PRINCE : the ALBUM SALES analysis

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Postby Edu » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:02 am

The goal of this thread, besides to estimate some reliable Prince sales figures it's also to gather together in one place all the sales information we can find about him.
This thread will be (i hope) a permanent "under-construction" Prince sales database where its certifications and sales can be found (eventually chart data can be added).
In this spirit any correction or additional informations shall be more than welcome.
I live in a country where chart data is almost impossible to find and if was not for the Net and people like the ones who keep posting in this (and other forums) i could have never feed my charts and sales passion.

This thread is dedicated to everyone who feels a daily curiosity about popular music's biggest stars commercial/musical success.
But especially i dedicate this thread to :
Basil, Dane, Mario and obviously, with a very very special "thank you" (for everything he has done and keeps doing for all us charts freaks), to Hanboo.
Also a very special salute to Nelson and jimmypages59.

I really hope the guys above and others can reply to this thread with more data about Prince sales all over the world. That information will be processed and added to the numbers below.

A final mention to Keith Caulfield for his answer to my email on "Ask Billboard".
It still seems like i had a dream! This proves that we all should always try to reach our dreams, even the small ones..

How i got to the sales below its explained in detail right after the "Career Sales Analysis", on the Part Three of this thread, called "Individual Album Analysis".

Part One

Career Sales Analysis

Legend

Worldwide estimated sales
USA estimated sales
International (outside US) estimated sales

The 70's + 80's

1978 For You 930,000 = 550,000 + 380,000
1979 Prince 1,950,000 = 1,500,000 + 450,000
1980 Dirty Mind 2,015,000 = 1,085,000 + 930,000
1981 Controversy 2,650,000 = 1,550,000 + 1,100,000
1982 1999 6,075,000 = 4,320,000 + 1,755,000
1984 Purple Rain 19,880,000 = 14,480,000 + 5,400,000
1985 Around The World In A Day 4,585,000 = 2,845,000 + 1,740,000
1986 Parade 4,155,000 = 2,105,000 + 2,050,000
1987 Sign Of The Times 4,025,000 = 1,840,000 + 2,185,000
1988 Lovesexy 2,825,000 = 960,000 + 1,865,000
1989 Batman (Soundtrack) 4,790,000 = 2,500,000 + 2,290,000

Total 70's + 80's estimated worldwide all-time sales:
53,880,000 = 33,735,000 + 20,145,000

The 90's

1990 Graffiti Bridge 2,305,000 = 980,000 + 1,325,000
1991 Diamonds & Pearls 6,450,000 = 2,780,000 + 3,670,000
1992 Symbol 2,700,000 = 1,100,000 + 1,600,000
1993 The Hits/The B-Sides 1,000,000 = 650,000 + 350,000
1993 The Hits 1 2,750,000 = 2,000,000 + 750,000
1993 The Hits 2 2,250,000 = 1,750,000 + 500,000
1994 Come 1,000,000 = 500,000 + 500,000
1994 The Black Album 575,000 = 275,000 + 300,000
1995 The Gold Experience 900,000 = 550,000 + 350,000
1996 Chaos & Disorder 350,000 = 150,000 + 200,000
1996 Emancipation 1,200,000 = 700,000 + 500,000
1998 Crystal Ball 275,000 = 125,000 + 150,000
1998 Newpower Soul 425,000 = 225,000 + 200,000
1999 The Vault 250,000 = 125,000 + 125,000
1999 Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic 750,000 = 500,000 + 250,000

Total 90's estimated worldwide all-time sales:
23,180,000 = 12,410,000 + 10,770,000

The 00's

2001 The Very Best Of Prince 2,000,000 = 1,300,000 + 700,000
2001 The Rainbow Children 300,000 = 175,000 + 125,000
2004 Musicology 1,500,000 = 1,000,000 + 500,000

Total 00's estimated worldwide all-time sales:
3,800,000 = 2,475,000 + 1,325,000

Total (Estimated) Career All-Time Album Sales Worldwide:

80,860,000 = 48,620,000 + 32,240,000

APPENDIX : album sales 1978 - 1992

the below sales were the starting point to calculate the all-time sales 1978 - 2005 displayed above

Legend

Worldwide sales (reference 1)
USA sales (reference 3)
International (outside US) sales (references 1 and 3)
reference 4 (see Part Two below)

1978 For You 800,000
1979 Prince 1,750,000
1980 Dirty Mind 1,800,000
1981 Controversy 2,300,000
1982 1999 5,000,000
1984 Purple Rain 14,700,000 = 10,200,000 + 4,500,000
1985 Around The World In A Day 4,350,000 = 2,700,000 + 1,650,000
1986 Parade 3,750,000 = 1,900,000 + 1,850,000
1987 Sign Of The Times 3,500,000 = 1,600,000 + 1,900,000
1988 Lovesexy 2,650,000 = 900,000 + 1,750,000
1989 Batman (Soundtrack) 4,600,000
1990 Graffiti Bridge 2,000,000
1991 Diamonds & Pearls 5,800,000 = 2,500,000 + 3,300,000
1992 Symbol 2,450,000
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Postby Edu » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:05 am

Part Two

The method I

Album sales from 1978 to 1993

References:

(1)_"Pretender to the throne, there may be less to Prince's royal rock deal than meets the eye" ; Entertainment Weekly - Issue 136, September 18, 1992.
NOTE: i'm not sure who his the author of this article but i have many reasons to believe that it was Jon Bream, journalist of the "Minneapolis Star Tribune", writer of the first true Prince biograhy ("Purple Reign").
On the aforementioned journal it was published an article with almost the same data as the one in Entertainment Weekly and signed by Bream (reference 2).
(2)_ "Prince's behind-scenes bankability - His record sales aren't stupendous, but his talents are", by Jon Bream ; (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, September 5, 1992.
(3)_"What are realities of Prince deal? Attorneys see safeguards for Warner", by Irv Lichtman ; Billboard, September 19, 1992.

