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Thread: ABBA :: Charts & Sales History

  1. #26

    by Tue June 28th, 2005, 23:27

    Wake up!!!!!

    ABBA

    The 350 million often quoted is surely an exaggeration. Just consider..
    1)They made little impact in the US, Canada, France, Italy
    2) Success in Japan was mainly in Singles not albums
    3)Success in Australia was short lived, besides is a small market

    ELVIS PRESLEY

    If Elvis has sold more than 1 billion records and CDs, then why is Garth Brooks the biggest selling solo album artist in US recording history?

    BMG has spun its sugar coated rhetoric on Elvis' sales for almost a decade yet has been unable to support its claims!

    It's time Elvis fans woke up to the reality that Elvis is not and never will be the best selling recording artist.


    Sales of contemporary releases by The Beatles easily surpass Elvis', with Beatles albums making the top 10 if not the number one spot. When was the last time Elvis cracked even the US Top 50?

    BMG counter this by claiming that Elvis accumulates greater sales due to the much larger volume of Elvis titles released - however, this argument fails serious analysis! Ernst Jorgensen's informative book Elvis Day By Day reveals the true picture behind sales of Elvis albums during his lifetime. Most only sold several hundred of thousand copies.

    The fact that in only 10 years, Garth Brooks has achieved sales of 100 million albums in the US totally overshadows Elvis' achievements (see Appendix). Even in death, a cursory look at the RIAA stats reveals sales of many Beatles albums well over 10 million while most Elvis albums come in at between 1 and 2 million.

    The RIAA stats are telling. Even after factoring in 'lost' certifications and sales due to poor record keeping on the part of RCA (not BMG), Elvis' sales at around 200 million are still substantially below the 600 million sales claimed for North America. Updates in RIAA certifications last month realised a staggering additional 40 million units for The Beatles and almost 16 million units for Led Zeppelin. Elvis trailed with an increase of less than 9 million units.

    Regular watchers of RIAA stats realise that with the exception of two occasions when BMG made an effort to improve Elvis' certification level, other artists have been increasing or gaining on his position. Elvis was a big seller of singles at a time when singles were King.

    However, the buying habits of subsequent generations dramatically changed from the mid 60s on, and Elvis never had and probably never will have a credibility to generate consistent 'critical mass' sales with the general buying public beyond TV promoted greatest hits packages. Exemplary releases such as the 2CD 'Suspicious Minds' (1969 American Studios Sessions) and the Essential Elvis series simply don't register with the general public!

    The harsh reality of this is that many more consumers are interested in buying a Beatles album than an Elvis album. The same applies to Garth versus Elvis. The King has lost his crown! And the burning question is...did he ever really wear it or was it just in the minds of 'his' zealous fans and a record company keen on fueling a money spinning myth? Do Elvis' fans care? If they do they will lobby BMG 'en masse'. If they don't, they can no longer take the easy way out and hide behind unsubstantiated, fallacious rhetoric!

    Consider the following official RIAA media release:

    Gold, Platinum And Diamonds: Think you know your music? Who's the top certified group of the 20th century?

    The Beatles are the most successful recording act with sales of more than 106 million albums-and that's just in the U.S.!

    What about the top solo artist? Nope, not Elvis. Garth Brooks has sold 89 million albums and his sales are climbing. Elton John is second, then Billy Joel, then Barbara Streisand, and then Elvis.

    RIAA congratulates Garth Brooks as the Best Selling Solo Artist in American History Nashville, October 26, 2000

    Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued the following statement to commemorate Garth Brooks becoming the first solo artist to sell more than one hundred million albums.

    Capitol Records and the RIAA held a ceremony this evening in Nashville to officially recognize Brooks' achievements and celebrate his remarkable career.

    "On July 31, 1990, Capitol Nashville called our offices to request that an album by one of their artists, a newcomer named Garth Brooks, be certified Gold. They were very excited. After all, selling 500,000 records is a remarkable achievement.

