CSPC: Prince Popularity Analysis



So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Prince 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)

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers


Purple Rain emerges far and away as Prince‘s most successful album. It registers over 37 million sales on the back of all formats. The album continues to sell well and its streams started off strong since its wide availability from February 2017.

We tend to say that the 80s legend has been strongly inconsistent. While Purple Rain is a one-in-a-lifetime blockbuster, follow ups are numerous and solid. There is as many as 6 albums fighting for the second spot. 1999, Diamonds and Pearls, Parade, Sign ‘O’ The Times, Batman and Around the Word in A Day, in that order, range from 11,5 million to 7,5 million. The average of these 6 albums is over 9 million which shows the singer has been widely popular during many years.

Actually, every album from 1978’s For You to 1994’s The Gold Experience reached at least 1 million equivalent album sales. From 1981’s Controversy to 1992’s Love Symbol Album every era topped 3 million EAS.

The average per release dropped drastically after his departure from Warner. The artist got one more comeback with 2004’s Musicology. Frozen for several years due to the lack of its availability on all formats, the recent arrival of the record on Spotify & cie may push it over the 3 million mark at some point.

Over a career of 38 years plus 2 seasons of posthumous sales, the mastermind amassed 131,92 million equivalent album sales. An incredibly innovative artist that shared new sounds, new formats (he sold downloads virtually before anyone else), new concepts, and new promotion methods, Prince managed to combine all his experiments with highly successful records during his extensive career.

To go deeper…

Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that their sales represent 21,81 million times the purchase of his entire discography. Coupled with his total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 304. This puts him ahead of other legends like David Bowie and Bob Dylan.

Additionally, the following pages list their most successful songs as well as their records and achievements. Do not forget to check our amazing cross-artists lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector which includes the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far.

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

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Discogs, Chartmasters.org.

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