8 Official Data Which Are Just False

2011 Feb 11, iheartradio, Richard & Son Theater, New York (26)

Adele’s 21 sold less than 500,000 units in Italy? (FIMI)

Back in December 2013, the modern day classic 21 was certified 8xPlatinum for 480,000 units in Italy. One week later, the Platinum criteria was decreased to 50,000 units. On Adele‘s CSPC article, the estimate for this record in Italy stands on 510,000 copies sold to date. This figures seems erroneous since certifications are automated in this country. Thus, if the album reached half a million sales, it should be 10xPlatinum. It isn’t.

Everywhere, the album added 6-9% sales to date to its tally up to late 2013. It sold well during 25’s promotional campaign. In Italy, it did so too. The album market there has dropped less there than in most remaining countries since 2014. In view of these elements, 21 seems very unlikely to have sold less than 20,000 copies during the last 4 years, a mere 4% of its certified amount.

Rules for certifications can be as tricky as the ones for charts. Automated certifications are based on scanned units. As GFK’s coverage increased, the FIMI adjusted its conversion. The scanning panel covered 66% of the market in 2011, 75% in 2012, 80% in 2014 and 90% today. In concrete words, what does it mean?

It means that today, 500,000 * 0,9 = 450,000 units scanned by GFK are required to be certified 10xPlatinum. The point is that when 21 was hot, the coverage was nowhere near 90%, but instead 66%.

Without checking chart facts, let’s just assume 21 sold 200,000 units in each 2011 and 2012 and then 80,000 units in 2013. As per panel coverages, it translates in GFK scanning 133,000 + 150,000 + 60,000 = 343,000 units by the end of that year. From 2014 to 2017, it was needed to scan 80% of a criteria to be certified. The 343,000 units scanned as of 2013, good enough to be certified for 480,000 units by then, were suddenly worth only 343,000 / 0,8 = 428,750 units. Under the new 90% ratio from 2018, they are valued at 343,000 / 0,9 = 381,111 units.

In order to be certified 10xPlatinum, 21 doesn’t only need sell the missing 20,000 units, but also to sell the 69,889 copies that are disregarded under their new official process. Ironically, although it sold many copies during these last 4 years and a half, the album is now further than ever from being awarded anew. 

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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