ABBA UK Sales.


United Kingdom : England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Great Britain is the island of England, Scotland and Wales



➡️ The UK was the place where ABBA won Eurovision in 1974. Opened 

the Mamma Mia musical in 1999 and is the venue for the ABBA concert which opened in 2022.

➡️ Not everything was a sucees! They had 3 flop singles after Waterloo and 3 flops in 1982.

➡️During their original career, 9 #1 singles (1974-80) and 8 #1 albums (1976-82), now 10

➡️ Gold Greatest Hits hit #1 in 1992, 1999 and 2008. The first album to spend 1,000 weeks in the UK album charts. It sold 6 million copies.

➡️  Comeback album Voyage (2021) their first #1 studio album in 40 years. A record gap between #1 studio albums.


Tracking British Sales


Source:

1952 First singles chart introduced. Albums in 1956. 

1969 First proper sales chart compiled by the British Market Research Bureau from a sample of shops

 1983 Gallup take over the compilation of the charts with expanded sample and electronic method

1990 CIN, now Official Charts Company takes over the ownership of the charts but still compiled by Gallup

1994 The Official Charts Company starts compiling the charts

2005 Digital tracks included in singles charts

2006 Digital tracks included for album charts

2015 Streaming included in the singles charts

2016 Audio streams included in the album charts


How Streaming Works in the UK Charts



Certifications by the BPI

1973 Silver, Gold and Platinum awards introduced. Unit sales used for singles, value for albums. Unit sales for albums introduced 1979

2005 Digital downloads factored in certifications

2013 Certifications become automatic is the pass the required threshold (previously record companies had to apply for them)

2014 Audio streams included for singles

2015 Audio streams included for album sales

2018 Video streams included for album sales



 

How many records have ABBA sold in the UK?



ABBA UK ALBUM SALES

 ABBA Top 30 Albums - UK
1Gold-Greatest Hits6,157,000PLATINUM x20
2Greatest Hits2, 600,000PLATINUM x8
3Arrival1,700,000PLATINUM
4Super Trouper1,300,000PLATINUM
5The Album ^1,250,000PLATINUM
6Greatest Hits Volume Two1,100,000PLATINUM
7Voulez Vous 850,000PLATINUM
8The Visitors 800,000PLATINUM
9The Singles 650,000PLATINUM
1018 Hits 512,000PLATINUM
11Voyage 450,000PLATINUM
12More Gold 420,000PLATINUM
13The Name of the Game  300,000PLATINUM
14The Definitive Collection  231,000GOLD
15The Music Still Goes On  230,000GOLD
16Hits 2  200,000GOLD
17ABBA 200,000GOLD
18Number Ones 169,300GOLD
19Hits 150,000
20Hits 3  150,000
21The Collection  120,000GOLD
22Thank You For the Music 100,000GOLD
23Absolute ABBA 100,000GOLD
24Waterloo 97,000SILVER
25The Albums 65,700SILVER
26Forever Gold 61,600SILVER
27Gold Deluxe Edition  (3CDs)60,000SILVER
28The Ultimate Collection 60,000SILVER
29 Classic ABBA 60,000SILVER
30Love Stories 51,000
31Ring Ring 40,000
32Thank You for the Music - Box set 24,600
33Live at Wembley  8,000
34The Essential Collection  7,000

The re-issue of Greatest Hits on 11,000  all by October 2015. The vinyl edition of Gold sold 2,000 in July 2017.

Total UK album sales at almost 21,000,000 (20,298,000)

 Sources:

 2 Studio Albums from OCC . Figure for Arrival.

3.^ The Album reported to have sold 1 million by 29/07/78 in Billboard Magazine. here

4 Super Trouper sold over a million in the UK here

5. OCC figures

6. Estimates.

7. ABBA Gold - platinum x20  6,000,000 sales (Plus 26,500 sales 21 November, date of certification to end of 2021. 128, 500 2022 until 1st September 2022)


Certifications for 1976-82 albums. 

Please note the following:

1. Multiiple certifications were not introduced until late 80s. That is why albums from Arrival in 1976 through to The Singles in 1982 have only a platinum disc for 300,000 despite selling much more.

