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David Bowie :: Charts & Sales History

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  • David Bowie :: Charts & Sales History

    US Sales

    Key
    year of release
    year of latest riaa certification
    title
    US chart peak
    riaa shipment
    soundscan total since 1991 - courtesy of Hanboo

    Studio Albums
    1969 none Space Oddity - 16 - 84,000
    1970 none The Man Who Sold the World - 105 - 77,000
    1972 none Hunky Dory - 57 - 166,000
    1972 1974 Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - 21 - 500,000 - 465,000
    1973 1983 Aladdin Sane - 17 - 500,000 - 133,000
    1974 1974 Diamond Dogs - 5 - 500,000 - 108,000
    1975 1975 Young Americans - 9 - 500,000 - 94,000
    1976 1976 Station to Station - 3 - 500,000 - 98,000
    1977 none Low - 11 - 103,000
    1977 none Heroes - 35 - 86,000
    1979 none Lodger - 20 - 37,000
    1980 none Scary Monsters - 12 - 87,000
    1983 1983 Let's Dance - 4 - 1,000,000 - 174,000
    1984 1984 Tonight - 11 - 1,000,000 - 22,000
    1987 1987 Never Let Me Down - 34 - 500,000 - 13,000
    1993 none Black Tie White Noise - 39 - 167,000
    1995 none Outside - 21 - 192,000
    1997 none Earthling - 39 - 254,000
    1999 none Hours - 47
    2002 none Heathen - 14 - 251,000 feb 2016
    2003 none Reality - 29 - 148,000
    2013 none The Next Day - 2
    2016 none Black Star - 1 - 316.000 feb 2016

    Covers Album
    1973 none Pin Ups - 23 - 47,000

    These figures clearly show the sales pattern of Bowie's 23 studio albums (plus Pin Ups).

    Ziggy Stardust is way ahead on catalogue sales and is flanked by the runners-up, Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane.

    Following another commercial peak with Let's Dance, sales dropped thereafter. Look at the terrible soundscan sales for the 2 follow ups.

    The recent run of albums since 1993 have all fallen well short of Gold, but have sold similar steady figures.

    The problem in re-certifying old albums lies in all the different labels involved - Mercury, RCA, Rykodisc, Virgin and others.

    Live Albums
    2000 none Bowie at the Beeb 1968-1972 - 181
    1983 none Ziggy Stardust Live 1973 - 89
    1974 1974 David Live 1974 - 8 - 500,000
    1978 none Stage 1978 - 44
    2010 none A Reality Tour
    2009 none VH1 Storytellers

    Soundtracks
    1978 none Peter and the Wolf - 136
    1982 none Christiane F - 135
    1986 none Labyrinth - 68

    Compilations on CD
    1989 1995 Sound and Vision (box) - 97 - 167,000
    1990 1991 Changesbowie - 39 - 1,000,000 - 708,000
    2002 2004 Best of Bowie - 4 - 1,000,000 - 1,046,000 nov 2007
    2002 none Best of Bowie (2CD) - 108
    2005 none Platinum Collection - 65
    2014 none Nothing Has Changed - 57

    Early (Vinyl) Compilations
    1973 none Images 1966-1967 - 144
    1976 1981 ChangesOneBowie - 10 - 1,000,000
    1981 none ChangesTwoBowie - 68
    1983 none Golden Years - 99
    1984 none Fame and Fashion - 147

    Tin Machine
    1989 none Tin Machine - 28
    1991 none Tin Machine II - 126

    Shipment Total - 8,667,000

    The total US sale of all the above albums is likely to be 18 to 20 million.
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

  • #2
    UK Sales

    Key
    year of release
    year of latest BPI certification
    title
    UK chart peak
    BPI shipment
    BPI auto certification