In (1) we find the Worldwide (henceforth WW) sales of all Prince's albums from "For You" to "Diamonds & Pearls".
In (3) we get: the International (outside USA, henceforth Int) sales of "Purple Rain" and "Diamonds & Pearls" ; the WW sales of all albums from "Around The World In A Day" to "Graffiti Bridge".

A mystery:
The WW sales of Entertainment Weekly (henceforth EW) are all higher than the correspondent sales in Billboard (henceforth BB), with the curious exception of "Graffiti Bridge" and "Batman"...
My (personal) answer:
in the BB article, Warner uses as US sales the RIAA certified sales at that time, while in the EW article somehow Jon Bream knows the full US sales figures.
Example:
The "Lovesexy" case: from BB we have 2.25 million (henceforth m) WW sales, in EW we find 2.65m global sales. My reasoning: from the BB figure we get 2.25m - 0.5m (RIAA sales) = 1.75m. These i shall consider the Int sales of "Lovesexy". To get the full US sales i do 2.65m - 2.25m = 0.4m (400k), then adding these to the RIAA certification (henceforth RIAA Cert) of 500k we find 900k US sales.

I'll use this method to calculate the US and Int sales from "Around The World In A Day" to "Lovesexy".

But i had to do a small correction regarding the albums "Parade" and "Sign Of The Times". Using the above method i got US figures not in accordance with other sources i have with sales of this albums, more exactly the US sales of 1.65m ("Parade") and 1.85m ("Sign Of The Times") are too low for the former and too high for the later. When i exchanged the EW sales of these two albums i found two much more credible figures for the US: 1.9m ("Parade") and 1.6m ("Sign Of The Times"), numbers which are in agreement with my other sources. So i assume, relatively to the EW article, the exchange of the EW global sales for these two albums.

About the other little mystery: i don't know why the "Graffiti Bridge" sales (1.95m in EW and 2m in BB) and "Batman" (4.4m in EW and 4.6m in BB) differ in the two articles. So i will simply choose the BB figures (which are slightly higher).

Sales from the albums not mentioned in BB ("For You" to "1999"):
I have to estimate their US and Int sales from the global sales given in EW. In order to do this, besides some guesses, i shall assume one thing (valid for ALL Prince's albums):

RIAA Certs were at that time (September 1992) all up to date.


Finally the "Symbol" album. I only have one sales reference about it:
(4)_"If Prince Is Low On the Charts, Why Is He On the Forbes List?" by Jon Bream ;
(Minneapolis) Star Tribune, September 17, 1993.

The figure is 3.45m global sales. Sincerily i always found it too much, and now that i know from Soundscan that this album "only" sold 1.1m in US (very far from the "under 2m" figure i was convinced of), i really believe it to be incorrect. Maybe it's a archive error. Anyway i will assume a correction of this figure from 3.45m to 2.45m. The main argument is that up to 1993 only three Prince albums sold more than 2m outside US ("Purple Rain", "Batman" and "Diamonds & Pearls"). And the sucess of the "Symbol" album internationally was much more discrete than any one of the mentioned albums, even less than "Parade" or "Lovesexy".

With the above "philosophy" i "calculated" an estimation of Prince's album sales from 1978 to 1993.
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Postby Edu » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:08 am

Part Two (continued)

The Method II

American sales 1978-2005

I could simply add the Soundscan (henceforth SS) sales to the '78-'92 estimated sales of each album from "For You" to "Graffiti Bridge" (from "Diamonds & Pearls" onwards their all-time US sales are the same as their SS sales, with some exceptions explained later).
But instead i will add a "corrected" SS sales. Why?
The reason is: i consider the US sales up to '92 as being from April 1978 (release of "For You") to August 1992 (the month before BB and EW articles). And i consider SS sales as being from January 1991 onwards.
So i will assume that we have here a overlap in sales, specifically from January 1991 to August 1992. I will assume that this SS sales were already included in the EW figures.
This is a hypothesis, i believe in one way or another this must be true. And i prefer to have a minimum sales plateau which is almost 99% sure than a higher figure that could be not very close to reality. With the data i have i think this is the most honest way to put together the sales before '92 and after '92. So i need the SS sales from Jan '91 to Aug '92, or from 20 months of sales.
I will do the simplest thing i can do, i believe that there is a little error in this method, especially in the case of "Purple Rain" and "1999", but i will ignore it, we can think of this calculation as a first order approximation.
What i will do is:
i consider the SS sales from "Ask Billboard" and Hanboo as being from January 1991 to December 2005, which are 15 years = 15 x (12 months) = 180 months. I shall simply divide the SS sales of each album by these 180 months to get an average monthly sales, then i simply multiply the overlapped 20 months of sales by this averaged sales. Then i subtract this number from the total SS sales.
These remaining SS sales are the ones i will add to the calculated '78-'92 sales.
To make my reasoning more clear let's look again to the "Lovesexy" album:
from the period April '78- August '92 we have a 900k sales figure. SS gave us 68k sold from jan '91 onwards. Division of 68k by 180 months gives us a (rounded) 378 copies per month. Multiplying these 378 copies by the (overlapped) 20 months we get 7560 copies sold from Jan '91 to Aug '92. Taking out these 7560 units from the SS number of 68k we have the final (approximated) sales of 60k from Aug '92 to Dec '05. These 60k i add to the Apr '78 - Aug '92 figure of 900k to (finally) get the all-time American sales of 960k by December 2005. This is my estimation of the minimum sales of "Lovesexy" from its release in 1988 till December 2005 in USA. So my "Lovesexy" (minimum and rounded) estimation for US is 960k.

