Lorde albums and songs sales
Freshly returning with her sophomore effort Melodrama, Lorde stormed onto the music scene in 2013 with her ground-breaking smash song Royals. Facing the gigantic task which consists in confirming her success, to avoid the one-hit wonder flag, Lorde already has a career relevant enough to focus on her in this CSPC article.
How much has Royals sold? And Pure Heroine? How can we explain the bizarre RIAA 2xPlatinum certification this album received while sales were way under the mark? How much does Melodrama need to sell to not be considered a bomb?
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
NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are also factored in.
Pure Heroine (2013)
- US – 1,700,000
- Canada – 225,000
- Argentina – N/A
- Brazil – 40,000
- Mexico – 45,000
- Asia – 45,000
- Japan – 25,000
- Australia – 210,000
- New Zealand – 80,000
- Europe – 660,000
- UK – 265,000
- France – 115,000
- Germany – 125,000
- Italy – 20,000
- Spain – 5,000
- Sweden – 10,000
- Netherlands – 10,000
- Switzerland – 10,000
- Austria – 15,000
- Finland – 5,000
- World – 3,100,000
Original Album Sales – Comments
2013 Pure Heroine – 3,100,000
2017 Melodrama – 200,000
If you follow charts closely, you will certainly know that Pure Heroine was certified for 2 million sales in the US in December 2014, and shipped 3,4 million copies Worldwide in 2013 plus 2014 as per the IFPI. Both figures would suggest at least 3,6 million sales as of today.
Why am I contradicting both the RIAA and the IFPI, arguably the two most reliable recording industry organizations of the World?
To date, retail sales of Pure Heroine in the US stand at 1,67 million according to Nielsen Soundscan. They were under 1,5 million with very few copies remaining on the shelves at the time. The 2xPlatinum award of the RIAA happened on December 2 2014, exactly the same day Ariana Grande‘s My Everything went Platinum, while that album too was half a million short of the award sales-wise. Both are albums from the label Republic Records.
If this mystery remained alive until today, the explanation is rather simple. At the time, Google was trying to promote its download platform Google Play against giants iTunes and Amazon. To do so, they used various marketing buzz tools, including offering for free one very popular item every week such as the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Those offers included My Everything from September 23 to September 29 and then Pure Heroine four weeks later. Given available information, it appears that roughly 600,000 units were enjoyed by the platform users at the time.
I’m sure you are thinking, how the hell were free copies accounted for by both the RIAA and the IFPI?! Quite simply because from a music industry point of view, they weren’t free. Despite users not having paid one cent for them, Google however did. They bought the copies from Republic Records just like any other copy bought by iTunes, Best Buy or Wallmart, thus the retailer price was valid as per the RIAA policy.
A small clarification, the figure for Melodrama is an estimation of its to date shipment. As it just came out, the gap between sales and shipment is still relevant, but it will be fulfilled in a matter of weeks.
Digital Singles Sales
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between albums and digital singles.
The big question for Lorde now is if she will she be able to maintain her popularity over the coming years, or remain a one-era wonder. With nearly half of her 19 million singles sold coming from Royals, she remains under threat of being regarded as a one-hit wonder. Team sold very well too which helped boost the album, but Royals remains the only cross-over hit so far.
Pure Heroine (2013) –2,640,000 equivalent albums
Tennis Court – 1,150,000
Royals – 9,300,000
Team – 4,000,000
Glory and Gore – 550,000
Remaining tracks – 2,600,000
Melodrama (2017) – 82,500 equivalent albums
Green Light – 400,000
Remaining tracks – 150,000
Orphan – 165,000 equivalent albums
Yellow Flicker Beat – 600,000
Everybody Wants To Rule The World – 100,000
Magnets – 300,000
Remaining tracks – 100,000
Streaming is made up of two families – audio and video. 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 132 million of the 212 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
Thus… Equivalent Albums Sales = 212/132 * Spotify streams / 1500 + YouTube views / 11750
The positive indicator for Lorde’s upcoming results is the strength of Pure Heroine streams. All songs from the original track list are over 30 million plays at Spotify, Royals has an impressive 411 million streams while Team is on 253 million. The main single has a more preeminent role on YouTube with nearly 900 million views out of a 1,37 million total for all songs from the album.
Overall, those streams, both audio and video, add for 1,526,000 equivalent album sales, an insane total for a 2013 album. Melodrama, widely deemed a disappointment so far, is already up to 240,000 equivalent album sales too. There is no need to say all these figures are very promising for the upcoming years in spite of the current difficulty to find a place on radio playlists.
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.
Remaining Long Format
All songs from the EP The Love Club have been issued on the Pure Heroine album. Consequently, all its sales are reversed into the parent album. As a reminder, EPs with less than 6 songs are counted as one half of an album, which explains the last figure.
Lorde Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each Lorde album 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.
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
Finding a major label to give you a recording contract at just 16 is hard. Achieving it while coming from New-Zealand is even harder. Being the songwriter on all the tracks from your first album makes it all the more impressive. Selling 7,4 million equivalent album sales during the market environment of 2013, means one can only have respect and congratulate Lorde.
Obviously, Lorde is far too young to rest on her laurels, so she still has plenty of work to do to replicate this early success. In any case, the Pure Heroine era will forever remain one of the most successful debut eras of all-time.
In total, Lorde has amassed 8,3 million equivalent album sales so far. Will she be able to break the 10 million barrier before the end of the year? That addition would be enough to consider Melodrama a decent follow up album success-wise. The path to get there is a very long one though.
The following section lists her most successful songs.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Kiddnation, Freesteals, Chartmasters.org.
BIGGEST TRACKS – Lorde
The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song’s own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales, and with appropriate weighting too, plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.
1 2013 – Royals [Pure Heroine] – 3,040,000
2 2013 – Team [Pure Heroine] – 1,470,000
3 2013 – Tennis Court [Pure Heroine] – 660,000
4 2017 – Green Light [Melodrama] – 350,000