If you were old enough to turn on the radio in 1997, no doubt you heard Don’t Speak approximatively 17 zillion times.
The American band No Doubt, unique in its multigendered, multiracial and multinational line up, spanned several hits from 1997 to 2003, while singer Gwen Stefani successfully went solo afterwards.
While they may not own the largest and densest discography ever, It’s impossible to avoid studying them in order to complete our overview of the biggest songs and albums from the 90s.
Get to know No Doubt
No Doubt is an American rock, lead, at least mediatically, by their singer Gwen Stefani.
Formed in 1986, the group remained mostly unnoticed until 1995.
The American rock scene of the 90s was very diverse, with groups often navigating through different sub-genres until consolidating their sound.
It has been the case of No Doubt, with Eric Stefani‘s older brother being the main creative mind until his departure in 1994, while Gwen Stefani took the lead from this point. Their pop-oriented Ska music also added punk elements through the years. They moved to pure pop tunes in their later records.
Don’t Speak is obviously their most popular song. They got multiple more hits yet like Just A Girl, Hey Baby or It’s My Life. Fans favorites include Spiderwebs, Sunday Morning and Bathwater.
If they all took the world by storm with fairly different albums, all didn’t meet expectations equally well after their first successes.
How strong really were No Doubt? How do the album Tragic Kingdom and the single Don’t Speak rank among the biggest records ever?
After their breakthrough in 2004, the band attempted a comeback in 2012 with Push and Shove, how has it performed?
As you can expect, we will also review the discography of Gwen Stefani‘s solo career during the upcoming days, to ultimately compare both outputs. Stay tuned.
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge their results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all No Doubt‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but 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.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. The first is the Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a few minutes.
If you are a mathematical person, and want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.
Now let’s get into the artist’s sales figures in detail in order to apply this concept and define the act’s true popularity!
No Doubt Albums Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
The legend tells that No Doubt sold a mere 30,000 units when it first came out. In spite of the Interscope signature, the album was hardly a wide release.
Neither was their sophomore album, The Beacon Street Collection.
The limited availability of these releases added to their lack of radio support prevented them from selling relevant numbers.
Their 580,000 and 230,000 sales to date are still weak once we consider the results of Tragic Kingdom.
Such a monster should have secured at least a million catalog sales for both of the early albums, which shows they were simply not strong enough.
On its side, Tragic Kingdom was unstoppable. It took months until its explosion, but when it came, the record climbed all the way from Gold to Diamond status in the US in a pair of years.
While not as massive as in North America, it moved a very healthy 4.65 million units elsewhere, enough to shot it up to 18 million in total.
The band was unable to confirm this success with Return of Saturn. The 2000 release was shortlived, selling 2.64 million up to date, nearly 7 times less than its immediate predecessor.
While No Doubt was poised to be an one-album wonder by then, Rock Steady somehow managed to turn the curve.
It went on to sell in excess of 4 million copies, more than 3 million of which came from the US.
A pair of years later, the group issued their first greatest hits – see the compilations section – and then disbanded as Gwen Stefani started her solo career.
They returned together in 2012 after her successful solo years, but except a decent start thanks to their fanbase, Push and Shove did little waves, selling only 400,000 units.
No Doubt Songs Sales
Physical Singles Sales
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
The first non-limited single of No Doubt was Just A Girl.
Released in 1995, the track was a hit in the US, climbing as high as #23 inside the Hot 100 during a 29 weeks residency.
The reception was even better in Australia and Norway with the song peaking at #3 and #4, respectively. The UK responded poorly with a #38 peak, as did various countries.
In these markets though, the song was reissued after the success of Don’t Speak. It ultimately became a #3 hit in the UK while reaching the top 40 in most others. This led it to 670,000 total sales.
Unlike Just A Girl, Don’t Speak had no physical release in the US. Back then, this prevented the track to enter the Hot 100, although it broke the all-time record for most weeks at #1 of the airplay ranking, with 16.
Elsewhere, a physical CD did come out, selling huge numbers everywhere. The song sold over 800,000 copies in the UK, over half a million in Germany and over 400,000 in France.
In total, it registered 2.59 million sales, an impressive number with virtually no sale from North America as well as Japan.
Subsequent singles from this era failed to surpass the shadow of their illustrious predecessor.
Singles from Return of Saturn gained next to no traction too, with decent sales only from Simple Kind of Life. The song perfectly used a wide US release to move 270,000 copies in total.
Hey Baby charted at #5 in the US on the back of airplay only, since unreleased tunes got allowed inside the Hot 100 from 1998 onwards.
Its 360,000 sales came mostly from the UK, where it peaked at #2, plus Germany and Australia, with Top 10 chartings in both markets.
Their last tour de force was the cover of Talk Talk, It’s My Life, from their 2003 greatest hits The Singles.
A top 10 hit in most countries, the song shifted 330,000 units.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
Naturally, Don’t Speak is the top selling digital download of the group.
At 2.18 million units, it remains obviously popular, although not as much as other blockbusters from the 90s.
Both Just A Girl and It’s My Life continue to enjoy organic popularity too with over 1.5 million downloads and ringtones in total.
Their other former hits are mostly forgotten right now with no song over 250,000 units.
The album Push and Shove is their only one issued during the digital era. Settle Down benefited from it, selling 87,000 in its first week in the US alone.
The song failed to have a lasting impact, ending up with under 700,000 units, a low number for a lead single by 2012 standards.
Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube.
To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.
In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.
