Depeche Mode albums and songs sales

80s New Wave is now everything but new, yet Depeche Mode continue to storm into charts with all their releases.

Responsible for 15 studio albums up to their 2023 set Memento Mori, we dig into their sales from their debut to date.

CSPC Depeche Mode albums and songs sales
Background image: Michael Ochs Archives | David Corio

Looking at the big picture: Depeche Mode

Four talents with a name leaving everyone wondering what does it mean

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vince Clarke started pairing with schoolmate keyboardist Andy Fletcher in 1977. They were joined by guitarist and keyboardist Martin Gore as well as lead singer Dave Gahan in 1980. These four, all 20 or below back then, were the British band’s original founding members.

First called Composition of Sound, they changed their name to Dépêche Mode this latter year. In French, “dépêche” means hurry, while “mode” stands for fashion, which led a lot of people, including Martin Gore, translate it as “Hurried fashion”.

In truth, Dépêche also means a short, brief news coming from press agencies, typically AFP. So it’s more about fashion news, and that’s exactly what it was, as from 1979 to 2001 this was a French monthly fashion magazine. Dave Gahan, who was interesting in fashion design back then, came with that idea, and other band member agreed it sounded great.

Depeche Mode magazine, August 1981 cover

From the moment the four young boys got together, everything went very fast. They recorded their first single – Dreaming of Me – before the year was over. The following one, 1981, saw them get famous with their hit Just Can’t Get Enough, supporting their debut album Speak & Spell.

The music sounded very fresh with a whole lot of fun. Influenced by electronic music pioneers like cult German band Kraftwerk and English icons OMD, as well as booming fellow New wave band The Cure, Depeche Mode immediately imposed its music heavy on synthetizers.

For purists, while they debuted with affordable instruments, they mostly used an ARP 2600, a real pop culture mastodon as its presence went from David Bowie to Michael Jackson‘s Thriller to Star Wars‘ R2-D2 to Jean-Michel Jarre.

Vince Clark leaves, Alan Wilder arrives

While all indicators were green, the band’s songwriter, Vince Clark, left after the first album. It was a huge loss as shown by his later success. In fact, Clark went on to create Yazoo (1981-82) and Erasure (1983 to date), two bands which actually got bigger than Depeche Mode in their homeland. More on that later.

To replace him, the group recruited trained musician Alan Wilder, who appeared to be a highly valuable asset too.

While Wilder was a skilled arranger and producer, Martin Gore took over songwriting duties. This led the band to adopt a darker approach to their lyrics and instrumentals.

In their early years, they were very prolific, with the release of one album per year. 1982’s A Broken Frame and 1983’s Construction Time Again got one UK Top 10 hit each, and kept the band name growing across Europe.

1984’s Some Great Reward provided them their first US hit with People Are People. This delayed success over there led their label to exploit their new popularity with two local compilations, People Are People titled after the hit single and Catching Up with Depeche Mode.

Both the compilation The Singles 81-85 and 1986’s effort Black Celebration continued the sequence of the band to claim at least 2 UK top 20 hits from each of their first 6 albums.

Snobbed in the UK, kings in Europe

That being said, their albums were struggling to reach Gold (100,000 units) in their homeland, while both Vince Clark‘s bands Yazoo and Erasure had albums which reached Platinum status (300,000 units) already. Still, from mid-80s Depeche Mode‘s profile increased a lot in continental Europe.

From 1987’s Music For The Masses, they were superstars there, selling bucketloads in countries like France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, etc.

They took their first pause from recording in late 80s, although the classic live album 101 came out in 1989.

Then, they returned with their biggest smash album in 1990, Violator. Home to some of their best songs like Personal Jesus and Enjoy The Silence, it reached multi-platinum status in the US, Germany, France, etc.

Even in the UK, the album made it past 300,000 units, a miracle for them, although it took Violator so long that their label Mute never bothered to officially apply for the certification.

This new level of popularity was evident with the release of Songs of Faith and Devotion in 1993, with the album storming at the top of charts in the US as well as Europe’s big three markets.

While on surface it was all good news for the band, in background the band was ravaged. Gahan was addicted to drugs since the Violator tour, Gore to Alcohol, Fletcher was in depression, unable to finish their tour, and Wilder was isolated, feeling disrecpected by others. Dealing with the pressure of success is obviously never easy.

Depeche Mode becomes a trio, members fight their demons

Wilder was bored to put so much of himself for so few recognition, he left the band in 1995. Gore was writing material, ready record a new album, but Gahan‘s condition was worsening so much that he wasn’t able to record a thing anymore.

After almost passing away due to an overdose, the lead singer entered a rehab program in 1996. At that point, even fans were doubtful that the band would be able to continue.

They managed to recompose themselves and come back with their 9th album, their first as a trio, 1997’s Ultra. They avoided to tour as they were still mostly unfit, going on the road a year later instead when Singles 86>98 was released.

