It’s been 6 months The Weeknd released his much anticipated comeback album, Dawn FM. This week, the After Hours til Dawn Tour will kick in Toronto, after countless delays due to the pandemic.
These will be his first shows since he stormed global charts with the monster hit Blinding Lights, and since his instant-classic halftime Superbowl performance.
To celebrate The Weeknd‘s oustanding success, we review in-depth all sales numbers from his career.
Get to know The Weeknd
The Weeknd, real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is a Canadian singer born in Toronto in February 16, 1990. His parents came from Ethiopia before his birth.
Often listed under Hip Hop columns, the Weeknd is prominently a singer of R&B. His innovative sound and dark themes have been critically acclaimed since his 2011 debut mixtape House of Balloons.
He often mentioned Michael Jackson and Prince as his main sources of inspiration, with songs like I Feel It Coming having real vibes of the former.
While his first cross-over hits came in this period, the singer has been busy releasing material since early 2011. That year, he issued 3 mixtapes.
They were self-released and available for free on his website. Combined, the 3 albums are believed to have been downloaded over 8 million times, building a lot of hype for the artist online. He was quickly noticed by his mentor Drake and later signed by Republic Records.
The label packaged the mixtapes together under the compilation Trilogy. The 160-minutes, $20+ release shocked the industry by selling 86,000 copies in its first week in the US alone.
Nowadays, streaming beasts are the real deal. The type of acts and the way music is consumed changed, but Canadians are still doing it best.
#1 in the US, the UK, Australia, France and Germany, among others, Blinding Lights is one of many hits for the artist.
Up to 6 chart toppers in the US as well as 91 Hot 100 charted songs, the new generation icon is no one hit wonder either.
How does he compete against the biggest artists of our era though? And against his elders?
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 Weeknd‘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!
The Weeknd Albums Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
As previously stated, he debuted with 3 mixtapes, House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence.
These albums sold effectively no copy back then since they were given away digitally.
In 2015 though, they were released in physical formats at last, enjoying decent catalog sales ever since then, sales which are listed on the second table.
In-between, Trilogy, which packages them, was released. It sold just over a million units.
Once we consider the price of the album, its length, that millions of people got its content for free, and that it was made of 1.5 years old mixtape songs, its sales are amazing.
As this album is effectively a box set of the previous ones, its sales will be assigned to each of the individual efforts.
Kiss Land, technically his debut album and described by the artist as a “horror movie”-like album, failed to appeal the masses, selling half a million copies.
Beauty Behind the Madness was his consecration. The LP sold over 2.3 million in spite of a difficult context for pure sales, and a strong impact in streaming.
The same applies to the 1.44 million seller Starboy.
My Dear Melancholy is listed as well and seems very low at 270,000 copies, even for 2018 standards. As an EP though, it was short lived with only 1 single, naturally not doing as well as its predecessors.
After Hours went on to top a million sales, a great figure nowadays.
The last album Dawn FM failed to gain as much traction, with up to date data below 300,000 copies, and weekly tallies down to very low numbers at the moment.
All in all, the Weeknd has sold over 7.5 million albums, which is a respectable figure for an act that broke into mainstream as late as in 2014, when streaming was starting to take over.
The Weeknd 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.
Physical Singles Sales
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
In the big picture, these numbers have obviously no impact at all.
The fact that an urban singer who debuted well after the collapse of physical singles got 12 releases in this format is telling though.
It means there are collectors for the Weeknd. In a day and age where these collectors represent a bigger and bigger share of physical products consumers, it’s an important element.
In fact, he also enjoys significant catalog sales thanks to his LPs selling pretty well.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
None of the songs from the 3 early mixtapes crushed charts since they were given away for quite some time.
Wicked Games is the only song which made the US Hot 100, peaking at #53.
The fact these songs were available for free at first doesn’t take off their organic popularity though.
Since these songs became available for sale, they kept getting downloaded continuously.
This led Wicked Games to over 1.6 million sales up to date, with songs like High for This, The Morning, Twenty Eight, The Zone, D.D. also getting decent numbers.
Songs from Kiss Land failed to get big, adding for 810,000 units combined.