    "A gold record or two caps off what should be considered a very successful career for many artists. And the buzz surrounding Capitol's latest face back in 1990 was that he may even have what it takes to go platinum. He did them one hundred better. Over the next 10 years, Garth Brooks would achieve milestones and set records that will likely never be broken.

    "He has quite literally set a new standard for the music industry. Garth is the only solo artist with four RIAA Diamond awards which are presented to artists who have sold 10 million copies or more of an individual album. Of the top 10 best selling country albums in history, five of them are his. His 'Double Live' album is tied with Bruce Springsteen as the best selling live album in music history.

    "He is the top-selling artist of the 90's and the fastest selling artist in music history. "Garth has done what no solo artist has been able to accomplish. It can be summarized easily.

    "One artist. One decade. 100 million albums. And I see no end in sight to this success. His music knows no boundaries, as it is enjoyed by fans of all ages and backgrounds. I am proud to be part of this evenings' events and am proud recognize Garth Brooks as the best selling solo artist in music history."

    RIAA Top Selling Artists (27 Oct 2000) Certified Units (in millions)
    1. The Beatles, 151.50
    2. Led Zeppelin, 100.5
    3. Garth Brooks, 100.00
    4. Elvis Presley, 86.5
    5. Billy Joel, 75.50
    6. Pink Floyd, 68.50
    7. Barbra Streisand, 66.00
    8. Eagles, 65.00
    9. Elton John, 63.00
    10. Madonna, 57.00

    LINK

    RIAA says Elvis Surpasses 50 Million in Singles Sales
    Posted by Fluffyhere in Industry News on January 11, 2005 at 11:17 PM
    Printable Version


    http://www.cmt.com/news/articles/149547 ... lvis.jhtml

    RIAA says Elvis Surpasses 50 Million in Singles Sales
    Posted by Fluffyhere in Industry News on January 11, 2005 at 11:17 PM

    Elvis Presley's 1954 single "Good Rockin' Tonight" has been certified gold to push his total U.S. single sales past 50 million. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Presley's birth, Elvis Presley Enterprises will be presented a special RIAA sales award during a ceremony Saturday (Jan. 8) at the singer's Graceland mansion in Memphis. The latest certification, representing 500,000 in domestic sales, solidifies Presley's status as the artist possessing more certified singles than anyone in music history. In second place is Elton John, who has sold more than 21 million singles. Having sold more than 116 million albums in the U.S., Presley remains the best-selling solo artist in history.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 00:34

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson
    Wake up!!!!!

    ABBA
    Hi Nelson

    I'm surprised really, that you didn't use the carefully worked out stats I posted on

    https://www.ukmix.org/forums/viewtopic.p ... 47&start=0

    Anyway, a few comments on your stats

    Garth Brooks isn't the biggest selling solo artist in US history

    According to the riaa he has shipped 97.5m albums. Elvis has shipped 97.62m.

    In addition, of course, with all his releases he has obviously sold more than that in the US. My estimate for all his hundreds of US releases is 166m.

    Both Garth Brooks and Elvis's record company are guilty of hyperbole.

    Garth's include things like his double live album counting twice.

    Elvis's probably use the trick of counting albums as 6 singles each. Therefore 1 billion records is a large exaggeration.

    Sure, many of his albums sold only a few hundred thousand (US), but he released so many hundreds of them. It took me weeks to go through all of them to reach a total US sale of 166m. Just about everyone would say that figure is too low, but I'm sticking with that figure because I hate inflated figures.

    What he has sold worldwide I have no idea. I wouldn't even try to work it out. However based on the relative size of markets compared to the US, then perhaps double the US total max - around 330m. Most definitely not 1 billion.

    - you quote Garth again as selling 100m US. It is actually 97.5m

    - the riaa site might be updated but there are errors in some of the totals - beware.

    - you use an riaa media release from the year 2000. The totals have changed a lot since then.

