Mariah Carey albums and songs sales

It has arrived. The one many of you wanted to be studied. For many months, many of you have been requesting to add Mariah Carey among the studied acts. After completing career-listings of Madonna, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston this demand increased even more. From the mid-80s to early 00s these four singers sold so many records that talks about those iconic divas started to gain ground and haven’t stopped since.

Mariah Carey Picture

So who sold the most? In reality, wondering which one did the best out of those four females is kind of a rich person’s problem. In fact, the first thing that needs to be said is that they all did insanely well. They all broke various records here and there and they all have no competition at all in their respective leagues – well, sorry Barbra Streisand, I haven’t forgotten about you but your career is too different to fairly include you inside this Madonna – generation legends battle.

Among Mariah Carey’s achievements feature her 18 US #1 hits, a tally putting her on par with Elvis Presley and runner up to the Beatles. She did so in a relatively smooth period for singles sales and the Hot 100 heavily factored Airplay during this era. So has she really sold that well? Let’s not forget she owns several of the very top selling foreign albums of all-time in Japan so surely she moved some units. How many though? Her 90s decade was undoubtedly intense, but that is still only 10 years. Can she really challenge the all-time top sellers within such a short period of high sales?

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge her results. The concept will not only bring you sales information for all Mariah Carey albums, physical singles, download singles, music videos and streaming, it will also accurately weight all this information to conclude the truth on meaningful popularity indicators. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend you to check it out before getting into sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to get straight into the sales figures. Let’s go!

The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)

04 Scale and Balance Eric Johnson

There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. The first is the Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC, you will get the whole idea within just a couple of minutes.

If you are a mathematical person, and want to know the whole method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.

Now let’s get into Mariah Carey’s detailed sales figures in order to apply this concept and define her true popularity!

Original Albums Sales

Mariah Carey (1990)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey 1990 cover"
  • America
    • US – 9,200,000
    • Canada – 760,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 65,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 2,000,000
    • Japan – 925,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 225,000
    • New Zealand – 60,000
  • Europe – 1,520,000
    • UK – 380,000
    • France – 100,000
    • Germany – 225,000
    • Italy – 100,000
    • Spain – 80,000
    • Sweden – 120,000
    • Netherlands – 160,000
    • Switzerland – 40,000
    • Austria – 15,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 14,050,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Emotions (1991)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey emotions"
  • America
    • US – 4,400,000
    • Canada – 430,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 50,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 1,700,000
    • Japan – 1,025,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 100,000
    • New Zealand – 25,000
  • Europe – 1,250,000
    • UK – 400,000
    • France – 110,000
    • Germany – 150,000
    • Italy – 80,000
    • Spain – 60,000
    • Sweden – 70,000
    • Netherlands – 110,000
    • Switzerland – 30,000
    • Austria – 10,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 8,100,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Music Box (1993)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey music box"
  • America
    • US – 10,600,000
    • Canada – 800,000
    • Argentina – 135,000
    • Brazil – 225,000
    • Mexico – 175,000
  • Asia – 4,840,000
    • Japan – 2,400,000
    • South Korea – 900,000
    • Taiwan – 500,000
    • Hong Kong – 120,000
    • Singapore – 160,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 850,000
    • New Zealand – 90,000
  • Europe – 8,080,000
    • UK – 1,750,000
    • France – 1,290,000
    • Germany – 1,250,000
    • Italy – 575,000
    • Spain – 450,000
    • Sweden – 210,000
    • Netherlands – 640,000
    • Switzerland – 225,000
    • Austria – 110,000
    • Finland – 50,000
  • World – 26,100,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Merry Christmas (1994)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey merry christmas"
  • America
    • US – 6,200,000
    • Canada – 350,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – N/A
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 4,170,000
    • Japan – 2,750,000
    • Sout Korea – 570,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 425,000
    • New Zealand – 40,000
  • Europe – 2,000,000
    • UK – 350,000
    • France – 70,000
    • Germany – 350,000
    • Italy – 400,000
    • Spain – 100,000
    • Sweden – 100,000
    • Netherlands – 125,000
    • Switzerland – 50,000
    • Austria – 35,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 13,400,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Daydream (1995)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey daydream"
  • America
    • US – 10,200,000
    • Canada – 800,000
    • Argentina – 75,000
    • Brazil – 125,000
    • Mexico – 125,000
  • Asia – 4,410,000
    • Japan – 2,600,000
    • Taiwan – 400,000
    • South Korea – 675,000
    • Hong Kong – 100,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 400,000
    • New Zealand – 80,000
  • Europe – 3,510,000
    • UK – 850,000
    • France – 670,000
    • Germany – 550,000
    • Italy – 225,000
    • Spain – 200,000
    • Sweden – 60,000
    • Netherlands – 175,000
    • Switzerland – 75,000
    • Austria – 40,000
    • Finland – 15,000
  • World – 19,900,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Butterfly (1997)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey butterfly"
  • America
    • US – 5,250,000
    • Canada –  350,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 100,000
    • Mexico – 80,000
  • Asia – 2,040,000
    • Japan – 1,300,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 150,000
    • New Zealand – 20,000
  • Europe – 1,500,000
    • UK – 300,000
    • France – 245,000
    • Germany – 225,000
    • Italy – 175,000
    • Spain – 100,000
    • Sweden – 20,000
    • Netherlands – 100,000
    • Switzerland – 25,000
    • Austria – 20,000
    • Finland – 5,000
  • World – 9,650,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Rainbow (1999)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey rainbow"
  • America
    • US – 3,500,000
    • Canada – 250,000
    • Argentina – 40,000
    • Brazil – 275,000
    • Mexico – 70,000
  • Asia – 1,325,000
    • Japan – 875,000
    • South Korea – 100,000
    • Taiwan – 75,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 45,000
    • New Zealand – 15,000
  • Europe – 1,650,000
    • UK – 230,000
    • France – 485,000
    • Germany – 300,000
    • Italy – 75,000
    • Spain – 110,000
    • Sweden – 10,000
    • Netherlands – 50,000
    • Switzerland – 30,000
    • Austria – 20,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 7,250,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Glitter (2001)

