CSPC: Bruce Springsteen Popularity Analysis
Among the most beloved male singers of all-time, we have one King, one Prince, one King of Pop, one Voice and then The Boss. Elvis Presley, Prince, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, the one we are studying today. This elite group of American icons have been the brightest stars of the music industry from the 1940s into the 2000s. Other singers like Garth Brooks and Neil Diamond sold as much as some of them, but in the Legends area this Big 5 is untouched.
The 80s had more massive singers from other countries, each representing a specific branch of music history. Springsteen was the biggest star of the Rock music scene, Prince was the flagship of the Black music family, Phil Collins was the go-to guy within the British-sound category while Bob Marley owned World Music. If you wanted a sound crossing over all those branches, Michael Jackson was the man.
It is no coincidence if I mention those distinct sections of music. In fact, they were directly responsible of the sales distribution over the World of all those acts. Collins was massive in Europe, while Prince was nowhere near as big here as he was in the US. Bob sold huge amounts in various places all over the World, while Springsteen struggled to sell his American Rock Music to many Asian countries. British bands like the Beatles, Queen or the Rolling Stones, the perfect balance between the US Classic Rock stations sounds along with an European Pop vibe, are among the very top selling acts ever for this reason. Elsewhere, US acts like Aerosmith or Van Halen never managed to truly impact the global audience in the long term.
This raises the question about Springsteen‘s results. As a pure American product, he was unlikely to make it big Worldwide. Also, cult following isn’t always translated into notable sales. How big is he then? His Born In The U.S.A. album was a hit. How big though in comparison to the sales monsters we have met so far?
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Springsteen‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.
You know me too well haha 😉
Well, I must admit that I found that 9xP cert. a bit fishy at first, particularly since it came so soon after the 4xP. I thought though that it may have been due to unaudited sales (a bit like how John Farnham’s Whispering Jack jumped from 17 to 24x Plat. from 1997 to 2006).
But your explanation does make sense and would perhaps explain why Greatest Hits has never been re-certified in the 2017 audit when Sony even updated his singles certs.
Fantastic job MJD!
I was wondering though. Didn’t you make a slight mistake for Greatest Hits in Australia? You have it at 420,000 units but it was certified 9 x Platinum in 2009 (630,000 units). Given it’s been a solid catalog seller Down Under, I would expect it to be very close to 770,000 units.
What do you think?
Hi Innocent Eyes! I was expecting this exact question precisely from you 😉 I voluntarily downgraded that certification, the very first time I do so for Australia! IIRC (I have ARIA blocked by my proxy right now), GH went 1xP in 1995, 2xP in 1997 and 4xP in 2008 before jumping to 9xP in 2009. If we check Year End Charts, they are perfectly in line with the 1-2-4 Platinum certifications. The one from 2009 makes really no sense at all. I can see two possible explanations – 1) a simple typo and the album should have been shown as… Read more »
This is very off-topic sorry, but what is your opinion on the new trend of claiming Chinese sales?
Are those real and reliable sales? Seems sketchy.
Please search for Katy Perry article, I answered this exact point recently there 🙂
Hi! You wrote “With some 2,2 million album sales in Norway, he is also the all-time leader of the country among non-Scandinavian acts.”
Do you have a list of Best Selling “non-Scandinavian acts” in Norway?
Hi old friend! 😉
I haven’t compiled a full list of Norwegian sellers. I felt free to do the assumption on Bruce Springsteen because he is way, way, way, way ahead of anyone else! His Norwegian sales are on par with the top sellers ever in Sweden, a much bigger market!
Along with the upcoming articles, I’ll try to build such lists to feed easily this new Records & Achievements page!
To answer your implicit question, I would say Neil Young could be near the Top 10 ever in Norway ^^
Mmmhhhh… I can never to cheat you!
In any case, great job, my friend!
You’re doing a great job.
Love reading this kind of articles.
But, why don’t you post Norwegian stats??
Hi Trond! The European panel is made of countries that: – have enough information to accurately gauge sales from at least the 80s – are representative of some non-panel countries Norway as well as Denmark is represented by both Sweden and Finland. Those two latter countries were chosen simply because there is certifications available for more than 30 years. In the other side, Norway and Denmark certifications availability have been way less regular. When an artist is big there and some data exists, I do consider Norway, which is the case for Springsteen. I just ended to add a “Records… Read more »
One King, one Prince, one King of Pop, one Voice, one The Boss and one Queen.
Along with successful male artists, are you planning on studying Garth brooks? I’m pretty sure he has the most diamond certified albums in the US. It would be interesting to see how the country singer performed worldwide
Yes, as one of the very top selling acts ever in the US Garth Brooks will no doubt be added at some point 😉
Hey MJD! Great Job on this analysis of The Boss! I always wanted to know how big Born In The USA was since it produced 7 Top 10 hits in the US! Regarding that 1984 album, I expected album sales in the US higher (20m+). 16m is similar to what Prince sold there with Pruple Rain, right? Its sales outside that market, most notably Europe, is fantastic though! I never expected 8m+ in that continent! It did wonders in Oceania as well! Speaking of Europe, I’m positively surprised by how well Springsteen did there! Almost 50m+ albums sold is higher… Read more »
Hi Raffi! Several of your answers are now available on a new page I’m introducing, page 52, “Records & Achievements”! 😉 In Australia, he is about 20th ever in a country were the very top selling foreign acts ever like the Beatles and ABBA are slightly over 5 million. Speaking of ABBA, they naturally have albums well over 425k in Sweden. Apart from them, you are right, no artist studied so far has a bigger album there. Indeed no unique signature song. They are not only close, depending on the market the leading song is different. If you check YouTube… Read more »
This is interesting as far as it goes, and represents a lot of hard work, but it’s not a measure of popularity, as claimed. It’s a sales chart, which does an admirable job of weighing the value of different formats, but there are other factors determining popularity, many of them subjective: for example, many people who bought Born in the USA believing (in a misguided Reagan/Mondale way) that it was tub-thumping patriotism rather than a more nuanced critique (!) don’t like Bruce any more because of his politics. The biggest factor missing from this analysis though is live ticket sales.… Read more »
Springsteen is 3rd in box office, behind only the Rolling Stones and possibly U2. Springsteen total concert gross is approximately $1.8 billion , not including over $100 million from broadway.
Please do prince.