CSPC Appendix: Introduction of the Orphan Album

Two Week Old Kitten & Bottle, The Bronx

Nearly three months ago, I introduced to you the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept. Since, a few articles applying this concept have been published as well.

The main target of this approach is to erase all technicalities impacting the meaning of sales to reach a comparison that is fair to all artists independently of their catalog exploitation or the market background. As you have been able to see by yourself, the concept bring results way more representative than every pure raw data one may look to.

This being said, there is one case that wasn’t considered in this method, thus I’m writing down this appendix to make it even more comprehensive. Several points weren’t debatable as formats weighting or the replacement of re-packaged hits by original material. Other points weren’t fully explained or weren’t fully covered so we will be fixing this right now.

I) Conversion scale: Albums vs Singles

One decision that I took which could have gone both sides was the reference to take: do we convert every sales into albums or into singles. None of those decisions is fundamentally better or worst than the other. The key point is to convert all data into albums or all data into singles rather than keeping a bit of both which prevent valid comparisons.

Converting to singles may seem the better idea as the fundamental industry product is the recording, to using a songs-level scale would consider absolutely everything ever released. I decided to go by albums instead for two main reasons.

The first one is that singles successes aren’t fully independent. When a lead single is big it will facilitate following singles way which will be easily getting strong airplay and promotion. In the other side, when a single bombs subsequent extracts of an album will struggle to make it big.

The second reason to avoid a singles scale is that my results would be used to inflate artist numbers by misleading the general public with words like “records”, “albums”, “singles” voluntarily poorly used. For example, I detailed Rihanna sold 65 million albums equivalent, which can also be viewed as 650 million download singles equivalent. Putting this figure on the web would just bring ludicrous claims after bad data usage.

For this couple of reasons, a conversion of sales into an album-level scale seems more appropriate.


II) Featurings & Standalone Singles issue

This album-level scale solution does bring a problem yet. If we check Rihanna example, the pop star has participated on various massive hits that weren’t part of her albums like Love The Way You Lie, The Monster, Live Your Life, Take Care, Run This Town or Princess Of China. While it is normal to not grant sales of Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z or Coldplay albums into Rihanna results, it is rather unfair to consider zero singles sales into her tally considering her predominant participation on all those songs.

In addition, while every discussion about duets / featurings can be debatable, ignoring non-album songs makes absolutely no sense. This case wasn’t covered during the introduction of this concept as the music industry has been album-axed for several decades making the case minimal. With the streaming world taking over the market yet this situation is fast changing. Rihanna herself released two sizable hits last year, FourFiveSeconds and Bitch Better Have My Money, that weren’t included into her following album thus bringing her no sales at all with previous CSPC method.

III) Introduction of orphan album

In order to fix this concept flaw, I’m introducing right now the Orphan Album appendix. The idea is very simple – I’ll be adding into every artist discography an album titled Orphan that will be a simple folder to every track of an artist which doesn’t appear into a proper studio album of the act. This can be featurings, duets, charity singles, singles of compilations and so on. This Orphan album will obviously have no sales as a studio album but received every other format sales like download single and streaming.

While this concept fix won’t have major impacts for most artists results, I though it was important to make all possible adjustments to increase the method accuracy and relevance.

Both articles already posted, CSPC results of Rihanna and those of Taylor Swift have been fully updated today itself to include every non-album song they are involved on. No update have been done on 1975 Monster Rock Albums as it focuses on specific albums rather than on full artists discographies and as such no non-album song is concerned.

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

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