Backstreet Boys albums and songs sales

At one point, the Backstreet Boys were defining success: massive albums sales across the globe, great singles sales, plenty of chart-topping releases, hugely hyped tours, and tremendous media coverage.

Me encargaron cosas de Backstreet Boys!!!!!

It is true that they benefited from extraordinarily good market conditions in all markets. After all, the all-time record year for the music business, as far as revenues in billion dollars are concerned, was actually 1999. That is back when this five men group was at its peak. 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001 also rank amongst some of the very best years.

Yet, the way many music consumers – especially teenagers and young women’s – embraced their output deserves its own chapter. If the Jonas Brothers and more recently One Direction reached a great level of popularity during the past decade, the type of success achieved by the Backstreet Boys is on a completely different level. They really dominated the business for a few years all over the world, including in some countries that were traditionally hard to penetrate for Western artists.

We will try to analyze the extent of that hegemony with this new article with final results which will more than surprise many readers. Back then, they were sharing the same label and marketing plans as Britney Spears and N’ Sync. The latter group’s leader Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears herself surely remained under the spotlight longer than the Backstreet Boys. Who has the most valuable career to date though?

ChartMasters’ method: the CSPC

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC) in order to relevantly gauge the act’s results. It will not only bring you sales information for all albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will really determine the act’s popularity.

If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a nice and short video of explaining the concept. I recommend watching it before reading on and to the sales figures. You’ll get the idea in just two minutes.

And if you 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 detailed sales figures!

Original Albums Sales

Backstreet Boys (1996)

Afficher l'image d'origine
  • America
    • US – N/A
    • Canada – 1,300,000
    • Argentina – 220,000
    • Brazil – 300,000
    • Mexico – 225,000
  • Asia
    • Japan – 225,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 100,000
    • New Zealand – 20,000
  • Europe – 3,950,000
    • UK – 280,000
    • France – 125,000
    • Germany – 1,525,000
    • Italy – 100,000
    • Spain – 425,000
    • Sweden – 110,000
    • Netherland – 175,000
    • Switzerland – 170,000
    • Austria – 160,000
    • Finland – 22,000
  • World – 7,900,000

Backstreet’s Back (1997)

Afficher l'image d'origine
  • America
    • US – N/A
    • Canada – 1,400,000
    • Argentina – 340,000
    • Brazil – 575,000
    • Mexico – 400,000
  • Asia
    • Japan – 275,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 400,000
    • New Zealand – 100,000
  • Europe – 5,220,000
    • UK – 740,000
    • France – 160,000
    • Germany – 1,225,000
    • Italy – 575,000
    • Spain – 840,000
    • Sweden – 170,000
    • Netherland – 170,000
    • Switzerland – 140,000
    • Austria – 90,000
    • Finland – 50,000
  • World – 10,800,000

Millennium (1999)

Afficher l'image d'origine
  • America
    • US – 14,000,000
    • Canada – 1,500,000
    • Argentina – 200,000
    • Brazil – 700,000
    • Mexico – 750,000
  • Asia
    • Japan – 1,200,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 260,000
    • New Zealand – 50,000
  • Europe – 3,410,000
    • UK – 560,000
    • France – 110,000
    • Germany – 850,000
    • Italy – 340,000
    • Spain – 425,000
    • Sweden – 135,000
    • Netherland – 100,000
    • Switzerland – 100,000
    • Austria – 65,000
    • Finland – 43,000
  • World – 23,800,000

Black & Blue (2000)

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  • America
    • US – 6,600,000
    • Canada – 625,000
    • Argentina – 75,000
    • Brazil – 300,000
    • Mexico – 300,000
  • Asia
    • Japan – 825,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 130,000
    • New Zealand – 20,000
  • Europe – 1,680,000
    • UK – 210,000
    • France – 20,000
    • Germany – 500,000
    • Italy – 160,000
    • Spain – 180,000
    • Sweden – 80,000
    • Netherland – 65,000
    • Switzerland – 60,000
    • Austria – 30,000
    • Finland – 27,000
  • World – 11,500,000

Never Gone (2005)

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  • America
    • US – 850,000
    • Canada – 125,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 40,000
    • Mexico – 50,000
  • Asia
    • Japan – 600,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 60,000
    • New Zealand – 10,000
  • Europe – 600,000
    • UK – 85,000
    • France – 15,000
    • Germany – 180,000
    • Italy – 100,000
    • Spain – 25,000
    • Sweden – 20,000
    • Netherland – 15,000
    • Switzerland – 25,000
    • Austria – 10,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 2,650,000