    - Garth's Double Live album is not the biggest selling, nor is it tied on sales with Bruce Springsteen's

    The biggest selling live album (US) is

    Eric Clapton - Unplugged - 10m

    Garth Brooks Album sold 7.5m

    and Bruce Springsteen's 4.34m

    - why oh why did you use an inaccurate and 5 year old list for the biggest selling US artists, when we have a totally up to date and more accurate list in this forum??

    The following are the actual Top Five Artists who have shipped the most albums as follows

    1 - The Beatles - 130.85m
    2 - Elvis - 97.62m
    3 - Garth Brooks - 97.5m
    4 - Led Zeppelin - 87.6m
    5 - The Eagles - 83.3m

    Press releases are notorious for twisting and exaggerating statistics for their own ends. This forum surely exists to produce accurate and unbiased statistics and facts. I'm so surprised you posted that media release without being critical of it's contents.
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 00:48

    Quote Originally Posted by edge3
    Also, Gold IS certified for 6M sales in US - the soundscan total of 3.7M figure is mainly from 1991-1997 when soundscan accounted for 40-85% of total album sales. So, even if the S.America figures are too high, it's still sold at least 20M worldwide.

    The 350-400M is NOT really my thinking - this is the figure which is virtually always printed in the media. I am as surprised as you that ABBA have sold 350-400M records worldwide 'cos they don't seem to have sold that many in US.
    Hi edge

    The riaa figure for Abba Gold of 6m is fine. The 3.7m soundscan figure is probably not a coverage issue. When it was released, coverage was at least 50% and anyway scans were weighted to account for this. Coverage rose quite rapidly and is now 95%. The forgotten factor is the old record clubs. Gold sold 884,000 via BMG up to 2003 and the figure for Columbia House, which we don't know could be equally high. The album is a regular on the Billboard catalogue chart, so must be selling a minimum 200,000 annually there.

    Garth Brooks total soundscan figure is about 66m against 97.5m shipments. The 30m difference is down to record clubs.

    This 350-400m figure for Abba is very likely record company hyperbole. As I mentioned in the post above, an old trick was to say that each album was 6 singles (A and B side) which led to apparent billion plus worldwide sales for such artists as Elvis and Bing Crosby.

    Whether the record company have done it in this case to get 350-400m, I don't know. If fact, I've no idea how many records Abba sold, only that they sold an awful lot and still do so.
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

  4. #29

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 00:53

    Interesting post Basil.

    But if you're saying Elvis has sold about 330M albums worldwide then surley he has also sold about 200M singles minimum. That would take his cumulative total to around 530M records - but I've heard so many reports (& not just from his record company) that he's sold 1 billion records. So, am I just a sucker or what?

  5. #30

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:04

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil
    I'm surprised really, that you didn't use the carefully worked out stats I posted on

    Press releases are notorious for twisting and exaggerating statistics for their own ends. This forum surely exists to produce accurate and unbiased statistics and facts. I'm so surprised you posted that media release without being critical of it's contents.
    LOL, sorry I just use an old press to talk about the possiblity of selling 1 billion albums, but it just reflects the truth behind, so even the sales changed a lot, but the message is the same though. Oops.

  6. #31

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:11

    Quote Originally Posted by edge3
    Interesting post Basil.

    But if you're saying Elvis has sold about 330M albums worldwide then surley he has also sold about 200M singles minimum. That would take his cumulative total to around 530M records - but I've heard so many reports (& not just from his record company) that he's sold 1 billion records. So, am I just a sucker or what?
    No, according to RIAA, Elvis' singles total certifications are 50 million, he has 153 charting singles, so probably finished at 60 million in US alone. counting 19 million in UK, unknown in Germany and France, and small markets like Australia, Japan. There's still far away to reach another 130 million to reach 200 million in total.

  7. #32

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:12

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil
    Quote Originally Posted by edge3
    Also, Gold IS certified for 6M sales in US - the soundscan total of 3.7M figure is mainly from 1991-1997 when soundscan accounted for 40-85% of total album sales. So, even if the S.America figures are too high, it's still sold at least 20M worldwide.