  • America
    • US – 680,000
    • Canada – 40,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 40,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 660,000
    • Japan – 390,000
    • South Korea – 70,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 10,000
    • New Zealand – 5,000
  • Europe – 420,000
    • UK – 60,000
    • France – 110,000
    • Germany – 50,000
    • Italy – 25,000
    • Spain – 50,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherlands – 20,000
    • Switzerland – 10,000
    • Austria – 5,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 1,900,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Charmbracelet (2002)

  • America
    • US – 1,200,000
    • Canada – 80,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 50,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 620,000
    • Japan – 360,000
    • South Korea – 60,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 20,000
    • New Zealand – 5,000
  • Europe – 740,000
    • UK – 130,000
    • France – 260,000
    • Germany – 60,000
    • Italy – 25,000
    • Spain – 50,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherlands – 25,000
    • Switzerland – 30,000
    • Austria – 5,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 2,800,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey the emancipation of mimi"
  • America
    • US – 6,150,000
    • Canada – 325,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 80,000
    • Mexico – 30,000
  • Asia – 520,000
    • Japan – 330,000
    • Taiwan – 35,000
    • South Korea – 30,000
    • Hong Kong – 40,000
    • Singapore – 5,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 130,000
    • New Zealand – 20,000
  • Europe – 1,250,000
    • UK – 660,000
    • France – 185,000
    • Germany – 120,000
    • Italy – 40,000
    • Spain – 10,000
    • Sweden – 10,000
    • Netherlands – 35,000
    • Switzerland – 20,000
    • Austria – 10,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 8,600,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

E=MC² (2008)

  • America
    • US – 1,350,000
    • Canada – 100,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 35,000
    • Mexico – 5,000
  • Asia – 250,000
    • Japan – 170,000
    • South Korea – 15,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 25,000
    • New Zealand – 5,000
  • Europe – 340,000
    • UK – 150,000
    • France – 55,000
    • Germany – 40,000
    • Italy – 20,000
    • Spain – 4,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherlands – 8,000
    • Switzerland – 6,000
    • Austria – 5,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 2,150,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey memoirs of an imperfect angel"
  • America
    • US – 575,000
    • Canada – 40,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 65,000
    • Mexico – 5,000
  • Asia – 140,000
    • Japan – 100,000
    • South Korea – 10,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 20,000
    • New Zealand – 2,000
  • Europe – 180,000
    • UK – 85,000
    • France – 30,000
    • Germany – 10,000
    • Italy – 15,000
    • Spain – 3,000
    • Sweden – 2,000
    • Netherlands – 3,000
    • Switzerland – 3,000
    • Austria – 1,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 1,050,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Merry Christmas II You (2010)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey merry christmas ii you"
  • America
    • US – 575,000
    • Canada – 45,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 5,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 90,000
    • Japan – 35,000
    • South Korea – 25,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 20,000
    • New Zealand – 3,000
  • Europe – 100,000
    • UK – 25,000
    • France – 10,000
    • Germany – 15,000
    • Italy – 15,000
    • Spain – 3,000
    • Sweden – 5,000
    • Netherlands – 3,000
    • Switzerland – N/A
    • Austria – 1,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 850,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014)