Unbreakable (2007)

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  • America
    • US – 225,000
    • Canada – 50,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 20,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia
    • Japan – 400,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 15,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 160,000
    • UK – 25,000
    • France – 3,000
    • Germany – 50,000
    • Italy – 20,000
    • Spain – 10,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherland – 5,000
    • Switzerland – 10,000
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 1,050,000

This Is Us (2009)

Afficher l'image d'origine
  • America
    • US – 130,000
    • Canada – 20,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 15,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia
    • Japan – 325,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 10,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 110,000
    • UK – 25,000
    • France – 2,000
    • Germany – 25,000
    • Italy – 10,000
    • Spain – 10,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherland – 5,000
    • Switzerland – 5,000
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 750,000

In a World Like This (2013)

Afficher l'image d'origine
  • America
    • US – 100,000
    • Canada – 15,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – N/A
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia
    • Japan – 150,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 5,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 100,000
    • UK – 25,000
    • France – N/A
    • Germany – 30,000
    • Italy – 5,000
    • Spain – 10,000
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherland – 10,000
    • Switzerland – 5,000
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 450,000

Original Album Sales – Comments

1996 Backstreet Boys – 7,900,000
1997 Backstreet’s Back – 10,800,000
1999 Millennium – 23,800,000
2000 Black & Blue – 11,500,000
2005 Never Gone – 2,650,000
2007 Unbreakable – 1,050,000
2009 This Is Us – 750,000
2013 In a World Like This – 450,000

With 8 studio albums, the Backstreet Boys can be proud to have accumulated such a massive tally as they sold almost 59 million studio albums, an average of 7,3 million per title. This includes their 4 last LPs, without them the average would have been an even more impressive 13,5 million. It proves their fort isn’t quite their longevity but, in fact, the way they dominated the scene at their peak period. The best evidence of that dominance is Millennium which moved an impressive 23,8 million units.

It must be said that both Backstreet Boys and Backstreet’s Back weren’t issued in the US which got instead Backstreet Boys, some kind of compilation with songs from those two early albums. That US LP moved a tremendous 14,2 million copies there, bringing their totals even higher. That record will be seen in the Remaining Long Formats category as usual.

A side note about album sales breakdowns: several figures posted here are under officially certified amount. Black & Blue is 8xPlatinum in the US, representing 8 million units, as well as Platinum in the Netherland for 80,000 units. Those markets sales are estimated on 6,6 million and 65,000 units respectively. In the same way, Never Gone is certified for 1 million units in the US and 100,000 units in the UK, being estimated at 850,000 and 85,000 units. Those are not mistakes but instead records massively shipped upon release with copies that ended up being returned due to proportionally disappointing sales in regards to expectations. This brought a lot of mockery against Black & Blue, although in all fairness shifting 6,6 million copies in the US is still an incredible success no matter what.

Physical Singles Sales

Backstreet Boys (1996) – 1,740,000 equivalent albums

We’ve Got It Goin’ On – 1,200,000
Anywhere for You – 600,000
Get Down (You’re the One for Me) – 700,000
I’ll Never Break Your Heart – 800,000
Quit Playin’ Games (with My Heart) – 2,500,000

Backstreet’s Back (1997) – 1,770,000 equivalent albums

Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – 2,500,000
As Long as You Love Me – 1,750,000
All I Have to Give – 1,600,000
That’s the Way I Like It – 50,000

Millennium (1999) – 1,230,000 equivalent albums

Larger than Life – 750,000
I Want It That Way – 2,000,000
Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely – 1,000,000
The One – 350,000

Black & Blue (2000) – 495,000 equivalent albums

The Call – 300,000
Shape of My Heart – 1,100,000
More than That – 250,000

Never Gone (2005) – 120,000 equivalent albums

Incomplete – 200,000
Just Want You to Know – 100,000
Crawling Back to You & Still – 100,000

Unbreakable (2007) – 15,000 equivalent albums

Inconsolable &  Helpless When She Smiles – 50,000

This Is Us (2009) – 15,000 equivalent albums

Straight Through My Heart & Bigger – 50,000

In a World Like This (2013) – 3,000 equivalent albums

In a World like This – 10,000

Orphan – 15,000 equivalent albums

It’s Christmas Time AgainChristmas TimeGod, Your Mama, And MeFriends, Never Say Goodbye & Don’t Turn Out the Lights – 50,000

Digital Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between one album and one digital single.

