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.