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 success! 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

History of the British Charts  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

2016 Video streams included for singles

2023 Video streams included for albums


Certifications by the BPI  source

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

1979 Unit sales for albums replaced value for album certifications

1985 Double and Triple platinum awards introduced for albums

1987 Multi-platinum awards (more than platinum x3) introduced for albums

1989 Singles sales criteria downgraded to reflect declining sales

2005 Digital downloads factored in certifications

2013 Auto-Certification  become automatic introduced (previously record companies had to apply for them)

2014 Audio streams included for singles

2015 Album/Single streaming included for album sales

2018 Video streams included for 


History of UK Music Certifications


 

How many records have ABBA sold in the UK?



ABBA UK ALBUM SALES

 ABBA Top 30 Albums - UK
1Gold-Greatest Hits6,300,000PLATINUM x21
2Greatest Hits2, 600,000PLATINUM x8
3Arrival1,700,000PLATINUM
4Super Trouper1,250,000PLATINUM
5The Album ^1,200,000PLATINUM
6Greatest Hits Volume Two1,100,000PLATINUM
7Voulez Vous 900,000PLATINUM
8The Visitors 850,000PLATINUM
9The Singles 650,000PLATINUM
1018 Hits 512,000PLATINUM
11Voyage 475,000PLATINUM
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
19Waterloo160,000SILVER
20Hits 150,000
21Hits 3  150,000
22The Collection  120,000GOLD
24Thank You For the Music 100,000GOLD
23Absolute ABBA 100,000GOLD
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 30,000
32Thank You for the Music - Box set * 24,600
33Live at Wembley *  8,000
34The Essential Collection *  7,000


Total UK album sales at almost 21,000,000 

 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 from 2015* For albums released since 1994.

6. Estimates.

7. ABBA Gold - platinum x21 

8. Voyage Here


Certifications for 1976-82 albums. 

Please note the following:

1. Multiple 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  and CERTIFICATIONS

Sales = UK PHYSICAL/DOWNLOADS combined


Certifications 

for Physical = shipments i.e sales to shops

for Digital = Downloads and streaming equivalent sales.

BPI data base here

 

 ABBA UK Top 20

SongSalesPhysicalDigital
1Dancing Queen1,560,000GOLDPLATINUM x2
2Super Trouper982,000GOLDPLATINUM
3Knowing Me Knowing You976,000 GOLD
4Take a Chance on Me  885,000GOLDPLATINUM
5Fernando  874,,000
PLATINUM
6The Winner Takes it All  853,,000GOLD

7Mamma Mia  776,000SILVERPLATINUM
8The Name of the Game   GOLD
9Chiquita  GOLD
10Gimme Gimme Gimme SILVERPLATINUM
11Waterloo  681,000 
PLATINUM
12I Have a Dream   GOLD
13Angel Eyes/Voulez Vous '   SILVERGOLD (for both)
14Does Your Mother Know   SILVER
GOLD
15 One of Us * GOLD
16Money Money Money *   500,000 +GOLD
17Lay All Your Love on Me 
PLATINUM
18Summer Night City  SILVER
19SOS   
GOLD
20Thank You For The Music   
SILVER
21Slipping Through My Fingers(200,000)
SILVER
22Honey Honey(200,000)
SILVER
23The Day Before You Came


24Don't Shut Me Down (100,000)

25I Still Have Faith in You  (70,000)


All the above are "pure sales" only (physical and download) except for The Voyage songs, I Still Have Faith in You and Don't Shut Me Down which are mainly stream equivalent sales with some download and physical sales. The sales for Slipping Through My Fingers and Honey Honey are download and streaming equivalent as they never  physical singles.


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.Silver award for double A side Angeleyes/Voulez Vous. Gold digital award for Voulez Vous

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.


Year End Charts - Singles

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.


CERTIFICATIONS

AwardSingles 1973-1989Singles since 1989Albums
SILVER250,000200,00060,000
GOLD500,000400,000100,000
PLATINUM1,000,000600,000300,000


Album awards have NOT been downgraded.


Top 10 by format (estimates)

PHYSICALDOWNLOADSTREAMING
Dancing QueenDancing QueenDancing Queen
Knowing Me Knowing YouMamma MiaGimme Gimme Gimme
Super TrouperThe Winner Takes it AllMamma Mia
FernandoWaterlooThe Winner Takes it All
Take a Chance On MeGimme Gimme GimmeWaterloo
The Name of the GameDoes Your Mother KnowSuper Trouper
The Winner Takes it AllTake a Chance on MeLay All Your Love On Me
I Have a DreamThank You for the MusicTake a Chance On Me
ChiquiitaSlipping Through My FingersSOS
Money Money MoneyChiquititaThank You For the Music


ABBA sold 11.3m singles in the UK by 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 (2022)


Streaming - ABBA have had over 1 BILLION streams in the UK.



UK Top 10 Selling Singles Artists (2012)

1. The Beatles 21.9 million

2. Elvis Presley 21.6 million

3. Cliff Richard 21.5 million

4. Madonna 17.6 million

5. Michael Jackson 15.3 million

6. Elton John 14.8 million

7. Queen 12.6 million

8. ABBA 11.2 million

9. David Bowie 10.6 million

10. Rihanna 10.4 million


These are mainly physical sales although Rihanna's are mainly downloads. This is before Streaming. Source



 Top 30 Selling Album Artists (28 July 1956 - 31st December 2022)


1. The Beatles 35.7m

2. Queen 28.7m

3. Elvis Presley 26.8m

4. Michael Jackson 26.6m

5. Madonna  22.3m

6. ABBA 21-8m

7. Rod Stewart 21-7m

8. Robbie Williams 20.8m

9. U2  20.7m

10. Elton John 20m

11 David Bowie 19.9m

12 Oasis 18.7m

13 Pink Floyd 17.9m

14.  Rolling Stones 17.6m 

15 Fleetwood Mac 16.3m

16. Take That 15.9m

17. Bob Dylan 15.3m

18. Coldplay 14.8m

19. Dire Straits 14.6m

20. Phil Collins 14.4m 

21 Simply Red 14.0m

22 Eminem 13.9m

23. Westlife 13.8m

24. Led Zeppelin 12.7m

25. Adele 12.6m

26. Ed Sheeran 12.6m

27. Michael Buble 12.5m

28. Simon and Garfunkle 12.3m

29. Cliff Richard 11.9m

30. Meatloaf 11.8m


British Rock Acts Led Zeppelin much more popular in US than US and American Queen of Pop, Madonna more popular in UK than US.




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...