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ABBA :: Charts & Sales History

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  • #51
    edge3 -
    The bigger picture is the 350million figure is grossly over the top.

    Colin - don't confuse charts with sales. ABBA had fewer million and hald million selling albums in Germany thanan the UK. Germany may have had more sales than the UK in ABBA's day, but that doesn't tell you about the distribution of sales.
    The top albums sold more in the UK.

    I stick by my claim that ABBA only sold around 56 million in those key markets - UK, US, Germany, Japan, Canada, France andAustralia. And that these markets account for 75% of sales.


    • #52
      Colin - I got German sales for Gold wrong . It was platinum x2 not 4. so that is sales of 1 million not 2 million. No other album sold more than a million in Germany.


      • #53
        Edge3 - My understanding was that 3.7 million, worth 4 million now i guess, took account book clubs etc.
        Actually, Gold's sales in the US have been very steady and it may not have sold most of its copies by 1997.

        If Universal can come up with a 350 million figure why can't they break it down by country?Hmmmmmm

        Why do journalists just accept this hype?Aren't they meant to be sceptical??????


        • #54
          Originally posted by johnnyboy
          edge3 - you haven't proven Gold sold 6 million in the US.
          Gold has definitely shipped 6 million copies in the US. This is confirmed by an independent team of auditors.

          As I've said before, the 3.7 soundscan figure is approximate since actual scans are put through a mathematical formula to account for sales outside soundscan to produce, what is in effect, an estimate of sales had soundscan coverage been 100%.

          The evidence is that close to 2m copies were also sold through record clubs.

          The album itself continues on its merry way selling 200-400,000 annually and will probably do so forever. Just like Dark Side Of the Moon which sells 500-600,000 year in year out.
          See Page One of my threads for all updates


          • #55
            In Germany, Gold HAS been certified platinum x4 . The only other million selling ABBA albums in Germany are Arrival and Super Trouper.

            Thanks for comments, Basil. i read a post you gave elsewhere that showed how only a few countries have the vast majority of sales.I agreed with your assertion that many people believe exaggerated claims because they are ignorant about the global distribution of sales - and want to inflate sales figures.

            Let's not have any more quibbles. The fundamentals are that the 350 million figure is so exaggerated ...and my estimates are nearer the truth.


            • #56
              I'm upping my German sales to 11 million.

              Uk 15 m
              US 12 m
              Ger 11 m
              Oz 6 m
              Jpn 3 million
              France 3.5m
              canada 3.5m
              These countries account for 75% of sales!


              • #57
                johnnyboy, I went to the Official German Sales Site,

                They say that, in 2004, 'Gold' got its 4th, (and so far last), German Platinum Award. ('1' by The Beatles is on 5).

                German Sales Awards do not seem to have been around in the 1960's - at least for Singles, as The Beatles have Zero Singles Sales Awards there.

                Looking at the ABBA Album Awards, 3 of their German Albums sold 4 Million copies between them. Therefore, you are saying, that their other 12 Top 10 German Albums only sold 4 Million there between them. (When 'Defintive Collection' alone has an Award there for 500,000 and it never got higher than Number 14....).

                4 Million Sales seems incredibly low for 12 Top 10 Albums, to me - especially in a Market in the Global Top 5. This does not even take into account German Budget ABBA Albums, that are not allowed into the German MAIN Charts due to being low priced - they still sell.

                As regards your estimate of less than 45 Million ABBA Albums sold between the few countries that account for 70% of Sales.

                Well, it is estimated that 'Greatest Hits', (Also called 'The Best Of ABBA'), sold 10 to 12 Million Globally in the 1970's. Add in 25 Million for 'Gold', and we are looking at 35 Million to 37 Million copies sold of just those TWO ABBA Albums.

                It hardly seems likely, that less than 45 Millon accounts for the bulk of their Global Album Sales, then - 70% of them. It is just too low.

                'Arrival' sold 800,000 in Poland alone between 1976 and 1977 - that does not even take into account its Sales elsewhere. (Eastern European Sales are often forgotten about).

                Really, what happens is that, as they did not do very well in the USA, their success elsewhere is often underrated - or regarded as low - due to the USA being THE Global Market.

