Kanye West albums and songs sales
From promising new star to musical genius to persona non grata, Kanye West, lately renamed Ye, has been making the headlines for better or worse for 20 years.
Loyal to our editorial line, we won’t be looking for flashy titles, instead we will review his sales and streaming figures from his debut to date. While Eminem is in a league of his own inside the rap game with over 200 million equivalent album sales, we wonder where Ye compares to huge names like Drake or 2Pac.
A few words about the artist
Rap’s shooting star
In 2003, rap music was still caricatured by most media. It was nevertheless already selling an awful lot of records, with the pair Dr Dre & Eminem dominating the field.
At this point, Kanye West had already been working as a producer on several smash albums from artists like Foxy Brown, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, and of course Jay-Z, with his work on The Blueprint enjoying a massive critical acclaim.
It was still difficult for Ye to be seen as a rapper. His feature on #1 US hit Slow Jamz opened the door to his solo career, which kicked with his debut album The College Dropout in 2004.
His stardom rose quickly, with bigger and bigger hits coming out like Gold Digger from 2005’s Late Registration and Stronger from 2007’s Graduation.
The release of the latter was accompanied by much hyped battle against 50 Cent‘s Curtis.
Graduation crushed Curtis on US charts. More than chart trivia, this fact was the symbol of Kanye West breaking the hegemony of Dr Dre‘s empire. The following years saw a new generation or rappers exploding, like Drake, Kendrick Lamar or Nicki Minaj.
Classics machine with his flaws
From 2008 to 2016, Ye released rap classics at an impressive pace. The period was filled in with various controversies.
After going out of his comfort zone with the R&B infused 808s & Heartbreak, he made headlines after his interruption at the MTV Music Awards in 2009, where he destroyed a memorable moment for the young Taylor Swift.
If he has got fervent haters ever since then, he has kept delivering, with his musical output still overshadowed by his issues. His 2010 effort My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy met with rave reviews, even making the all-time top 10 greatest albums of all-time on Entertainment Weekly. A mere 8 months later he dropped another classic, his collaborative album Watch The Throne with Jay-Z.
2013’s Yeezus was another album which led various lists of best albums of the year, just the 2016’s The Life of Pablo.
The persona ate the artist
This same year 2016, Ye failed to complete his tour due to various mental health issues. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he started to alienate more and more people even within his fanbase, with dubious statements and his much talked about support for Donald Trump.
His new albums weren’t strong enough to make up for his downsides, with 2018’s Ye failing to produce hits, and his Christian music turn with 2019’s Jesus Is King.
The rapper was still very popular, with Donda storming into global charts in 2021, and climbing the tally of consecutive #1 sets to 10, a record.
The year 2022 saw him push the controversary to another level, with several antisemitic comments, he went on to define himself as a Nazi and praised Adolf Hitler, in a fall from grace reminding of chess genius Bobby Fischer.
Most of his sponsors broke with him in a series of events that felt like the killing of Kanye West by Ye. We have yet to see how the artist will rebound from the situation he has put himself in.
Facts are no cancel culture partisans though, so we will review in detail the charts and sales of the artist to value how successful he has been.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all West‘s 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.
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!
Kanye West Album Sales
Updated Studio Album Sales & Comments
|2016||The Life of Pablo||60,000|
|2019||Jesus Is King||245,000|
|2018||Kids See Ghosts||420,000|
|2010||My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy||2,622,500|
|2011||Watch the Throne||2,787,500|
|2008||808s & Heartbreak||2,940,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||6,087,500|
With iTunes appearing at the same time as West‘s debut album, it is not illogical that this one remains his top seller in pure sales with over 6 million units, even though the follow ups felt bigger.
Sales remained strong for many albums, with Late Registration clearing 5 million, Graduation passing 4 million and each of the next 3 albums topping 2.5 million.
It’s worth mentioning that the artist is a tremendous seller in LP format, and several of his classics are yet to be released in vinyl, including Graduation.
Yeezus was a rather large drop, registering half of the sales of its predecessors despite the consistency showed for many years.
The album also marked the end of the traditional release’s era for the artist, with The Life of Pablo being the first streaming-only release, it was initially limited to the low profile Tidal platform. Its sales are the result of a late and short period of availability as a download since the record has yet to be released in physical form.
Kanye West 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, he is rewarded with 100% of these units, while featured acts share among them a 50% piece of the totals.
|2003||Orphan||'03 Til Infinity||500|
|2004||The College Dropout||All Falls Down||60,000|
|2006||Features||Back Like That||1,500|
|2004||Orphan||Confessions Part II||2,000|
|2005||Late Registration||Diamonds From Sierra Leone||55,000|
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
Since the US market got rid of physical singles in the start of the 00s, West and his label had little interest in this format right from the start.
Although all his singles got a limited release, this list still contains more than 50 singles due to the sheer volume of his discography up to 2011.
