CSPC: Backstreet Boys Popularity Analysis

Me encargaron cosas de Backstreet Boys!!!!!

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

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 Jonas Brothers and more recently One Direction reached a great level of popularity during the past decade, the type of success achieved by Backstreet Boys is in a completely different level  as 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 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? Thanks to the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept, we will be able to set a viable conclusion.

As a reminder for users who are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea you do not need to worry, it is quite simple as it only consists in merging every format sales an artist has been getting and attributing them to respective studio albums. We will start by focusing on raw data, setting how much each Backstreet Boys album sold. Then, we will check sales of each track from those albums on each format – physical, download and streaming – and weight them to value those figures on a par with album sales. To complete the study, we will study sales of the all compilations, live albums and music videos they dropped. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of this now classic group’s career results.

Let’s go!

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Hi Chartmasters team. Is Westlife ever going to be studied? I feel like u guys already covered all the big 90s teen pop acts and the only one missing is Westlife. Im really curious as to how much bigger their sales is in Asia and Europe compared to Backstreet Boys and Britney. I have read a couple of times on the net that they were much bigger there.


Hi Michael!

To be honest they aren’t in the pipe right now. There is one teen pop act we considered from time to time that hasn’t been studied so far but that one is NKOTB.


Hi MJD, i’m also curious to see the Boyz II Men data… I know that they were considered the best boyband from 1987 to 2012 in the USA

Last edited 2 years ago by Nicli98

hi can you do the update for the backstreet boys since they had their latest album dna in 2019..also, im confused, do they have total sales of 130m as im reading elsewhere or just over 100m?thanks..


Did the first two albums sell 7,900,000 and 10,800,000 physical copies, excluding sales in the United States? An enormity !!!!


Its not an enormity. They never released their first 2 studio albums in the US. As an alternative they released a greatest hits album from the first 2 album they have at that time in the US in 1997, selling 14 million albums. This greatest hits are later distributed into the CSPC results. For an Americam act Backstreet Boys career journey are kinda weird. They got big globally first before hitting the US market.


To me they look like a lot of copies honestly, considering also that the first two albums in Europe sold more than Millennium, if they had published them also in the United States they could really arrive more or less at the same number of copies in the world.


Can you please do BSB global heatmap? I know they’re big everywhere. But how big are they throughout the continents has me wonder.


Yes. I would love to see that too. Seems like they have enequal sales in various parts of the world. In certain countries they were super massive while in othet coubtries their sales looks non existent

Jackie Milla

Please update Backstreet Boys DNA 2018 album


An overall comment on all these awards dudj: you seem to be using the thread “Certifications Levels Around The Globe” in UKmix. AutomaticBR did a great job there, but recaps miss some levels for multiple countries. In SK, there has been a 30/60k level in-between 50/100k and 15/30k periods.


But 4xP seems like official award so can only be equal to 400.000 since M released in 1999


It’s unclear as to when exactly the award changed its criteria and also the release date doesn’t matter but instead the certification date, same as in the Netherlands. It’s safe that it hasn’t been certified for 400k units since by the end of 11/1999 it had shipped exactly 215,255 copies and then dropped out in December 1999 when the cut was under 10k!


Wasn’t M certified 3xP=300.000 in 6 months acc to what you posted?


This number was manually added by Nelson back in 2004 at UKmix, using certifications as displayed on Billboard in 3/18/1999. Checking them back, he got a few criterias wrong, which isn’t surprising considering the huge mess the internet still was back then. It was very hard to retrieve accurate / official information online 15 years ago. Realistically, it was certified for 180k sold. The figure I posted here (215k) was published by MIAK which used to provide official monthly shipments for South Korea back in the day. I feel old thinking of me retrieving them so long ago! About countries… Read more »


There was no 1999/03/18 on Billboard…


What countries still used critetia based on the certification date except SK and Netherlands then?


MJD Just said most countries do it like that now, with only some countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Germany still certifying based on release date.


I don’t think Britney Spears sold nearly 4 million pure albums less than Backstreet Boys.Britney has detailed sales for most countries because Sony published them but BB don’t have.So it would be a little error.


It wouldnt. BSB has way bigger sales than Britney in Japan. They have comparable sales in South East Asia but considering BSB sold a lot more albums during the Boom album sales era. It is most probably they outsell Britney it that era too. And the way you speak as if Britney is so huge during her golden years in Asia, which is true. But seems like you are forgetting how massive BSB was in Asia back then. As big as Britney was, BSB has larger fan base. The biggest male singers in every era always have larger fan base… Read more »


That’s it Michael!

There is no doubt that Britney was huge in Latin America and Asia in her early years, but the BSB were even bigger. They collapsed so fast afterwards that we tend to downgrade their sales but they did monstrous numbers back then!


Agree. Im willing even to bet, that had they not taken the 5-6 years break thet had. Their sales wouldnt have collapsed as big as they did when they made their comeback in 2006. By then, people already forgot who BSB was.


Their both biggest album sold about the same, at around 23.8 million. And Britney outsold BSB in CSPC by over 6 million.How do you dare to say BSB sold way more albums than Britney?Keep dreaming.



Michael clearly refers to the golden years of both acts. BSB’s albums from 1996 to 2001 shifted a combined 74,8 million pure album sales with 4 studio albums and compilations, Britney from 1999 to 2004 did 65,8 million with 4 studio albums and compilations. These are sales to date, considering Britney’s albums sold more after their initial release, the gap during their hey-days is only bigger.


I think 2003&2004’s market was weaker.



Well, not that much. They’ve got 1999/2001 in common, so 2003/2004 really compares with BSB’s 1996/1997 and these were similar markets. Sales went a bit down in some countries, but also up in others (in the UK for example they went up by over 20% from 197m to 239m between 1997 and 2004).

I would say the main difference between Britney’s and BSB’s golden eras is that the BSB were bigger where they were big, while Britney sold a little less in general but broke more markets.


First of all I was talking about Asian sales. Not global sales. And btw MJD was absolutely right. Britney and BSB was basically at the same par. But obviously at their peak BSB was bigger. Over the course of the long run she has catch up and beat them obviously.


//Hi again Duddy! Obviously, the market evolved, but not on those proportions. First, CSPC method make up for most of the drop. Second, even factoring in the market overall drop, they are still way too far. 1D had 5 albums, they sold less than 24 million units combined in pure album sales, 43 million CSPC. The first 3 and a half (as 2 came out as 1 in the US) BSB albums sold 68 million pure albums and 87 million CSPC. Twice as much as 1D with only two thirds of 1D’s albums. Millennium alone sold the same in pure… Read more »