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "mariah carey me i am mariah"
  • America
    • US – 150,000
    • Canada – 10,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 25,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 45,000
    • Japan – 30,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 10,000
    • New Zealand – 1,000
  • Europe – 55,000
    • UK – 15,000
    • France – 8,000
    • Germany – 10,000
    • Italy – 5,000
    • Spain – 2,000
    • Sweden – 1,000
    • Netherlands – 3,000
    • Switzerland – 1,000
    • Austria – 1,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 300,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Original Album Sales – Comments

ND6_6354

1990 Mariah Carey – 14,050,000
1991 Emotions – 8,100,000
1993 Music Box – 26,100,000
1994 Merry Christmas – 13,400,000
1995 Daydream – 19,900,000
1997 Butterfly – 9,650,000
1999 Rainbow – 7,250,000
2001 Glitter – 1,900,000
2002 Charmbracelet – 2,800,000
2005 The Emancipation of Mimi – 8,600,000
2008 E=MC² – 2,150,000
2009 Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel – 1,050,000
2010 Merry Christmas II You – 850,000
2014 Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse – 300,000

A total of 116,1 million studio albums sold with 14 releases. Artists breaking the 100 million barrier with original outputs only are few, so this must be saluted already. The overall average is also impressive at 8,3 million while the 14 million plus average for her seven 90s albums is outstanding.

The top seller is Music Box as expected. Among historical top sellers, 26 million doesn’t look that massive, but one needs to consider Mariah Carey’s studio albums aren’t good catalog sellers at all. Thus, selling such a gigantic number of copies on the back of only a few years of sales is a terrific result.

1995 album Daydream was one more global top seller, although suffering from lower European sales in comparison to Music Box. In-between those two smashes, Merry Christmas, home of the utterly legendary All I Want For Christmas Is You, became one of the top-selling Christmas albums ever.

Obviously, such a tremendous string of smashes doesn’t last forever with sales remaining healthy but starting a decreasing trend from 1997. Glitter was a huge flop which killed Mariah’s status of mega seller. She remained capable of dropping an unreal comeback smash with The Emancipation of Mimi, although it is her only truly successful album from the last 17 years.

Physical Singles Sales

Even if Mariah Carey got extensive airplay during the entire 90s, largely boosting her US Singles Hot 100 results, she still sold her share of units, in the US but also abroad too. How much? It is time to find out!

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

1990-94

The Mariah Carey album was huge in North America, but failed to be as big elsewhere. This is well represented in its singles sales with figures around 800,000 units a piece, a common figure for a US smash that failed to do so well in Europe.

Continuing that way with the Emotions era, the diva then stepped up, reaching a whole new dimension with Music Box. Dreamlover, Hero and Without You were Top 10 hits in most relevant markets with the latter topping charts in several countries. With well past 6 million singles sold this era was definitely huge.

The era of Merry Christmas was naturally short, but still noteworthy. As All I Want for Christmas Is You smashed past the 2 million units mark in spite of not being released in the US. This was made possible by an incredible 1,4 million units shifted in Japan alone!

