Thank you for the list. No "We Are The Champions", I can't believe it.
Jimmy, thank you for the comment. Not sure if I understand you, but yes, the fact that some nineties annual sales were based on the Top 1000 would have caused several albums to be excluded in the UK.
Anyway, this is I'm talking about for the rest:
In another forum, I wondered whether Queen were the real best selling album act of the nineties in the UK or not.
I know it is a tough thing to claim, but the more I look heavily into it, the more I believe Queen sold just as many albums as Oasis in the UK during that decade.
If we combine albums and music videos, I'm definitely sure Queen sold just as many, perhaps more.
I explained my position with several detailed messages, loaded with what we are all here for: sales numbers and their interpretation:
Firstly I said this:
Queen during the nineties in the UK
Is it possible that Queen were the real best selling album act during the nineties in the UK? Or if not: weren't they closer to Oasis than it is generally assumed?
I know that the crown belongs to Oasis, officially at least. Based on a ranking that was posted during early 2000 (I believe) which looked as follows:
UK Top Selling Albums Acts - January 1990 - December 1999
1 (1) Oasis – 8,170,000 (7,540,000by July 1998)
2 (2) Simply Red – 7,960,000 (7,420,000)
3 (4) Madonna – 7,470,000 (6,520,000)
4 (5) Celine Dion – 7,300,000 (6,330,000)
5 (3) Queen – 7,290,000 (6,580,000)
These numbers weren't exact, but as close as they could be and based on a ranking that had already been published in July 1998: where Oasis were listed with 7,540,000 albums sold and Queen with 6,583,000. I have also seen another list with Oasis at 8,358,000 copies sold How accurate were those numbers? No idea. But I have found some irregularities myself.
Firstly, the simplest part: I know some people disagree with me, but I personally consider "Five Live" to be an album, not a single, as opposed to the official chart compilers in the UK. For what it is worth, the mini album appeared on the albums charts in most countries (with UK and Ireland being two exceptions).
"Five Live" actually sold 379,000 during 1993 and, I think, was later upgraded to about 420,000 copies sold.
If that figure is added to what Queen were supposed to have sold by late 1999 (7,290,000 albums), we get approximately 7,710,000 total sales for Queen, a bit closer to what Oasis achieved.
Now the tricky things:
These decades sales are supposed to exclude music club sales; plus, more important, at least from 1994 to 1999 only the annual Top 1000 was used, which means that any album that failed to make it, will have been excluded from Hit Music's annual charts.
From Hit Music, these were Queen's annual sales:
1994 - 351,000
1995 - 1,403,000 (using 19 as a multiplier, instead of 18)
1996 - 380,000
1997 - 320,000
1998 - 200,000
1999 - 615,000
Total - 3,260,000 albums sold.
The thing is that when I add the rough sales for their 'main' albums during those six years, I get this:
Greatest Hits - 595,000
Greatest Hits II - 450,000
Made In Heaven - 1,330,000
Queen Rocks - 225,000
Greatest Hits III - 413,000
Greatest Hits I & II - 100,000
These six albums accounted for as many as 3,113,000 copies sold. Out of 3,260,000 achieved for that time frame. Nearly all of Queen sales. These are based on some educated sales guesses and using annual figures as a basis. I think they are spot on, if you ask me.
For example, "Made In Heaven" was listed with 1,100,000 in 1995 and a further 170,000 sold for 1996. Plus, in a decade to date chart of January 1998, it was given 1,320,000 copies. So my 1,330,000 sales would probably be correct by the end of 1999.
"Greatest Hits I & II" had retail sales of 132,000 by 2009, most of which were reached during the nineties. So, again, a total of 100,000 is fine.
"Queen Rocks" sold 170,000 in 1997 and with some further sales (not very remarkable) in 1998 and 1999, I estimated roughly 225,000.
"Greatest Hits III" was released in late 1999 and achieved sales of 413,000 units. Which is what I have listed above. And so on. I think that when it comes to these Hit Music's various rankings, my individual albums sales are reasonably fine.
The problem is that with 3,260,000 sold for that time frame and as many as 3,113,000 coming from those six albums, we are only left with a mere 147,000 for the rest of their back catalogue. Basically, all their old studio and live albums.
This can be seen when looking at some yearly sales in detail.
