Carrie Underwood albums and songs sales

When Carrie Underwood became American Idol’s fourth winner in May 2005, she still had to make it happen. The first winner Kelly Clarkson was smashing hard by then, but Ruben Studdard‘s sophomore effort was a bomb. Fantasia had done well with her debut record, as all of them, but without getting a true organic hit either. Underwood was going to quickly prove that she was more than a short-lived TV-show star though.


Her first proper single, Jesus, Take the Wheel was a smash on its category. It peaked at #20 in the Billboard Hot 100, which is already strong for a single eligible to Christian rankings. Plus, it had legs with 24 weeks inside the Top 50. Nearly a year later, Before He Cheats made her an A-League album seller in her native country.

A country artist, her appeal abroad has always been highly limited. Through the years though, she registered multiple achievements in the US. A few days from the release of her 6th album, she has managed to hit at least Platinum with all of her albums so far. Will she continue this string with Cry Pretty or struggle to make it in this streaming era?

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

Some Hearts (2005)

  • Main markets:
    • US – 8,075,000
    • Canada – 400,000
    • Australia – 37,500
    • UK – 35,000
    • Japan – 10,000
  • World – 8,610,000

Carnival Ride (2007)

Carnival Ride - Album.PNG
  • Main markets:
    • US – 3,550,000
    • Canada – 160,000
    • Australia – 20,000
    • UK – 20,000
    • Japan – 7,500
  • World – 3,790,000

Play On (2009)

  • Main markets:
    • US – 2,330,000
    • Canada – 140,000
    • Australia – 45,000
    • UK – 25,000
    • Japan – 7,500
  • World – 2,580,000

Blown Away (2012)

Blown Away album cover.jpg
  • Main markets:
    • US – 1,840,000
    • Canada – 140,000
    • Australia – 37,500
    • UK – 50,000
    • Japan – 5,000
  • World – 2,110,000

Storyteller (2015)

Carrie Underwood - Storyteller (Official Album Cover).png
  • Main markets:
    • US – 800,000
    • Canada – 55,000
    • Australia – 27,500
    • UK – 40,000
    • Japan – 3,000
  • World – 960,000

Original Album Sales – Comments

2005 Some Hearts – 8,610,000
2007 Carnival Ride – 3,790,000
2009 Play On – 2,580,000
2012 Blown Away – 2,110,000
2015 Storyteller – 960,000

A total of 18,05 million across 5 albums may not look that impressive. Once you consider that more than 90% of these sales come from the US alone the story is different. Some Hearts was a monster there, hitting 8 million pure sales. Since the date of its release to date, only Adele did better with both 21 and 25.

After this gigantic start, one can only go down. That’s what happened for Underwood, although she still topped 2 million pure sales with each of the following 3 albums. The continuous decrease is sales is negative yet, so is the fact that Storyteller failed to hit a million. We are left wondering how these albums performed through digital singles and streaming…

Physical Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.

The only physical single of Underwood‘s career remains her initial American Idol winner hit, Inside Your Heaven. It was easily the #1 selling single on that format for the year 2005 in the US, when it scanned 447,664 units. Ironically, the runner up of the year was the exact same song. The losing finalist, Bo Bice, version shifted 334,775 with his rendition. Obviously, his solo career afterwards wasn’t as successful for him.

Some Hearts (2005) – 150,000 equivalent albums

Inside Your Heaven – 500,000

Digital Singles Sales

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

Incredibly enough, Underwood never made the Top 5 of the Hot 100 since her initial #1 single Inside Your Heaven thanks to physical sales. Still, she is up to 20 million selling downloads. It’s again Jesus, Take the Wheel which paved the way to her success. This song now stands on 4 million downloads and ringtones. Before He Cheats did even better at 6,6 million to date.

The era Carnival Ride had no similar smash, but all its 5 singles sold 1,6 million or more. Her downloads remained consistent with her next two albums. Cowboy Casanova and Blown Away, one per era, topped 3 million sales.