After this release, the Weeknd performed a few much buzzed featurings, these includes Love Me Harder with Ariana Grande and Elastic Heart with Sia.
He then contributed to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack with Earned It. The song was his first lead to go top 10 in both the US and the UK, selling over 4 million units globally in the process.
Both The Hills and Can’t Feel My Face were even more successful, both reaching #1 in the US and selling over 5 million units despite a market largely switching to streaming.
Starboy went to #1 in many markets, including the US, selling 3 million copies.
With streaming taking over an ever larger part of the market at each quarter, I Feel It Coming sold 2 million.
By 2018, downloads were done, and even the My Dear Melancholy EP lead single Call Out My Name couldn’t sell more than 350,000 units.
The smash Blinding Lights is up to 2.1 million units. While it might not seem like a huge number, among western songs rare are the ones with 1 million pure sales in the 20s, let alone 2 million.
Save Your Tears went on to become a monster on its own, shifting 665,000 units.
Overall, the singer has moved more than 48 million downloads and ringtones.
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
Now that it got time to live its entire chart life, Blinding Lights emerges on top of this list, moving over the 2016 smash Starboy as the Weeknd‘s top streaming hit.
At 3.1 million streams on Spotify, the song has now climbed to #2 among the most streamed songs of all-time, ahead of Ed Sheeran‘s Perfect. Another Ed Sheeran track, Shape Of You, stands firmly at #1.
This goes on to show on which category the track is so far, among the very biggest hits of the last 10 years.
Both Starboy and Save Your Tears are over 1.9 billion on Spotify, both top 30 all-time. The former even manages to hold off Blinding Lights on YouTube so far, with 2.7 billion views.
Can’t Feel My Face and The Hills are close on streams too, although the latter is slowly moving ahead thanks to larger success on Spotify. They combine for 4 million EAS from streams.
I Feel It Coming isn’t that far behind, up to 1.3 billion streams on both Spotify and YouTube, while Earned It is fairly huge as well, also hitting 10-digits numbers on both platforms.
The rest of the top 10 is heavily packed too with songs around a million EAS in total.
This includes the fast growing Blinding Lights. The song is Top 10 still in the World right now with over 3 million daily streams.
We can also mention that songs which haven’t sold that much because of the dying download format register very consistent numbers on streams.
This is the case of the likes Reminder and Die For You which add for almost 1.5 million EAS combined.
Album cuts over his entire discography are very strong too. To illustrate this situation, out of the 18 songs from Starboy, 18, yes, all of them, are over 120 million on Spotify.
Speaking about Starboy, the album, adds for 7.4 billion streams on Spotify and 5.8 billion on YouTube. That’s good enough to hit 9 million EAS from this format, but not enough anymore to retain the lead among The Weeknd‘s discography.
At 9.67 million EAS, After Hours holds the crown from now on. Incredibly, Beauty Behind the Madness is almost as strong as these two, at 8.82 million EAS.
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!
The Weeknd 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, this 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? In the example of The Highlights, these figures mean it sold 262,500 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 23,912,452 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 the After Hours album are responsible for 33% of the The Highlights track list attractiveness. This means it generated 91,000 of its 262,500 album sales and so forth for the other records. We then apply this process to all compilations present on the table.
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.
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.
The Weeknd Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by The Weeknd achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all the figures defined in this article!