    The 350-400M is NOT really my thinking - this is the figure which is virtually always printed in the media. I am as surprised as you that ABBA have sold 350-400M records worldwide 'cos they don't seem to have sold that many in US.
    Hi edge

    The riaa figure for Abba Gold of 6m is fine. The 3.7m soundscan figure is probably not a coverage issue. When it was released, coverage was at least 50% and anyway scans were weighted to account for this. Coverage rose quite rapidly and is now 95%. The forgotten factor is the old record clubs. Gold sold 884,000 via BMG up to 2003 and the figure for Columbia House, which we don't know could be equally high. The album is a regular on the Billboard catalogue chart, so must be selling a minimum 200,000 annually there.

    Garth Brooks total soundscan figure is about 66m against 97.5m shipments. The 30m difference is down to record clubs.

    This 350-400m figure for Abba is very likely record company hyperbole. As I mentioned in the post above, an old trick was to say that each album was 6 singles (A and B side) which led to apparent billion plus worldwide sales for such artists as Elvis and Bing Crosby.

    Whether the record company have done it in this case to get 350-400m, I don't know. If fact, I've no idea how many records Abba sold, only that they sold an awful lot and still do so.
    If it makes any difference the 350-400M figures for ABBA were not (directly at least) from the record company but mainly from UK broadsheet newspaper journalists. I would break the figures down to something like 250M albums + 100-150M singles. But, again, maybe I'm just being a sucker.

  8. #33

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:19

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson
    No, according to RIAA, Elvis' singles total certifications are 50 million, he has 153 charting singles, so probably finished at 60 million in US alone. counting 19 million in UK, unknown in Germany and France, and small markets like Australia, Japan. There's still far away to reach another 130 million to reach 200 million in total.
    If he's sold 80M singles in US & UK then I would think he HAS sold about 200M singles worldwide. Come on man!! He was the biggest single artist EVER!!

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:27

    Quote Originally Posted by edge3
    Interesting post Basil.

    But if you're saying Elvis has sold about 330M albums worldwide then surley he has also sold about 200M singles minimum. That would take his cumulative total to around 530M records - but I've heard so many reports (& not just from his record company) that he's sold 1 billion records. So, am I just a sucker or what?
    I'm sure he may have sold that many singles. Only thing is, when talking about total sales it normally means albums. Lumping albums and singles together seems iffy. It means you can't compare say Elvis/Beatles with Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd.

    So if a record company say 1 billion records they mean albums and singles and may sometimes count each album as 6 singles.

    Single sales are fine in isolation, so you can work out the biggest selling singles band in the UK or the world, and also do the same for albums.

    Maybe it's just me, but albums seem to be a better measure of an artists long term popularity as it is a bigger investment for the buyer and albums can stay available in the shops for decades.

    Just an opinion, though, among all the stats!
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:38

    Quote Originally Posted by edge3

    If it makes any difference the 350-400M figures for ABBA were not (directly at least) from the record company but mainly from UK broadsheet newspaper journalists.
    You trust journalists - they'll print anything.

    Seriously, though, even if this figure is true, and we have no way of knowing, I'm certain it means records - that is albums and singles.

    250m album sales is not impossible, but it is unprovable.

    I've read Abba's biography and there's no doubt that their sales outside America where huge. Abba Gold continues this and even sells well in the US.

