CSPC: Elvis Presley Popularity Analysis

Elvis-Presley-007

If you are lonesome tonight, you may have enough time to read the highly anticipated CSPC article of Elvis Presley… or you may not. His discography is so massive that at some point Chartmasters’ team though this work would never be completed. Now the challenge is on your side to go through all information available!

During the last few weeks, we already started to dig into his results. We used YouTube Insights to define his popularity all over the world, we understood the structure of his discography, we have put some order among all myths related to his sales, we clarified the RIAA coverage of his albums before setting up his album results in the US, we broke down both his global physical singles and EP sales, and we highlighted various strong sources of hidden sales. After doing all that, only one step remained: publish final results. Here they are. More than ever, I can only advice you to use the summary available on page 3.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Presley albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

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Che1967

Hi MJD, about 5 days ago, in a response to Lance you said that you would add a page to the Beatles post called, BONUS: Total Album (all types) Sales per Country.

When will this page be added?

Thanks

Che1967

Thanks MJD.

Max

Hello MJD ! Nice job on Elvis ! Can you tell us how many albums (all types) The Beatles and Elvis sold from their beginnings until 1980 to see how much they actually sold in the long run ? Can you make an estimation worldwide or at least in the US ?
Thanks !

Vernon Smith

Paul McCartney after visiting Graceland within the last year said, “I used to think The Beatles have sold the most records. But I have now seen the evidence and I have no doubt, it’s Elvis”
Elvis album sales in the US are easy, whatever his singles plus eps are certified subtracted from 440 mill. give or take the five million not counted for Aloha as a double lp.

Vernon Smith

“The Beatles sold 72-73m albums in the US up to 1980. It is harder to tell for Elvis, his albums up to 1980 included add for 105 million in the US with 10 million coming from Soundscan sales. We then need to remove sales from 1981 to 1990 and unscanned units since 1991 of pre-1980 albums. That puts him in the 80-85 million range up to 1980.” total bullshit, you need to justify a deduction to fit your narrative. Oh btw, your total for Elvis is demonstrably wrong. ca.1986…RCA gave an official plaque to Graceland for 1 billion record SALES… Read more »

Breno

There’s no way he sold 1 billion records, that’s totally insane.

Max

Can you tell us how many albums (all types) The Beatles and Elvis sold from their beginnings until 1980 to see how much they actually sold during in the long run ? Can you make an estimation worldwide or at least in the US ?

Che1967

Can that page be added to Led Zeppelin and the Stones? Thanks

SkkyWill

Can that page be added toCeline Dion? Thanks

Vernon Smith

You counted two albums as one just because they were packaged on one cd. I bet you count Aloha concert as one also, lol even though I have it and it is two….Oh, did you happen to take into account that in 1977 rca posted 247million more dollars in net profit than in 1976? It was their biggest jump in company history percent wise at the time. Did you account for them shipping 20 million Elvis records a week in the US for the month of sept? And no this isn’t a myth, this was reported at the time .… Read more »

Kris

It really is interesting to see how successful an artist can be releasing songs as singles. I feel like in the streaming era we have entered that this could be the best strategy for artists….put all effort into creating an amazing single and get it exposure on streaming/radio, milk it for all it’s worth then move on to the next one. I personally still love an immersive album that I can just hit play and be transported someone else for 45 min to an hour, but if people aren’t spending the money on albums anymore you have to wonder how… Read more »

Nathan

You’re mostly right (especially with the younger generation), but their will always be a market for albums. I still listen to albums in my car, but mostly compilations.

Kris

Thanks for the insightful response. I’m 31 years old and have fully embraced streaming as my only music-listening platform, however I still tend to stream full albums because that’s the way I’ve always listened to music. So you can see that I’m the age that is “in between” the album format and the streaming format. As much as I love playlists for finding new music, once I’ve found something I like I go and listen to the artist’s discography album by album. I don’t tend to “cherry pick” just the songs I like. I actually can’t believe I haven’t purchased… Read more »

Nathan

MJD, I’m curious, now that you’ve done Elvis, is there any other artists that would be remotely as difficult as he was? Or was Elvis the most time consuming?
THank you for all your work.
If you had a way to donate $$$, I’d send some to keep the operation moving.
After all, I’ve already spent countless hours going over and enjoying your work.
THank you for everything you’ve done,………….don’t let the haters bring you down………..”Groos!”

