The site bestsellingalbums.org was created to collect album sales archive in one place.
Where does sales data come from?
1) Most of the sales figures on this site are based on certifications. Please note that in many countries the certification includes a unit of measure equivalent to an album.
Countries and regions with available sales databases: Argentina (before 2011 – 1 и 2), Australia (since 1990), Austria (since 1990), Belgium (since 1995), Brazil (since 1990), Canada (since 1975), China (since 2015), Denmark (before 2011, since 2011), Finland (1971 – 2015), France (since 1973), Germany (since 1975), Grecce (2002 – 2008*), Hong-Kong (since 1977), Hungary (since 2000), Iceland (since 2009), India (soundtracks 1990 – 2009), Ireland (2005 – 2013), Italy (since 2009), Japan (since 1989), Lebanon (2009 – 2011), Mexico (since 1999), Netherlands (since 1978), New Zeland (since 1979*), Norway (1993 – 2011, since 2011), Philippines (since 1990), Poland (since 1995), Portugal (2004 – 2009, 2007 – 2010, since 2017 *), Russia (2003 – 2009), South Africa (since 2015), South Korea (before 2010 – 1, 2, 3; since 2010), Spain (1979 – 1990, 1991 – 1995, 1996 – 1999, 2000 – 2002, since 2003*), Sweden (1987 – 1998, 1999 – 2010, c 2011*), Switzerland (since 1989), Turkey (2004 – 2012), United Kingdom (since 1973), United States (since 1958), Uruguay (1999 – 2002), Europe IFPI (1996 – 2014), Europe IMPALA (since 2005), Middle East [Bahrain , Kuwait , Lebanon , Oman , Qatar , Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates] (2009 – 2011).
* – certifications available in album charts
3) Musical magazines* and sites and local publications. Music magazines are: Music Week, Billboard, Music & Media, Cash Box and others. Here you can find a large archive of old music magazines – World Radio History (in some countries access only through a proxy server). Local publications – news sites sites of various countries (australian The Sydney Morning Herald, turkish Milliyet, danish BT Magazine, etc.). On these sites you can find information about certification or sales.
* – in the case when the information is taken from the magazine, and not from the site, the number of issue is indicated
4) Nielsen Soundscan and charts figures. Nielsen Soundscan figures are used to more accurately determine sales levels in the US and Canada. For Korea and Japan, data published in the charts is used.
5) Spotify and VK Music. Used only to estimate the sales of Russian-language artists. 1500 streams are equivalent to 1 album.
6) Discogs and Meshok to estimate circulation in the USSR.
Information about album sales was rarely published in the USSR. But in the late 70s, all Melodiya factories began to indicate the order number (заказ) and circulation (тираж) on the LP’s back cover. Circulations of new editions of album were set by tradable structures that form orders for factories, taking into account consumer demand (in total there were 35 thousand retail outlets in the USSR). Thus, if you find all editions of album, you can calculate the total shipments. For example, Alexander Rosenbaum’s Moi Dvory had 64 different editions and each had its own circulation. If we add up the circulations of all editions, we get the total figure of shipments of any album. The total shipments of a LP may be underestimated if: there are editions without indication of circulation or not all editions are found. Comparing the sales published in the Soviet press and the total sum of all editions, it can be noted that this method allows you to find out about 75 – 85% of total shipments. This figures do not include cassettes and CDs. The volume of shipments of foreign artists is more difficult to assess, beacuse the Aprelevka Record Plant (Апрелевский завод грампластинок) did not always indicate the circulation of licensed albums (judging by the secondary vinyl marketin Russia, most of the licensed records were made there). Therefore, the list did not include Band on The Run by the Wings , Imagine by John Lennon, ABBA and others albums, which were very popular in the USSR. Information about all editions can be found in the circulation section.