This is the method i found more reliable and simple to calculate the US sales of all the Prince's albums from "For You" to "Graffiti Bridge". Any exception to this method will be explained in the individual album analysis.

International sales 1978-2005

Now is more tricky to calculate sales... i will do again a kind of 1st order approximation, the simplest one. I simply assume that the proportion (outside US)/US verified by Aug '92 (a kind of sales state of equilibrium) was kept unchanged since them. Obviously i know this is not exact, but i can't think at the present of a better way, with the available data i have, to try to guess the Prince's Int sales. But this method i shall use only for the albums "For You" to "Symbol". For all the others ("The Hits" onwards) i will simply give the Int certifications i'm aware of and to give a sugested rounded (minimum) global sales figure. You can read more in the individual album sales analysis.

Obviously the WW sales are the sum of the two above.

I hope my ideias were more or less clear.

Here is the summary and right after it the individual album analysis!

Summary

Step 1 : WW sales, April 1978 to August 1992 (See the APPENDIX in Part One)

US sales :
-from "For You" to "1999", from "Batman" to "Symbol": educated guesses based on all data available,
with one assumption : RIAA Certs were all up to date
-from "Purple Rain" to "Lovesexy": the difference between EW and BB global sales figures.

Int sales :
-from "For You" to "1999"; "Graffiti Bridge","Batman" and "Symbol": educated guesses based on all data available.
-"Purple Rain" and "Diamonds & Pearls": BB figures.
-from "Around The World In A Day" to "Lovesexy": difference between BB figures and RIAA Certified sales.

WW sales :
-from "For You" to "Lovesexy" and "Diamonds & Pearls": EW figures
-for "Batman" and "Graffiti Bridge": BB figures
-for "Symbol": educated guess based in Star Tribune article

Part II : WW all-time sales, April 1978 to December 2005

US sales:
-for "For You" to "Symbol"
above estimated US sales plus:
(total SS sales by Dec '05) - (average SS sales from Jan '91 to Aug '92)

-for "The Hits" onwards
SS total sales by Dec '05 combined with RIAA certifications

Int sales:
-for "For You" to "Symbol": above estimated sales plus Int sales based on the proportion (outside US)/US sales in '78-'92 when taking into account the above US '92 - '05 US sales
-for "The Hits" onwards: educated guesses based on all data available

WW sales:
the sum of the two above.
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Postby Edu » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:10 am

Part Three

Individual Album Analysis

All Japan sales courtesy of MARIO
Soundscan sales (January 2006) from "Ask Billboard" and HANBOO (Thanks!)
Some International Certs courtesy of NELSON
Spanish sales courtesy of DAVIDALIC

"For You" ('78)

Until '92:
- no RIAA Cert, so less than 500k sold in US;
- SS = 88k ;
- from EW a 800k global sales; i assume that it sold more in US than outside it;
- my estimation: 475k in US, 325k overseas;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 88k-(88k/180)x20 = 78k ;
all-time US sales: 475 + 78k = 550k (RIAA upgrade: Gold) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (325k/475k) = 0.7 ;
all-time Int sales = 325k + (0.7x78k) = 325k + 55k = 380k ;
My WW sales estimation: 550k + 380k = 930k
No Int certs for this album


"Prince" ('79)

Until '92
- 1 million RIAA certified in '80;
- SS = 183k ;
- EW: 1.75m globally sold, so some 750k to split between US and outside US;
- i assume that it sold a bit more internationally than "For You": i say 400k;
- then a '92 figure of 1.35 in US and 400k outside US;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 183k-(183k/180)x20= 163k ;
all-time US sales: 1.35m + 163k = 1.50m (no RIAA upgrade) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (400k/1.35m) = 0.3 ;
all-time Int sales = 400k + (0.3x163k) = 400k + 50k = 450k ;
My WW sales estimation: 1.50m + 450k = 1.95m
Int Certs: 60k in UK ('04)


"Dirty Mind" ('80)

Until '92
- 500k RIAA certified in June '84 (before "Purple Rain", so still not reflecting 1984 Prince's popularity explosion);
- SS = 125k ;
- EW: 1.8m globally sold, so 1.3m to split between US and outside US,
- i assume that: it sold more internationally than "Prince" and sold less than 1m in US:
i say a '92 figure of 975k in US and 825k outside US
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 125k-(125k/180)x20= 110k ;
all-time US sales: 975k + 110k = 1.085m (RIAA upgrade: Platinum) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (825k/975k) = 0.85 ;
all-time Int sales = 825k + (0.9x125k) = 825k + 105k = 930k
Final WW sales estimation: 1.085m + 930k = 2.015m
No Int Certs


"Controversy" ('81)

Until '92
- 1m RIAA certified in January '85 (so already includes sales coming from the 1984's Prince explosion);
- SS = 200k ;
- EW: 2.3m globally sold, so 1.3m to split between US and outside US ;
- i assume that: it sold a bit more internationally than "Dirty Mind": 950k outside US
- then a '92 figure of 1.35m in US and 950k outside US;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 200k-(200k/180)x20= 180k ;
all-time US sales: 1.35m + 180k = 1.55m (no RIAA upgrade) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (950k/1.35m) = 0.7 ;
all-time Int sales = 950k + (0.7x200k) = 950k + 140k = 1.1m
Final WW sales estimation: 1.55m + 1.1m = 2.65m
Int Certs: 60k in UK ('89)