Nathan

I was thinking more of donation instead of subscription. I like your idea of getting into media, etc. I hope you are welcomed in the media like you have been with us!

MPR

Hi MJD!

I think I sent a post a little while back offering some assistance to you on this front. I would love to be able to see the website become more profitable for you.

Please let me know if you want to discuss any suggestions or ideas on how to make that happen further. In addition to the ads avenue that you’ve already started exploring… Continued success!

Vernon Smith

Elvis record sales aren’t that hard. People have worked on them for decades with the help of Rca/Bmg/Sony execs. You’ll notice here it is stated that 3/4 of Presley’s album sales have not been accounted for by the riaa.
https://www.elvis-atouchofgold.com/riaa-certifies-elvis-for-18-new-gold-and-platinum-awards/

Tiitat

Your works have always been outstanding. Excellent quality!! Thank you. I hope some days big artists and record labels will use your info

BrandonPenny

Its just a simple math tab, imagine if MJ had had released so many albums, compls, and singles like Elvis… he would have sold….. how many records?

MJ has reached his records sales only with 1/3 of the whole Elvis catalog.

Cass

Join the discussion..Imagine if Elvis had the extra 1.5 billion people that Michael had to buy his records, during his prime? The Beatles had a 500 million advantage over Elvis, during their prime. When adjusting for population, Elvis is the greatest record seller of the modern era. Bing Crosby is the greatest seller ever.Elvis had a 600 million population advantage over Bing, during his prime. In America, Elvis had about 50 million more people than Bing, during his prime. In America, the Beatles had about 23 million more people than Elvis, during their prime. In America, Michael had about 50… Read more »

Jazmine

I think, in the 50s, 60s population is not the only restraint that put artists in constraint to sell albums. Economics was a factor too. Many Asians, Latin American, African countries were dirt poor, and buying an album is the last thing on their mind. It wasn’t until the 80s, after decades of double digit economic growth per annum (Especially Asian countries) that these region started to be able to produce large album sales. I dont know about Japan, but I bet in the 50s and early 60s their market was very small too considering they were rebuilding their country… Read more »

Rushikesh mankar

Can you arrange the peaks of Elvis , Beatles and MJ is order ?

Dan

Can i play the “what if” too? Can i?
What if Queen never lost their popularity in the US during the 80?
What if John Bonham didn’t die?
What if Roger Waters wasn’t an a-hole?
What if Elvis ate less burgers and more salads?

Cass

Join the discussion…The population numbers are facts, not a what if. With certified American sales already at 160 million, Drake will be the top seller in America in a few years . He will crush the certified sales of Elvis and the Beatles. Why? Drake has the electronic technology and a much bigger population. Bing Crosby is the greatest record seller. When you take his sales and potential number of buyers, no other act can touch his sales percentage. In the mathematics world, Bing would be considered the greatest record seller ever. Don’t forget, Bing had over 1700 official releases,… Read more »

Cass

Join the discussion…After Bing became a popular musical act in America,the Afro-American and Latinos populations increased by about 80 million and the white population increased by about 130 million. Bing would have sold many more records in the modern era . Based on sales for potential number of buyers, Bing is king. It is the only fair way to compare the greats of different time periods. Like I said, Drake will likely be the official sales champ in a few short years,which will happen, because of a massive population. People will use the population argument for Michael and the Beatles,… Read more »

Dan

I prefer Google.

Cass

You have to adjust for population when determining the most successful record sellers. An act that sells 150 million records with a population of 140 million, during their prime, is a better record seller than an act that sells 300 million records with a population of 300 million, during their prime.The Beatles have 275 million certified sales around the world. Elvis has 225 million certified sales around the world. Michael Jackson has about 210 million certified sales around the world. Drake has 160 million certified sales in America alone, and is likely over 200 million around the world. This guy… Read more »

RLAAMJR.

I see a huge Bing Crosby fan. 🙂

RLAAMJR.

If we include movie tickets, Celine Dion would get a huge boost considering that she sang for Titanic which grossed more than $2 billion, Beauty and the Beast more than $1 billion dollars , Deadpool more than $700 million, etc.