2. To celebrate 50s years of the album chart in 2006 the Charts Company provided a list of the All Time Top 100 albums with sales figures. Both Greatest Hits (1976) and Arrival were on it.

3. In 2016, pre-multiple platinum era albums that made the All Tine Top 60 were given multiple platinum awards. Greatest Hits (1976 compilation) made that list.

So I hope this explains why a couple of ABBA's album from their original era have exact sales.

Note also

4. Sales  of over a million given for The Album in Billboard   and confirmation later that Super Trouper sold more than it.


  NB -*  'budget' albums have to sell double to get a particular award. Example, a gold disc is for 100,000 but 200,000 for budget albums.  So Hits 2 got a gold award when it passed 200,000 sales.

   

 

Studio album sales 1994 - 2015

Ring Ring 26,000

Waterloo 36,000

ABBA 15,000

Arrival 114,000

The Album 49,000

Voulez Vous 41,000

Super Trouper 107,000

The Visitors 73,000


In the same period, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours sold almost 2 million, The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper about a million and albums by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones in the hundred of thousands. ABBA's back catalogue sale for studio albums is quite modest.


In the week of 10th September 2021, after the ABBA comeback announcement, Voulez Vous and Arrival re-entered the Main Album chart. The Visitors re-entered the Sales chart.




ABBA Gold is the best selling CD ever in the UK

Sources:

Best Selling CD Ever! - BBC Report

Best Selling CD ever!

First album to spend 1000 weeks in Top 100



Most Weeks in Top 40 -

1. GOLD - Greatest Hits - ABBA 413 weeka

2. Sound of Music - OST 346 weeks

3, Rumours - Fleetwood Mac 321 weeks

4. Greatest Hits - Queen 320 weeks

5. South Pacific 315 weeks



Most Weeks in Top 100

1. GOLD Greatest Hits - ABBA 1,048 weeks

2. Legend - Bob Marley 1,032 weeks

3. Greatest Hits - Queen 1,000 weeks

4. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac 943 weeks

5. Number Ones - Michael Jackson 550 weeks


Source:  Here Update to June 2022.



"Gold" is the 2nd best seller of All Time in the UK and Greatest Hits is at #46. 

1. Greatest Hits - Queen

2. GOLD Greatest Hits - ABBA

3. Sergeant Pepper - The Beatles

3. 21 - Adele

5. What's the Story Morning Glory - Oasis

See here 



UK SINGLES SALES 

ABBA  UK PHYSICAL/DOWNLOADS/STREAMING combined

BPI data base here

 Year End Charts 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978  1979 1980

Please note 1977 and 1980 are the only years where the Year End Chart is the full 52 weeks. The other Year End Charts have a cut off point up to 3 weeks earlier.

 ABBA UK Top 20

SongSalesPhysicalDigital
1Dancing Queen1,560,000GOLDPLATINUM x2
2Super Trouper982,000GOLD
3Knowing Me Knowing You976,000 GOLD
4Take a Chance on Me  885,000GOLD
5The Winner Takes it All  853,000
PLATINUM
6Fernando  874,,000GOLD
7Mamma Mia  776,000SILVERPLATINUM
8The Name of the Game   GOLD
9Chiquita  GOLD
10Gimme Gimme Gimme SILVERPLATINUM
11Waterloo  681,000 
GOLD
12I Have a Dream  600,000 +GOLD
13Angel Eyes/Voulez Vous '   SILVERSILVER
14Does Your Mother Know   SILVERGOLD
15 One of Us * GOLD
16Money Money Money *   500,000 +GOLD
17Lay All Your Love on Me 
GOLD
18Summer Night City  SILVER
19SOS   400,000 +
SILVER
20Thank You For The Music   250,000 +
SILVER
21The Day Before You Came


22Don't Shut Me Down 100,000

23I Still Have Faith in You 70,000

The Top 20 are "Pure Sales" ie physical and download. 

Confusingly, the certifications for "Digital" awards are for downloads and streaming equivalent sales.

The Voyage songs, I Still Have Faith in You and Don't Shut Me Down include stream equivalent sales.