    Apparently Channel 4 will be listing the 100 Best Selling UK albums in 2006 with actual sales figures at lond last. It will be very interesting to see how many Abba albums make that list. In the 70's and 80's in the UK every house seemed to have Abba albums. Getting a good idea of UK sales will help with getting some sort of worldwide figure.
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

  11. #36

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 01:45

    Quote Originally Posted by edge3
    If he's sold 80M singles in US & UK then I would think he HAS sold about 200M singles worldwide. Come on man!! He was the biggest single artist EVER!!
    Where are another 120 million come from?
    In Japan, best selling singles artists are:
    Carpenters - 2.99 million
    Bee Gees - 2.48 million
    So Elvis not in the Top 50 international artists' list. #50 is 490,000, so Elvis would be under 490,000, this is his Japan market.
    Australia
    Elton John - 1 million
    Madonna - 1 million
    bases on certifications and only way fair to all artists, there's no record on Elvis's singles, but he had 13 #1 singles and 37 Top 10 singles, estimation would be 1 million.
    Canada
    Elton John - 2 million
    the most popular artists are around 500,000 based on certificatons only, so estimate Elvis sold 1 million in Canada
    Germany & France
    Elvis had no market in Germany and France, but if estimated based on normal popular artists, it's 1.5 million in France and 1.5 million in Germany.
    So total is 5 million in 5 countries, and all other markets are not bigger than US and 6 countries mentioned above, estimated around another 5 million in ROW. Total is 80 million + 5 million + 5 million = 90 million.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:14

    I think Nelson is right to dismiss as totally rubbish the 350-400 million claims and to point out that chart positions in countries that don't sell many records is irrelevant.

    However, he does as demonstrated by Colin under-estimate their album sales by focussing on certifications. As Zeus/Colin demonstrated in the UK, multiple platinum awards were only introduced after they split. It may seem like they sold 7 million. Infact, it is almost 15 million!! This is repeated in many countries.

    Global Sales(Albums)
    I estimate,
    Uk 15 million
    us 14 million
    Ger 11 million
    france 3.5 million
    canada 3.5 million
    Aus 6 million
    Jap 3 million

    Total= 56 million in countries that represent 75% of the market! So, Nelson is nearer the truth than most of you!!!!

  13. #38

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil
    Quote Originally Posted by edge3
    Interesting post Basil.

    But if you're saying Elvis has sold about 330M albums worldwide then surley he has also sold about 200M singles minimum. That would take his cumulative total to around 530M records - but I've heard so many reports (& not just from his record company) that he's sold 1 billion records. So, am I just a sucker or what?
    I'm sure he may have sold that many singles. Only thing is, when talking about total sales it normally means albums. Lumping albums and singles together seems iffy. It means you can't compare say Elvis/Beatles with Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd.

    So if a record company say 1 billion records they mean albums and singles and may sometimes count each album as 6 singles.

    Single sales are fine in isolation, so you can work out the biggest selling singles band in the UK or the world, and also do the same for albums.

    Maybe it's just me, but albums seem to be a better measure of an artists long term popularity as it is a bigger investment for the buyer and albums can stay available in the shops for decades.

    Just an opinion, though, among all the stats!
    Quote Originally Posted by Basil
    Quote Originally Posted by edge3

    If it makes any difference the 350-400M figures for ABBA were not (directly at least) from the record company but mainly from UK broadsheet newspaper journalists.
    You trust journalists - they'll print anything.

    Seriously, though, even if this figure is true, and we have no way of knowing, I'm certain it means records - that is albums and singles.

    250m album sales is not impossible, but it is unprovable.

    I've read Abba's biography and there's no doubt that their sales outside America where huge. Abba Gold continues this and even sells well in the US.

    Apparently Channel 4 will be listing the 100 Best Selling UK albums in 2006 with actual sales figures at lond last. It will be very interesting to see how many Abba albums make that list. In the 70's and 80's in the UK every house seemed to have Abba albums. Getting a good idea of UK sales will help with getting some sort of worldwide figure.
    Fair enough Basil. But I think we CAN compare Led Zep & Pink Floyd with ABBA / the Beatles / Elvis. I know Led Zep & Pink Floyd didn't sell / release many singles but this is compensated for by their mega huge stadium concerts & they've still each sold an estimated 180-200M records - quite possibly enough to put them amongst the top 10 best selling artists of all time (but still behind Elvis, The Beatles & ABBA). In fact Q magazine recently listed Led Zep & Pink Floyd as the 2 biggest bands of all time based on all this info (ABBA came 27th, The Beatles 8th) & I wouldn't really argue with this.

