Elvis Presley’s US album sales

Nielsen logo arrives at 770 broadway

Soundscan system and data

As mentioned during the introduction, Soundscan tracks sales of records on US retailers since 1991. Still, since the general public doesn’t access their database, we are left wondering Presley‘s statistics from this system.

The last comprehensive leak related to the artist stated 35,555,000 units sold up to July 2013, a massive number for anyone, even more for someone who was already dead for 14 years when the system was first installed. In 2016, he moved 710,000 units while in 2017 in spite of the decreasing market he still recorded 603,000 sales. We can go with 600,000 units for the second half of 2013, over 900,000 in 2014, over 800,000 in 2015 and over 200,000 since the start of 2018 for a comprehensive total close to 39,5 million to date.

The majority of sales of all artists, Presley included, have been tracked by Soundscan since 1991. A portion of them are excluded though. As every system working with panels, outliers are disregarded. It’s well known that sales through music clubs BMG and Columbia were ignored. Presley has always been impacted through his sales at Christian retailers as well as various direct-marketing deals.

It would be amazing to know which albums sold the aforementioned 39,5 million units but the fact is that only about half of them are documented. To work these sales out we need to review all special releases to clarify which ones are included or not into the overall total. That’s exactly what is done on following page.

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Colin Bratkovich

It looks like CHARTMASTERS needs a better look at 1969s double -FROM MEMPHIS TO VEGAS/FROM VEGAS TO MEMPHIS (490,000).As on CHARTMASTERS (PAGE 13 of 13).The separate ‘studio’ & ‘live’ is muddy. The original 1969-70 charted success (12 on Billboard),found BOTH LPS charting (lower-as ELVIS IN PERSON (BILLBOARD 183) CHARTMASTERS (1,025,000) & BACK IN MEMPHIS (BILLBOARD 80) CHARTMASTERS (175,000) ,in the last half of 1970-as REISSUED LP PRODUCT. This may have (even) confused Whitburn’s Billboard 200?This LP was also a huge C&W charted item, as a double entity. As ‘live’/’studio’ (2) or an single issues ,the physical sales of EACH just… Read more »

Petri Makkonen

I would rate RCA Victor’s “Elvis’ Christmas Album” from 1957 and RCA Camden’s “Elvis’ Christmas Album” from 1970 as two separate albums, because while 8 songs out of 10 were same on both albums, the 1970 release has “If Every Day Was Like Christmas” and “Mama Liked the Roses” songs which were not even recorded in 1957.

Anthony Britch

I dont see anywhere in the Elvis articles where its noted that RIAA certification of 1 million is units not copies shipped. up to 1974 a GOLD LP is when sales reached $1 million of the wholesale price. That is 33% of $3.98 (1956-1970, 1970-1974 an LP was $4.98). $1 million was equal to about 760,000 copies and 608,000 copies at $4.98. after 1974 a GOLD LP had to sell $1 million AND 500,000 copies. Platinum was introduced in 1975. An LP had to sell $2,000,000 at the wholesale price (1975 LPs increased to $5.98 and $6.98) AND a minimum… Read more »

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