Obviously, numbers are very small with only 4 songs over 100,000 units and a career total under 1.3 million.
|2004||The College Dropout||We Don't Care||125,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||Graduation Day||45,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||All Falls Down||1,460,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||I'll Fly Away||70,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||Spaceship||205,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||Jesus Walks||3,087,500|
|2004||The College Dropout||Never Let Me Down||260,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||Get Em High||240,000|
|2004||The College Dropout||The New Workout Plan||260,000|
|2003||The College Dropout||Slow Jamz||1,725,000|
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1.5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
Digital sales of the artist of phenomenal. He records a stunning 38 million sellers. Each of his first 6 albums contain at least three songs past 1 million, and at least one at 3 million or more.
From his debut, Jesus Walks leads, while follow ups contain monster hits Gold Digger and Stronger, up to 9 million and 11 million sales, respectively. These are amazing numbers by 2005 and 2007 standards, as downloads peaked various years later.
His string of hits kept going with Heartless (7 million), Love Lockdown (5 million), All of the Lights (4 million), Ni**as In Paris (6 million) performing very well.
West was also busy with side projects of his own as well as features. They include Katy Perry‘s E.T. (9 million), Drake‘s Forever (7 million), Jay-Z‘s Run This Town (6 million), Estelle‘s American Boy and Keri Hilson‘s Knock You Down (5 million each) and Rihanna‘s FourFiveSeconds (4 million).
The restricted releases, the lack of cross-over hits and the collapse of this format mean that no track from post-2013 studio sets reaches half a million copies. The last 4 albums even combine for only half a million track sales.
In any case, the total of downloads and ringtones sold is a terrific 166 million, making him one of the greatest selling digital artists of all-time.
Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology 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 * 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
– 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
The volume of sizable hits in this list is incredible. The entire top 40 cracks 300,000 equivalent album sales. The density is so big that songs like Good Morning, Jesus Walks or Love Lockdown are left out of the top. In fact, West records 115 songs with more than 100,000 sales.
Stronger, despite being released before the streaming era, leads the way with 1.5 billion EAS. Ni**as in Paris is a close runner up, both tracks are over a billion streams on Spotify, while FourFiveSeconds will get there soon.
The first 9 tracks are from 9 distinct albums, issued over a span of 15 years. One of them is I Love It with Lil Pump, which records the best score on YouTube.
The Life of Pablo, which started as a Tidal exclusive, currently claims the biggest total with well over 5 million EAS from streams, with Graduation hot on its wheels, also past 5 million. 10 out of his 12 studio albums are over 2 million, with only Kids See Ghosts and Jesus Is King below this mark, although they still hit 1 million.
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!
Kanye West 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 VH1 Storytellers, these figures mean it sold 90,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 7,698,130 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 Graduation album are responsible for 80% of VH1 Storytellers track list attractiveness. This means it generated 72,000 of its 90,000 album sales and so forth for the other records. We then apply this process to all compilations present on the table.
Compilations sales figures listing
|2006||EP||Summer Collection EP||0.50||0|
|2007||EP||Winter Collection EP||0.50||0|
|2009||EP||Glow In The Dark||0.50||5,000|
|2007||Compilation||Freshmen Adjustment 3||1.00||22,500|
|2004||Compilation||Freshmen Adjustment 2||1.00||40,000|
|2006||Video||Late Orchestration [Video]||1.00||42,500|
|2009||Compilation||G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night (Dawn)||0.07||55,000|
|2005||Video||The College Dropout Video Anthology||1.00||80,000|
|2012||Compilation||GOOD Music (Cruel Summer)||0.58||595,000|
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.
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.
Kanye West Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Kanye West 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.
|artist_spotify_id||#||Cover||Album||Studio albums (EAS)||sales_update_date||Other LPs (EAS)||Physical singles (units sold)||Digital singles (units sold)||Streams||Streams increase||Total EAS||valid_as_of||streams_updated_value||album_id|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||1||The College Dropout||6,057,000||20.03.23||180,000||-101,000(339,000)||1,430,000(9,540,000)||2,203,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 1,540LD: 1,430||9,769,000||20,230,604||2,203,000||2,208|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||2||Late Registration||5,399,000||20.03.23||79,000||100,000(348,000)||2,225,000(14,830,000)||2,578,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 1,430LD: 1,360||10,380,000||20,230,604||2,578,000||2,209|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||3||Graduation||4,098,000||20.03.23||74,000||46,000(165,000)||3,576,000(23,840,000)||5,623,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 4,950LD: 5,530||13,417,000||20,230,604||5,623,000||2,210|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||4||808s & Heartbreak||2,932,000||20.03.23||10,000||8,000(33,000)||2,425,000(16,170,000)||2,173,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 1,750LD: 1,470||7,548,000||20,230,604||2,173,000||2,211|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||5||My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy||2,596,000||20.03.23||0||0(20,000)||1,763,000(11,760,000)||4,336,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 2,540LD: 2,270||8,695,000||20,230,604||4,336,000||2,212|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||6||Watch the Throne||2,782,000||20.03.23||0||-2,000(0)||2,110,000(14,070,000)||3,231,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 2,420LD: 2,060||8,121,000||20,230,604||3,231,000||2,213|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||7||Yeezus||1,296,000||20.03.23||0||0(0)||413,000(2,750,000)||2,627,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 1,660LD: 1,540||4,335,000||20,230,604||2,627,000||2,214|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||8||The Life of Pablo||60,000||20.03.23||0||0(0)||129,000(860,000)||5,531,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 2,320LD: 2,130||5,720,000||20,230,604||5,531,000||2,215|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||9||Ye||296,000||20.03.23||0||0(0)||36,000(240,000)||2,256,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 1,390LD: 1,240||2,587,000||20,230,604||2,256,000||2,216|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||10||Kids See Ghosts||408,000||20.03.23||0||0(0)||13,000(90,000)||1,200,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 400LD: 330||1,618,000||20,230,604||1,200,000||2,217|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||11||Jesus Is King||241,000||20.03.23||0||0(0)||21,000(140,000)||1,385,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 600LD: 530||1,646,000||20,230,604||1,385,000||2,218|
|5K4W6rqBFWDnAN6FQUkS6x||12||Donda||166,000||20.03.23||0||0(0)||9,000(60,000)||3,417,000 (06/04/23)||Av.: 1,880LD: 1,580||3,591,000||20,230,604||3,417,000||2,219|
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
Two decades into his career, Kanye West continues to be one of the most relevant artists around. After 12 albums, his weakest performers are over 1.5 million units, a tremendous achievement.
