The truth about Britney Spears’ album sales in Asia

Latin America March 2009 (556)

Asia – Remaining countries

Only 12 Asian countries have ever been covered by IFPI reports. This is because most countries from the continent have no music industry at all. As many as 10 of them were studied in this article. The missing ones are China and Pakistan. The reason for their absence is quite easy to understand as they had no official criteria for certifications.

Using market sizes would provide incorrect results, as those two countries are massively dominated by local music. The Pakistan market is similar to that of the Indian one, but 80 times smaller. Since Indian sales figures for foreign artists are disastrous there, you can guess how irrelevant Britney’s sales must be in Pakistan.

As for China, when she released her first album the country was worth 15% of all Asian album sales. To better gauge the share for international artists though, CD sales are more telling. For example, in 1998 an unreal 415 million albums in cassette form were sold in India, but only 5 million CDs, a real trademark of local artists tremendously outselling international singers. China was similar with 145 million cassettes sold against 12,5 million CDs only. If the country represented 15% of the global Asian market, it accounted for only 3,3% of CD sales. I have thus allowed 5% for Rest sales to consider the Chinese market, as well as possible imports elsewhere.

Pretty logically, the consistent Japanese market has been taking over the main part of Asian sales as remaining countries were going downhill. In terms of success, Britney has been truly impressive there with each of her first three albums topping 1 million Asian sales outside Japan. We can extend her million selling albums streak to five by adding sales in this latter country. The 8 LPs listed add for nearly 8,4 million sales in Asia.

I hope you enjoyed the second part as much as the first one, in part three Europe is up next!

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!


Sources: IFPI, RIAJ, Oricon, Billboard, MIAK, Zobbel,

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