Full list of sources by country and territory
Australia: Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certification,The Sydney Morning Herald
Argentina: Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (CAPIF) certification, Sony Music Argentina, Billboard, Lavoz
Austria: IFPI Austria certification
Belgium: Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA) certification, Billboard
Brazil: Pro-Música Brasil (Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos) certification, книга Os 10 Mais [Luis André Alzer, Mariana Claudino]
Bulgaria: БАМП (Bulgarian Producers of sound recordings) certification, Anelia official site, D2 official site
Canada: Music Canada / Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) certification, Soundcan, Universal Music Canada
Chilie: IFPI Chile certification, Chilie`s best selling albums 2000-2013, Billboard, Year-end list
China: Digital sales on: QQ, NetEase, Kugou, Kuwo, Migu – saoju.net
Columbia: Promúsica Colombia certification, Billboard
Croatia: Hrvatska diskografska udruga (HDU) certification, сайт HDU, Danijela Martinović official site, Index HR, Croatia Records, Scardona records, Gloria HR, HDU, HGU, IVANA BANFIĆ official site, MENART Records, Vanna official site, Slobodna Dalmacija
Cyprus: IFPI Cyprus certification
Czech Republic: ČNS IFPI certification, Chinaski official site, сайт IFPI CZ, Kabát official site, Lucie official site, Těžkej Pokondr official site, Wanastowi Vjecy official site
Czechoslovakia: Supraphon label certification, Supraphon site, Arakain official site, Kabát official site, Katapult official site, Lucie official site, Olympic official site, Peter Nagy official site, Tublatanka official site
Denmark: IFPI Denmark certification, EMI Denmark, Fredericia Dagblad, Politiken magazine, Jydske Vestkysten, , Billie magazine, BT Magazine, Det Kgl. Bibliote, DR magazine (Danmarks Radio), Ekstra Bladet, Olsen Brothers official site, Shu-Bi-Dua official site, Sony Denmark, TV-2 official site
Finland: IFPI Finland certification
France: Syndicat National de l’Édition Phonographique (SNEP) certification, Universal France, Warner Music Japan
Germany: Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) certification
Grecce: IFPI Greece certification, ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΙΣΚΟΓΡΑΦΙΑ [GREEK DISCOGRAPHY]
Hong-Kong: IFPI Hong Kong certification
Hungary: Magyar Hangfelvétel-kiadók Szövetsége (MAHASZ) certification, Duol, Recorder Hungary
Iceland: Félag Hljómplötuframleiðenda (FHF) yeae-end reports
India: Indian Music Industry (IMI) certification, Billboard, Box Office India, NEW YORK TIMES
Indonesia: Recording Industry Association of Indonesia (RIAS) certification, Billboard
Ireland: Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) certification, Billboard, список самых продаваемых альбомов в Ирландии 1992 – 2012, составленный IRMA
Israel: IFPI Israel certification
Italy: Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI) certification, Billboard
Japan: Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) certification, Universal Music Japan, Sony Music Japan, Warner Music Japan, Dizzy Mizz Lizzy official site, Oricon charts
Latvia: Latvian Music Producers Association (LaMPA) certification
Lebanon: IFPI Middle East certification
Malaysia: Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) certification
Mexico: Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON) certification
Netherlands: Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers (NVPI) certification
New Zeland: Recorded Music NZ (Recording Industry Association of New Zealand – RIANZ) certification
Norway: IFPI Norway certification, Dagbladet year-end lists, Billboard, Music & Media, Verdens Gang
Peru: Unión Peruana de Productores Fonográficos (UNIMPRO) certification
Poland: Związek Producentów Audio-Video (ZPAV) certification, Budka Suflera official site
Portugal: Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa(AFP) certification
Romania: Uniunea Producătorilor de Fonograme din România (UPFR) certification
Russia: Национальной Федерации Производителей фонограмм (HФПФ) certification, 2M ONLINE, Forbes Russia, Intermedia Report, LP Shipments (on back cover)
Serbia: Grand produkcije, National Library of Serbia [shipments], Balkan Media, Blic, Ceca official site, NOVINE Toronto, Portal biografija.org, Radio Televizija Srbije
Singapore: Recording Industry Association Singapore (RIAS) certification
Slovakia: IFPI Slovakia certification, INÉ KAFE official website
Slovenia: IFPI Slovenia certification
South Africa: Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) certification
South Korea: Recording Industry Association Of Korea (RIAK) reports, Gaon charts
Spain: Productores de Música de España (PROMUSICAE) certification, BMG
Sweden: IFPI Sweden certification ,Billboard, ABBA official site
Switzerland: IFPI Switzerland certification
Taiwan: Recording Industry Foundation in Taiwan (RIT) certification, Billboard, Sony Taiwan
Thailand: Thai Entertainment Content Trade Association (TECA) certification, Business Review
Turkey: Bağlantılı Hak Sahibi Fonogram Yapımcıları Meslek Birliği (MÜ-YAP) certification, MÜ-YAP year-end reports, Avea Muzik, Foneks records award, Haberturk, Hurriyet, Milliyet magazine, Nilüfer official site, Sabah, Sertab Erener official site, Sezen Aksu official site, Tarkan official site, Zaman
Ukraine: IFPI Ukraine certification
United Kingdom: British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certification, Official Charts, Music Week
United States: Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certification, SoundScan, BMG Music Club, Herb Alpert official site, RCA Records, Allmusic, Time Magazine, Billboard
Uruguay: Cámara Uruguaya del Disco (CUD) certification
USSR: Discogs, Meshok, Музыкальный прогноз, Мелодия
Venezuela: Asociación Venezolana de Intérpretes y Productores de Fonogramas (AVINPRO) certification, Billboard