Celine is the queen of movie theme songs. For her top 10 most streamed songs in Spotify , 7 of them are movie theme songs.

Cass

Join the discussion…Celine was not the star in those movies. Elvis has had his music played in more movies than possibly any other act , but I was not talking about that.

RLAAMJR.

Still, the fact that her song is the movie theme song, she should get the credits too. Elvis music played more in the movies is just part of the movie, not the theme song of the movie. Sales of the titanic album should be hers too.

Cass

Join the discussion…If Celine was the star of the movie and was responsible for people watching the movie,than she should get credit. But people did not watch the movie because of her or the song. People watched Bing , Elvis , and Beatle movies, to see Bing , Elvis , and the Beatles .

Cass

Join the discussion…Your system has a major flaw, it favors album era artists. Single sales in the past were as important as albums sales once were, so don’t try and say single sales are not as valuable.

Cass

Join the discussion…Elvis is the only one of the top three who had his prime years in a singles era. When the Beatles ended their American run, albums were nearly half of their sales. Album sales were about 10 percent of Elvis’ total sales, during his prime. Michael had his best years in the album era.For many years, singles were the only way you could buy music and that is why you don’t say they were less valuable. Without singles there was no music, and that was never the case for the album era. Sure, albums cost more than singles,… Read more »

vulcan

Cass Drake currently has 148 million US certified singles. An album can have 8-20 songs when you buy one you buy all those songs. When you buy a single you buy 1 song. You simply cannot compare an artist who sells 10 singles to another who sells 10 albums. If you want to argue Drake is close to the top record sellers because he sold 148 million songs (putting aside that he is not selling actual records but digital songs) then take the Beatles’s album certifications and multiply them with the number of songs on those albums. Let’s see if… Read more »

Cass

Join the discussion…Just because there are 10 songs on an album , it still is only one sale. If you want to say their music sales were worth more money, that’s fine. Sales and money value are two separate areas.Drake has certified album and single sales, around 160 million in America. His sales are as legit as any Elvis or Beatles sales. Money was spent to buy them,so it is a legit sale. Michael Jackson likely would have the record for total sales value, since it cost more to buy his records,compared with Elvis and the Beatles.

RLAAMJR.

It is based on how other music associations count music sales. Album sales is different from record sales. Imagine thinking one whole pig is equal to one kilo of pork. Album sales and single sales can’t be weighed equally.

Cass

Join the discussion…One album sold and one single sold are the same total of sales. The album cost more but it is still only one person buying it, not 10 or 12. You can say an act made more money on their sales,but you can’t make up fake sales totals, because it cost more.

Tony

Give it up Cass, your argument is weak and you just been blown out the water on this discussion. Give it up mate!

Cass

Join the discussion…Keep dreaming. If anybody honestly thinks population is not a factor, they are badly mistaken..

RLAAMJR.

I would have to agree that population is a factor. Sorry, I can’t disagree all that Cass says.

SkkyWill

Join the discussion,it’s extreme for female to sell same number of album before 1985, so a album worth much more than three singles, should be at least ten times more, so Barbra is more successful divas for selling ovet 100 million album than other divas who sold less than1 billion record, so Barbra’s CSPC should be over 1.4 billion, more than your top100 artist combined

RLAAMJR.

Sorry but it really is not, clearly.

Tommy Watkins

Listen, what elvis and bing done is rhe greatest in music history, listen there was no streams, downloads, what ever, to buy a record back in there day was hard, everybody didnt have a credit card, a cell phone, and ither things that kids and adults have today, man i live elvis music and if i gad the money and ways to buy records like today , it woyld be a lor easier, so what elvis and bing done is unbelievable back then!

Vernon Smith

“It’s because with 10 million people, they will be way more likely to share the same culture than if there is 300 million people.” I assume you use “most likely” in an attempt to dissuade other blatherskites from challenging such a logically inept statement. Am I right?

Tommy

Just be happy, we had Elvis, no body will ever know how many records Elvis actually sold!

Breno

This Drake person doesn’t even sell records, streaming and downloads are shit.