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||House Of Balloons||3,515,000||180,000||1,024,000||0(0)||451,000(3,010,000)||1,780,000 (07/03/22)||1,860,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 980LD: 0||3,515,000|
|2||Thursday||1,781,000||95,000||1,015,000||0(0)||98,000(660,000)||554,000 (07/03/22)||573,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 230LD: 0||1,781,000|
|3||Echoes of Silence||1,689,000||95,000||1,015,000||0(0)||101,000(670,000)||464,000 (07/03/22)||478,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 170LD: 0||1,689,000|
|4||Kiss Land||1,349,000||515,000||0||0(0)||122,000(810,000)||692,000 (07/03/22)||712,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 250LD: 0||1,349,000|
|5||Beauty Behind the Madness||14,361,000||2,315,000||80,000||8,000(25,000)||2,779,000(18,530,000)||8,818,000 (07/03/22)||9,179,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 4,400LD: 0||14,361,000|
|6||Starboy||12,246,000||1,440,000||58,000||4,000(13,000)||1,124,000(7,500,000)||9,040,000 (07/03/22)||9,620,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 7,080LD: 0||12,246,000|
|7||My Dear Melancholy||3,124,000||270,000||15,000||0(0)||72,000(480,000)||2,457,000 (07/03/22)||2,767,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 3,780LD: 0||3,124,000|
|8||After Hours||11,872,000||1,005,000||99,000||12,000(40,000)||492,000(3,280,000)||9,673,000 (07/03/22)||10,264,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 7,200LD: 0||11,872,000|
|9||Dawn FM||2,811,000||285,000||0||2,000(8,000)||39,000(260,000)||2,108,000 (07/03/22)||2,485,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 4,590LD: 0||2,811,000|
|*Pure sales figures updated on 07/03/22. '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)
After getting downloaded for free like crazy as mixtapes, House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence still racked up a lot of sales.
The most awarded of them, House of Balloons, is up to 3.44 million, with more than 1.78 million coming from streams alone, so expect it to continue its rise in the future.
While not as strong, the following two add for over 3.4 million combined.
Kiss Land debuted well and then failed to have legs during its promotional campaign. Time is being kind to it though as it’s performing well in recurrent streams which now pushes it to more than 1.3 million sales.
Beauty Behind the Madness continues to rack up significant sales every week, its total is now a whopping 14 million.
While Starboy is not as strong its predecessor, its total of 11.67 million is enough to place it among one of the most successful albums in recent years. It’s also growing even faster at the moment.
The EP My Dear Melancholy confirms that anything the singer puts out is a safe bet at 2.8 million.
After Hours has now matched the success of its predecessors. With 11.28 million sales already secured, it’s also the best selling album from the artist right now.
The bad news is that it means the album is already outdoing its follow up, Dawn FM. While every project which sold less had a good reason for it, this album failed to appeal the masses when they were the most interested in the artist.
At 2.4 million, this album redraws the interpretation of The Weeknd‘s discography as some kind of hit-or-miss career,. Time will tell if this was just a miss step, or the end of his heydays.
Through the years, the Weeknd also posted a lot of successful tracks outside of his main releases, tracks which add for 8.4 million units in the orphan and features folders.
The singer’s career total is now up to 59.8 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. 2020 – The Weeknd – Blinding Lights [After Hours] – 4,620,000
2. 2015 – The Weeknd – The Hills [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 3,510,000
3. 2016 – The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – Starboy [Starboy] – 3,460,000
4. 2015 – The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 3,110,000
5. 2020 – The Weeknd – Save Your Tears [After Hours] – 2,750,000
6. 2014 – The Weeknd – Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey) [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 2,560,000
7. 2016 – The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming [Starboy] – 2,250,000
8. 2014 – The Weeknd – Often [Beauty Behind the Madness] – 1,500,000
9. 2018 – The Weeknd – Call Out My Name [My Dear Melancholy] – 1,470,000
10. 2014 – Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – Love Me Harder [Orphan] – 1,230,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC The Weeknd playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to the ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that the singer’s sales represent 14.47 million times the purchase of his entire discography. Coupled with his total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 165.
The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.
Records & Achievements
- At 32.6 billion, The Weeknd is the 4th most streamed artist of all-time on Spotify (lead songs only).
- At 14,000,000 EAS, Beauty Behind the Madness is the 3rd most successful album from 2015.
- At 11,666,000 EAS, Starboy is the 2nd most successful album from 2016.
- At 11,281,000 EAS, After Hours is the 4th most successful album from 2020.
- Starboy was the first album ever to gain over 400 million audio streams in its first week across all platforms.
- At 446 days, Blinding Lights owns the longest run ever in Spotify’s Top 10 Global chart. No other song reached even 300 days.
- Blinding Lights has the most weeks ever inside Billboard Hot 100’s Top 5 (43), Top 10 (57), and Top 100 (90).
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!