Iron Maiden albums and songs sales
Intense music, brilliant lyrics, impactful visuals, outstanding live performances, when you put together a whole identity that you carry on for decades, it ends up almost natural for your brand, Iron Maiden, to gain an almost religious status inside your community.
Satanists for some, an outlet from the everyday life and its struggles for others, the heavy metal legends leave no one indifferent. As time passes, the latter perception becomes more and more common. Wearing one of their iconic t-shirts will most likely get people look at you with a smile than anything else.
Up to 17 studio album since the release of Senjutsu, the discography of Iron Maiden keeps growing while retaining its mythical status. If something is poorly covered on media yet, it is their commercial success. We remediate it.
It may seem easier to sell well through the years when you are an older rock band. In truth, most groups enjoying a significant following, critical acclaim and reccurent sales belong to the golden age of classic rock, from mid-60s to early 70s.
In the other side, many 80s bands were old news a few years later. Iron Maiden are one of the rare exceptions, which highlights the credit they gained among rock fans through the years.
In fact, if we check the near 100 bands part of the new wave of British heavy metal listed by Wikipedia, among which Iron Maiden, all the others add for roughtly the same number of cumulative streams on Spotify than Iron Maiden alone, even though it includes popular names like Motörhead and Def Leppard.
The consistency of their discography and how they managed to build a brand, with the famous example of their fictional character Eddie, certainly helped to conclude on these results.
Reaching a store and buying a CD that could be seen as controversial by the general public is a bigger step than simply streaming a song though. So, without ever crossing over to the masses, how many albums have the band been able to sell?
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge their results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Iron Maiden albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will also determine their true popularity.
If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a nice and short video of explanations. I fully recommend watching it before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the numbers directly.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. In the first place, there is this Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a pair of minutes.
If you are a mathematical person, and 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 sales figures in detail in order to apply this concept and define the act’s true popularity!
Iron Maiden Album Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
Obviously, Iron Maiden have no Back In Black, IV, or Metallica‘s black album. Their covers alone used to be seen as too shocking, nowhere near consensual enough to break over the main audience.
This being said, every new album of the band have been a major event inside the metal community, and catalog sales of their classics have been healthy and steady through many years.
Their figures, with each of their first 7 albums posting from 4.2 million to 8.3 million sales, reveal the massive loyalty of their fans, who tend to be completists with the group, picking up all their albums.
Various sets of reissues came out in recent times, showing that even the most recent releases become great catalog sellers on their own unlike most artists who continue to sell only products from their hey-days.
Thanks to this, 90s albums No Prayer for the Dying and Fear of the Dark are past 3 million too, while even the Bruce Dickinson-less (the band’s singer from 1981 to 1993 and since 1999 to date) albums X Factor and Virtual XI sold upwards of a million.
They maintained sales of over a million per release until 2015’s The Book of Souls. So far, Senjutsu is half way to this mark, but all numbers should be valued keeping in mind how many years of catalog sales they had, while this later release has been on sale for two months only.
In total, their 17 studio albums add for 56.8 million sales, an average of 3.3 million per disc. No need to say that securing this average throughout over 40 years and 17 releases while never appealing to the masses is stunning.
Iron Maiden Songs Sales
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
Metal acts tend to sell few physical singles, and Iron Maiden are no exception.
On paper, one can easily claim they were super successful since they scored an impressive 17 UK Top 10 hits.
This statistic shows chart facts can be misleading to reveal the popularity of an artist.
In fact, when we take a deeper look, during their golden period from 1980 to 1986, they only got one top 10 single – the 200k+ seller Run to the Hills, a #7 hit which lasted 5 weeks inside the top 20.
From 1988 to 2007, when they weren’t as strong and faced their worst period in 1994-98, they dropped 21 singles, never charting lower than #21 with 16 of them hitting the top 10.
Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter even managed a couple of weeks at #1.
The thing is, all these singles debuted high thanks to the already existing fanbase, often benefiting from weak weeks to chart high on not-that-strong sales as with their only chart topper released for New Year’s eve.
Their last top 10, 2007’s Different World, illustrates the situation very well as after debuting as high as #3, it was down to #73 a fortnight later.