Yugoslavia: certification, Billboard, Alen Islamovic official site, Bijelo Dugme: Doživjeti stotu, Bljesak Info, Book – Bijelo dugme – Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu, Boris Novković official site, Ceca official site, Croatia Records, Croatia Records, Discogs, Espreso.co.rs, EX YU ROCK enciklopedija, Grand Production (Grand Online), Hanka Paldum official site, Hari Mata Hari official site, HDU, Hit Records, HRT (Hrvatska radiotelevizija), Jutarnji List, Lepa Brena official site, Magazin official site, MENART Records, Muzika HR, Nezavisne novine, NOVINE Toronto, Portal biografija.org, Radio Balkan Fox, Radio Sarajevo, Radio Televizija Srbije, Riblja Čorba official site, Scardona records, Slobodna Dalmacija, Vreme, Yugopapir, Zadarski List, Zamp, Zdravko Čolić official site
Ex Yugoslavia: National Library of Serbia [shipments], eKapija, Espreso.co.rs, Glossy, Grand Production (Grand Online), Jelena Karleuša official site, MENART Records, PGP-RTS, Portal biografija.org, Radio Balkan Fox, Radio Televizija Srbije, Sarajevo.co.ba, Tracara, Vreme, Zabranjeno pušenje official site, Zadarski List, Balkaniyum
Gulf States: IFPI Middle East certification
Europe: IFPI Europe certification, IMPALA certification, Universal Music Japan
Worldwide: ABBA official site, Ace of Base official site, Aerosmith official site, a-ha official site, Allmusic, Backstreet Boys offical site, Billboard, Blondie official site, BMG, Capitol, Carole King official site, Celine Dion official site, Daily Record, DEF LEPPARD official site, Dig! (Warner Recorded Music family), Dire Straits official site, Elton John site, Fleetwood Mac site, George Michael official site, Guardian, Guinness World Records, IFPI reports, Interscope, Iron Butterfly offical site, Jean-Michel Jarre official site, Jethro Tull official site, Jim Steinman official site, Lionel richie official site, Madonna official site, Mariah Carey official site, Music Week, Official Charts UK, Paul McCartney official site, Prince official site, RCA, Rhino, Robin Gibb official site, Rolling Stone, Sade official site, Shania Twain official site, Sony Music Argentina, Sony Music Canada, Sony Music Germany, Sony Music Japan, Sony Music Spain, Sony Music UK, Steve Winwood official site, The Beatles official site, The Book of Golden Discs, The Doobie Brothers official site, The Offspring official site, The Who official site, Toronto Star, U2 official site, Universal France, Universal Music, Universal Music Canada, Universal Music Enterprises (UMGCatalog), Universal Music Germany, Universal Music Italy, Universal Music Japan, Universal Music Latin, Universal Music Publishing Group, Universal Music Publishing Group JAPAN, Universal Music Spain, Virgin Media, Warner Music, Warner Music Australia, Warner Music Germany, Warner Music Japan, Warner Music New Zeland, Whitney Houston official site
Why are total sales understated?
Why might the sales figures on our website be underestimated? Our site relies mainly on certificates – this is a reliable source, but you may encounter some other problems.
1) certification has not been updated for a long time
Example: The Grease soundtrack, released in 1978, was certified 8x platinum (8 million copies) on November 7, 1984 by RIAA. Since then, the certification has not been updated, but thanks to Nielsen SoundScan, it is known that from 1991 to 2012 another 6 million copies were sold. This means that the sales of grease in the US is over 14 million copies. But if we only relied on certificates, the sales would rich only 6 million copies.
2) album was never certified
Example: Michael Buble’s album Christmas was released in 2011, but received its first certification only on September 30, 2021, and immediately 6x platinum. Accourding to RIAA, the sales before September 30, 2021 were 0 copies. There are many albums that have reached the threshold of certification but have yet to receive an award.
3) certification roughly reflects real sales
Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) can mean either 1,000,001 or 1,700,000 copies. Let’s look at an abstract example to show how many albums sold can be missed using certification alone.
|Country||Sales||Certification||Certified sales||Missed sales|
4) no certification in the country or appeared not so long ago
It’s impossible to know the sales if at the time of the release of the album there is no organization responsible for certification in the country, and after its appearance the artist or his representative doesn’t apply for an award. Therefore, the older the album, the more difficult it is to estimate its sales.
How can these problems be solved?
Consider another example: the Jethro Tull Aqualang album was released in 1971, when the certification was only in the United States. Aqualang went triple platinum in US and gold in three other countries. If we rely only on certifications and Nielsen SoundScan data, we get the result – 3.746.000 copies in 4 countries. At the same time, sales in the US since 2012, the UK since 2013, Germany since 2009, as well as in Italy from 1971 to 2008 and since 2015 are unknown, not to mention the rest of the world. As a result, we have a large “gray area”.
But thanks to Jethro Tull’s official website, we know that Aqualang sells 7 million copies worldwide. In order not to lose sales from the “gray area”, our site uses data on global sales received from official representatives of musicians (this can be a label, official website) or from reputable publications, such as Billboard.
How to check that global sales are not exaggerated?
Some of the worldwide sales figures taken from labels or official websites may seem inflated. In this case, you can:
1) check available certifications and compare what percentage of the music market they represent and what of sales they represent. Data on the largest music markets can be found in this Wikipedia article.
2) if music market data is not available, compare global and US sales. Typically, 1/3 to 1/2 of global sales are in the US.
If global numbers seem to be too high, rely only on certified sales. You can also find another source that you can trust.
Any questions, suggestions and notes send on firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate BEST SELLING ALBUMS in the subject of the email.