"1999" ('82)

Until '92
- 3m RIAA certified in July '85 (then already including sales due to post-"Purple Rain" fans);
- SS = 640k ;
- EW: 5m globally sold, so 2m to split between US and outside US ;
i assume that: it sold more internationally than "Controversy", but (much) less than 4m in US:
i propose 1.25m outside US and additional 750k in US by '92
- then a '92 figure of 3.5m in US and 1.5m outside US;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 640k-(640k/180)x20= 570k ;
all-time US sales: 3.75m + 570k = 4.32m (no RIAA upgrade) ;
Commentary: i can use other approach. Knowing that "1999" was certified in March '99 for 4m sales we can use SS monthly average to estimate its sales after March '99: 4m + (640k/180)*(10 months in '99 + 72 months from 00-05)= 4m + 292k = 4.29m which is just a bit less than the estimation above.
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (1.5m/3.75m) = 0.4 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.5m + (0.4x640k) = 1.5m + 255k = 1.755m
Final WW sales estimation: 4.32m + 1.45m = 6.075m

4m RIAA certified in March '99
Int Certs: 60k in UK ('85); 50k in Canada ('83)


"Purple Rain" ('84)

Until '92
- 10m RIAA certified in November '89 ;
- EW: 14.7m global sales; BB: 4.5m overseas sales;
- SS = 2.3m ;
then a '92 figure of (14.7m - 4.5m) = 10.2m in US and 4.5m outside US;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 2.3m-(2.3m/180)x20= 2.04m ; all-time US sales: 10.2m + 2.04m = 12.24m
Commentary: knowing the '96 certification this result seems too low. Clearly this latest Cert includes (for the first time) sales other than through standard retailers, so i will use the SS monthly average since May '96 to get a more reliable US sales. We shall have then 13m + (2.3m/180)x(8 months in '96 + 108 months 97-05) = 1.48m. Thus a new estimation of 13m + 1.48m = 14.48m in US. This seems a bit too much taking into account that "Purple Rain" sold last year around 100k in US, very bellow the SS annual average of 153k. But even if i use an annual average of 100k (i believe the minimum that this album sells annualy in US) we would get a figure of almost 1m sales since May '96. So i believe "Purple Rain" can be upgraded to 14xPlatinum. I will use in my WW and US estimations the higher figure of 14.48m to be coerent with the other albums calculations, but keeping in mind the above reservations.
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (4.5m/10.2m) = 0.44 ;
all-time Int sales = 4.5m + (0.44x2.04m) = 4.5m + 898k = 5.4m
Final WW sales estimation: 14.48m + 5.4m = 19.88m
So according to this method "Purple Rain" it's on the verge of the magic 20 million mark...

13m RIAA certified in May '96
Int Certs: 600k in UK ('90) + 146k since '97 (thanks JIMMIYPAGES59!) = 746k ; 600k in Canada ('84) ; 500k in Germany ('93) ; 300k in France ('93) ; 197k in Japan ; 140k in Australia ('92) ; 50k in Switzerland ('89) ; 50k in Spain , Total Int Certs = 2.59m


"Around The World In A Day" ('85)

Until '92
- 2m RIAA certified in July '85 ;
- EW: 4.35m global sales; BB: 2.65m global sales ;
- SS = 162k ;
then a '92 figure of (2.65m - 2m) = 1.65m outside US and (4.35m - 1.65m) = 2.7m in US ;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 162k-(162k/180)x20= 145k ;
all-time US sales: 2.7m + 145k = 2.845m (no RIAA upgrade) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (1.65m/2.7m) = 0.61 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.65m + (0.61x145k) = 1.65m + 90k = 1.74m
Final WW sales estimation: 2.845m + 1.74m = 4.585m

Int Certs: 100k in UK ('85) ; 99k in Japan


"Parade" ('86)

Until '92
- 1m RIAA certified in June '86 ;
- EW: 3.75m global sales; BB: 2.85m global sales ;
- SS = 230k ;
then a '92 figure of (2.85m - 1m) = 1.85m outside US and (3.75m - 1.85m) = 1.9m in US ;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 230k-(230k/180)x20= 205k ;
all-time US sales: 1.9m + 205k = 2.105m (RIAA upgrade: 2xPlatinum) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (1.85m/1.9m) = 0.97 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.85m + (0.97x204k) = 1.85m + 200k = 2.05m
Final WW sales estimation: 2.105m + 2.05m = 4.155m

Int Certs: 300k in UK ('92) ; 300k in France ('01) ; 250k in Germany ('93) ; 100k in The Netherlands ('92) ; 82k in Japan ; 15k in Austria ('94) ; Total Int Certs = 1.05m


"Sign Of The Times" ('87)

Until '92
- 1m RIAA certified in July '87 ;
- EW: 3.5m global sales; BB: 2.9m global sales ;
- SS = 271k ;
then a '92 figure of (2.9m - 1m) = 1.9m outside US and (3.5m - 1.9m) = 1.6m in US ;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 271k-(271k/180)x20= 240k ;
all-time US sales: 1.6m + 240k = 1.84m (RIAA upgrade: not likely) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (1.9m/1.6m) = 1.19 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.9m + (1.19x241k) = 1.9m + 285k = 2.185m
Final WW sales estimation: 1.84m + 2.185m = 4.025m