                Despite this, they did well enough, (cummulatively), elsewhere, to definitely be one of the Global Top 10 Acts - whether you work it out via Chart Sales, or Chart Points.

                On top of this, they have been bigger since the 1990's in the USA than they were when they were together.

                I accidently came across a USA Record Club, (Mail Order), Site several Months ago. I cannot recall which one it was now.

                However, they had 'Gold' in their, 'All Time Sales' List - on well over 800,000 copies bought, via them, through the U.S. Mail.

                That was just ONE Record Club there. These Sales are NOT in the Soundscan Data for it, which only cover USA Store Sales.....

                The 6 USA Platinum Awards for it are justified, by the looks of it.

                The Beatles

                Don't forget, that whilst ABBA look NOT to have sold anything like 350 to 400 Million Records, The Beatles and Elvis - no matter HOW you work it out, have NOT sold 1 Billion Records each, as their Record Company's claim for those 2 Acts.

                What happens, is that when people question ABBA's Sales, other people then start to say they are not even in the Global Top 10 Acts.

                When Beatles and Elvis 1 Billion Sales are questioned, no one, then jumps in, and tries to say those 2 Acts cannot really be in the Global Top 10.

                I have noticed that many ABBA Fans believe the exaggerated Sales figures of 350 Million plus CLAIMED for them. But, so do Non ABBA Fans - many - like to claim that:, 'Oh ABBA were not that big then! They never were big in the USA or Italy. They do not deserve to be regarded as a Top 10 All Time Global Act'.

                In fact, even on 180 Million to 200 Million Sales, ABBA would be a Global Top 10 Act - and I have seen claims of 150 Million for U2, whom no one ever says are not HUGE. (U2 are often called:, 'The Biggest Band In The World' - a status they get despite never being THAT huge with SINGLES Globally. It is based chiefly on Album Sales, for them).

                So, whilst ABBA's Sales are exaggerated, we THEN have the other extreme, where their Sales are given way too low estimates - like nelson, who thinks they sold less than 16 Million Singles Globally, when he admits that 10 Million of those were British - so, they never sold even 6 Millon more Singles in the entire rest of the Globe, according to him.

                It is just as inaccurate, to drastically lower ABBA's Global Sales, as it is to wildly exaggerate them.....

                Let us not also forget that whilst The Beatles sold Millions of Albums in the USA, the R.I.A.A. DOUBLES the Sales of Albums that are Double ones - so:, 'The White Album' etc. are given twice as many USA Sales as they really sold there.

                So, even in the USA - where they were huge - exaggeration of the Sales of SOME Beatles Albums, has happened, due to the way they give out Awards there.

                So - just as with ABBA - there is an exaggeration of true Beatles Sales.....



                • #58
                  Colin - U2, unlike ABBA, have made shed loads from touring.

                  ...anyway after again seeing the Q magazine article saying ABBA have sold 300M records worldwide (as of Nov 2004) I certainly trust Q more than a bunch of newspaper journalists who said 350-400M. So I'll stick with 300M...for the moment.


                  • #59
                    It is obvious from my 'Posts' johnnyboy, that I, personally am NOT 'quibbling' with you about 350 Million plus ABBA Global Sales.

                    I 100% agree with you that it is exaggerated.

                    Where we differ is that I think your own estimates for ABBA are too low.

                    I am well are that some Countries are big Record Markets and others are medium or sjmall ones.

                    However, ABBA had so many Number 1's and Hits - Singles and Albums - in so many of them, that they will definitely have sold more Albums than you think - and Singles too.

                    Indeed, I have come across Beatles Fans in the past, who - try as they might - cannot get THEIR Sales to anything like 1 Billion. They get 300 Million to 500 Million Sales, and then they give up - in frustration - that they cannot get close to 1 Billion.

                    Exaggeration goes on for The Beatles and Elvis AND ABBA.

                    Mariah Carey was recently said - 'Daily Mirror' - to be THE:, 'All Time Biggest Selling (Global) Female Act'. She had just had her 16th USA Number 1 Single. This was more than Madonna has had, so the 'Daily Mirror' said she had outsold every Female Act - ever - on Earth.

                    It is laughable, as Mariah has not been anywhere near as big as Madonna outside the USA. She has only had 2 British Number 1 Singles, (10 for Madonna), and has not done as well as Madonna elsewhere either.