It all changed with Storyteller. Its 4 singles struggle to hit 2 million sales combined. All of them peaked in the #42-#48 range. In truth, it’s all her last 7 singles that peaked there, including the recent songs Cry Pretty and The Champion.

Outside of her album’s promotional campaigns, she added a few hits too. This includes the 2016 hit by Keith Urban The Fighter which remains her last million seller. Without making much noise, Underwood stands on 54,4 million downloads and ringtones to date.

Some Hearts (2005) – 2,205,000 equivalent albums

Wasted – 1,310,000
Don’t Forget to Remember Me – 870,000
Jesus, Take the Wheel – 4,010,000
Before He Cheats – 6,610,000
Inside Your Heaven – 700,000
Remaining tracks – 1,200,000

Carnival Ride (2007) – 1,547,000 equivalent albums

All-American Girl – 2,650,000
So Small – 1,630,000
Just a Dream – 1,930,000
Last Name – 1,860,000
I Told You So – 1,640,000
Remaining tracks – 600,000

Play On (2009) – 1,248,000 equivalent albums

Cowboy Casanova – 3,080,000
Mama’s Song – 850,000
Undo It – 2,100,000
Temporary Home – 1,490,000
Remaining tracks – 800,000

Blown Away (2012) – 1,302,000 equivalent albums

Good Girl – 2,330,000
Blown Away – 3,300,000
Two Black Cadillacs – 1,310,000
See You Again – 1,140,000
Remaining tracks – 600,000

Storyteller (2015) – 350,000 equivalent albums

Dirty Laundry – 360,000
Church Bells – 660,000
Heartbeat – 490,000
Smoke Break – 600,000
Remaining tracks – 220,000

Cry Pretty (2018) – 93,000 equivalent albums

Cry Pretty – 210,000
The Champion – 410,000
Remaining tracks – 0

Orphan – 1,416,000 equivalent albums

Something in the Water – 1,300,000
Little Toy Guns – 560,000
Remind Me – 2,610,000
Somethin’ Bad – 1,410,000
The Fighter – 1,080,000
How Great Thou Art – 930,000
Home Sweet Home – 300,000
Praying For Time – 200,000
Do You Hear What I Hear – 100,000
I’ll Stand By You – 350,000
Remaining tracks – 600,000

Streaming Sales

Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology now includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube. As detailed in the Fixing Log article, Spotify represents 157 million of the 272 million users of streaming platforms, while YouTube is pretty much the only video platform generating some revenue for the industry. Below is the equivalence set on the aforementioned article:

Audio Stream – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = 272/157 * Spotify streams / 1500 + YouTube views / 11750

Part 1

At 100 million streams on Spotify and 123 million on YouTube, Before He Cheats doesn’t look like an US-only hit. Its lasting appeal is impressive. This song accounts for 126,000 EAS out of Some Hearts’ total of 235,000 units.

It goes on to show that apart from that single, all these albums have been equally successful, all with 100,000+ EAS to date. The norm is that every former single stands at more than 10 million streams on both Spotify and YouTube. Jesus, Take the Wheel is the biggest of them with over 30 million and 70 million on these platforms, respectively.

Part 2

Storyteller repeats numbers of Blown Away, both at over 240,000 EAS to date. It’s actually a bad thing since the former was issued in 2015, a year much more favorable to streaming than 2012. Both albums contain 4 relevant songs at 32,000-80,000 EAS a piece. New singles Cry Pretty and The Champion are failing to gain traction so far. They look on their way to reach similar figures than their predecessors.

Part 3

The orphan section brings 5 more relevant streaming songs. The first two, Something in the Water and Little Toy Guns, are both singles from the Greatest Hits compilation from 2014 while the remaining 3 are duets with Brad Paisley (Remind Me), Miranda Lambert (Somethin’ Bad) and the aforementioned Keith Urban (The Fighter).

Cumulatively this orphan section adds for 335,000 EAS although none of these songs manage to dislodge Before He Cheats as Underwood‘s #1 streaming hit.