Int Certs: 300k in UK ('90) ; 250k in Germany ('96) ; 200k in France ('01) ; 100k in The Netherlands ('88) ; 50k in Japan ; 35k in Australia ('99) ; Total Int Certs = 935k


"Lovesexy" ('88)

Until '92
- 500k RIAA certified in December '88 ;
- EW: 2.65m global sales; BB: 2.25m global sales ;
- SS = 68k ;
then a '92 figure of (2.25m - 500k) = 1.75m outside US and (2.65m - 1.75m) = 900k in US ;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 68k-(68k/180)x20= 60k ;
all-time US sales: 900k + 60k = 960k (RIAA upgrade: very probable, Platinum) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (1.75m/900k) = 1.94 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.75m + (1.94x60k) = 1.75m + 115k = 1.865m
Final WW sales estimation: 960k + 1.865m = 2.825m

Int Certs: 300k in UK ('90) ; 250k in Germany ('96) ; 200k in France ('01) ; 100k in The Netherlands ('88) ; 40k in Japan ; 35k in Australia ('99) ; 25k in Switzerland ('88) ; 15k in Austria ('94) ; Total Int Certs = 980k


"Batman" (Soundtrack) ('89)

Until '92
- 2m RIAA certified in August '89 ;
- EW: 4.4m global sales; BB: 4.6m global sales ;
- SS = 111k ;
i don't know why these figures are different, i'll go with BB, but that's just a personal choice, and having no more data about this album (beside its Int certs) i shall propose 2.4m in US and 2.2m outside US ;
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 111k-(111k/180)x20= 100k ;
all-time US sales: 2.4m + 100k = 2.5m (no RIAA upgrade) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (2.2m/2.4m) = 0.92 ;
all-time Int sales = 2.2m + (0.92x99k) = 2.2m + 90k = 2.29m
Final WW sales estimation: 2.5m + 2.29m = 4.79m

Int Certs: 300k in UK ('89) ; 300k in France ('01) ; 250k in Germany ('90) ; 175k in Japan ; 100k in Spain ; 50k in The Netherlands ('89) ; 25k in Switzerland ('89) ; Total Int Certs = 1.2m


"Graffiti Bridge" ('90)

Until '92
- 500k RIAA certified in November '90 ;
- EW: 1.95m global sales; BB: 2.0m global sales ;
- SS = 145k ;
practically the same figures, i go with 2m ; no more data available so i shall propose 850k in US and thus 1.15m overseas.
from '92 on:
- SS sales: 145k-(145k/180)x20= 130k ;
all-time US sales: 850k + 130k = 980k (RIAA upgrade: a possible Platinum) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (1.15m/850k) = 1.35 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.15m + (1.35x130k) = 1.15m + 175k = 1.325m
Final WW sales estimation: 980k + 1.325m = 2.300m

Int Certs: 100k in UK ('90) ; 100k in France ('90) ; 75k in Japan ; 50k in Canada ('90) ; 50k in Spain ; 25k in Switzerland ('90) ;
Total Int Certs = 400k


"Diamonds & Pearls" ('91)

Until '92
- 2m RIAA certified in January '92 ;
- EW: 5.8m global sales; BB: 3.3m Int sales ;
- SS = 2.5m ;

so from above figures we get 2.5m American sales. Knowing that its recent SS sales are also 2.5m we must admit that the '92 2.5m sales include more sales than just the ones from SS. The only SS figure i found before the one from January '06 was 2.3m by July 1996 (Los Angeles Times, The Interview, by Elysa Gardner ; 14 July 1996). So from July 1996 to January 2006 this album sold around 200k in USA, an monthly average of (200k/114)=1750 copies. Assuming that since September 1992 its sales were already of the catalog type i'll use this calculated average in order to know the SS sales of "Diamonds & Pearls" by September 1992. From September 1992 to June 1996 (i don't count the article release month) we have 46 months what corresponds to a total of 46x1750 = 80k. Then i assume a (2.3m - 80k) = 2.22m SS sales figure by September 1992. If the total (SS + other sales) was 2.5m then the extra sales not coming from SS are of the order of (2.5m - 2.22m) = 280k. This is the sales i add to the January '06 SS number of 2.5m to get a total January '06 US sales of (2.5m + 280k) = 2.78m. (no RIAA upgrade)
This is what i consider the minimum all-time sales in US for this album. And its catalog sales since September 1992 to December 2005 are (2.5m - 2.22m) = 280k.
- (outside US)/US proportion in '92 = (3.3m/2.5m) = 1.32 ;
all-time Int sales = 3.3m + (1.32x280k) = 3.3m + 370k = 3.67m
Final WW sales estimation: 2.78m + 3.67m = 6.45m

Int Certs:
900k in UK ('04) ; 450k in France (Billboard, May 1992) ; 280k in Australia ('96) ; 250k in Germany ('92) ; 100k in Canada ('91) ; 100k in The Netherlands ('92) ; 100k in Spain ; 62k in Japan ; 50k in Switzerland ('91) ; 30k in Austria ('92)
Total Int Certs = 2.3m


"Symbol" ('92)

Until '92
- 1m RIAA certified in December '92 ;
- SS = 1.1m ;

i assume (see commentary about reference (4) in Part One) 2.45m global sales by end of '93. I say that 1 million US copies were sold at that time (from RIAA Cert). Since then till December 2005 i assume additional 100k sold as catalog (assuming the SS figure as the alll-time sales till December 2005) ;
- (outside US)/US proportion in '93 = (1.45m/1m) = 1.45 ;
all-time Int sales = 1.45m + (1.45x100k) = 1.45m + 145k = 1.6m
Final WW sales estimation: 1.1m + 1.6m = 2.7m

Int Certs:
300k in UK ('92) ; 100k in France ('92) ; 70k in Australia ('93) ; 50k in Spain ; 84k in Japan ; 25k in Switzerland ('92) ; 15k in Austria ('94)
Total Int Certs = 644k
Last edited by Edu on Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:57 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Postby Edu » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:13 am

Individual Album Analysis (continued)

For the remaining Prince albums the only data available (as far as i know...) comes from Soundscan and RIAA in USA and International Certifications for outside USA. With this informations i will do my estimations for each album all-time sales.
Obviously any additional sales information or correction is welcome.