                    I hear that 70% of the USA Singles Chart is now based on Air Play, so her Sales - to have her 16th Number 1 there - would have been very low.

                    For her to then get crowned, 'All Time World Female Act' on THAT basis - well, it is a joke. Madonna has clearly outsold her Globally.....

                    This HYPING, of how big an Act is, goes on all the time. It is not just done as regards ABBA, you know.....



                    • #60
                      Originally posted by johnnyboy
                      edge3 - you haven't proven Gold sold 6 million in the US. Even if it had that is only 2 million more than I suggested.
                      The bigger picture is the 350million figure is grossly over the top.
                      Johnnyboy, I forgot about the sales from the record clubs. Thanks, Basil, for reminding me.

                      Also, I agree 350M might be over the top so do you think the recent Q magazine figure of 300M is possible?


                      • #61
                        A legendary band and you claim it sold less then Britney Spears? Itīs laughable. Of course there is no way to have an acurate number, but thereīs no way they had sold less albums then acts like Robbie Williams or Shania Twain, thatīs ridiculous... You probably have an ocidental vision that only american acts are worldwide big, Abba might not have been that huge in USA, but if you look at the rest of the world, they have albums in the all time lists in nearly EVERY country. 100k for Gold in Brazil is ridiculous and you donīt have any proof. Same goes for almost every other country. And plus, basing sales on certifications for an act that was big when most countries didnīt even had certifications is completely stupid.


                        • #62
                          This is crazy, we've now got 2 active threads on ABBA's record sales! Can someone join them together or something?


                          • #63
                            Originally posted by joao
                            A legendary band and you claim it sold less then Britney Spears? Itīs laughable. Of course there is no way to have an acurate number, but thereīs no way they had sold less albums then acts like Robbie Williams or Shania Twain, thatīs ridiculous... You probably have an ocidental vision that only american acts are worldwide big, Abba might not have been that huge in USA, but if you look at the rest of the world, they have albums in the all time lists in nearly EVERY country. 100k for Gold in Brazil is ridiculous and you donīt have any proof. Same goes for almost every other country. And plus, basing sales on certifications for an act that was big when most countries didnīt even had certifications is completely stupid.
                            (As I've already said) this is true. Let's just look at Robbie Williams again : he's sold about 40M records (that's albums & singles) worldwide & maybe only 1M in US. So, if ABBA have sold around 20M in US then why not 300M worldwide?


                            • #64
                              Here it is a photo of the (big) award from Polar and Universal given in person to Benny, Bjorn and Frida in London which started a, maybe global, discussion about the famous 360-million number for ABBA sales:

                              In the plaque it's written:

                              "Celebrating worldwide sales of over 360,000,000
                              - 1974-2004 - presented to ABBA"

                              It doesn't say albums specifically. So for me it means any kind of record format, either be albums, singles, tapes, all those sales put together, what makes more sense. The award was presented by Peter Waterman (remember Rick Astley, Kyle Minogue in the 80's? He was one of the producers of them..). Images of this presentation can be seen on ABBA's documentary "Super Troupers".


                              • #65
                                Don't worry about 0 certifications when they were big, last year there's re-certified albums in Germany, then come next is UK next year. We'll know how big they are, just look how far, keep patience.


                                • #66
                                  In 2006, the Official UK Charts Company will compile the, All Time UK Album Acts. We will see then, if my estimate of, AT LEAST, 15 Million UK ABBA Albums sold, is more accurate than nelsons figure of over 7 Million, but, less than 8 million.

                                  In 1982, Alan Jones, (Chart Expert), said, (in 'Record Mirror'), that ABBA were on OVER 10 Million UK Album Sales by then.

                                  SINCE then, the Sales of many ABBA Albums have to be added in - including those of 'Gold', and 'More Gold', and various Budget Chart ABBA Albums, too - as well as main Chart Albums.

                                  The 2 Budget Albums:, 'The Hits 2', and 'The Collection' got Gold Awards, for 200,000 UK Sales each, in 1990 - you have to sell 200,000 plus to get a Gold Budget Album Disk.

                                  Added in to them, has to be the Sales of other Budget Albums - 'The Hits', 'The Hits 3', 'Love Songs', 'The Collection', 'The Music Still Goes On', and 'Name Of The Game'.