– South Korea : Genie streams * 3.05 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan : AWA streams * 100/5.5 (AWA has 5.5% of the Japanese streaming market)
– Elsewhere : Spotify streams * (370 – 8.5 – 9.5 – 33 – 9) / 207 (370 million global subscribers minus 8.5 million from South Korea minus 9.5 million from Japan minus 33 million from China divided by the number of Spotify only users minus 9 million more Asian users) + Genie streams * 3.05 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
– China* : Xiami streams * 125/6.5 (Xiami has just over 5% of the Chinese streaming market)
– Elsewhere : Youtube views
*since 96.4% of Chinese streaming platforms are free users, that paid-for users pay less than $2 a month and that they are also used as video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted in par with YouTube streams.
Audio Stream value – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit
Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 310/207 + Genie * 3.05*2 + AWA * 100/5.5 ) / 1500 + ( Xiami * 125/6.5 + YouTube ) / 11750
Don’t Speak enjoys a strong lead on streaming platforms. It approaches 300 million streams on Spotify and stands over 800 million on YouTube, worth 362,000 EAS combined.
Just A Girl is a bigger than expected runner up with 114 million streams on Spotify.
Below, numbers go down quickly yet. Underneath It All and It’s My Life are almost tied at 62,000 EAS from streams.
Spiderwebs and Hella Good fell short of 40,000 units while Sunday Morning and Hey Baby are around 25,000.
2012 comeback song Settle Down hardly improved their legacy with a mere 14,000 units to date, same as former hit Ex-Girlfriend.
In spite of the band’s short discography, this latter song is the only one from Return of Saturn inside the Top 10.
In fact, out of their top 8, 7 songs come either from Tragic Kingdom or Rock Steady, with It’s My Life orphan single completing the list.
While these two albums combine for 721,000 EAS from streams, the remaining four add for only 102,000 units.
The lack of critical acclaim also contributes to these negative numbers as the album cuts of the group perform very poorly, unlike the ones from many rock bands.
Full catalog breakdown
If you are familiar with the artist’s catalog and want to check details of each and every song, you can access to all of them right here.
Keep yourself up to date
Our website provides you a fantastic tool which fetches updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!
No Doubt compilations sales
It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.
All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, it downgrades catalog sales of the original LP.
Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.
The distribution process
How to understand this table? If you check this example of The Singles 1992 – 2003, these figures mean it sold 5,150,000 units worldwide.
The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 792,046 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.
The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package.
Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from Tragic Kingdom are responsible for 70% of the The Singles 1992 – 2003 tracklist attractiveness, which means it generated 3,621,000 of its 5,150,000 album sales, and so on for the other records.
Compilations sales figures listing
Full Length related records Sales – Summary
Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated. Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw
These numbers are obtained by applying the method from the section The distribution process to all packages listed under Compilation sales figures listing category.
To the surprise of nobody, the main driver of No Doubt‘s compilations and music videos has been songs from Tragic Kingdom. The album adds over 4 million units from this impact.
Most of these sales come from The Singles 1992 – 2003 which was a hit compilation in late 2003, with the band continuing its revival after the success of Rock Steady.
As a bonus, please find below its sales breakdown.
Total solo Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of some minor releases, although continental and global totals are complete.
No Doubt Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by No Doubt achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all the figures defined in this article!
In the following table, all categories display figures that way, e.g. in equivalent album sales. For example, singles from Tragic Kingdom released in digital format sold the equivalent of 498,000 albums – 3,320,000 downloads with a 10 to 1,5 weighting.
As a reminder:
- Studio Album: sales of the original album
- Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
- Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
- Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
- Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/11750 for Video stream)
The overwhelming dominance of Tragic Kingdom is very clear in this graphic table.
With 24.36 million equivalent album sales through all metrics, the record ranks among the biggest efforts of the 90s.
It continues to pile sales too as shown by half a million sales from both downloads and streaming, even though various similarly successful albums back then perform even better nowadays.
While it’s a distant runner up, results of Rock Steady are good. The all-around total of the record is 5.44 million, which isn’t shabby by any means.
Return of Saturn raw number of 3.17 million is decent but this remains disappointing when following up a monster like Tragic Kingdom.
Remaining albums bring next to nothing to the table, they are also dead meat by now as shown by their disastrous streaming numbers.
All told, the band sold 35.3 million albums through their career. This doesn’t put them among the all-time leaders, but millions of rock bands would have dreamed to sell this many.
Singles CSPC results
The list is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each song. Therefore, these figures are not merged units of singles formats.
Instead, it includes weighted sales of the song’s physical single, download, ringtone and streaming as well as its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.
1. 1995 – No Doubt – Don’t Speak [Tragic Kingdom] – 15,490,000
2. 1995 – No Doubt – Just a Girl [Tragic Kingdom] – 5,110,000
3. 2001 – No Doubt ft. Lady Saw – Underneath It All [Rock Steady] – 2,350,000
4. 1995 – No Doubt – Spiderwebs [Tragic Kingdom] – 1,620,000
5. 2001 – No Doubt – Hella Good [Rock Steady] – 1,410,000
6. 1995 – No Doubt – Sunday Morning [Tragic Kingdom] – 1,110,000
7. 2001 – No Doubt ft. Bounty Killer – Hey Baby [Rock Steady] – 1,030,000
8. 2000 – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend [Return of Saturn] – 860,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC No Doubt playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to the ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that their sales represent 25.98 million times the purchase of their entire discography. Coupled with the total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 172.
Records & Achievements
- At 24,360,000 EAS, Tragic Kingdom is the 5th most successful album from 1995.
- At 15,490,000 EAS, Don’t Speak is the 2nd most successful song from 1995.
- At 16 weeks, Don’t Speak broke the longest run ever at #1 of the US Airplay chart.
NB : EAS means Equivalent Album Sales
You may be interested in…
… best-selling artists, albums, and singles
To improve your navigation we created several amazing cross-artists lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector article. Click on it to see the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far!
… similar artists
To put figures from this article into perspective, click on the images below to reach career breakdowns of similar artists:
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!