    As for the often reported 350-400M figure for ABBA - well, I know I shouldn't just trust a few journalists but this figure has also been reported on 2 recent Channel 4 documentary's & several magazine articles.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:16

    Gold sales figures are likely to be slightly less than 25 m. With 90% of the market accounted for sales are currently 19 million.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:23

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyboy
    I think Nelson is right to dismiss as totally rubbish the 350-400 million claims and to point out that chart positions in countries that don't sell many records is irrelevant.

    However, he does as demonstrated by Colin under-estimate their album sales by focussing on certifications. As Zeus/Colin demonstrated in the UK, multiple platinum awards were only introduced after they split. It may seem like they sold 7 million. Infact, it is almost 15 million!! This is repeated in many countries.

    Global Sales(Albums)
    I estimate,
    Uk 15 million
    us 12 million
    Ger 8 million
    Aus 6 million
    Jap 3 million

    Total= 44 million in countries that represent 70% of the market! So, Nelson is nearer the truth than most of you!!!!


    Also, somebody said the Soundscan figures for Gold are from 91-97. Well, actually it wasn't released until 93 and is up to Autumn 2004. How do i know? Because I wrote to Billboard and got a reply which made it clears the figures were up to date at that time!!!!!!
    Actually ABBA Gold was released in Oct. 1992 but I guess I was still a bit wrong in saying it was released in 1991. Anyway, I actually said that most of that Soundscan figure of 3.7M would have come from 1991-'97 when Soundscan only covered 50-85% of total album sales - which is true! That's why it is now certified for 6M sales in US.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:33

    It doesn't really matter anyway, what the sales are. But why does Universal exaggerate its sales? And why do some fans seem to think the more you sell the better you are????

  17. #42

    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:37

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyboy
    It doesn't really matter anyway, what the sales are. But why does Universal exaggerate its sales? And why do some fans seem to think the more you sell the better you are????
    Hey, I never said that & I certainly never think like that. I'm just trying to work out the sales figures as objectively as possible based on all the info I know about.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 10:53

    The Sounscan figures refer to 1993 to Autumn 2004, as I asked them at taht point and i got a reply stating it was up to 'the fall' of 2004!
    It was released in 1993 in the US.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 11:10

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyboy
    The Sounscan figures refer to 1993 to Autumn 2004, as I asked them at taht point and i got a reply stating it was up to 'the fall' of 2004!
    It was released in 1993 in the US.
    It still must have sold most of that 3.7M figure from 93-97 when soundscan only covered about 65-90% of album sales - which is why it is currently certified for sales of 6M in US.

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 14:10

    Look mate, I'll try just once more. I wrote to Billboard last Autumn and got that sales figure quote up to that point - last August.
    Albums in the US often sell less than their certification suggests(eg Shania Twain's Come on Over is certified for 20 million but only sold 15 million).

    Now stop repeating yourseld by saying those figures 'must' be up to '97 only!!!!!

    You don't dispute my main points....
    Total album sales? If they are 56 million in those main countries that constitute 70% of sales then total album sales perhaps of 65million????

    I'm a fan too but too many can't debate

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 17:28

    Being a great fan of Abba they have sold well less than 350 million.The Bee gees have sold even more bearing in mind the Gibb Brothers were huge in every single country of the world.

    Spirits having flown sold 5 million in 1979 but universal has not upgraded many bee gees albums since 1984 when double platinum certfications starded to be given.

    Besides in France ,italy the bee gees were much more poular than Abba .in the Us no contest abba never had a top 10 album .In South America Abba was huge as well as in Spain.

    Basil or Nelson do you have soundscan figures for both abba and bee gees since 1991.

    thanks in advance

    jcg
    MUSIC IS MY PASSION ALONG WITH TENNIS AND I AM A FAMILY MAN .