Graduation is his biggest success with over 13 million sales. Late Registration and The College Dropout complete the top 3 at roughly 10 million each.
The next 3 records, issued from 2008 to 2011, are all around 8 million sales, while The Life of Pablo and Yeezus are over/under 5 million.
The last 4 albums are arguably the weakest ones. Nevertheless, they average significant figures with a combined total closing in 10 million.
Side projects are also highly valuable with orphan tracks plus features adding for 16 million sales overall. The career total of Kanye West is an eye-popping 93 million equivalent album sales.
It’s worth pointing out that despite the controversies surrounding the artist, his catalog continues to register impressive results on both formats pure sales and streaming.
In fact, at what is supposed to be a very bad moment for him, and with several key albums still not available on vinyl, West continues to pull about 150,000 units per week through all formats.
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||Gold Digger [Late Registration] (2005)||5,303,000|
|2||Stronger [Graduation] (2007)||4,627,000|
|3||Niggas in Paris [Watch the Throne] (2011)||3,892,000|
|4||Heartless [808s & Heartbreak] (2008)||3,782,000|
|5||All Falls Down [The College Dropout] (2004)||2,181,000|
|6||Power [My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy] (2010)||2,128,000|
|7||FourFiveSeconds [Orphan] (2015)||1,983,000|
|8||Flashing Lights [Graduation] (2007)||1,867,000|
|9||All of the Lights [My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy] (2010)||1,820,000|
|10||Forever [Orphan] (2009)||1,729,000|
Discography resultsThanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that his sales represent 18.02 million times the purchase of his entire discography. Coupled with his total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 221. The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.
Records & Achievements
- At 92,905,000 EAS, Kanye West is among the 5 most successful rap artists of all-time.
- At 165,825,000 units, Kanye West is among the 10 best selling singles artists of all-time in digital singles format.
- At 28.6 billion lead streams, Kanye West is the 12 most streamed artist ever on Spotify.
- Kanye West has 12 consecutive albums with over 1 million EAS from streams.
- Kanye West has 10 consecutive US #1 debut albums, a tied all-time record.
- At 9,652,000 EAS, The College Dropout is among the 10 most successful albums from 2004.
- At 10,271,000 EAS, Late Registration is among the 10 most successful albums from 2005.
- At 13,040,000 EAS, Graduation is the 3rd most successful albums from 2007.
- At 7,415,000EAS, 808s & Heartbreak is among the 20 most successful albums from 2008.
- At 8,502,000 EAS, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is among the 10 most successful albums from 2010.
- At 7,937,000 EAS, Watch the Throne is among the 20 most successful albums from 2011.
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.
Current followers count: 20,205,877 20,000,000 followers have been reached on 05/09/23 19,000,000 followers have been reached on 12/28/22 18,000,000 followers have been reached on 08/14/22 17,000,000 followers have been reached on 04/18/22 16,000,000 followers have been reached on 12/31/21 15,000,000 followers have been reached on 09/07/21 14,000,000 followers have been reached on 06/07/21 13,000,000 followers have been reached on 12/31/20 12,000,000 followers have been reached on 07/15/20 >> Daily breakdown
Kanye West is #72 among the most followed artists of all-time >> Visit our Top 200 most followed artists ranking
Current streams count: 29,775,995,653 29,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 04/15/23 28,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 02/15/23 27,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 12/12/22 26,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 10/10/22 25,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 08/20/22 24,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 06/19/22 23,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 04/21/22 22,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 02/28/22 21,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 01/02/22 20,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 10/31/21 19,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 09/10/21 18,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 08/06/21 17,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 04/30/21 16,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 01/17/21 15,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 10/09/20 14,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 06/09/20 >> Daily breakdown
Kanye West is #12 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: 55,326,891 (Trend: 984,323) Global chart position: #26 The artist top 50 cities come from 16 distinct countries >> Global impact breakdown
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Discogs.
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