In 1996, Queen sold 380,000 albums, including 340,000 coming from three albums: "Made In Heaven" with 170,000 sold; "Greatest Hits" with 100,000; and "Greatest Hits II" with 70,000 (all of them made the annual Top 150). In total, only 40,000 left for their other albums. And with others, we also have to include "Greatest Hits I & II", a double box set that sold very well and charted during 5 weeks in 1996.
Even weirder in 1999. Queen sold 615,039 albums during that year, with 598,427 coming from three compilations: "Greatest Hits III" (412,487 sold), "Greatest Hits" (101,595), "Greatest Hits II" (84,345). Again, only 16,612 left for their other albums including not only all their 15 studio albums and 4 live albums, but "Greatest Hits I & II" (which charted at number 127 in 1999 and spent 2 weeks) and "Queen Rocks" (released in 1997).
Obviously, I don't need to explain much further than this to show there is absolutely no way all of the other Queen albums (14 studio albums and 4 live albums) sold only a mere 147,000 during the period between 1994 and 1999.
Part of this can be explained by the use of the Top 1000 to compile the yearly totals from 1994 to 1999, which naturally missed out any album that didn't sell enough to make those annual charts.
This isn't much of a problem for Oasis because they had only released a handful of albums by 1999 and it is very likely that none of them ever missed any Top 1000, so they don't have significant sales missing through that way.
By comparison, I have been able to collect all of Queen's net shipments figures from 1994 to 1999. This is coming from a big contributor, Tatty73, who has provided us with some of the most significative and accurate numbers ever posted on here. If you are reading this, Jimmy, thank you for all you have supplied, incredibly valuable information.
This is what the net shipments (through both shops and clubs) were between 1994 and 1999:
1994 – 573,712
1995 – 1,383,047
1996 – 908,935
1997 – 586,880
1998 – 481,539
1999 – 773,981
Total – 4,708,094
These sales include some 700,000 through music clubs, leaving a healthy 4,000,000 via shops.
Whilst their retail sales are supposed to have totalled to 3,260,000 during 1994 and 1999, their net shipments are clearly higher and not just because of the club sales; in fact, as big as 4,708,094 albums sold.
Let's compare them below:
Retail sales: 3,260,000
Net shipments to shops: 4,000,000
Net shipments to both avenues: 4,708,094
Even more: while all of of Queen studio and live albums are supposed to have reached a cumulative 147,000 sold between 1994 and 1999 (if we trust Hit Music), Tatty73's net shipments indicate that all their 19 back catalogue albums (released between 1973 and 1992) managed to sell 809,976 copies altogether (I can post a detailed breakdown of that).
A big discrepancy: 145,000 against more than 800,000 back catalogue sales.
And this is just for the 1994 to 1999 time frame, when Queen were hot but not quite as much as they were during the early part of the decade, for obvious reasons.
If we use Hit Music as our guide, Queen would appear to have sold 4,030,000 albums between 1990 and 1993 (plus at least 379,000 of "Five Live", which would represent a combined 4,409,000 sold).
But I have no idea how was that amount arrived at; and I don't know whether it is only retail sales (and what multiplier was used) or some club sales were indirectly accounted for. I have no clue, either, whether Gallup held this total during the early nineties or these numbers were retrospectively changed afterwards.
Anyway, knowing that Hit Music had a mere 3,260,000 from 1994 and 1999 despite their real sales being obviously higher, not sure what to make out of this early period: 1990 and 1993, which was a significant one for Queen in terms of sales. If retail sales were 4,409,000 during the years 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, the net shipments equivalents may have been higher, probably 4,500,000 to 4,750,000 copies sold.
Of course, I'm not forgetting that Oasis' net shipments will also have been bigger than what their retail sales were between 1994 and 1999. I think they easily sold 900,000 to 1,000,000 via clubs. My point is that Queen, for all I have explained above, obviously have more missing sales than Oasis. For instance, they sold 700,000 through music clubs just during the second half of the decade, which means that with the first four years added in (1990 to 1993), they are likely to have either equalled or bettered Oasis' sales via that avenue.
I'm not forgetting about Simply Red, Madonna and Celine Dion either. But they are all in a similar position to Oasis: apart from the albums released during the nineties, they had a smaller catalogue than Queen, so I don't think they have as many missing sales as them between 1994 and 1999 and I doubt they sold as many copies through Britannia (except perhaps Madonna).