DJK

Totally agree, also need to consider the limited disposable income of folks in the 50’s, and the affordability of buying records during that time

Kwjw

Hi MJD I can only echo what everyone else has already said… fantastic work by you and the team🙆. It has been a thrill to read each article and uncover every step of the way a better understanding of the Elvis catalogue. I am amazed by the sheer numbers involved, be it the volume of product, sales figures or the man hours spent to assimilate these and present them in a coherent way. I applaud you all. With circa 500m records sold, the highest for a solo performer, it is jaw dropping and makes you wonder what might have been… Read more »

kwjw

Thanks MJD.

You have done a sterling job regardless especially bearing in mind the size of the catalogue. So his new total now is 314.05?

Kwjw

Thanks MJD.😀

Zack

Hi, Just one word. MJD…
In overall Who is best selling solo artist of all time? I won’t ask bc the answer is here
EAS and ASR Chartmasters.org show us the answer it’not Elvis as many people think but It’s Jackson Who truly is .

What do you think about this?

RLAAMJR.

If streaming, digital sales and music video are not included, Elvis sold more hands down

MusicFan

The system has given a breakdown of popularity which includes videos. With that in mind, Michael was smart. Those videos have and will continue to be viewed even though he’s gone.

But if we’re talking about music only and excluding certain types of sales, Michael beats everyone in terms of studio album sales. A feat considering he released far less albums than either act. Elvis and the Beatles exceed him when you add in compilations.

orange

The Beatles released 13 albums to Michael’s 12 (though only 10 in his lifetime) so it’s not that much of a difference.
Either way, it doesn’t make sense to count compilation sales separately from studio albums, since the sales of their parent albums would have been higher if the compilations weren’t released. The same applies to digital sales, streaming, or videos. The work of the artist(s) is being consumed regardless.

MusicFan

MJD and Orange, I actually agree with both of you. I don’t necessarily think studio and compilation albums need to be separated. Although it’s cool to see the numbers for studio albums. I would love to see a ranking for that just like singles and the other categories because I think it’s interesting just like all the other data. It’s already presented as part of CSPC, it’s just not in a list—at least not one that I saw. However, CSPC is a cool concept because you can compare across different eras and get an idea of an artist’s global reach/popularity—I… Read more »

orange

Hi MusicFan, I agree with you, we definitely should not exclude any format simply to elevate the profile of one artist or another. My comment was also directed at both RLAAMJR and you (but we can only reply directly to one comment at a time, haha.) And you’re undoubtedly right that Michael’s 1979-2001 material was titanically huge which we see reflected in his ASR lead over the Beatles despite their 75 million lead in CSPC. Obviously many fans (including me!) see them as constituting his “true” discography as an artist as well. I just wanted to point out that his… Read more »

MusicFan

Thanks for clarifying. I like this site because it’s data driven. So many conversations about an artist’s success or impact devolve into a battle about “favs” and musical preference. Of course there are social factors that affect sales: it’s inherently more difficult for black artists and other artists of color and women to reach the levels of success we’ve seen from white male musicians regardless of genre. And it can be difficult, not impossible, for R&B and Hip Hop artists to achieve crossover success. I think keeping that in mind is helpful for analysis, but shouldn’t be used as a… Read more »

orange

I absolutely agree. I think it also bears remembering that even the lowest-selling acts that have been studied still reached millions of people with their music and bring joy to plenty of fans. Whether our “fave” sold less or more than another artist, in overall terms they are still successful (and most likely wealthier than most of us can hope to be!)

HARSHIT KUMAR PATNAIK

4 of those albums came from a Motown kid who also happens to be a black artist and in 70s let’s be very honest it was tough for black artists to sell ..It don’t matter if u take RACE into account or not in case of MJ … Whatever he achieved with off the wall ,thriller during that era of Racial barriers is enough to say about MJ

Che1967

Thank you MJD, Hernan and Anthony. A massive job, done in a magnificent, meticulous and masterly manner. Congratulations to the Chartmasters team. Much appreciated.

SkkyWill

Great article!

Che1967

Thanks MJD. Hernan and Anthony – a massive undertaking. Magnificent, meticulous and masterly. Much appreciated.

RLAAMJR.

They don’t need appreciation. They need money. Ahahahaha. Joke! 🙂

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