                                  'The Music Still Goes On', must be on at least 100,000 British Sales. It was a Number 1 in the Budget Chart, and in the Top 10 for over 60 Weeks.

                                  Added in, also, have to be the Sales of the Gold Normal Priced ABBA Albums, 'Thank You For The Music, & 'Absolute ABBA'.

                                  Then there are the Sales of 'The Definitive Collection'. It has Zero Sales Awards in the UK. However, I asked my friend at the OCC how many it had sold. He checked and told me:, 'Around 100,000, Colin'.

                                  That is enough for a Gold Disk - obviously, Universal have not applied for one - yet.

                                  You cannot work out an Acts National, and International Sales, by Awards. It DOES NOT WORK.

                                  INTERNATIONAL ALL TIME CHART

                                  The only way to give a CLUE, is to look at each Decades Charts - Country by Country - and work out who had the Most number 1 Singles & Albums, Most Weeks At Number 1, and Most top 10 Hits. Then ADD the results together, for each Country, to create an International World Chart DOMINANCE List.

                                  I do not know why nelson was so contemptuous of the idea - it would give more of a CLUE, as to the BIGGEST Global Sales Acts, than his Sales Awards method - which HUGELY underestimates ABBA - to name but one Act.



                                  • #67
                                    Correction, I meant to say that Sales of, 'The Collection TWO', have to be added in to ABBA's UK Album Sales. I had already pointed out that, 'The Collection'(ONE), needed its Sales added in.

                                    ABBA's GERMAN SINGLES SALES AWARDS

                                    Another way to illustrate how Sales Awards distort things, is by pointing out that nelson gives each of the 3 ABBA Singles, with German Gold Awards, EXACTLY 500,000 Sales each.(1.5 Million in total).

                                    In fact, Gold Sales Awards for 500,000 - were not given for EXACTLY those Sales.

                                    Thre fact that 3 ABBA Singles got 500,000 Awards, in Germany, means that they sold MORE THAN 500,000 each, but LESS THAN 1 Million each.

                                    So, even with his Sales for those, nelson looks like having underestimated - and this is on top of him totally ignoring 18 other German Top 10 Hits - 7 of them Number 1's.....

                                    One of the 3 he counted, could have sold 600,000, another 750,000, another 800,000, or 900,000. They did not just sell 500,000, dead on, and that's it.....


                                    He says, 'don't claim!', to me, when I estimate ABBA Sales. He says, he wants:, 'evidence', that ABBA had 200 Million Global Sales - 15 Million UK Albums sold, and so on.

                                    Yet, there is not a scrap of Sales Award evidence that The Beatles sold over 20 Million UK Singles - as not one of them has a UK Sales Disk - be it Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

                                    Nor is there, a shred of evidence, that The Beatles sold Millions of UK Albums between 1963 and 1970, as not one of those Albums, has a UK Sales Award, either.

                                    None of them COULD get Awards. They were not started in Britain, until April 1973.

                                    But, he DOES accept The Beatles Albums, and Singles Sales, because Parlophone CLAIM that they sold Millions, and he accepts those CLAIMS.

                                    But, when it comes to ABBA, he gives terribly LOW estimates for their Sales, and if anyone disagrees, we are supposed to come up with 'evidence' - even though he does not require anywhere near as much for The Beatles.

                                    A lack of consistency there.....

                                    I ACCEPT that The Beatles sold Millions of UK Albums, and Singles. I am just saying, that he lowers ABBA's UK Sales, because he expects far more evidence - Awards - for them, than he does for The Beatles. The Beatles claims require no Awards - at all - for nelson to accept them - for 1963 to 1970 -in Britain.....

                                    TOP 5 GLOBAL MARKETS

                                    You cannnot just say, that the Top 5 Markets, buy 70% of Records, then use that to see how well ABBA did in those 5 Lands - based on Awards - then add in about 21 to 22 Million Album, Sales from the rest of the Globe, to give ABBA about 65 to 66 Million Global Album Sales.

                                    It does not work like that.

                                    Julio Iglesias is accepted - 'Guinness Book Of Records' - as having sold over 250 Million Records.

                                    It is said that he has over 2,650 Platinum, Gold and Silver Sales Awards.