Backstreet Boys (1996) – 405,000 equivalent albums

We’ve Got It Goin’ On – 300,000
Anywhere for You – 100,000
Get Down (You’re the One for Me) – 300,000
I’ll Never Break Your Heart – 300,000
Quit Playin’ Games (with My Heart) – 900,000
Remaining tracks – 800,000

Backstreet’s Back (1997) – 930,000 equivalent albums

Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – 3,000,000
As Long as You Love Me – 2,500,000
All I Have to Give – 500,000
Remaining tracks – 200,000

Millennium (1999) – 975,000 equivalent albums

Larger than Life – 1,000,000
I Want It That Way – 4,000,000
Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely – 1,000,000
Remaining tracks – 500,000

Black & Blue (2000) – 240,000 equivalent albums

The Call – 400,000
Shape of My Heart – 800,000
Remaining tracks – 400,000

Never Gone (2005) – 135,000 equivalent albums

Incomplete – 500,000
Remaining tracks – 400,000

Unbreakable (2007) – 105,000 equivalent albums

Inconsolable – 400,000
Remaining tracks – 300,000

This Is Us (2009) – 188,000 equivalent albums

Straight Through My Heart – 1,000,000
Remaining tracks – 250,000

In a World Like This (2013) – 105,000 equivalent albums

In a World like This – 500,000
Remaining tracks – 200,000

Orphan – 300,000 equivalent albums

It’s Christmas Time Again – 500,000
Remaining tracks – 1,500,000

Streaming Sales

Below table lists Spotify streaming of all songs from the five albums we are studying. The Comprehensive Streaming is reached by multiplying Spotify figures by 68/26. In fact, as shown in IFPI 2015 Report, there were 68 million paying subscribers to all streaming platforms by the end of 2015. While the exact count of Spotify paying subscribers by the end of 2015 is unknown, that figure reached 20 million in June 2015 and 30 million in March 2016, thus an estimated 26 million is used as of the end of 2015.

The equivalent album sales is the division of the comprehensive streaming figure by 1500 as it is now the norm in the new industry model.

NB: as we now switched to 2017, Chartmasters.org is going to update the ratio used on this methodology as soon as official market information from IFPI gets published in order to maintain the relevancy of all figures.

Streaming Part 1 – Golden Years

We start this section with their strongest albums, all above 100,000 equivalent albums sold. In fact, Millennium is up to almost 340,000 sales and Backstreet’s Back at 265,000.

A combined 700,000 for their golden period, proving their biggest hits maintained a great status and are still remembered by the general public. Their leading force is I Want It That Way which has a huge 120 million plays at Spotify, but it isn’t their lone success as Everybody at 81 million and As Long As You Love Me at 49 million perform very well too.

Streaming Part 2 – End & Restart

Giving previously seen patterns what is yet to come, Black & Blue gets fairly good results, just 10,000 equivalent albums sales below their first album, Backstreet Boys.

Considering it doesn’t appear amongst their most revered records, and with only one hit, Never Gone produced a remarkable 66,000 CSPC’s sales.

Streaming Part 3 – Recent Years

In spite of being released closer to the streaming era, their last 3 albums didn’t add much on Spotify and other online platforms. No song from them tops even 6 million plays which results in none of them reaching 50,000 equivalent album sales in streaming format.

Streaming Part 4 – Orphan Tracks

And last, but not least, their Orphan tracks add a very good 65,000 equivalent albums sales.

Their song Drowning would have been thought off as their biggest Orphan track, but, to the surprise of some, Christmas Time has got to be widely accepted by their public and achieved over 12 million streams on Spotify and over 21,000 equivalent albums sales alone. 2012 song It’s Christmas Time Again did decently too at 7 million streams.

Full Length related records Sales

The Backstreet Boys‘ career is quite standard: studio albums, singles, tours, then some compilations releases. It does feature a few specificities as the aforementioned US-only Backstreet Boys album and the high volume of music videos issued and sold.

Remaining Long Format Part 1 – Compilations

How to understand this table? If you check for example The Hits – Chapter One compilation line, those figures mean it sold 6,600,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all songs included on this package add for almost 428 million streaming plays on Spotify.

The second part at the right of the table shows how many streams are coming from each original album plus the share it represents on the overall package streams. Thus, streaming figures tell us Backstreet Boys -the album- songs are responsible for 13% of the album’s attractiveness, which means it generated 861,000 of its 6,600,000 album sales and so on for the other records.

We already see a pattern in the above albums, with Millennium taking the lead largely thanks to I Want It That Way.

Both Backstreet Boys and Backstreet’s Back take a reasonably big share too, whilst their other records rank much lower, even Black & Blue which, at the time, was very successful and some of its parent singles achieved big initial success.