Albums kept coming out about every 4 years, as both Gahan and Gore were investing more of their time to solo projects. Their success started to collapse in most English-speaking markets, while remaining strong in their best markets.

Tributes to Andrew Fletcher

On May 26, 2022, founding member Andrew Fletcher passed away after suffering an aortic dissection, a rare disease with dramatic consequences as about half of the cases lead to deaths within’ 3 days.

Following the natural tributes from his bandmates and plenty of fellow British musicians, Gahan and Gore got back to studio as a duo, with no replacement to Fletcher.

This brought their 15th and last studio album to date, 2023’s Memento Mori.

While their consistency and stability over the last 4 decades are incredible, it may come as a shock to know that the band never got a single #1 in the UK, nor in the US… in fact, they never even touched the top 3 in both countries. It rises questions about how successful really are Depeche Mode?

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!

The Depeche Mode Album Sales

CSPC Depeche Mode album sales breakdowns

Updated Studio Album Sales & Comments

One has to applause how solid sales of Depeche Mode‘s studio album have been during their first 25 years.

Indeed, there aren’t that many artists who can say they recorded 11 consecutive albums spread over 3 decades which sold over 2.5 million copies each.

Of course, from late 00s their sales started to go down due to both the collapsing market and their own success possibly decreasing too – we are going to verify that with subsequent sales metrics lower down.

Their top performer here is the expected one, Violator, with sales now in excess of 10 million. Some of its statistics are particularly impressive, like its 4.2 million European sales despite less than half a million in the UK.

Remaining albums are pretty close, with Music for the Masses ranking second with over 5.5 million sales while Songs of Faith and Devotion and Black Celebration are up next with around 4.5 million each.

There are also some truly awkard data here and there. Among others, it’s quite insane that some of their top sellers haven’t even made it past 200,000 units in their homeland, where this mark used to be easy to reach for big global albums.

It all gets even weirder when we know that during their peak years (1987-1992), original founder Vince Clarke‘s new band Erasure outsold Depeche Mode by about 4 to 1 in the UK.

In the other side, from 1981 to 2006, their 17 studio albums, compilations and remix albums sold over 300,000 units each in Germany. The first 14 of them also cracked 200,000 units in Italy, a market over 3 times weaker than the UK.

To put it simple, Depeche Mode belong to the very best selling international acts ever in most continental Europe countries, and it gets even wilder in Eastern Europe like in Poland or Russia. They actually have some studio albums selling more in these countries than in the UK, something almost unheard of among international artists.

A very nice figure is their total of pure album sales which stands at just over 50 million.

Want to compare Depeche Mode’s albums with others?

The Depeche Mode songs sales

Below, we list down results from the artist through physical sales, digital sales and streaming.

Please be aware that when the artist is regarded as the lead act, they are rewarded with 100% of these units. However, featured acts share a 50% piece of the total.

CSPC - Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept - Physical singles

Physical Singles

As a reminder, the weighting is a 10 to 3 ratio between albums and physical singles.

In general, artists who have been around a long time have the same pattern with physical singles: they got multiple strong sellers early on, then next to nothing as their fans got older and moved to albums.

Depeche Mode somewhat managed to continue selling relevant amounts of physical singles as long as this format continued to be a thing.

Their big breakthrough hit Just Can’t Get Enough is way down outside of their personal top 15, although with a healthy 585,000 units. Nearly half come from the UK, where it peaked at 8, and with a decent portion of its sales coming from recurrent sales as they used to keep their singles in print unlike most other artists.

People Are People, in good part thanks to its success in the US (#13), but also good results in Europe (#1 in Germany, #4 in the UK #4) turned into their first million seller. Up to over 1.75 million, it remains their second best seller.

Master And Servant got to a million as well a few months later, and again with Shake the Disease, then they had to wait until 1987’s Strangelove to get another one.

In-between, tons of songs moved large quantities too despite not reaching 7 digits. Everything Counts came close, and did it once the 1989 live reissue is added.

See You, Get the Balance Right!, Love in Itself, It’s Called a Heart, Blasphemous Rumours, A Question of Time, A Question of Lust, Stripped, Never Let Me Down Again, Behind The Wheel, all these songs got close or past half a million.

GSA markets were already strongly supporting them. From 1984 to 1987, they got no less than 10 top 10 hits in Germany alone, with 7 of these peaking at 4 or better.

Singles from Violator did wonders too. Personal Jesus moved over 1.6 million units despite incredibly missing the top 10 in both the US and the UK.

Enjoy the Silence raised the bar, hitting #1 in Spain, #2 in Germany, #3 in France, #5 in Italy, #6 in the UK and #8 in the US. It sold 1.8 million under its original version, with Linkin Park‘s Mike Shinoda revisit of the track in 2004 pushing it past 2 million. It stands as their biggest selling single to date.

