8 Official Data Which Are Just False

Black eyed peas scooter

Black Eyed Peas’ The E.N.D. spent 2 weeks at #1 in the US? (Billboard)

June 25th, 2009, Michael Jackson passes away. Expectedly, his records’ sales go through the roof. In the US, he sells 2,6 million downloads in a week and owns the Top 3 best selling albums, led by Number Ones, a compilation from 2003. Inside the Hot 100 and the BB200 Album Chart though, he is almost absent.

In short, catalog records were ineligible to appear on both official charts. The Peas‘ smash album returned to the summit thanks to this technicality. Since then, the famous chart provider changed its rules to allow former records to chart again. Past charts remain as they are though.

I point out this chart trivia to highlight one big issue: tons of rules corrupt most charts. Records are excluded because they are old / low-priced / compilations / exclusive to one retailer / aren’t released in formats accounted for / etc. While these exceptions are often clear, it isn’t always true. They also tend to happen lower down charts, but as shown above it can distort the very top placings.

The frequent changes of rules also mess up all chart records. Madonna‘s The Immaculate Collection is her longest runner at the top in the UK with 9 weeks. True Blue follows at 6 weeks and then her remaining albums never dominated for more than 2 weeks. Crystal clear? Nope. Charts exclude compilation albums since the start of 1989. Previously, their impact was relatively low, so they haven’t bothered labels. From the first release of Now in late 1983, they started to dominate rankings every year at Christmas, blocking artists albums. As per rules in place from 1989, True Blue should have been #1 for 8 weeks instead of 6, Like A Virgin for 7 instead of 2. And Dire StraitsBrothers In Arms lost 8 weeks in the battle, leading for 14 weeks while it should have been 22.

Furthermore, there is more extreme distortions. A good example is the shameful rules the OCC is currently applying for its singles ranking. They artificially deflate sales and streams of popular songs to make sure their ranking stays dynamic. It concludes on absurd runs like Drake‘s God’s Plan which charted 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-10 although on this last week it was still the best performing song.

To summarize, charts are very useful and highly enjoyable, but always keep in mind their accuracy ends where their rules start.

4.4 7 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

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

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x