As for BMG club sales, both albums are on 735K and 848K respectively, leading to a total of around 8 million for Music Box and 8,5 million for Daydream. Obviously, sales from other avenues (eg. unscanned copies, Columbia House club sales etc.) weren’t factored in, but many people thought the a gap of 1,5-2 million was too large, with some completely unaware of the importance of club sales, thus leading to the false conclusion that both… Read more »


You are so right with the OCC’s new rules. So wrong.

Anyway, I did share this article on twitter to both OCC and USBillboard and hashtags most of the companies you have mentioned on this article. They need to know their mistakes.


About the best selling albums list in UK, you’re definitely right. The mistakes of the OCC are obvious and admitted by more and more people who are interested by this question. Sgt. Pepper at 5.4 million in UK ? Come on… (I am a huge Beatles fan, but not blind…). The worst – “errare humanum est, diabolicum perseverare” – is their decision to maintain their numbers, even if they know (and they can’t ignore it) that they are false… Are they scared to seem ridiculous ? I would like to know your own list Top 10, 20, 50 ?…) of… Read more »


Great!And Riaa also many fake cer

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