Mariah Carey (1990) – 1,025,000 equivalent albums
Dramatic performance of Mariah Carey

Vision of Love – 1,380,000
There’s Got to Be a Way – 15,000
I Don’t Wanna Cry – 370,000
Someday – 740,000
Love Takes Time – 910,000

Emotions (1991) – 591,000 equivalent albums

Emotions – 860,000
Can’t Let Go – 580,000
Make It Happen – 520,000
If It’s Over – 10,000

Music Box (1993) – 1,941,000 equivalent albums

Dreamlover – 1,370,000
Hero – 1,930,000
Anytime You Need a Friend – 750,000
Without You – 2,420,000

Merry Christmas (1994) – 651,000 equivalent albums

All I Want for Christmas Is You – 2,160,000
Joy to the World – 10,000

1995-2001

At the top of her game in the mid-90s, Mariah kept the train rolling with the release of Daydream. Three singles were issued from it in the US – all chart toppers, amassing the absurd total of 26 weeks at the top and 50 inside the Top 10. The biggest of all was One Sweet Day, one of the rare 2 million selling singles in the US and arguably the longest running #1 smash of all-time with 16 weeks at the top. Combined, Daydream hits sold 7,7 million units, the biggest era in this category for the artist.

Both Butterfly and Rainbow sold much less in album format than Music Box or Daydream. Regardless, both had terrific hits. The former had Honey and My All, two very solid sellers, while the latter had Heartbreaker. Amazingly, all her albums issued during the decade contained at least one #1 single.

This run was shot down by the Glitter era with Loverboy peaking at #2 and subsequent singles not even getting properly issued in the US, as the album’s reception was terrible.

Daydream (1995) – 2,321,000 equivalent albums
Mariah Carey - Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel I-Tunes Digital Booklet musicistheheartofoursoul-004

Fantasy – 2,590,000
Underneath the Stars – 10,000
One Sweet Day – 3,260,000
Open Arms – 260,000
Always Be My Baby – 1,610,000
Forever – 5,000

Butterfly (1997) – 1,191,000 equivalent albums

Honey – 1,740,000
Butterfly – 110,000
My All – 2,080,000
The Roof – 30,000
Breakdown – 10,000

Rainbow (1999) – 1,176,000 equivalent albums

Heartbreaker – 2,050,000
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) – 560,000
Crybaby – 380,000
Thank God I Found You – 930,000

Glitter (2001) – 327,000 equivalent albums

Loverboy – 770,000
Don’t Stop (Funkin’ 4 Jamaica) – 50,000
Reflections (Care Enough) – 120,000
Never Too Far – 90,000
Never Too Far / Hero – 60,000

2002 onwards

With the string of hits broken, and then the market disappearing when she made her successful 2005 comeback, Mariah didn’t sell many physical singles in the latter years of her career. It doesn’t mean this section doesn’t contain worthy hits though, as the Orphan section has as many as four 1 million sellers.

Those songs are covers / duets / singles from compilations, the common denominator being their success.

In total, the vocalist sold nearly 37 million physical singles. Considering her number of #1 hits, this may seem rather low. It was to be expected, though. In fact, while the US is the biggest market in the World, singles sales weren’t that much bigger than in leading European markets. While the US:UK ratio was more than 5 to 1 in the Album segment, during the 90s an average of 104 million singles per year were sold in the US against 68 million in the UK and 41 million in Germany. In other words, a big European hit maker was selling more than a big US smash artist. In Europe, while Mariah Carey did sell decent numbers, she was nowhere near the absolute beast she was in her homeland.

Charmbracelet (2002) – 99,000 equivalent albums
Mariah Carey

Through the Rain – 300,000
Boy (I Need You) – 30,000

The Emancipation of Mimi (2005) – 219,000 equivalent albums

It’s Like That – 190,000
We Belong Together – 340,000
Shake It Off – 90,000
Say Somethin’ – 30,000
Get Your Number – 30,000
Don’t Forget About Us – 50,000

E=MC² (2008) – 18,000 equivalent albums

Touch My Body – 50,000
Bye Bye – 10,000

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009) – 9,000 equivalent albums

Obsessed – 20,000
I Want to Know What Love Is – 10,000

Orphan – 1,499,000 equivalent albums

I’ll Be There – 1,010,000
Sweetheart – 150,000
When You Believe – 1,320,000
I Still Believe – 1,120,000
Endless Love –  1,000,000
I Know What You Want – 310,000
U Make Me Wanna – 80,000
Things That U Do – 5,000

Digital Singles Sales

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

1990-94

With abysmal catalog album sales for very long, Mariah is the kind of act who benefited from the cherry-picking capabilities of download sales. While not record breaking, figures of her old hits are fairly decent. Both Hero and Without You are million sellers as of now.

