In recent years, Kendrick Lamar has become one of the most popular artists in the world. His latest album, Damn, issued in 2017, is comfortably inside the Top 10 most successful albums from its year.
After a long hiatus, he is back with Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, an album already critically acclaimed as its predecessors. Is it smashing commercially too?
In 2011, the rising rapper independently released his debut studio album, Section.80, although he wouldn’t truly find success until about a year later.
Now signed to a major record label, Lamar‘s second studio album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, sold over 2.3 million copies in the United States alone – simply an outstanding result for a hip hop artist in the 2010s.
The album was so popular it ended up being 2018’s 53rd biggest album in terms of overall consumption, nearly a decade after its release!
It doesn’t quite end there, though. Lamar found international success with his third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly, released in 2015. The album peaked at the top spot in the major English speaking countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and his native, the United States.
While Lamar‘s global popularity was growing by the day, it wasn’t until his fourth studio album that he managed to expand his fan base outside the English speaking world. The previously mentioned Damn, peaked inside the Top 3 in Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, and Switzerland, solidifying Kendrick Lamar as a major global act.
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 Kendrick Lamar‘s 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, below is a nice and short video of explanations. I fully recommend watching it before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the numbers directly.
Please note that all albums and singles sales were updated on 01/29/2018, streaming data has been updated as of the date of the article.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. In the first place, there is this Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a pair of 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!
Kendrick Lamar Album Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
All 3 proper studio albums by Lamar sold past 1.6 million units which is already a feat these days, especially for acts who started too late to develop a fan base of collectors.
Figures are fairly high in comparison to sales of those albums in their first months.
In fact, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City was only #80 inside the Year End Billboard chart of 2012. It has gone on to out-perform this showing almost every year since then.
Obviously, the Billboard Album chart includes streaming and track equivalent sales, but this is still stunning evidence of an album becoming a modern day classic.
In fact, the album is doing just as well if not better in terms of pure sales. After more than a third of the year, it currently ranks among the top 10 best selling albums overall, outselling with ease legendary albums of Michael Jackson‘s Thriller, the Beatles‘ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon.
Debut album and side projects Section.80, Untitled Unmastered and Black Panther: The Album are naturally in a lower league with an average of 350,000 units sold.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is barely a week old, with no physical format so far, we will need to wait some months to perform comparisons.
Kendrick Lamar songs sales
Below, we list down results from the artist through physical sales, digital sales and streaming.
Please be aware that when the artist is regarded as the lead act, he is rewarded with 100% of these units, while featured acts share among them a 50% piece of the totals.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
Up to now, Lamar has yet to release a physical single of his own. Several of his older collaborations came out as collectors, they are YOLO (3,000 sales), Set Precedent (1,000), Give It 2 U (2,500), and Fragile (240).
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1.5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
Just like their parent album, songs from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City sold steadily over time.
This is how Swimming Pools (Drank) manages to claim 2.7 million sales in spite of a modest #17 peak inside the US Hot 100, while failing to chart in most other countries.
Three more songs from the album are million sellers to take the total of this era to more than 8 million download sales.
To Pimp A Butterfly was also critically acclaimed but its singles were nowhere near as good cross-over hits. None of them reached the million plateau.
Although downloads were becoming irrelevant, Humble moved over 1.7 million units. Remaining singles plus album tracks are also doing well, they stand at 4 million combined.
None of these albums include the very top sellers of Lamar. His main one is the Taylor Swift led song, Bad Blood at 4.48 million. Three more features are very strong sellers, they are A$AP Rocky‘s Fuckin’ Problems, Sia‘s The Greatest and Maroon 5‘s Don’t Wanna Know.
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 * 2.20 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan: AWA streams * 68 / 4 (AWA has 4% of the Japanese streaming market, and 32% are already considered through Spotify’s extrapolation)
– Arabic world: Anghami streams
– Sub-Saharan Africa: Boomplay + Audiomack streams
– Elsewhere: Spotify streams * 649 / 406 (649 million subscribers of global platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, etc. against 406 million from Spotify itself) + Genie streams * 2.20 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)
– Elsewhere : Youtube views increased by 10% to account for various local platforms
*since Chinese streaming platforms are mostly video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.
Audio Stream value – 1,500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 6,750 views equal 1 album unit
Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 649/406 + Genie * 2.20 * 2 + AWA * 68 / 4 + Anghami + Boomplay + Audiomack ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube * 1.1 ) / 6750
Humble remains Lamar‘s biggest streaming hit to date, it is coming for the magical 2 billion mark on Spotify with a top 30 all-time ranking, and past nine digit figures on YouTube as well. The track has generated a massive figure of 2.2 million EAS for Damn.
Next up comes the SZA collaboration All The Stars recorded as part of his side project Black Panther: The Album. The song recently cracked the billion mark on Spotify and the half a billion level on YouTube.
More collaborations, like Don’t Wanna Know from Maroon 5 in which Lamar is featured, perform tremendously well. Despite missing the Top 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and underperforming in several key markets, it has gathered more than 1 billion combined streams between Spotify and YouTube alone. A pretty extraordinary figure which adds up for over half a million EAS in spite of being weighted half of its score as Lamar is only featured there.
Obviously, we can also mention Travis Scott‘s Goosebumps which got super big lately. Even if Lamar isn’t part of all versions and gets only 50% of the ones he features on, it still amounts for over a million EAS.
The rest of his top 5 is dominated by Damn tracks, with both DNA and Love standing at 4 and 5, both closing in a million EAS.
