8 Official Data Which Are Just False

Enrique Iglesias

Billboard’s Top 25 Biggest Selling Latin Albums of the Last 25 Years

Last October, Billboard published a list of the best selling Latin Albums in the US since 1992. The problem is that it is completely wrong. Chart geeks are aware of Soundscan’s limits for long. This system scans sales in the US at retail since 1991. This process ignores sales at music clubs.  Among other things, Soundscan’s patchiness led many people to question Mariah Carey‘s pair of Diamond certifications.

However, there are other dark areas on Soundscan figures that are less well-known. A big one is the massive underestimation of specialized retailers. I already pointed out this issue in the past. You can notice that I used the example of Enrique Iglesias, whose first 2 Spanish albums had scanned 380,000 and 275,000 units in the US, respectively, in spite of selling well over a million each.

During his early years, Iglesias sold mostly to the Spanish community and its specialized retailers. That’s why both albums scanned so few units in comparison to their real sales. More albums have had similar trajectories. Los Tigres del Norte‘s Jefe de Jefes which was #1 for 7 weeks in the Latin charts and went Platinum. However, it is simply absent from Billboard’s list. For all these pure latin releases, Soundscan registered only about 30% of their sales.

On their side, albums from Latin artists which had already crossed over to the main audience had most of their sales on traditional outlets. Selena‘s Dreaming Of You and Shakira‘s Fijacion Oral: Vol. 1 are good examples. The former scanned 2,94 million units, it competes with 3,54 million copies certified by the RIAA, a coverage of 83%. The latter scanned 1,02 million units for 1,1 million sales certified, more than 90% sales from the available panel.

As shown above, mixing these figures together makes no sense. The whole irony is that the list aims to celebrate the most successful Latin albums. It ends up deflating strongly… albums which sold well to the Latin fans.

Lessons learned: Billboard only reports figures. Their accuracy is thus fully down to the accuracy of the source they are using themselves.

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Calvin

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

isaiah

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?

Raffi

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 »

RLAAMJR.

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.

Winston1968

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 »

ILFMUSIC

Great!And Riaa also many fake cer

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