    Studio Albums
    1969 none Space Oddity - 17 - 60,000 2013
    1970 none The Man Who Sold the World - 26 - 100,000 2016
    1972 1982 Hunky Dory - 3 - 300,000
    1972 1982 Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - 5 - 300,000
    1973 none Aladdin Sane - 1 - 100,000 2013
    1974 none Diamond Dogs - 1 - 100,000 2013
    1975 1975 Young Americans - 2 - 60,000 - 100,000 2016
    1976 none Station to Station - 5 - 100,000 2013
    1977 1977 Low - 2 - 60,000 - 100,000 2013
    1977 none Heroes - 3 - 100,000 2013
    1979 1979 Lodger - 4 - 100,000
    1980 1981 Scary Monsters - 1 - 300,000
    1983 1983 Let's Dance - 1 - 300,000 - 60,000 2013
    1984 1984 Tonight - 1 - 100,000
    1987 1987 Never Let Me Down - 6 - 100,000
    1993 1993 Black Tie White Noise - 1 - 100,000
    1995 1995 Outside - 8 - 60,000
    1997 none Earthling - 6 - 60,000 2013
    1999 1999 Hours - 5 - 60,000
    2002 2002 Heathen - 5 - 100,000
    2003 2003 Reality - 3 - 100,000
    2013 none The Next Day - 1 - 300,000 2016
    2016 none Blackstar - 1 - 300,000 2016

    Covers Album
    1973 1973 Pin Ups - 1 - 100,000

    So, apart from the the first 2 albums - which sold heavily but over a long period - the rest of these 24 albums form an unbroken run of Top 10 Hits - with 9 reaching Number One.

    The certifications are rubbish, of course. All, aside from some of the recent ones, should be at least Gold. Ziggy Stardust is likely well over 1 million.

    Because of the various labels involved, they may never be properly certified.

    Live Albums
    2000 2000 Live at the Beeb 1968-1972 - 7 - 60,000 - 100,000 2016
    1994 none Santa Monica 1972 - 74
    1983 none Ziggy Stardust Live 1973 - 17
    1974 none David Live 1974 - 2
    1978 1978 Stage 1978 - 5
    2010 none A Reality Tour - 53
    2009 none VH1 Storytellers - 114

    CD Compilations
    1990 1990 Changesbowie - 1 - 300,000
    1993 1994 Singles Collection - 9 - 300,000 - 300,000 2013
    1997 1997 Best 1969/1974 - 11 - 100,000 - 300,000 2013
    1998 1998 Best 1974/1979 - 39 - 60,000 - 100,000 2013
    2002 2005 Best of Bowie - 1 - 600,000 - 1,200,000 2016
    2005 none Platinum Collection - 53 - 100,000 2013
    2007 none Best 1980/1987 - 34
    2014 none Nothing Has Changed - 5 - 100,000 2015
    2015 none Five Years (12CD) - 45

    Earlier (Vinyl) Compilations
    1976 none ChangesOneBowie - 2
    1981 1982 ChangesTwoBowie - 24 - 100,000
    1981 1981 Very Best Of - 3 - 300,000
    1983 none Rare - 34
    1983 none Golden Years - 33
    1984 none Fame and Fashion - 40
    1984 none Love You Till Tuesday - 53
    1985 1990 The Collection - 60,000

    Tin Machine
    1989 1989 Tin Machine - 3 - 100,000
    1991 none Tin Machine - 23

    Bowie's UK sales from 1984 to 2005 were 4,740,000. A maximum of 1,250,000 were "missing".

    Actual UK sales during this period were therefore around 5,500,000

    His sales heyday in the UK were the years 1972-1983.

    His total UK album sales since 1968 are likely 12-15 million.
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

    Comment


    • #3
      Sales form elsewhere

      End
      See Page One of my threads for all updates

      Comment


      • #4
        SPAIN certifications:
        1983 Letīs dance GOLD
        1984 Tonight GOLD
        1990 Changesbowie GOLD

        Comment


        • #5
          wow, Bowie is pretty undercertified looking at this list. If Ziggy Stardust was #1 on the catalog chart nearly a year in the 80's, plus the near 500k in the soundscan age (and plus it recharted in 1990 when the Rykodisc issue came out), it likely should be at 2 or 3 million easily. Let's Dance is probably at 2 or 3 million as well. While Low, Heroes, Scary Monsters and Hunky Dory should all be gold (Hunky may very well be platinum also). I guess we'll never know considering Bowie left RCA in the early 80's and then they didn't both recertifying his albums when he had a commercial renaissance after Let's Dance on EMI, and then those albums have also been issued on various labels since then like Rykodisc and Virgin.