The bottom part of the top 10 contains no less than 4 tracks from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, led by the classic Swimming Pools (Drank). We need to keep in mind that this album came out when streaming was barely getting started, so these 4 tracks over 600,000 EAS are outstanding.
As we can see above, To Pimp a Butterfly doesn’t seem to have as big of a following as the rest of Lamar‘s albums, with the exception of his not so successful debut, Section.80, which registers over 860 million streams on Spotify to date. This figure is pretty healthy given the album was released right before Spotify’s launch in the United States.
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 fetchs updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!
Kendrick Lamar compilations sales
So far, the US rapper has no proper compilation. Instead, he released mostly digitally several EPs and mixtapes in his early years.
They are all entirely made of orphan songs. Their sales add for over 100,000 units, thanks to Training Day (10,000), C4 (10,000), No Sleep ‘Til NYC (15,000), the EP Kendrick Lamar (20,000) and Overly Dedicated (60,000).
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.
Kendrick Lamar Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Kendrick Lamar achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!
Albums CSPC results
In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.
|#||Cover||Album||Total CSPC||Sales*||Streams||Total CSPC|
|Studio Albums||Other LPs||Physical Singles||Digital Singles||Last verified||Auto update||Daily Increase|
|1||Section.80||1,409,000||265,000||0||0(0)||127,000(850,000)||997,000 (05/17/22)||1,017,000 (06/29/22)||Av.: 460LD: 460||1,409,000|
|2||Good Kid, M.A.A.D City||8,622,000||2,950,000||0||0(0)||1,284,000(8,560,000)||4,388,000 (05/17/22)||4,388,000 (05/17/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||8,622,000|
|3||To Pimp a Butterfly||4,302,000||1,780,000||0||0(0)||377,000(2,520,000)||2,145,000 (05/17/22)||2,145,000 (05/17/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||4,302,000|
|4||Untitled Unmastered||945,000||420,000||0||0(0)||52,000(350,000)||473,000 (05/17/22)||473,000 (05/17/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||945,000|
|5||Damn||9,006,000||1,680,000||0||0(0)||596,000(3,980,000)||6,594,000 (05/17/22)||6,730,000 (06/29/22)||Av.: 3,160LD: 3,160||9,006,000|
|6||Black Panther: The Album||4,351,000||370,000||0||0(0)||240,000(1,600,000)||3,682,000 (05/17/22)||3,741,000 (06/29/22)||Av.: 1,380LD: 1,380||4,351,000|
|7||Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers||874,000||65,000||0||0(0)||2,000(20,000)||309,000 (05/17/22)||807,000 (06/29/22)||Av.: 11,580LD: 11,580||874,000|
|8||Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers||702,000||0||0||0(0)||0(0)||0 (N/A)||702,000 (06/29/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||702,000|
|*Pure sales figures updated on 05/17/22. 'Av.' stands for Average, 'LD' for Last Day.|
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 1/6750 for Video stream)
Lamar is now past 35 million equivalent album sales, even if he is the first artist we update with downgraded weighting for features.
Both Damn and Good Kid, M.A.A.D City are over 8.5 million and still climbing very fast. They are surefire 10 million sellers in the long run.
If Damn has now surpassed Good Kid, M.A.A.D City as his top selling album we can’t be sure the latter won’t fight back in the future considering how well it keeps doing.
To Pimp a Butterfly sold a very respectable 4.3 million but the drop opened the door to a possible collapse with his third album. He didn’t flop. Quite the opposite. Damn. has doubled the sales of his predecessor.
He followed up this record with his record Black Panther: The Album that is also at 4.3 million.
As for Section.80, the rapper’s debut album, it had yet to top 1 million when we studied it in April 2019, now it is up to 1.4 million. Despite missing the Top 100 in the US, the album continues to pull respectable streaming numbers.
Lamar greatly benefits from his famous features and mixtapes, gathering nearly 7 million EAS from them.
Obviously, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is just getting stared after less than a week and the absence of pre-release single. It’s already over 350,000 units still.
All told, the US rap genius is now over 35.71 million equivalent album sales.
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. 2017 – Kendrick Lamar – Humble [Damn] – 3,020,000
2. 2012 – Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank) [Good Kid, M.A.A.D City] – 1,820,000
3. 2018 – Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA – All the Stars [Black Panther: The Album] – 1,380,000
4. 2012 – Kendrick Lamar ft. Jay Rock – Money Trees [Good Kid, M.A.A.D City] – 1,330,000
5. 2017 – Kendrick Lamar – DNA [Damn] – 1,320,000
6. 2012 – Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe [Good Kid, M.A.A.D City] – 1,300,000
7. 2017 – Kendrick Lamar ft. Zacari – Love [Damn] – 1,290,000
8. 2012 – Kendrick Lamar ft. MC Eiht – M.A.A.D City [Good Kid, M.A.A.D City] – 1,190,000
9. 2016 – Travis Scott ft. Kendrick Lamar – Goosebumps [Features] – 1,070,000
10. 2015 – Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta [To Pimp a Butterfly] – 1,030,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC Kendrick Lamar playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that his sales represent 8.13 million times the purchase of his entire discography.
Records & Achievements
- Damn was the #1 album of 2017 in the US according to Billboard.
- Damn is the first and only non-classical and non-jazz album to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
- Kendrick Lamar has got a #1 album in the US every year from 2015 to 2018.
- Kendrick Lamar was nominated for Grammy Awards’ Album Of The Year as main or featured artist in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
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!