"The Hits/The B-Sides" (3xCD Set) ('93)

RIAA = 334k (triple albums) , December '93 , SS = 630k ;
Int sales: Australia = 70k in 2000 ; UK = 60k in '93 ; Japan = 45k ;
Estimated sales : 650k in US and 350k overseas = 1m (triple albums) globally.


"The Hits 1" ('93)

RIAA = 1m in August '95 ,
SS = 1.4m with additional 500k from BMG Record Club sales ;
Int sales : UK = 300k in '95 ; Australia = 35k in '95 ;
Estimated sales : 2m in US and 750k overseas = 2.75m globally.


"The Hits 2" ('93)

RIAA = 1m in August '95 , SS = 1.6m ;
Int sales : UK = 300k in '95 ; Australia = 35k in '95
Estimated sales : 1.75m in US and 500k overseas = 2.25m globally.


"Come" ('94)

RIAA = 500k in October '94 , SS = 310k
Int sales : UK = 100k in '94 ; France = 100k in '94 ; Japan = 82k ; Spain = 50k
Estimated sales : 500k in US and 500k overseas = 1m globally.


"The Black Album" ('94)

RIAA = none ; SS = 261k ;
Int sales : Japan = 59k ;
Estimated sales : 275k in US and 300k overseas = 575k globally.


"The Gold Experience" ('95)

RIAA = 500k in December '95 , SS = 492k ;
Int sales : UK = 100k in '95 ; Japan = 53k ;
Estimated sales : 550k in US and 350k internationally = 900k globally.


"Chaos & Disorder" ('96)

RIAA = none ; SS = 131k
No Int sales info found
Estimated sales : 150k in US and 200k overseas = 350k globally.


"Emancipation" (3xCD Set) ('96)

RIAA = 667k in February '97 , SS = 628k
Int sales : Canada = 100k in '96 ; Japan = 95k ; UK = 80k
Estimated sales : 700k in US and 500k internationally = 1.2m (triple albums) globally.


"Crystal Ball" (4xCD Set) ('98)

RIAA = none ; SS = 113k
No Int sales info found
Estimated sales : 125k in US and 150k overseas = 275k globally.


"Newpower Soul" ('98)

RIAA = none ; SS = 214k
No Int sales info found
Estimated sales : 225k in US and 200k overseas = 425k globally.


"The Vault" ('99)

RIAA = none ; SS = 113k
No Int sales info found
Estimated sales : 125k in US and 125k overseas = 250k globally.


"Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic" ('99)

RIAA = 500k in December '99 , SS = 487k
Int sales : Japan = 27k
Estimated sales : 500k in US and 250k internationally = 750k globally.


"The Very Best Of Prince" ('01)

RIAA = 1m in September '04 , SS = 1.2m
Int sales : UK = 300k in '04 ; The Netherlands = 80k in '05 ; Canada = 50k in '02
Estimated sales : 1.3m in US and 700k internationally = 2m globally.


"The Rainbow Children" ('01)

RIAA = none , SS = 157k ;
No Int sales info found ;
Estimated sales : 175k in US and 125k overseas = 300k globally.


"Musicology" ('04)

NOTE: to be honest with myself i can't consider as "true" sales the sales coming from concerts. So i will not consider as sales, for the purpose of this analysis, the million and a bit CDs sold in the Prince's 2004 tour gigs. So i will ignore the RIAA cert and use only the retail SS figure.

SS = 934k ;
Int sales : UK = 100k in '04 ; Japan = 60k ; Canada = 50k in '04 ; The Netherlands = 40k in '04 ;
Estimated sales : 1m in US and 500k internationally = 1.5m globally.
Last edited by Edu on Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:06 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby Edu » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:15 am

So, im my opinion, PRINCE sold a minimum of 80 million albums worldwide since 1978. If somebody ask me the maximum sales i would say 85 million.
Last edited by Edu on Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:38 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby seattleboy » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:56 am

Thanks for doing this. I wish all threads could be as organized as this thread.
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Postby CaptainAhab » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:48 pm

Amazing work!
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Postby facedown36 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:23 pm

and do you care about music club sales in the usa? the hits 2 sold 500.000 ex with only music club sales!
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Postby Dane » Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:22 pm

Congrats Edu.
I know this has been hard (but enjoyable) work for you. Looks great!
I think it was a good move to start with the overview of sales for casual fans and then explain the details afterwords for those interested.
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Postby Basil » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:44 pm

Dane wrote:Congrats Edu.
I know this has been hard (but enjoyable) work for you. Looks great!
I think it was a good move to start with the overview of sales for casual fans and then explain the details afterwords for those interested.
Simply excellent Edu, it was worth the wait.

I second what Dane is saying - it looks great (I'm going to steal some of your lay-out ideas!) - and the sequencing works splendidly.