                                    However, if you try to get anything like 70% of HIS Sales from the Top 5 Markets, you do not come close.

                                    This is because - it is claimed - that he sells most of his Records in the Latin Markets - Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and Central & South America.

                                    He was never - ever - very huge in Britain, Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada - or in the MAIN Album Chart, or Singles Chart, in the USA.

                                    This shows the danger of simply deciding to judge by Sales Awards and - mainly - the Top 5 Markets, to work out how big an Act were. You cannot get Julio Iglesias to get anywhere near 250 Millon Records, if you do that - but, 250 Million Sales, is a widely accepted figure, for him.....



                                    • #68
                                      LOL, according to your rule that highest ranking would be the best selling? Then, how to explain Madonna's "True Blue"? It's at #9 but with 2.1 million shipped, while Whitney Houston's "Whitney" at #6 with only 1.8 million shipped? Accept that charts can explain some sales, but sometimes they aren't, there's always few exceptional.

                                      The 80's (1980-1989)

                                      1 = Brothers In Arms (Dire Straits)
                                      2 = Bad (Michael Jackson)
                                      3 = Thriller (Michael Jackson)
                                      4 = Greatest Hits (Queen)
                                      5 = Kyle (Kyle Minogue)
                                      6 = Whitney (Whitney Houston)
                                      7 = Tango In The Night (Fleetwood Mac)
                                      8 = No Jacket Required (Phil Collins)
                                      9 = True Blue (Madonna)
                                      10 = The Joshua Tree (U2)
                                      11 = Graceland (Paul Simon)
                                      12 = Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby
                                      13 = Popped In, Souled Out (Wet Wet Wet)
                                      14 = Ten Good Reasons (Jason Donovan)
                                      15 = A New Flame (Simply Red)
                                      16 = Can't Slow Down (Lionel Richie)
                                      17 = Like A Virgin (Madonna)
                                      18 = Make It Big (Wham!)
                                      19 = Diamond Life (Sade)
                                      20 = Money For Nothing (Dire Straits)


                                      • #69
                                        Nelson, that list has nothing to do with chart positions, it's a list of best-selling albums on the shops, reflects actual sales and not shipments. It's the sum of the weekly sales of those albums and not the weekly only goes to 31 December of 1989, that's why "...But Seriously" didn't yet had reached the top 20 of the decade.

                                        "True Blue" was certified 7xP in 1992, 15 months after the last sales considered for this list, and most of the sales of "True Blue" on his first years were still vynil, so many fans bought the CD version on the beginning of the 90's.

                                        And unlike USA, in UK certifications are given without the delay to account for returns from the shops...


                                        • #70
                                          Honestly, 40-50 million is an insult to out intelligence. There is not way a band would become legendary and remembered for years with those sales. Their Gold album was released ages ago, and itīs stil, CONTANSTLY in the charts of UK, Germany, Australia and many other, and outselling new releases by big artists. So maybe they havenīt reached the 400 million some may claim, but thereīs no way they sold that few records.


                                          • #71
                                            I never said that the highest ranking Records would necessarily be the Best Selling. I just said that you cannot use Sales Awards to judge success. Nelson's figures for ABBA are ridiculously low. I said, that to work out Global Chart DOMINANCE, (across the Decades), you need only find out which Acts had Most Number 1's, Most Weeks at Number 1, Most Top 10 Hits, and so on - then add them together - Country by Country.

                                            I CAN PROVE THAT SALES AWARDS DO NOT WORK

                                            I recently said that, it was in 2002, that the Official UK Charts Company put together a List of Britain's All Time Singles Acts - based on Sales.

                                            It was actually in February 2004, that they did it.

                                            Below, I show the Top 10 Acts in that 2004 List. (Plus the Number 12 Act). However, next to them, I put how many they would have been said to have sold by nelson's method - Sales Awards.

                                            In brackets, I then show how many UK Singles the OCC said they REALLY sold.

                                            Then I show how many Sales the Acts LOSE - if we use nelson's way to do things.

                                            Finally, I list the UK Awards each Act has. Bear in mind, that they did not begin, in the UK, until April 1973. It was then 250,000 for Silver, 500,000 for Gold, and 1 Million for Platinum.

                                            In January 1989, this changed to 200,000 for Silver, 400,000 for Gold, and 600,000 for Platinum. I have taken the Sales changes into account, when looking at an Acts Awards, after January 1989.