Policy of Truth and World in My Eyes closed a huge era with a combined 1.5 million sales.

In the rest of the 90s, I Feel You was one more million seller, with again many selling around half a million including Walking in My Shoes, Barrel of a Gun, It’s No Good and Only When I Lose Myself.

While physical singles completely disappeared over the course of the 00s, singles from Exciter and Playing the Angel added for over half a million per era.

Throughout their career they moved no less than 25 million physical singles.

CSPC - Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept - Download music iTunes Amazon Google Melon

Digital Songs

As a reminder, the weighting is calculated using a 10 to 1.5 ratio between albums and digital singles.

Despite serious competition, Enjoy the Silence reigns as part of Depeche Mode discography also with digital sales, thanks to more than 2 million downloads and ringtones.

Personal Jesus is a close runner up, itself over 1.7 million. Just Can’t Get Enough ranks much higher on downloads than it does with physical sales, completing the top 3 with also past a million units.

At 4 and 5 are the band’s two biggest singles of the iTunes era, Precious, closing in on 800,000 units, and Wrong, not too far behind.

More legacy tracks are around half a million, these are Policy of Truth, People Are People, Everything Counts and Strangelove.

While many of their songs are well remembered, some ended up forgotten through the years. Below 100,000 we can found former hits The Meaning of Love, Love in Itself, Get the Balance Right!, A Question of Lust, It’s Called a Heart, or Barrel of a Gun.

Overall numbers are good at 17 million, especially for a band which perform the best on markets which never really embraced downloads.

CSPC - Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept - Streaming platforms numbers

Streaming

Streaming is made up of both audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology includes both formats to better reflect the real popularity of each track.

The main source of data for each avenue is Spotify and YouTube, respectively. To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.

In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.

Audio Streams
– South Korea: Genie streams * 2.20 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan: AWA streams * 100 / 4 (AWA has 4% of the Japanese streaming market)
– Arabic world: Anghami streams
– Sub-Saharan Africa: Boomplay + Audiomack streams
– Elsewhere: Spotify streams * Spotify market shares based on artists’ market distribution

Video Streams
– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)
– Elsewhere : Youtube views increased by 10% to account for various local platforms

*since Chinese streaming platforms are mostly video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.

Audio Stream value – 1,500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 6,750 views equal 1 album unit

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * ArtistRatio + Genie * 2.20 + AWA * 100 / 4 + Anghami + Boomplay + Audiomack ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube * 1.1 ) / 6750

Top Hits

CSPC Depeche Mode top streaming hits

The same top 3 in the same order repeats on streaming as with downloads, with Enjoy the Silence leading the way ahead of Personal Jesus and Just Can’t Get Enough.

This is a strong podium, with these tracks combining for over 1.4 billion streams on Spotify alone.

In part thanks to live versions recording terrific numbers, their YouTube views are great too, leading several songs in triple-triple, with over 100 million views on both Spotify and YouTube.

These are Never Let Me Down Again, Policy of Truth, Strangelove, and Precious, with the 2005 track now firmly part of their classics. The former is a bit higher on streams than on downloads, mostly thanks to the boost it received from its usage on the first episode of the TV series The Last of Us.

Impressively, each of their 15 albums total over 50,000 equivalent album sales from streams, including 13 in 6 digits. Their catalog has no dead meat.

Logically, Violator leads the way with 1.7 million, which highlights how alive it still is.

Full catalog breakdown

If you are familiar with the artist’s catalog and want to check details of each and every song, you can access to all of them right here.

Keep yourself up to date

Our website provides you a fantastic tool which fetches updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!

Want to compare Depeche Mode’ songs with other top hits?

The Depeche Mode compilations 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 generate sales over 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 with each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP when such compilations are issued.

Thus, to accurately 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:

The distribution process

CSPC Depeche Mode The Singles 86 98 sales distribution

How do you understand this table? For example, check the The Singles 86>98 line, these figures mean it sold 3,705,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included in this package add for 2,533,855 equivalent album sales from streams across all formats.

The second part (on the right of the table) shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents in the overall package.

Therefore, the streaming figures convey that songs from Violator equate to 62% of The Singles 86>98‘s tracklist attractiveness. Meaning, it generated 2,292,630 of its 3,705,000 album sales and so on for the other records.

Compilations sales figures listing

From the very beginning, Depeche Mode managed to install a mindset of complete my discography among their followers.

That’s done by keeping your singles on print, putting weaker tracks under the spotlights by providing valuable remixes for every single not only the biggies, covering clear periods with compilations, removing former ones when a new one fullfil the same purpose, etc.

Ultimately, this gives fans the feeling that every release has a meaning, and as such a value, unlike discographies where there are dozens and dozens of compilations covering always the same tracks.