If we combine albums with music videos sales, I think Queen can easily have outsold Oasis during the nineties.
I would like to add this to the above:
Further to what I explained above, I have found other ways to look at it.
If we blindly trust these annual sales, we would have to believe that all their old studio and live albums, released between 1973 and 1992, sold only 147,000 copies altogether (give or take a few thousands).
But what happened in 2000 to 2010 for a comparison?
These were Queen's annual album sales:
2000 – 437,000
2001 – 300,000 (approximately)
2002 – 930,000
2003 – 471,000
2004 – 400,000 (approximately)
2005 – 620,000
2006 – 640,000
2007 – 408,357
2008 – 363,830
2009 – 661,468
2010 – 185,000
Total – 5,415,000
So Queen sold about 5,415,000 albums during 11 years.
Platinum Collection – 1,685,000
Absolute Greatest – 680,000
Greatest Hits – 820,000
Greatest Hits III – 253,000
Greatest Hits II – 350,000 (estimated)
Queen On Fire – 100,000 (estimated)
Return Of The Champions – 80,000 (estimated)
Queen Rock Montreal – 40,000 (estimated)
Greatest Hits I & II and Queen Rocks – 25,000 (estimated)
Total for these 10 albums – 4,033,000 copies sold
With 5,415,000 sold within those years, this leaves a healthy 1,400,000 for their rest of their back catalogue.
Does anybody believe that all these old studio and live albums pass from selling roughly 145,000 copies between 1994 and 1999 (24,000 units a year) to 1,400,000 from 2000 to 2010 (127,000 a year)?
I find it irrealistic.
Between 1984 and 1990, Queen sold about 5,155,000 albums in the UK. Including roughly 2,691,000 coming from the back catalogue (more than half), which can be broken down as follows: 1,065,000 for Greatest Hits (20%) and 1,628,000 for their studio and live albums (31%).
By periods, this is how Queen's studio and live 'back catalogue' sales looked like:
1984 to 1990 – 1,628,000
1994 to 1999 – 147,000
2000 to 2011 – 1,400,000
Am I the only who sees a problem with the second one?
And the last one:
As I do have all the net shipments figures for those six albums, between 1994 and 1999, I thought it would be great to share them and make a comparison.
As far as Jimmypages59's annual sales are concerned, this is what those albums sold within those six years:
Net shipments to shops, without club sales (except for Greatest Hits II and the double Greatest Hits I & II, which do include Britannia sales)
Greatest Hits – 654,441
Greatest Hits II – 751,147 with club sales added in
Made In Heaven – 1,241,081 (with shop sales supposed to have been 1,320,000 by January 1998, ha)
Queen Rocks – 249,447
Greatest Hits III – 413,384
Greatest Hits I & II – 176,507
Total net shipments – 3,487,007
Unfortunately, I hold no separate club sales for Greatest Hits II or Greatest Hits I & II, so the above total do include them. For what it is worth, Greatest Hits had club sales of 231,904 units between 1994 and 1999, and I would expect Greatest Hits II to have achieved more than 200,000 (perhap as high as 250,000) during that period; with Greatest Hits I & II also doing a couple of thousands.
Remove those sales via clubs, and the above total of 3,487,007 will diminish to 3,200,000 to 3,250,000 in total.
So we have estimated retail sales of 3,113,000 for those six albums, with net shipments of 3,200,000. Everything neat and somehow reasonable.
Completely different story from their studio and live 'back catalogue' albums.
Whilst shop sales are supposed to have been a dismal 147,000 copies sold between 1994 and 1999, their net shipments totals are more than 800,000 with club sales added in and nearly 700,000 without them. Too much of a big discrepancy compared to what I have shown above in relation to what their main six albums sold via retail and net shipments.
Am I the only who believes that Queen have arguably sold (way) more than 7,290,000 albums during the whole of the nineties, especially during the years between 1994 and 1999? Am I the only one who thinks that Queen were possibly closer to Oasis than they are supposed to have been? To me, it is obvious: both things are right and Queen sold clearly more than 7 million and they were up there with Oasis, if not ahead, when all is said and done.
Just some views.