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 18:29

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyboy
    Albums in the US often sell less than their certification suggests(eg Shania Twain's Come on Over is certified for 20 million but only sold 15 million).
    I think you missed my post at the top of this page. The 6m shipment figure and 3.7m soundscan figure is not a problem. The difference is record clubs. Gold sold 884,000 via the BMG club up to early 2003. It probably sold at least as much through the larger Columbia House record club.

    The difference in figures for some albums is due to the record club sales. The director of Billboard Charts discussed this at length in an article last year. Big examples are Come On Over, which you pointed out - 20m riaa/15m soundscan, and The Bodyguard - 17m riaa/12m soundscan. The 5m difference in each case is nearly all record clubs.

    As an artist, Garth Brooks has scanned 66m through soundscan but has shipped 97.5m albums. This huge difference is again record clubs.

    These clubs were at their peak in 1990's accounting for 20% of sales. In this decade they have witnessed a huge decline to less than 5% of sales. I think one of the many reasons is that labels were not really making money on them as the records were being sold at such a knock-down price.

    Where albums have not been licensed through record clubs, their soundscan and riaa figures match much more closely. Two examples are the Beatles One - 10m riaa/10m soundscan, and Metallica 14m riaa/14.3m soundscan.

    Now the soundscan coverage issue. See my Soundscan Era Thread page four. A full explaination of soundscan workings is given there. Essentially scans are weighted to account for sales not covered. The 3.7m figure for Gold is not a "pure" figure of exactly 3.7m scans. Rather it is a composite based on weighted figures.

    Finally, on my USA All Time Best Selling Thread, I worked on an estimate for Abba's US album sales. Looking at the certifications/chart performance of their whole US catalogue I arrived at an all time figure of 18m albums to date.
    See Page One of my threads for all updates

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    by Wed June 29th, 2005, 22:28

    Hello,
    No one is trying to say that ABBA - or anyone else - are the Best Group or Act. Or that they are better than anyone else. We all have our own tastes in Music. It is just that ABBA's Sales are forever being UNDERestimated, (by many people), as much as their Record Company OVERestimates them.

    Also, johnnyboy estimates 8 Million Album Sales for ABBA in Germany, but, I would say it is more than that. They have had 15 Top 10 Albums there, to only 9 Top 10 Albums in the UK - and more Chart Albums, (outside the Top 10), in Germany, too.

    In Britain, 'The Defintive Collection' Album Peaked at Number 17, and only spent 8 Weeks on the Chart. In Germany, it made Number 14, but spent a massive 96 Weeks, (so far), on the Chart.

    Benny & Bjorn have said that ABBA got their, (over all), biggest total Sales from Germany.

    I think 8 Million German Album Sales for them is just too low.

    I know that the German Record Market is only about the 5th Biggest in the World now, but in ABBA's day, it was 3rd - Britain was 4th. The USA was 1st, and Japan 2nd. They remain 1st, and 2nd, but Britain is now 3rd, and France is 4th - Germany has dropped to 5th, as I said.

    Also, I saw nelson's Global estimates for the Sales of ABBA 'Gold' elsewhere, and he gave it less than 15 Million Sales.

    In fact, numerous sources say 25 Million Sales, for it now, and it carries on selling around the Globe - Year in Year out - although, (of course), not as many Sales as it once had. They are drastically reduced now. But, it still sells....

    The Beatles

    I have checked, and The Beatles sold over 20 Million British Singles - but have NO SALES AWARDS FOR ANY OF THEM.

    Sales Awards did not begin in the UK until April 1973. (Indeed, NONE of The Beatles 1963 to 1970 Albums have UK Sales Awards either).

    Yet, nelson uses only Sales Awards to work out Global and National Sales. By his criteria The Beatles sold ZERO UK Singles, and ZERO UK 1963 to 1970 Albums, as they got no Awards! (This is the LOGICAL outcome of nelson's methods, if he were to apply them to The Beatles).