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.

How to understand this table? If you check this example, these figures mean Greatest Hits: Decade #1 sold 750,000 units worldwide. Then, the second statistics column means streams of all the songs included on this package add for 770,486 EAS.

The second part at the right of the table shows how many streams are coming from each original album as well as the share they represent. Thus, streaming figures tell us Some Hearts songs are responsible for 26% of the Greatest Hits: Decade #1 tracklist attractiveness. In other words, it generated 198,000 of its 750,000 album sales. Eventually, we apply this methodology to both compilations.

BONUS: Compilation Albums Sales

Greatest Hits (2014)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "underwood greatest hits"
  • Main markets:
    • US – 625,000
    • Canada – 40,000
    • Australia – 20,000
    • UK – 35,000
    • Japan – 3,000
  • World – 750,000

BONUS: Total Album (all types) Sales per Country

  • Main markets:
    • US – 17,220,000
    • Canada – 935,000
    • Australia – 187,500
    • UK – 205,000
    • Japan – 36000
  • World – 18,800,000


So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Carrie Underwood achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in 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


Country artists are their sales strongly limited due to their low appeal outside of the US. It downgrades expectations for them. With this in mind, results of Underwood‘s first 4 albums are superb. The debut Some Hearts cracks the 8 digits mark with ease at 11,4 million EAS to date. It continues to do well on all formats.

Carnival Ride, Play On and Blown Away are in the 3,9-5,6 million EAS range. Released during the digital era, they still did well mostly on the back of pure sales. Then came Storyteller that while not a disaster broke a good part of her momentum.

Cry Pretty faces the challenge of becoming her first album to out-perform its predecessor. Released next week, it has amassed 144,000 EAS up to now thanks to downloads and streams of its first two singles.

With a total of 28,58 million equivalent album sales to date. Underwood isn’t among the very top selling acts of the last 15 years globally, but for sure is in the US. Still only 35, she has many more years as an active singer ahead of her. For how long will she continue to be a relevant seller though? The answer at the moment is anyone’s guess.

To go deeper…

Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that her sales represent 8,81 million times the purchase of her full catalog. Coupled with her total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 90. She just ahead of Sam Smith and just behind Miley Cyrus.

Additionally, the following sections list her most successful songs as well as her records and achievements.

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

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Discogs,


Biggest tracks

The list is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each song. Therefore, these figures are not merged units of singles formats. Instead, it includes weighted sales of the song’s physical single, download, ringtone and streaming as well as its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

1. 2005 – Carrie UnderwoodBefore He Cheats [Some Hearts]5,870,000
2. 2005 – Carrie UnderwoodJesus, Take the Wheel [Some Hearts]2,250,000
3. 2007 – Carrie UnderwoodAll-American Girl [Carnival Ride]1,350,000
3. 2012 – Carrie UnderwoodBlown Away [Blown Away]1,350,000
5. 2009 – Carrie UnderwoodCowboy Casanova [Play On]1,230,000
6. 2007 – Carrie UnderwoodJust a Dream [Carnival Ride]1,170,000
7. 2007 – Carrie UnderwoodLast Name [Carnival Ride]940,000
8. 2012 – Carrie UnderwoodGood Girl [Blown Away]870,000
9. 2005 – Carrie UnderwoodWasted [Some Hearts]820,000
10. 2009 – Carrie UnderwoodUndo It [Play On]800,000

Records & achievements

  • At 8,075,000 pure sales, Some Hearts is the 3rd highest selling album in the US since its release to date.
  • At 447,664 sales, Inside Your Heaven was the best selling physical single of 2005 in the US.
  • At 11,428,000 EAS, Some Hearts is the 7th most successful album from 2005.

NB: EAS means Equivalent Album Sales.

We have more for you…

… a predictive analysis on Carrie Underwood‘s yet-to-come Cry Pretty

checking out the upcoming artists or even voting for them!

… similar artists

… best-selling artists, albums, and singles

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