                                            1) CLIFF RICHARD - 5,300,000 (20,969,006)

                                            A Loss of 15,669,006 UK Singles Sales.

                                            9 S./4 G./2 P.

                                            2) THE BEATLES - ZERO Sales (20,799,632)

                                            A loss of 20,799,632 Sales

                                            No Sales Awards

                                            3) ELVIS PRESLEY - 1,600,000 (19,293,118)

                                            A loss of 17,693,118 Sales

                                            2 S./1 G./1 P.

                                            4) MADONNA - 9,200,000 (14,562,856)


                                            17 S./12 G.

                                            5) ELTON JOHN - 8,350,000 (13,475,063)


                                            8 S./1 G./10 P.

                                            6) MICHAEL JACKSON - 3,800,000 (11,310,958)


                                            6 S./4 G./1 P.

                                            7) QUEEN - 5,750,000 (10,334,713)


                                            10 S./3 G./2 P.

                                            8) ABBA - 6,250,000 (10,004,003)


                                            5 S./10 G.

                                            9) PAUL McCARTNEY - 6,000,000 (9,781,603)


                                            10 S./3 G./2 P.

                                            10) DAVID BOWIE - 3,250,000 (9,392,410)


                                            9 S./2 G.

                                            Finally, in 12th place, in the OCC List, we had:,

                                            12) ROLLING STONES - 750,000 (8,348,470)


                                            3 S.

                                            As you can see, ALL the abvove Acts lose Millions of UK Singles Sales, if you try to guess their Sales by Sales Awards.

                                            It is the same if you try to do it for an Acts Albums, too.

                                            It is the same if you try to do it for German Sales, or Italian, or Dutch etc., etc., etc.

                                            Always the Awards figure will be far, far lower than an Acts real Sales.....

                                            The Awards method just fails - totally - to work.



                                            • #72
                                              And your method is not perfect too, and based on the chart performance to estimate sales, which sometimes would lead to exaggerating sales as you would noticed in this forum about other artists' sales, and give more space for people to guess figures without control, that's why Elvis and Beatles could sold 1 billion and ABBA could sold 400 million, BECAUSE OF THIS.


                                              • #73
                                                Nelson. again, you repeat that my idea of Number 1's, Weeks At Number 1, etc - to create an All Time Global chart, isn't a perfect way to estimate Sales.

                                                I have to repeat, (again), that I am not sayinbg that it is perfect, or would give a true idea of Sales. BUT, such a List would give an idea which Acts had International Chart DOMINANCE, (Singles Charts added to Albums Charts), across the Decades.

                                                The 400 Million figure for ABBA, and the 1 Billion figure for Elvis, do NOT come from such a method, they come soley from Record Company CLAIMS.

                                                As does the 1 Billion figure for The Beatles.

                                                Those claims are 100% nothing to do with creating a List that shows International Chart Dominance, based on what Acts did the best in each Country - then adding all the statistics together.

                                                After all, I saw you dismiss Elvis's Sales in Germany recently, when you said he had 'No market' there.

                                                OK, so he had less Top 10 Hits there than in Britain and the USA, etc, and only 1 Number 1 Single, BUT, he did a lot better than to make it sound like he was hardly selling Records there.

                                                Between 1956 and 2002, he had 12 Top 10 hits in Germany, plus 13 other Top 20 Hits. Plus several Top 10 and Top 20 Albums. It is obviously not fair to say he had, 'no market', in Germany.

                                                Your Sales Awards method, IGNORES/LOSES the Sales of Millions of Singles and Albums. My Statistics method, shows Chart Dominance - and has the benefit of including ALL Chart Hits, ALL Chart places, for ALL Acts.....It is a better system than the one you use.....



                                                • #74
                                                  And don't forget your method would inflated sales as much as possible.

                                                  And you just care about sales of ABBA in the end of the day. You said I deflate their sales. I am just playing game safely without errors, at least you could see my method as "at least sold that much" without biased because certifications are from BPI not mine.


                                                  • #75
                                                    There are some who inflate and some who underestimate. Abba might not have sold 400 million, but 40 million is ridiculous too, theyīre probably somewhere in the middle of these 2 numbers, which is already a lot.