Thanks to that, while maintaining their studio albums alive, the band has been able to sell a combined 11 million units of their 3 main compilations The Singles 81 → 85, The Singles 86>98 and their 2006 replacement The Best Of (Volume 1). They also came on music video formats which moved 1 million together. On top of that, the first two compilations sold nearly 600,000 copies through a 2-CD box.

They also moved very solid numbers with live sets, most notably 1989’s 101, but also live albums paired with all their 1993-2017 albums minus Ultra, all these releases total sales of over 6 million albums and 3 million videos.

Then, of course, as an electronic music artist, Depeche Mode has some very famous remixes, with the 2004 package doing wonders at over 1.5 million sales. They also sold through many collector items boxing their singles together.

CSPC Depeche Mode compilation sales distribution

Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales across all versions that were generated. Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw.

These numbers are obtained by applying the method from the section The distribution process to all packages listed under Compilation sales figures listing category.

Both Speak & Spell and Violator dominate this table, with over 7.5 million sales of additional long formats powered by each of them.

It comes as no surprise as both contain easily the biggest hits of both periods covered by their main compilations and live sets.

Remaining albums perform very well on their own too with Music for the Masses, Some Great Reward and Construction Time Again responsible for an average of 3 million units each.

Of course, as compilations are selling poorly these days and the new sets barely got time to place songs on new releases, their contribution is very limited.

Bonus: Top selling compilations’ breakdowns

CSPC Depeche Mode top compilations sales breakdowns

Total Album (all types) Sales per Country

CSPC Depeche Mode album sales by market

Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.

Depeche Mode Career CSPC Results

CSPC Depeche Mode albums and songs sales

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

Albums CSPC results

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


Almost leading each of the 5 sales avenues, Violator shoots close to 23 million equivalent album sales, a very impressive figure all things considered.

It’s all way more spread out below the leader, with multiple albums recording similar numbers. Speak & Spell and Music for the Masses occupy spots 2 and 3, with roughly 11 million sales each.

Depeche Mode crack comfortably 5 million sales with many albums, Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, Songs of Faith and Devotion, Construction Time Again, Ultra, they all got there, with the former ones still aiming at crossing 10 million in the long run.

One additional album from each 80s-00s decades, A Broken Frame, Exciter, and Playing the Angel, top 3 million. This 11-albums string is near perfect, with no low at all. Even albums which felt not strong early on like Ultra end up with solid numbers once all metrics are factored in.

Of course, this couldn’t last forever, and numbers got lower with albums released since 2009 to date. It’s not like they collapsed though, and these lower numbers are in part due to the lack of time they had to amass larger scores.

Among them, Sounds of the Universe is on its way to reach 2 million, Spirit is now over a million after 6 years of sales, and Memento Mori will likely get there at some point too. We can see that time will only improve them as the latter is already nearly as high as the previous on streaming sales.

All in all, Depeche Mode stand at over 98 million equivalent albums sales, poised to break over the 100 million bareer in the upcoming years. They will be the first 80s UK band to do so.

Singles CSPC results

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.

Discography results

Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that sales represent 23.90 million times the purchase of entire discography. Coupled with total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 262.

The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.

Records & Achievements

  • At 98,585,000 EAS, Depeche Mode are the most successful British band to debut during the 80s.
  • At 22,908,000 EAS, Violator is the 2nd most successful album from 1990.
  • Depeche Mode belong to the few international artists with over 10 million pure album sales in Germany, and 5 million in each France and Italy.
  • Depeche Mode are one of the biggest artists ever with no top 3 hit singles in either the US or the UK.

NB: EAS means Equivalent Album Sales.


Dynamic Spotify Key Performance Indicators

Please note that numbers below are retrieved automatically, so they will evolve day by day unlike previously listed data which is valid as of the publication date of the article.

Depeche Mode

Depeche

Current followers count: 6,192,182
6,000,000 followers have been reached on 12/26/23
5,000,000 followers have been reached on 01/15/23
4,000,000 followers have been reached on 07/20/21
3,000,000 followers have been reached on 05/16/20
>> Daily breakdown

Depeche Mode is #458 among the most followed artists of all-time
>> Visit our Top 5,000 most followed artists ranking

Current streams count: 4,140,717,484
4,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 02/27/24
3,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 01/17/23
2,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 03/10/21
>> Daily breakdown

Depeche Mode is #453 among the most streamed artists of all-time
Popularity Rating: /100

>> Visit our Top 1,000 most streamed artists ranking
>> Visit our Top 20 highest rated artists ranking

Current monthly listeners: 13,379,274 (Trend: 150,996)
Global chart position: N/A
The artist top 50 cities come from 25 distinct countries
>> Global impact breakdown

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

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Discogs, Billboard.

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To put Depeche Mode‘ figures into perspective, click to reach career breakdowns of more alternative rock bands:

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