Well done that man!
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Postby NothingFails » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:24 pm

I know Parade charted higher, but I'm surprised it's outsold SOTT. Despite peaking at #6, SOTT stayed on the chart for 53 weeks (compared to 28 for Parade) and had three top 10 hits spread over a 10 month period, compared to one #1 (Kiss) and followups that didn't make the top 20.

I would've assumed that Sign is third behind Purple Rain and 1999 in terms of Prince sellers.
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Postby Edu » Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:00 am

OK, finally i posted everything i wanted. I did some corrections and added some stuff.

Everybody that already read this thread should do it again because of the new things. I hope that now in its final form all my reasoning it's a bit more clear.

Please ask me about any doubts that you can have about what i posted.

Thank you!
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Postby jarvis » Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:00 am

Edu exceptional work I wish we had an indepth analysis of Michael Jackson sales like this with true numbers and not made up sales.. Also do you figures for Prince single sales figures.
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Postby facedown36 » Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:23 am

It's a bit useless because official figures sales does exist for all prince's album...
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Postby TheRock1984 » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:52 pm

facedown36 wrote:It's a bit useless because official figures sales does exist for all prince's album...
Do you have a link for them?
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Postby Edu » Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:39 pm

facedown36, you said:

It's a bit useless because official figures sales does exist for all prince's album...
Well,
to be as serious as i was when i started this thread i must say i'm very disappointed and upset with such undelicate words from your part...

So i would like you to give those links you referred to before i make a true commentary about your commentary...

It took me a lot of work and time to be able to justify my numbers, instead of just throwing them away like most of the threads do.
I gave my references, i explained my reasoning, i didn't hide my reservations about possible errors in the calculations, i did everything i could in order that everybody could take my estimates as seriously as i take them.

So please, read everything i posted again and then try to make a real useful comment about my estimates, like i do about others people's threads.

And if your link is the Wikipedia, forget it, i can't take as serious numbers like 8.5m (!!!) for "Around The World In A Day" or 6.3m for "Musicology"(!!!)...

I want and i need help in trying to find Prince's sales figures but not the kind of help you seem willing to give...

Thank you.

PS: as judging from your nick you seem a Prince fan so your words really make me sad
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Postby Edu » Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:45 pm

Jarvis said:

Also do you figures for Prince single sales figures.
Unfortunately about singles sales i only have the RIAA and BPI certifications...i can post my estimates but they will be almost entirely result of using good sense and my instincts about records sales...

But i can try if you are curious... :wink:

PS: adding singles sales Prince's WW records sales will be higher than the magic 100 million number...
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Postby facedown36 » Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:51 pm

Edu wrote:facedown36, you said:

It's a bit useless because official figures sales does exist for all prince's album...
Well,
to be as serious as i was when i started this thread i must say i'm very disappointed and upset with such undelicate words from your part...

So i would like you to give those links you referred to before i make a true commentary about your commentary...

It took me a lot of work and time to be able to justify my numbers, instead of just throwing them away like most of the threads do.
I gave my references, i explained my reasoning, i didn't hide my reservations about possible errors in the calculations, i did everything i could in order that everybody could take my estimates as seriously as i take them.

So please, read everything i posted again and then try to make a real useful comment about my estimates, like i do about others people's threads.

And if your link is the Wikipedia, forget it, i can't take as serious numbers like 8.5m (!!!) for "Around The World In A Day" or 6.3m for "Musicology"(!!!)...

I want and i need help in trying to find Prince's sales figures but not the kind of help you seem willing to give...

Thank you.

PS: as judging from your nick you seem a Prince fan so your words really make me sad
Don't be sad because of my words, that's don' t worth this! there are worst things in life, believe me .
Accordig to me , your sales are below of the reality, we can say that it's minimum sales
I agree to say that wikipedia's "official" figures are false , but some weeks ago in ukmix a post was dedicated to prince album'sales and a guy posted the official sales from npg club of all prince's album (even some bootlegs as NEWS, GOLD **** , ONE NITE ALONE, etc...)
For instance , MusicolOGY sold 3.6 millions worldwide according to Sony (so 1 million out of the usa)
It is known that Purple rain sold 14.5 millions in the usa only and 6 millions in others countries (in 1996)
1999 has sold more than 2 millions out of the usa,etc...
Anyway...
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Postby facedown36 » Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:54 pm

"The Gold Experience" ('95)

RIAA = 500k in December '95 , SS = 492k ;
Int sales : UK = 100k in '95 ; Japan = 53k ;
Estimated sales : 550k in US and 350k internationally = 900k globally. "

I 've read somewhere in ukmix that this album sold 230.000 ex in uk. according to CALHOUN SQUARE (a french fansite) GOLD, RAVE UN 2 sold more than 600.000 ex. in the usa
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Postby Edu » Tue May 02, 2006 11:03 pm

facedown36:

thanks for your reply, but i must say you did exactly what i'm trying not to do in my posts.
You said

It is known that Purple rain sold 14.5 millions in the usa only and 6 millions in others countries (in 1996)
Where are your sources? Or links? Or what is your arguments? You just posted numbers... It was because i didn't want to just post numbers that i explained in the start of this thread all my sources and all my reasoning and methods. In order that everybody could think about it and try to understand my opinions.

