CSPC: Bob Marley Popularity Analysis

Bob Marley jamming with his favorite book

Full Length related record 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.

Part 1 – Early Studio Albums

How to understand this table? If you check for example the The Wailing Wailers early album line, those figures mean it sold 600,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 146,000 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 Burnin’ album are responsible for 3% of the The Wailing Wailers track list attractiveness. This means it generated 18,000 of its 600,000 album sales and so forth for the other records.

Those four albums are widely listed as the first four studio albums of Bob Marley & the Wailers. I decided to move them into the Orphan category as rather than studio albums recorded as such, those packages barely merged together hits previously issued as stand-alone singles. Some of them were later newly recorded and used to promote subsequent albums like Catch a Fire or Exodus. Since those later albums / versions of the songs are the popular ones which generated sales of the early records rather than the opposite, I considered that post-1973 LPs are the ones which created the value of those tunes.

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