Obviously, the juggernaut of this section is All I Want For Christmas Is You. The cult holiday song is close to 10 million units overall thanks to significant sales everywhere, including in South Korea, plus healthy mastertones sales as well – although the RIAA 2xPlatinum award was ignored as this was most likely referring to download sales in reality. No need to say this is the highest selling digital song of her career.

Mariah Carey (1990) – 173,000 equivalent albums
Mariah Carey (5)

Vision of Love – 400,000
I Don’t Wanna Cry – 200,000
Someday – 200,000
Love Takes Time – 250,000
Remaining tracks – 100,000

Emotions (1991) – 105,000 equivalent albums

Emotions – 400,000
Can’t Let Go – 125,000
Make It Happen – 75,000
Remaining tracks – 100,000

Music Box (1993) – 450,000 equivalent albums

Dreamlover – 450,000
Hero – 1,300,000
Anytime You Need a Friend – 150,000
Without You – 1,000,000
Remaining tracks – 100,000

Merry Christmas (1994) – 1,800,000 equivalent albums

All I Want for Christmas Is You – 9,600,000
Remaining tracks – 2,400,000

1995-2002

Interestingly, songs from Daydream appear to be easily bigger in download sales than Music Box’s hits. Both Always Be My Baby and Fantasy are her top two selling catalog songs – Christmas tunes apart obviously. Songs coming from subsequent albums have been nowhere near as strong.

Daydream (1995) – 705,000 equivalent albums
Mariah Carey

Fantasy – 1,500,000
One Sweet Day – 900,000
Always Be My Baby – 1,900,000
Remaining tracks – 400,000

Butterfly (1997) – 218,000 equivalent albums

Honey – 400,000
Butterfly – 100,000
My All – 500,000
Breakdown – 150,000
Remaining tracks – 300,000

Rainbow (1999) – 210,000 equivalent albums

Heartbreaker – 600,000
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) – 300,000
Remaining tracks – 500,000

Glitter (2001) – 3,000 equivalent albums

Remaining tracks – 20,000

Charmbracelet (2002) – 45,000 equivalent albums

Through the Rain – 125,000
Remaining tracks – 175,000

2005 onwards

Reaching hits issued during the digital era – although it was just getting started when The Emancipation of Mimi came out – figures overall are much more healthy.

At 3,4 million We Belong Together doesn’t seem so big. We need to consider that the South Korean market and ringtones had yet to grow and that even downloads in the US were still rather modest. This is why Touch My Body or even Obsessed haven’t sold that much less in spite of being nowhere near as successful.

The Emancipation of Mimi (2005) – 1,110,000 equivalent albums
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It’s Like That – 800,000
We Belong Together – 3,400,000
Shake It Off – 1,400,000
Say Somethin’ – 200,000
Don’t Forget About Us – 1,000,000
Remaining tracks – 600,000

E=MC² (2008) – 765,000 equivalent albums

Touch My Body – 3,200,000
Bye Bye – 1,200,000
Remaining tracks – 700,000

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009) – 690,000 equivalent albums

Obsessed – 2,500,000
Angels Cry – 600,000
I Want to Know What Love Is – 500,000
Remaining tracks – 1,000,000

Merry Christmas II You (2010) – 315,000 equivalent albums

Oh Santa! – 500,000
When Christmas Comes – 800,000
Remaining tracks – 800,000

Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014) – 390,000 equivalent albums

#Beautiful – 2,000,000
You’re Mine (Eternal) – 200,000
The Art of Letting Go – 150,000
Remaining tracks – 250,000

Orphan – 540,000 equivalent albums

I’ll Be There – 200,000
When You Believe – 700,000
I Still Believe – 200,000
Endless Love – 300,000
I Know What You Want – 1,000,000
Triumphant – 300,000
Remaining tracks – 900,000

Streaming Sales

Mariah_Carey

As seen with the example of the Beatles, today the weight of Spotify is steadily increasing, representing as much as 63,5% of overall streams on their platform. The Swedish giant recently announced they broke the 50-million barrier of paid subscribers.

What is this section about? Here we will be reviewing streams from all songs and all albums by Mariah, converting each of them into equivalent album sales. The equivalent album sales is the division of the comprehensive streaming figure by 1500 as is now the norm in the new industry model.