BONUS – Original Compilation Sales

Backstreet Boys (1997)

Afficher l'image d'origine
  • America
    • US – 14,200,000
    • Canada – N/A
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – N/A
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia
    • Japan – N/A
  • Oceania
    • Australia – N/A
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – N/A
    • UK – N/A
    • France – N/A
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherlands – N/A
    • Switzerland – N/A
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – N/A

Remaining Long Format Part 2 – Early videos

In parallel of selling albums in massive quantities, the group was no stranger to the music video format either, registering great sales through both VHS and DVD. The Backstreet Boys, not surprisingly, reached tremendous figures via that avenue.

Sales distribution-wise, in the above titles which include their most successful videos, Millennium doesn’t look as strong as they did on the compilations. Their first two albums, Backstreet Boys and Backstreet’s Back, take the highest shares.

Remaining Long Format Part 3 – Latter videos

With these music videos, on the other hand, Millennium regains its status, in some cases by an overwhelming margin.

Thanks to Around The World, Black & Blue gets a good 300,000 additional copies. And the rest of their catalogue gets predictable results: their first two albums obtain very good results, their last efforts didn’t generate much.

Backstreet Boys Career CSPC Results

So, after checking all figures, how many overall album sales equivalent each Backstreet Boys album achieved? Well, at this point we barely need to do the addition of all figures defined all over this article!

In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.

'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)

Artist career totals

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers


If the average sales per studio album was already great, as seen above, the final CSPC’s figures look naturally stronger as the Backstreet Boys also managed big cumulative sales from other full length releases, especially compilations and music videos, plus other formats, amongst them physical singles, digital downloads songs and streaming.

All in all, the first two albums get the strongest benefit due to their second self-titled album, Backstreet Boys, released only in the USA and featuring tracks from its predecessors. It sold over 14 million in the biggest worldwide market and all those, naturally, are split between the first self-titled album and Backstreet’s Back.

Backstreet Boys – the original studio album – jumps from 7,9 million to a more fittingly massive 17 million, whereas Backstreet’s Back generated an extra 17,4 million equivalent album sales to nothing less than 28,2 million CSPC’s sales.

Despite such strong figures, Millennium remains their biggest album ever, their signature LP. At 29,55 million, this is firmly established in the upper side of their catalogue, albeit not by such a strong margin as on pure albums sales.

After their biggest album, they lost ground as already mentioned. Black & Blue, however, still generated 13,3 million unit sales overall and Never Gone almost 3 million. This Is Us and In A World Like This, their last two outputs, failed to reach 1 million. The most striking fact pointing out the incredible meltdown after their first split is the cumulative tally of 5,8 million from their last 4 albums combined, all together they reach barely 40% of their weakest seller among the first part of their career, e.g. Black & Blue.

Nevermind, the Backstreet Boys amassed the impressive total of 94,43 million equivalent album sales. A total that puts them alongside some of their peers like Britney Spears who’s up to 99,8 million. The bad thing is that, at current trends, it will take long before they reach 100 million CSPC sales. Such a huge result is nothing to feel shy about yet.

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

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, Chartmasters.org.

Biggest tracks – Backstreet Boys

The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales with appropriate weighting too plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

  1. 1999 – I Want It That Way [Millennium] – 18,360,000
  2. 1997 – Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) [Backstreet’s Back] – 14,760,000
  3. 1997 – As Long as You Love Me [Backstreet’s Back] – 9,370,000
  4. 1996 – Quit Playin’ Games (with My Heart) [Backstreet Boys] – 8,480,000
  5. 2000 – Shape of My Heart [Black & Blue] – 6,160,000
  6. 1999 – Larger than Life [Millennium] – 4,130,000
  7. 1999 – Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely [Millennium] – 3,690,000
  8. 2000 – The Call [Black & Blue] – 3,120,000
  9. 1997 – All I Have to Give [Backstreet’s Back] – 3,090,000
  10. 1995 – I’ll Never Break Your Heart [Backstreet Boys] – 2,700,000
  11. 1995 – We’ve Got It Goin’ On [Backstreet Boys] – 2,540,000
  12. 1996 – Get Down (You’re the One for Me) [Backstreet Boys] – 1,610,000
  13. 2005 – Incomplete [Never Gone] – 1,560,000
  14. 2000 – More than That [Black & Blue] – 1,460,000
  15. 1999 – The One [Millennium] – 1,120,000

We have more for you…

… the Backstreet Boysstreaming masters analysis

checking out the upcoming artists or even voting for them!

… similar artists

… best-selling artists, albums, and singles

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