          His catalog is definately a case of undercertification. I wonder what Earthling shipped/sold as well. The album had a short chart life, but it spun off a hit single nearly a year after it's run with "I'm Afraid Of Americans" and he toured his butt off to promote it, that I wouldn't be too surprised if it sold 300-400k easily.
          My top 100 artists (2018 edition)

          Comment


          • #6
            I think catalogue sales for Tonight and Never Let Me Down are because both albums were horrible, they both sold well upon initial release but people pretty much agree those albums were his weakest efforts and that's why they've sold so poorly
            My top 100 artists (2018 edition)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by davidalic
              SPAIN certifications:
              Many thanks davidalic.
              See Page One of my threads for all updates

              Comment


              • #8
                Great work Basil - Aladdin Sane is platinum in the UK.

                These are US album sales given in one of his biographies in 1983.They seem to be accurate as they match the RIAA certifications.Ziggy Stardust is the only one that doesn't match.I think they came to light during legal proceedings with his former management company Mainman.

                Space Oddity 455,548
                The Man Who Sold The world 207,302
                Hunky Dory 445,613
                Ziggy Stardust 1,381,435
                Aladdin Sane 531,862
                Pinups 421,427
                Diamond Dogs 745,361
                David Live 598,835
                Young Americans 923,018
                Station To Station 552,791
                Changesonebowie 1,331,247
                Low 265,906
                Heroes 279,050
                Stage 127,350
                Lodger 153,364
                Scary Monsters 347,413
                Changestwobowie 143,994
                Christine F 26,156
                Baal's Hymn EP 24,212


                Best of Bowie (1 cd) - scanned 708k up to aug 05
                Earthling - scans were 200k in 1998.

                It would seem that added certifications would now likely be

                3 x Platinum - Ziggy Stardust

                Platinum - Diamond Dogs,David Live,Young Americans

                Gold - Space Oddity,Hunky Dory,Pinups,Low,
                Heroes,Scary Monsters

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by teenwildlife
                  Great work Basil - Aladdin Sane is platinum in the UK.

                  These are US album sales given in one of his biographies in 1983.They seem to be accurate as they match the RIAA certifications.Ziggy Stardust is the only one that doesn't match.I think they came to light during legal proceedings with his former management company Mainman.

                  Space Oddity 455,548
                  The Man Who Sold The world 207,302
                  Hunky Dory 445,613
                  Ziggy Stardust 1,381,435
                  Aladdin Sane 531,862
                  Pinups 421,427
                  Diamond Dogs 745,361
                  David Live 598,835
                  Young Americans 923,018
                  Station To Station 552,791
                  Changesonebowie 1,331,247
                  Low 265,906
                  Heroes 279,050
                  Stage 127,350
                  Lodger 153,364
                  Scary Monsters 347,413
                  Changestwobowie 143,994
                  Christine F 26,156
                  Baal's Hymn EP 24,212


                  Best of Bowie (1 cd) - scanned 708k up to aug 05
                  Earthling - scans were 200k in 1998.

                  It would seem that added certifications would now likely be

                  3 x Platinum - Ziggy Stardust

                  Platinum - Diamond Dogs,David Live,Young Americans

                  Gold - Space Oddity,Hunky Dory,Pinups,Low,
                  Heroes,Scary Monsters
                  those sales are a little TOO precise for pre-Soundscan.

                  I think Station To Station had sold more than 552k between 76-83. The album peaked at #3 and spent 30-someodd weeks on the chart, it easily could've been past a million. Or were album sales really poor at the time?
                  My top 100 artists (2018 edition)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NothingFails
                    I think catalogue sales for Tonight and Never Let Me Down are because both albums were horrible, they both sold well upon initial release but people pretty much agree those albums were his weakest efforts and that's why they've sold so poorly
                    I think this and your analyses in the other post are spot on.

                    Bowie almost seems a cult figure in the US. The UK is a much stonger market for him.

                    I was surprised the Ziggy Stardust album wasn't in the all time UK album Top 110 just released.
                    See Page One of my threads for all updates

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by teenwildlife
                      These are US album sales given in one of his biographies in 1983.They seem to be accurate as they match the RIAA certifications.Ziggy Stardust is the only one that doesn't match.I think they came to light during legal proceedings with his former management company Mainman.
                      Excellent find.