How could "Purple Rain" have sold 14.5m just in USA by 1996? I can't believe it.
This album was certified for 13m sales in May 1996. If we admit that its sales were at that moment 13.9m (what i don't believe...) it would be necessary to have sold an additional 600k in the remaing months of that year (8 months). Do you believe that it sold 600k from May '96 to December '96? I would say that the last time "Purple Rain" sold that amount in one calendar year must have been back in 1985...
I find that number completely irrealistic. As you can read in my commentaries above, 14.5m is the maximum i give to "Purple Rain" at the present time, 10 years after 1996! And this only if "Purple Rain" was selling 150k a year in US, something i believe Hanboo can testify not to be true...

And 6 million outside US??? By 1996???
As you can check in my references, in 1992, four years before 1996, Warner gave Billboard magazine a 4.5m figure for PR outside US, many years after the peak of Prince popularity, and you want to believe that it sold one third of that amount in the next 4 years? I wish that could be true, but it can't...
As you can read above, i gave to this album a proportion of sales (outside US)/US constant after 1992 and even so this only gives around 900k extra International sales after 1996...

Please read again my thread, i did all my estimates in the most reliable statistical way.

But obviously, you are right in one thing, my estimations are (or try to be) the minimum sales possible, and i have said that very clearly.

How can you say that "Rave" sold more than 600,000?? Did you not read its Soundscan sales? Less than 500k, and did you saw its chart-run?

Please, facedown36 (and other interested people), i know it gives a bit of work, but please read carefully everything i wrote... :wink:

If Hanboo coud find annual sales of "Purple Rain" in the last years it would help me in getting a more accurate sales for this classic album... :wink:
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Postby jarvis » Wed May 03, 2006 1:08 am

Edu wrote:Jarvis said:

Also do you figures for Prince single sales figures.
Unfortunately about singles sales i only have the RIAA and BPI certifications...i can post my estimates but they will be almost entirely result of using good sense and my instincts about records sales...

But i can try if you are curious... :wink:

PS: adding singles sales Prince's WW records sales will be higher than the magic 100 million number...
Id love to see figures for his single sales when u et the chance to post.
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Postby Hanboo » Wed May 03, 2006 3:37 pm

Edu wrote:If Hanboo coud find annual sales of "Purple Rain" in the last years it would help me in getting a more accurate sales for this classic album... :wink:
I only have the numbers since 2003:

2003: 90,740
2004: 170,674
2005: 84,886

As you can see, when Prince releases a major new album, sales almost double, so I expect PR to sell at least 150,000 copies this year.
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Postby Hanboo » Wed May 03, 2006 3:48 pm

Here's my contribution: Prince's bestselling singles in the SS era
(scanned at least 10,000 copies between 1991 and 2005).

It doesn't concur with the title of the thread (ALBUM sales), but I think it still will be appreciated.

Note that the list is probably not complete, because only the name "Prince" was used for the SS database search.

Prince SS singles total: 4,481,000 (cum) 7,250 (2005) 8,130 (2004)

805,093 MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD (1994)
551,333 GETT OFF (1991)
491,243 CREAM (1991)
432,053 7 (1992)
429,161 DIAMONDS & PEARLS (1991)
229,223 I HATE U (1995)
202,799 1999 (1989)
198,121 MY NAME IS PRINCE (1992)
155,002 LETITGO (1994)
123,857 INSATIABLE (1991)
117,055 SEXY MF (1992)
115,155 PINK CASHMERE (1993)
  99,870 MONEY DON'T MATTER 2 NIGHT (1992)
  80,696 PURPLE MEDLEY (1995)
  68,361 NEW POWER GENERATION (1990)
  67,747 DAMN U (1992)
  43,346 PEACH (1993)
  42,408 MORNING PAPERS (1993)
  36,594 SCANDALOUS SEX SUITE (1989)
  35,290 SPACE (1994)
  31,550 GOLD (1995)
  26,757 U MAKE MY SUN SHINE (2001)
  26,405 THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE (1990)
  18,369 BATDANCE (1989)
  16,521 SIGN 'O' THE TIMES (1987)
  10,852 LET'S GO CRAZY (1987)
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Postby jarvis » Thu May 04, 2006 3:23 am

Hanboo wrote:Here's my contribution: Prince's bestselling singles in the SS era
(scanned at least 10,000 copies between 1991 and 2005).

It doesn't concur with the title of the thread (ALBUM sales), but I think it still will be appreciated.

Note that the list is probably not complete, because only the name "Prince" was used for the SS database search.

Prince SS singles total: 4,481,000 (cum) 7,250 (2005) 8,130 (2004)

805,093 MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD (1994)
551,333 GETT OFF (1991)
491,243 CREAM (1991)
432,053 7 (1992)
429,161 DIAMONDS & PEARLS (1991)
229,223 I HATE U (1995)
202,799 1999 (1989)
198,121 MY NAME IS PRINCE (1992)
155,002 LETITGO (1994)
123,857 INSATIABLE (1991)
117,055 SEXY MF (1992)
115,155 PINK CASHMERE (1993)
  99,870 MONEY DON'T MATTER 2 NIGHT (1992)
  80,696 PURPLE MEDLEY (1995)
  68,361 NEW POWER GENERATION (1990)
  67,747 DAMN U (1992)
  43,346 PEACH (1993)
  42,408 MORNING PAPERS (1993)
  36,594 SCANDALOUS SEX SUITE (1989)
  35,290 SPACE (1994)
  31,550 GOLD (1995)
  26,757 U MAKE MY SUN SHINE (2001)
  26,405 THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE (1990)
  18,369 BATDANCE (1989)
  16,521 SIGN 'O' THE TIMES (1987)
  10,852 LET'S GO CRAZY (1987)
excellent info do you have similar info for Michael Jackson soundscan single sales?
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