Streaming Part 1

With only one song over 10 million streams at Spotify, both Mariah Carey and Emotions do not perform too well when it comes to streaming.

They follow the same pattern as tons of albums, which are successful upon release but have since been weak catalog sellers. One hit bigger than average (but not too big), all old singles over 1 million streams and then album tracks in 6 digits. This pretty standard performance is the equivalent of 34,000 and 27,000 albums sold respectively.

Streaming Part 2

No song from Music Box is really that big – you will be hard pressed to identify another 20 million plus seller from the 90s with no hit single over 40 million streams. It does however have two very solid songs and a third that’s rather decent as well. Combined, streams of songs from this album are equal to 94,000 equivalent albums sold.

The real deal is Merry Christmas. The ever-popular seasonal album is extensively streamed every year at Christmas, fully enjoying the market boom. If all album tracks between 4 million to 14 million streams is already a valuable result, the total of All I Want For Christmas Is You of 225 million is absolutely magnificent. If you wonder how it ranks among other 90s songs, this tune is third overall only topped by Oasis and Nirvana classics Wonderwall and Smells Like Teen Spirit. The result is obviously good with a notable 312,000 equivalent album sales for this Christmas LP.

Streaming Part 3

Just like in download sales, Daydream’s singles dominate Music Box’s songs when it comes to streaming. Always Be My Baby is the leading force at 56 million while Fantasy is a huge second at 45 million. In spite of a healthy 26 million streams, One Sweet Day is only third. Interestingly, the ranking of those three songs in digital formats is the opposite of the one in physical sales. All things told, Daydream streams represent an impressive 150,000 equivalent album sales.

Surprisingly, both Butterfly and Rainbow crash Mariah Carey’s eponymous debut album in the streaming area. Both contain various million streamers plus a pair of 10+ million songs, concluding on 54,000 and 60,000 equivalent album sales respectively.

Streaming Part 4

The Glitter album is absent from Spotify as of now. Very often in distinct situations, fans complain about the lack of promotion and / or exposure some records from their favorite artists are (not) receiving. Reality is that everyone wants to earn money so if there is potential to sell a product it will be exploited. The absence of Glitter is no casualty, whatever labels debate involved, had the album had some kind of potential it would be present within the platform by now.

Charmbracelet was regarded as an OK-rebound after the Glitter disaster when first released, although little seems to be remembered from that era. The lead single Through the Rain is barely at 4 million which is still 4 times more than any other song! It sold the equivalent of a mere 11,000 album units.

Streaming Part 5

Success apart, streams of The Emancipation of Mimi as well as E=MC² reveal more contemporary songs. Indeed, the most striking event isn’t the big streams of main singles, which could have been guessed, but instead the entire tracklists consistency. Those better album track streams reflect album streams rather than songs streams, which were managed by previous albums.

At 125,000 equivalent album sales, the first one still falls short of Daydream while E=MC² has 50,000 equivalent units.

Streaming Part 6

The tentative comeback titled Merry Christmas II You, a sequel of the only catalog record from the singer that was remaining hot, failed to attract the masses. In streams, the story is the same with 14 times lower totals than its predecessor at 22,000 equivalent album sales.

Memoirs songs are already on their way to being forgotten too with tallies fairly low for such recent tunes. #Beautiful looks good at 55 million in comparison to Mariah’s catalog, but for a 2014 lead single this is pretty modest.

Streaming Part 7

A variety of songs of all kinds, led by a pair of solid hits – a surprising I Know What You Want at 34 million and a classic duet When You Believe at 22 million. Most of the recent songs from this list (including Infinity) have horrendous totals.

Full Length related records Sales

Mariah Carey

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, instead they exploit the value 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 how worthy the original is, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains it all.

Remaining Long Format Part 1 – First Compils & Lives

How to understand this table? If you check for example the MTV Unplugged live album line, those figures mean it sold 6,500,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all songs included on this package add for 49 million streaming plays on Spotify.

The second part on the right of the table shows how many streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package streams. Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from Emotions are responsible for 47% of the MTV Unplugged tracklist attractiveness, which means it generated 3,087,000 of its 6,500,000 album sales and so on for the other records.