Another misleading conclusion from their UK top 10 tally is that one tends to see it as an universal truth. In truth, they sold 2.4 million in the UK outside of their 4.6 million global total. It’s just that UK music fans had this culture of collecting singles for very long.
In Germany for example, where the band is just as strong as in the UK, they have never got a top 20 hit. In spite of this, it remains their second largest market for physical singles sales.
These comments also mean that it isn’t that relevant to detail single by single sales, as they are barely reflective of their organic popularity.
The only numbers that can be regarded as somewhat telling are the ones from their 80s singles.
On them, we can see that Run to the Hills is the strongest seller at 585,000. This feels very natural as it was the lead single of their biggest era, supporting the album on its way to become the first ever new wave heavy metal #1 LP in the UK.
Running Free, The Number of the Beast, Flight of Icarus, The Trooper, 2 Minutes to Midnight and Can I Play with Madness are the remaining 200,000 plus sellers.
If several of them are definitive metal classics, we will see that not all of them belong to the most remembered tracks of the band.
It’s worth noting that in these days of physical singles’ collectors resurgence, the band has yet to exploit the field as they haven’t issue a new title nor a reissue since 2016’s Empire of the Clouds.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
No, Iron Maiden have no Jump, Nothing Else Matters, Sweet Child O Mine or Livin’ On A Prayer.
They do have an entire discography of relevant tracks. Even with no well remembered hit, Iron Maiden songs add for 250,000 downloads sold, while Killers‘ songs are at 180,000.
Figures grow with the next albums. The Number of the Beast title track stands at 640,000, Run to the Hills is over half a million while the epic Hallowed Be Thy Name is strong too at 370,000.
In total, songs from this album sold 1.67 million, which is almost as much as some of the largest crossover hits from the 80s.
The Trooper tops them all still at nearly 800,000. Flight of Icarus has a good residual popularity as well, same as Aces High, 2 Minutes to Midnight, Can I Play with Madness all well over 100,000 sales.
Wasted Years at 390,000 and the later Fear of the Dark at 690,000 show that the band’s greatest years lasted for over a decade.
Tracks from 1994 onwards aren’t as strong, but they continued to show some consistency, with Dance of Death climbing the highest at 130,000.
Obviously, the lower popularity of the band in markets with strong downloads like the US and South Korea doesn’t help their sales in this format.
In total, while individual numbers reveal a good lasting appeal, the combined sales of 7.1 million downloads and ringtones is somewhat disappointing.
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.
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.
– South Korea : Genie streams * 3.05 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan : AWA streams * 100/5.5 (AWA has 5.5% of the Japanese streaming market)– Elsewhere : Spotify streams * (370 – 8.5 – 9.5 – 33 – 9) / 207 (370 million global subscribers minus 8.5 million from South Korea minus 9.5 million from Japan minus 33 million from China divided by the number of Spotify only users minus 9 million more Asian users) + Genie streams * 3.05 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
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
*since 96.4% of Chinese streaming platforms are free users, that paid-for users pay less than $2 a month and that they are also used as video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.
Audio Stream value – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit
Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 310/207 + Genie * 3.05*2 + AWA * 100/5.5 ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube ) / 11750
Although it leads 4 out of the 5 platforms listed, the total equivalent album sales from streams of The Trooper barely edges out totals of the next two.
Along with Fear of the Dark and Run to the Hills, these trio of songs register roughly 250,000 sales a piece, massive numbers for songs never aired on radio outside of specialists’ stations.
The Number of the Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name land at 4 and 5, both over 100,000 units too, same as 2 Minutes to Midnight. Wasted Years will get there before the end of 2021.
Just like with their albums, it’s nearly impossible to define a clear winner, with obviously no signature song outshadowing the rest of their discography.
Once again the consistency of the band is amazing. They score 48 songs with more than 10 million streams on Spotify, 143 which top 2 million, that is almost their entire career output.
The biggest album is The Number of the Beast at 626,000 units, followed by Fear of the Dark at 395,000 and Piece of Mind at 381,000.
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!
Iron Maiden 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 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.
The distribution process
How to understand this table? In the example of Live After Death, these figures mean it sold 5,955,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 1,288,235 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.
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 on the overall package.
Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from the The Number of the Beast album are responsible for 46% of the Live After Death appeal. This means it generated 2,753,000 of its 5,955,000 album sales and so forth for the other records. We then apply this process to all compilations present on below table.