Sources

The Official Charts Company, 2021  

 BPI Database

Music Week


Please Note:

1. Waterloo and The Winner Takes it All not awarded physical gold or silver awards despite being eligible.

2. Songs cannot be awarded the same certification for both physical and digital (no idea why!)

3. Voulez Vous seems to be an exception perhaps because its physical sales with Angeleyes.

4. One of Us and Money Money Money both certified gold for 500,000 sales. But sales split over two years - and the Official Charts Company misses some of these.


CERTIFICATIONS


Singles 1973 to 1989

Silver (250,000)

Gold (500,000)

Platinum (1,000,000)


Singles since 1989

Silver (200,000)

Gold (400,000)

Platinum (600,000)

Platinum x2 (1,200,000)


Albums

Platinum (300,000)

Gold (100,000)

Silver (60,000)


Album awards have NOT been downgraded.


Top 10 by format (estimates)

PHYSICALDOWNLOADSTREAMING
Dancing QueenDancing QueenDancing Queen
Knowing Me Knowing YouMamma MiaMamma Mia
Super TrouperThe Winner Takes it AllGimme Gimme Gimme
FernandoWaterlooThe Winner Takes it All
Take a Chance On MeGimme Gimme GimmeWaterloo
The Name of the GameDoes Your Mother KnowLay All Your Love On Me
One of UsTake a Chance on MeSuper Trouper
I Have a DreamThank You for the MusicSOS
ChiquiitaSlipping Through My FingersVoulez Vous
Money Money MpneyChiquititaThank You For the Music



 

ABBA have sold 11.3m singles in the UK (November 2012). 10.0m physical, 1.3m downloads. They are the 3rd most successful group for UK singles sales.


 

Dancing Queen is one of the best selling singles ever in the UK

Sources

Sales + Streams (2017)

Sales - Physical + Download (2020)



ABBA's 20 Top 10 UK Singles


The first 19 singles in era of sales only chart. In more recent years charts a mix of sales and streaming but dominated by streaming.


  • Waterloo,#1 1974
  • SOS, #6 1975
  • Mamma Mia, #1 1976
  • Fernando, #1 1976
  • Dancing Queen, #1 1976
  • Money Money Money, #3 1976
  • Knowing Me Knowing You, #1 1977
  • The Name of the Game, #1977
  • Take a Chance on Me, #1 1978
  • Summer Night City, #5 1978
  • Chiquitita, #2 1979
  • Does Your Mother Know, #4 1979
  • Angeleyes/Voulez Vous, #3 1979
  • Gimme Gimme Gimme, #3 1979
  • I Have a Dream, #2 1979
  • The Winner Takes it All, #1 1980
  • Super Trouper, #1 1980
  • Lay All Your Love on Me, #7 1981
  • One of Us, #3 1981
  • Don't Shut Me Down*, #9 2021

* #2 in sales only chart. I Still Have Faith in You #1 in sales only chart. 


ABBA's 10 Number One UK Albums

  • Greatest Hits, 1976
  • Arrival, 1977
  • The Album, 1978
  • Voulez Vous, 1979
  • Greatest Hits Volume 2, 1979
  • Super Trouper, 1980
  • The Visitors, 1981
  • The Singles the First Ten Years, 1982
  • Gold Greatest Hits, 1992, 1999, 2008
  • Voyage, 2021

 



How ABBA could have sold more singles in the UK.

1. The follow up to Waterloo was Ring Ring. However, at the same time a cover version of Honey Honey by Sweet Dreams, which was released at the same time, reached #10. ABBA's Honey Honey also was a Top 10 hit in several European countries.

2. Eagle, which had been ear-marked for single release, wasn't. It almost certainly would have been Top 5.

3. Lay All Your Love On Me was released in July 1981 - long after Super Trouper had left the album chart. Further it was 12 inch only. Had it been released on 7 inch and sooner sales would have been greater.

4. There was a massive downturn in ABBA's popularity in 1982. Yet if they had When All Is Said and Done and not Head Over Heels as a single it's possible this could have been a major hit.

Arguably, ABBA missed around a million sales with these tactical errors.

In addition to the above, the song "I Know Him So Well" written by Benny and Bjorn with lyricist Sir Tim Rice, was performed by Elaine Page and Barbra Dickson. It sold over 800,000 in 1985. It was the 2nd best seller of the year. Had Agnetha and Frida been on vocals and this had been an ABBA single, it may have been a million seller - giving ABBA their biggest UK hit! If only...