                      They look good to me and match chart performance well.

                      A big range of sales. The US record buyer definitely picking and choosing which of Bowie's albums to buy.
                      See Page One of my threads for all updates

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        if the album sales are authentic (up to 1983), then frankly, the music industry has been in a worse recession than it is currently.

                        I mean, Lodger was a top 20 album and sold less than 200k. Scary Monsters was a top 15 album that was in the top 40 through Xmas 1980 and could only muster up 337k. Station To Station got to #3 and spent over 30 weeks on the chart and only sold 552k. If those numbers are factual, then frankly the music industry isn't any worse now that it was back then. We're just spoiled because we had some really good years in the 80's and 90's/early 00's.
                        My top 100 artists (2018 edition)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Can someone print as accurately as possible sales figures for all DAVID BOWIE albums, including TIN MACHINE, in the UK, PLEASE!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Does anyone have soundscan sales for Earthling, Hours and Heathen? Heathen was Bowie's biggest seller in recent years so that one is probably the closest to Gold in the US.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Best of Bowie now certified platinum in US.

                              Heathen scanned 226k up to jan 04 according to Hanboo.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by teenwildlife
                                Best of Bowie now certified platinum in US.

                                Heathen scanned 226k up to jan 04 according to Hanboo.
                                Thanks teenwildlife.

                                Hanboo's latest for Heathen is 233k and 37k for Lodger. I've updated the first post of the thread with all this.
                                See Page One of my threads for all updates

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Hanboo posted that Earthling has scanned 254k as of 06/01.
                                  My top 100 artists (2018 edition)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: David Bowie Sales

                                    Originally posted by Basil
                                    1979 none Lodger - 20 - 37,000
                                    1984 1984 Tonight - 11 - 1,000,000 - 22,000
                                    Somehow I'm reassured about humanity when I see that.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      France sales
                                      (quite incomplete, sales are estimations)

                                      1973 - Aladdin Sane - gold - 114.100
                                      1980 - Scary Monsters - gold - 379.000
                                      1983 - Let's Dance - platinum - 847.700
                                      1984 - Tonight - gold - ?
                                      1987 - Never Let Me Down - gold - 159.500
                                      1990 - ChangesBowie- platinum - 355.900
                                      1993 - The Singles Collection - 2x gold - 140.300
                                      1999 - Hours - gold - 112.900
                                      2002 - Heathen - gold - 132.300
                                      2003 - Reality - gold - 104.400

                                      gold = 100.000
                                      platinum = 400.000 (until 1988, then 300.000, and since 2006 it's 200.000 lol)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Re: David Bowie Sales

                                        1993 none Black Tie White Noise - 39 - 167,000
                                        1995 none Outside - 21 - 192,000
                                        1997 none Earthling - 39 - 254,000
                                        1999 none Hours - 47
                                        2002 none Heathen - 14 - 233,000
                                        2003 none Reality - 29 - 148,000
                                        There are now (thanks to Hanboo), soundscan totals on all Bowie's studio albums except Hours.

                                        These are his soundscan era albums - looks like Hours will have scanned no more than 250,000 mark.

                                        Seems there is no chance of these albums ever going Gold.

                                        Full list is in the first post of this thread.
                                        See Page One of my threads for all updates

                                        Comment


                                        • #21
                                          Thanks to Basil and Hanboo for SoundScan figures!
                                          Prisoner Of Rock'n'Roll

                                          Comment


                                          • #22
                                            One question. Where's the 136 million albums he sold?
                                            I'm one of god's own prototypes.
                                            A high power mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.
                                            Too weird to live, too rare to die.

                                            Comment


                                            • #23
                                              Originally posted by NothingFails
                                              if the album sales are authentic (up to 1983), then frankly, the music industry has been in a worse recession than it is currently.