Compilations sales figures listing
The profile of the group, with a discography axed around their studio albums, concludes on a lack of compilations. the first real one came out in 1996, after no less than 10 albums. Best of the Beast sold 2.36 million units.
It was replaced by Edward the Great in 2002, itself replaced by a duo of compilations covering different periods, Somewhere Back in Time for the 80s and From Fear to Eternity for the next two decades.
In total, these compilations sold 5 million units, an average of 200,000 per year since the first release.
Where the band really excels is in selling live products. It all started with Live After Death, an album which gained a legendary status, being often rated among the very best live sets of all-time.
Commercially speaking it did wonders as well at nearly 6 million sales so far. The VHS from 1985, reissued as a DVD in 2008, moved an additional 1.15 million.
It was only the beginning, as live albums and videos have accumulated 16.9 million units sold up to date.
As a bonus, below is the breakdown of the top selling records.
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 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.
Expectedly, The Number of the Beast, home for 3 of their most popular songs, leads this category. Tracks of this era powered over 9 million sales of related products, with nearly 7 million coming from live albums and videos.
Piece of Mind is a strong runner up at nearly 5 million, while both Fear of the Dark and Powerslave are around 3 million.
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.
Iron Maiden Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Iron Maiden 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.
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
Even if numbers are close on many metrics, The Number of the Beast still manages to lead all 5 sales avenues. With over 8 million pure sales, 9 million sales of compilations generated and over 1 million units from singles formats, it closes counts on 18.76 million. It’s big enough to join Michael Jackson and Queen inside 1982’s top 3.
Piece of Mind hits 8 digits as well with a total of 12.25 million. Powerslave will reach this milestone at some point too as it stands at 8.9 million.
Fear of the Dark ranks at 4 on their personal list with almost 7.5 million sales.
All their remaining 1980-1988 stand around 6 million. The band records 8 albums over the 5 million mark.
Sales of The Final Frontier and The Book of Souls by the time of this article are perfect to reflect the band’s consistency for the latter part of their career as they are tied at 1,299,000 units.
When everything is said and done and once we consider their absence of general public crossover, Iron Maiden achieve a near miraculous score of 87.87 million equivalent album sales to date, a tally that keeps growing day after day.
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.
1. 1983 – Iron Maiden – The Trooper [Piece of Mind] – 9,660,000
2. 1982 – Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills [The Number of the Beast] – 7,690,000
3. 1982 – Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast [The Number of the Beast] – 5,790,000
4. 1992 – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark [Fear of the Dark] – 5,360,000
5. 1986 – Iron Maiden – Wasted Years [Somewhere in Time] – 4,130,000
6. 1982 – Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name [The Number of the Beast] – 3,960,000
7. 1984 – Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes to Midnight [Powerslave] – 3,950,000
8. 1984 – Iron Maiden – Aces High [Powerslave] – 2,940,000
9. 1981 – Iron Maiden – Wrathchild [Killers] – 1,970,000
10. 1988 – Iron Maiden – The Evil That Men Do [Seventh Son of a Seventh Son] – 1,780,000
11. 1988 – Iron Maiden – Can I Play with Madness [Seventh Son of a Seventh Son] – 1,750,000
12. 1980 – Iron Maiden – Phantom of the Opera [Iron Maiden] – 1,590,000
13. 1979 – Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden [Iron Maiden] – 1,420,000
14. 1980 – Iron Maiden – Running Free [Iron Maiden] – 1,320,000
15. 1981 – Iron Maiden – Killers [Killers] – 1,130,000
16. 1990 – Iron Maiden – Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter [No Prayer for the Dying] – 1,010,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC Iron Maiden playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that their sales represent 18.77 million times the purchase of their entire discography. Coupled with their total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 230.
Records & Achievements
- At 87.9 million EAS, Iron Maiden are the best selling artist of all-time to never enter the US Hot 100.
- At 832,500 album sales, Iron Maiden are the best selling international artist of all-time in Finland.
- At 18,739,000 EAS, The Number of the Beast is the 3rd most successful album from 1982.
- At 12,236,000 EAS, Piece of Mind is among the 10 most successful albums from 1983.
NB: EAS means Equivalent Album Sales.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
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