It is well known that Emotions was much weaker than Mariah’s debut album. Something underrated is MTV Unplugged, which contains its biggest songs, and came out only 9 months after the studio album. Mariah Carey lasted 66 weeks inside the Top 40 US Album Chart against only 34 for Emotions. It started its freefall, from comfortably inside the Top 50 to out of the Top 100, one month later. Very precisely when MTV Unplugged was released, obvious evidence of cannibalization.

In the same way, Music Box is always regarded as the diva’s uncontested biggest album ever. Something interesting appears within #1’s distribution as Daydream is responsible for a bigger share of its sales. That album was released closer to the compilation, meaning it had less years to sell well. Especially since when entering catalog status, Music Box was being boosted precisely thanks to Daydream’s success. It explains why in pure album sales Daydream is so much lower while it topped Music Box in all three singles formats.

Later compilations included All I Want For Christmas Is You which easily made it the main creator of album sales, although those packages sold nowhere near as much as #1’s.

Remaining Long Format Part 2 – Later Compils & Lives

This is not really worth commenting on much since all the recent compilations are fairly low sellers. Expected providers dominate their tracklists – Music Box, Daydream and, when included, The Emancipation of Mimi.

Remaining Long Format Part 3 – Music Videos

A good music videos seller, Mariah Carey registered more than 3 million sales in this format. Most of them are paired with a compilation album so they fit to the same distribution between attractiveness creators.

Full Length related records Sales – Summary

Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated. Due to the dependency of the original studio album’s sales on those releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, the album which generated the most sales of secondary packages is Daydream at 8,3 million. Music Box at 5,6 million isn’t that much ahead of the first two albums which contributed strongly on MTV Unplugged’s success.

BONUS – Compilation Albums Sales

MTV Unplugged (1992)

  • America
    • US – 3,100,000
    • Canada – 200,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 150,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 1,025,000
    • Japan – 525,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 150,000
    • New Zealand – 40,000
  • Europe – 1,610,000
    • UK – 300,000
    • France – 225,000
    • Germany – 300,000
    • Italy – 75,000
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – 40,000
    • Netherlands – 240,000
    • Switzerland – 35,000
    • Austria – 25,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 6,500,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

#1’s (1998)

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  • America
    • US – 5,550,000
    • Canada – 420,000
    • Argentina – 50,000
    • Brazil – 300,000
    • Mexico – 150,000
  • Asia – 5,480,000
    • Japan – 3,700,000
    • South Korea  – 380,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 150,000
    • New Zealand – 35,000
  • Europe – 3,600,000
    • UK – 750,000
    • France – 730,000
    • Germany – 475,000
    • Italy – 350,000
    • Spain – 175,000
    • Sweden – 130,000
    • Netherlands – 120,000
    • Switzerland – 100,000
    • Austria – 55,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 15,950,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Greatest Hits (2001)

  • America
    • US – 1,300,000
    • Canada – 75,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 90,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 850,000
    • Japan – 400,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 180,000
    • New Zealand – 25,000
  • Europe – 1,480,000
    • UK – 825,000
    • France – 185,000
    • Germany – 125,000
    • Italy – 50,000
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherlands – 40,000
    • Switzerland – 20,000
    • Austria – 10,000
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 4,100,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in too.

Mariah Carey Career CSPC Results

So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each Mariah Carey album achieved? Well, at this point we don’t need to add up all the figures found 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


Big albums by themselves in their original form, Mariah Carey’s studio albums do not enjoy a massive boost from compilation sales generated. This is even more true since those compilations sold on the back of many hits with no original album having a truly dominant contribution. Both Music Box and Daydream still get the needed extra push to jump over 30 million equivalent album sales from all formats combined. The former still has the lead but a lead likely not as big as expected.

Each of Mariah’s first six albums are on 13 million or more perfectly summarizing the immense popularity of the artist during the 90s. At 9 million plus each, Rainbow and The Emancipation of Mimi results will create their share of frustration. However, those numbers are still very good by anyone’s standards.

A real gap separates those albums from the rest as no other record passes even 3 million overall equivalent album sales. The fall is brutal for each release since in the last decade. Will one new record ever be able to reverse this trajectory?

Anyway, Mariah Carey sold a total of 167,15 million equivalent albums. More than 140 million have been generated by her 90s outputs alone, more than 10 million short of the value created by Celine Dion’s records in that same time frame. Nevertheless, both totals are utterly gigantic. The following page lists Mariah’s most successful songs.

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

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, Chartmasters.org.

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