                                              I mean, Lodger was a top 20 album and sold less than 200k. Scary Monsters was a top 15 album that was in the top 40 through Xmas 1980 and could only muster up 337k. Station To Station got to #3 and spent over 30 weeks on the chart and only sold 552k. If those numbers are factual, then frankly the music industry isn't any worse now that it was back then. We're just spoiled because we had some really good years in the 80's and 90's/early 00's.
                                              In the UK, album sales are at all all-time high overall over past five years. 2007 is slightly down on last few, but prob only because their have been very few major new albums released so far.

                                              Late 70s/early 80s was, in fact, a recession time in UK - album sales were very low. Picked up around 83/84.

                                              Bowie never sold massive amounts of records with each release - his music is far too eclectic.
                                              Mummy, mummy, it's the Gods!

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by Maripol
                                                Originally posted by NothingFails
                                                if the album sales are authentic (up to 1983), then frankly, the music industry has been in a worse recession than it is currently.

                                                I mean, Lodger was a top 20 album and sold less than 200k. Scary Monsters was a top 15 album that was in the top 40 through Xmas 1980 and could only muster up 337k. Station To Station got to #3 and spent over 30 weeks on the chart and only sold 552k. If those numbers are factual, then frankly the music industry isn't any worse now that it was back then. We're just spoiled because we had some really good years in the 80's and 90's/early 00's.
                                                In the UK, album sales are at all all-time high overall over past five years. 2007 is slightly down on last few, but prob only because their have been very few major new albums released so far.

                                                Late 70s/early 80s was, in fact, a recession time in UK - album sales were very low. Picked up around 83/84.

                                                Bowie never sold massive amounts of records with each release - his music is far too eclectic.
                                                true, but these are supposed US sales. Right now people are lamented the death of CD's in America (ok, that's a stretch, but album sales are lower than they've been in a very long time), but if these numbers through 1983 are factual, than sales were likely worse in the 70's than they are now if Young Americans couldn't sell 1 million and Station To Station only topped out with 552k despite peaking at #3 and having a relatively healthy chart run (in comparison, Mariah's Glitter, Madonna's American Life and Janet's 20 Y.O. all sold around 100k more, and those three were massive flops, Station To Station was a "hit"). If these numbers are true, then today's album sales in perspective aren't really that godawful.
                                                My top 100 artists (2018 edition)

                                                Comment


                                                • #25
                                                  Re: David Bowie Sales

                                                  Following the discussion above, I've combined the figures from teenwildlife for figures up to early 1983(ish) with soundscan figures from early 1991 onwards.

                                                  This leaves a gap of 8 years from early 1983 to early 1991. During this time Bowie was doing pretty good in the US with 3 platinum and 2 gold albums in these years. So we may assume that some of these titles enjoyed decent sales - especially those appearing on the catalogue chart in the 80's.




                                                  Key
                                                  year of release
                                                  year of latest riaa certification
                                                  title
                                                  riaa shipment
                                                  figures to early 1983 + soundscan from early 1991
                                                  weeks on catalogue chart since 1982

                                                  Studio Albums
                                                  1969 none Space Oddity - 540,000
                                                  1970 none The Man Who Sold the World - 285,000
                                                  1972 none Hunky Dory - 612,000 - 16wks
                                                  1972 1974 Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - 500,000 - 1,847,000 - 277wks (46 at No.1)
                                                  1973 1983 Aladdin Sane - 500,000 - 665,000 - 20wks
                                                  1974 1974 Diamond Dogs - 500,000 - 854,000 - 48wks
                                                  1975 1975 Young Americans - 500,000 - 1,018,000
                                                  1976 1976 Station to Station - 500,000 - 651,000
                                                  1977 none Low - 369,000
                                                  1977 none Heroes - 366,000 - 60wks
                                                  1979 none Lodger - 191,000
                                                  1980 none Scary Monsters - 435,000

                                                  1973 none Pin Ups - 469,000 - 16wks

                                                  The reason many Bowie albums are not properly certified is a lack of co-operation between the record companies that released these albums - RCA, Rykodisc and Virgin.

                                                  It would seem that if all the sales were added up, he should have the following (extra) riaa certs.

                                                  Gold
                                                  Space Oddity
                                                  Hunky Dory
                                                  Pin Ups

                                                  Platinum
                                                  Young Americans

                                                  Double Platinum
                                                  Ziggy Stardust
                                                  See Page One of my threads for all updates

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