    After all, he ignores the Sales of 18 of ABBA's 21 German Top 10 Singles, because only 3 of them got Awards - for 500,000 copies sold - so, he only counts those 3.

    It really is distorted, and inaccurate to use Sales Awards to work out how big an Act was.

    You can end up making Elvis, The Beatles, and ABBA, look far, far less big than they really were.....

    I like ABBA best, but 100% accept that The Beatles were bigger. Unfortunately, nelson's methods can make both groups seem rather less successful than was the case.

    THE 'Q' LIST

    I saw the 'Q' Magazine List that had ABBA as only the 27th Most Successful World Group ever.

    The List was stupid. It was based only on UK and USA, (combined), Sales of each Group's Biggest ALBUM - just the one. THEN they gave each Act Points for the biggest Gig/Concert they ever held.

    Oasis, (for example), got huge Points for that, because they once sold out 2 Gigs at Knebworth Park - 250,000 people saw them over all.

    Well, you really cannot compare an Act like ABBA and Oasis on that basis. ABBA never TRIED to play HUGE Stadiums, or UK Outdoor Festivals - but, they had 3.5 Million Ticket requests for their Royal Albert Hall Concerts - 2 Nights - in early 1977, and it held less than 12,000 people.

    They could have filled Knebworth Park 28 times with those 1977 UK people who wanted to see them - 28 times 125,000 is 3.5 Million people.....

    In fact, I believe that ABBA never actually held a Gig that had more than 20,000 to 30,000 people at it - Australian Tour, 1977.

    As such, 'Q' was silly to judge how big ABBA were on things like biggest Gigs, when they never tried to hold huge ones, (but could have). Or, their biggest USA/UK, combined, Album Sale, when ABBA were never huge in the USA.

    The 'Q' List was the most pointless:, 'All Time Group' Table that I have ever seen.

    ABBA have certainly been far, far bigger than Oasis Globally, but not with the 2 criteria that 'Q' used. That goes for most of the other Groups whom 'Q' put ahead of ABBA.

    In the end - as accurate Sales Information is hard to come by - the best way to judge All Time Global Groups & Acts, is to look at as many Countries Music Charts as possible, and to add up all their Hits, Top 10 Singles and Albums, Number 1's, Weeks At Number 1 etc.

    Acts like Coldplay and Oasis would struggle to make the Top 20 - maybe even the Top 30 - of such a List. U2 would not do hugely well with SINGLES, in such a List, as they have not had that many Global Number 1 Singles. They are mainly huge with Albums.

    Not that many Acts, have been big, with both Singles & Albums.....

    Colin

  24. #49

    by Thu June 30th, 2005, 10:24

    I thought that Q list was v.interesting. The fact is that ABBA didn't play many concerts compared to all those other artists - that's why they only came in at # 27.

    But purley on record sales they should be 2nd on that list behind the Beatles. In fact in that issue (from Nov. 2004) Q actually said that ABBA had sold 300M records!

  25. #50

    by Thu June 30th, 2005, 10:31

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyboy
    Look mate, I'll try just once more. I wrote to Billboard last Autumn and got that sales figure quote up to that point - last August.
    Albums in the US often sell less than their certification suggests(eg Shania Twain's Come on Over is certified for 20 million but only sold 15 million).

    Now stop repeating yourseld by saying those figures 'must' be up to '97 only!!!!!

    You don't dispute my main points....
    Total album sales? If they are 44million in those main countries that constitute 70% of sales then total album sales perhaps of 65million????

    I'm a fan too but too many can't debate
    I'm not disputing the figure of 3.7M from Soundcan. The fact is that Soundcan only tracked around 65-90% of total album sales from 1993-97.

    I never said it 'only' sold 3.7M up to 1997. I said it sold most of this 3.7M figure during this time - which it would have!

    Face the facts mate, it's sold around 6M in US to date.

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