Artists who have yet to reach their peak?

businessman drawing diagram

Do you need ongoing momentum to hit your peak?

Relatively speaking…

This picture lists how much an album had to increase to reach the peak of its artist. For example, 5 albums outsold their predecessor by over 1000%. They are the biggest albums of Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, Cher, Bon Jovi and Green Day. These artists grew immensely in an unexpected way.

While the majority of peak albums at most tripled sales of their predecessor, we can see that plenty of them still posted increases of 300%, 500% or 1000%. A point often overlooked is that these predecessors have been fueled by the blockbuster which followed them. Thus, the true jump is even larger. These statistics prove that the magnitude of a smash isn’t limited to the appeal demonstrated with previous releases.


In absolute numbers…

This schema points out the sheer amount of sales achieved by predecessors of peak albums. We see that as many as 56 predecessors of top sellers out of 74 generated 5 million sales or more. Of course, here too we need to keep in mind they were boosted after the end of their own run. Only 5 predecessors remained under 2 million EAS.

Out of these, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd and the Arctic Monkeys are still building their catalog, there is no doubt they will cross this figure in the long run. The last two albums which preceded a career peak that sold so few are from Cher and Paul Simon. Ironically, their peaks are 2 of the 3 highest selling eras ever for artists over 40 years old. In other words, their blockbusters haven’t fueled their predecessors because they already had a healthy and diverse catalog. In most, people weren’t discovering them so they haven’t feel the need to complete their discography.

On the whole, it’s more peak albums which fueled past albums than past albums which paved the way to peaks. A last confirmation of this comes from this additional table. We can see that out of these 74 predecessors, as many as 24 were themselves down from their previous album. To sum up, there is no such thing as a momentum that prepares you for your peak.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So Taylor did break alot of those by having successful peak+1 (Reputation 9M worldwide), peak+2(Lover 8M worldwide) , Peak +3(Folklore 6M worldwide) , Peak+4 (Evermore 4M+ worldwide in a year), Peak +6 (Red tv 2M worldwide in 6 months). And she will do it again and again.


hi mjd would you ever release articles like these again i miss these type of content a lot


BTS really is a statistical anomaly, they could very well peak in their 9th year and 15th album.


BTS, blackpink has yet to peak. I see BTS’s next album doing 10 million sps in year. And bp 8 million in year.

I thought ed will even beat divide but bad habits , even though it is megahit falls short infront of divide’s singles and shivers too. Unless album suddenly smahes, i think divide is his peak


“The Weeknd‘s hey-days will reach their expiration date next year. Additionally, Ariana Grande is already inside the orange zone.” aged like milk


would you say After Hours will surpass BBTM eventually?


Yeaa.. this was written in May 2018. Blinding Lights is the literal most successful song in modern day history. After Hours is just about to cross 6 billion streams in under 2 years and on pace to become his most streamed album.”Take My Breath” on the other hand is speculated to be a non-album (filler) single. Personally I think the hype for the next album will only grow as After Hours was in a sense a re-introduction since his hiatus and last LP back in 2016. He’s 3rd most monthly listeners on Spotify without an album while ed and Bieber… Read more »


u overhyping the weeknd


well it seems this article stands true.. dawn fm was huge underperformce


yes i think so, taking in consideration that the weeknd’s statment was very specific
still, you’re right


Ella Mai, Dua Lipa and Lorde. Future stars.


I believe Ed Sheeran is a scary behemoth on sales esp noawadays, he seems to maybe have reached his peak? but who knows, Divide just keeps on selling so does X what would Addition would be maybe his peak? Even after a somewhat peak of Divide? :O . He just might end up beating Coldplay who is now on Survival mode in becoming relevant.


Shakira should absolutely be folded in here. If Laundry Service was indeed her peak, ‘Sale El Sol’ (peak+4), ‘Shakira.’ (peak+5) and ‘El Dorado’ (peak+6) may all rank interestingly here…


It wouldn’t be accurate to compare her English and Spanish discographies since her audience size and the market size for English vs. Spanish-language music are very different. With Céline Dion for example, her peak + 1 album is considered A New Day Has Come rather than S’il suffisait d’aimer.
That said I’d love to see an expanded list that includes Shakira’s (and Dion’s) separate discographies. One for bands and male artists would be very cool as well!