US Sales

 

Tracking American Sales; 


RIAA 

1958 RIAA introduces gold awards for sales (shipments) ie sales to retailers

1976 RIAA introduces platinum awards. Multi-platinum awards awarded in the 1990s

2004 Digital downloads counted

2013 Streaming counted for singles

2016 Streaming counted for albums


Source: RIAA


Soundscan

1991 Soundscan starts tracking sales (to customers). Music Clib sales, which were large in the 1990s were not used.

2003 Soundscan begins tracking downloads

2004 Soundscan begins tracking Streaming


Source: here





RIAA certifications 

 RIAA certifications albums
Greatest Hits1,000,000
Arrival 500,000
The Album *1,000,000
Voulez Vous 500,000
Greatest Hits vol 2 500,000
Super Trouper 500,000
Gold - Greatest Hits6,000,000
The Best Of - 20th Century Masters 500,000
  
Total10,500,000

 RIAA database here Please note ABBA Gold has not been updated for RIAA certifications since 2002 and the Best Of since 2003. Many other countries, notably the UK and Australia have regular gold, platinum and multi platinum updates.

* The Album had sold 1.3 million by 26/08/78 (source: Billboard Magazine, here). It was ABBA's biggest selling album in the US during their career. It seems very unlikely that The Album sold twice as much as Arrival, Voulez Vous or Super Trouper. They most have been near 1 million sales each at the time too.

Dancing Queen and Take a Chance on Me certified gold - which was for 1,000,000 sales in the 1970s. Platinum then was 2,000,000. In 1989, due to declining singles sales, platinum was reduced  to 1,000,000 and gold to 500,000. These were retrospective. Therefore ABBA's  record company at the time Atlantic could have upgraded Dancing Queen and Take a Chance on Me to platinum. They didn't. Nor did they apply for gold awards for singles that certainly passed 500,000 sales eg Waterloo, The Winner Takes it All, Fernando, The Name of the Game and Knowing Me Knowing You.
 

These figures don't tell the whole story

1) A 1980 compilation the Magic of ABBA is said to have sold 2, 000,000. However, it was on the K-Tel label which is not a member of the RIAA so not eligible for gold or platinum awards.

2) Gold and Best of are under-certified. "Gold" is under-certified by about 3 million and the Best Of compilation about 1.5m

3) The certifications are for minimum sales eg gold certification for sales of 500,000 to 999,999. Add extra 2 million or so.

4) Albums that sold less than 500,000 eg Waterloo, ABBA, The Visitors, The Singles, More Gold, The Definitive Collection etc. Add another 2 million.

Likely sales nearer to 20m than 10m!



SOUNDSCAN SALES, selected albums

 

 Sound scan Sales since 1991
Gold - Greatest Hits6, 067,00001/2021
Best Of ABBA1, 824,00001/2020
The Definitive Collection    342,00001/2009
Number Ones    230,000 12/2009
More Gold    114,000  
Arrival      54,00001/2006
Super Trouper      52,000 12/2012
The Album      37,000 01/2006
Voulez Vous      36,000 12/2012
The Visitors      31,000 01/2006
Oro: Grandes Exitos      16,000 01/2006
   



ESTIMATED ABBA ALBUM SALES in USA

1. Gold Greatest Hits, 11,000,000

2. Best Of - Millennium Collection, 2,000,000

3. The Album, 1,500,000

4. Greatest Hits, 1,300,000

5. Arrival, 1,200,000

6. Super Trouper, 1,000,000

7. Voulez Vous 900,000

8. Greatest His Volume 2, 600,000

9. The Visitors, 500,000

10. The Singles, 500,000

11 The Definitive Collection, 350,000

12. Number Ones, 250,000

13. Voyage, 200,000

14. Waterloo, 200,000

15. ABBA, 200,000

16. More Gold, 150,000



Plus many more compilation albums.



ABBA's  album sales  of back catalogue studio is very small. Many acts have their old studio albums selling in the hundreds of thousands or  even millions. For example, the Beatles' Abbey Road and Sgt Pepper albums have sold over 6 million each in the US in the period 1991 to 2021. 

By 2013, GOLD had sold over 5m and at that point was the 132nd best seller since SoundScan began recording sales.It was the 18th best selling Greatest Hits seller

 Click on link Greatest Hits - GOLD on 5.2m sales

 

 ABBA Gold  Greatest Hits sales: RIAA v Soundscan


Universal Music (USA) has not asked for Gold Greatest Hits to be upgraded for certifications in 20 years! It is now eligible for a Diamond award for 10,000,000 sales. This is the fault of Universal Music not the RIAA. 

Streaming equivalent sales are now counted for RIAA certifications. 


RIAASound Scan
How many shipments (RIAA) or pure sales (soundscan) and when?6,000,000 by 20026,300,000 by 2022
What is included?Shipments - sales to retailersSales to Customers
What is NOT included?NothingMusic Club Sales, or initially sales to theatres and about half retailers
What were sales 1993-2002?6,000,0003,000,000. See exclusions above
What are sales since 2002?3,300,000. Music Club sales gone3,300,000. Covers all sales now
What are streaming equivalent sales?1,650,0001, 650,000
What are total sales plus streaming now?10,950,0007,950,000,with exclusions listed above


ABBA GOLD has sold 884,000 through Music Club BMG.  Other Music Clubs were available. These sales are counted for RIAA certifications - but NOT for Sound scan sales. 

 

ABBA's US Record Company has NOT applied for the RIAA to update its sales for Gold-Greatest Hits since 2002!!!


How Streaming Works in the US Charts : FAQs

 

 ABBA's best-selling download tracks
Dancing Queen1,444,000
Take a Chance On Me234,000
Mamma Mia193,000

 

Dancing Queen sales at August 2018. This is entitled to a platinum disc for 1 million digital sales but as we have seen with albums their American record company does not apply for these.

 

Take a Chance On Me and Mamma Mia as of 23/01/2009.....or as Americans say 01/23/2009!




From Billboard - Jan 2009 
week on askbillboard:

"After "Mamma Mia!," the movie musical based on Abba's music, became a box office smash last summer, "Gold" captured the No. 1 spot on the Top Pop Catalog chart for the first time - in its mere 443rd combined week on the Billboard 200 and Catalog charts. It returns to the Catalog summit for a tenth non-consecutive week this week.

Since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking album sales in 1991, here are Abba's best-selling sets:

"Gold - Greatest Hits," 5,000,000

"The Best of Abba: 20th Century Masters the Millennium Collection," 1,090,000

"The Definitive Collection," 342,000

As for individual songs, Abba's top-selling downloads to date are "Dancing Queen" (597,000), "Take a Chance on Me" (234,000) and, logically enough, "Mamma Mia" (193,000)."

ABBA SINGLES

 

 ABBA Top 10 Singles in US
PositionSinglePeak
1Dancing Queen#1
2Take a Chance On Me#5
3Fernando#10
4Waterloo#10
5The Winner Takes it All#11
6Knowing Me Knowing You#11
7SOS#12
8The Name of The Game#16
9Does Your Mother Know#16
10I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do#19

 Source


Based on Cashbox charts which were more sales based

In terms of sales the top two were million sellers. The next six likely to have sold over half a million or more.

The Winner Takes it All was a Top 10 on the Billboard chart but Fernando was not. Both were #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart Lay All Your Love on Me was #1 on the Billboard Disco/Dance chart.

 

 Dancing Queen was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

 Take a Chance on Me reached #3 on the Billboard chart

 Waterloo reached #6 in August 1974

 The Winner Takes it All peaked at #8 on Bilbord's Hot 100

 

 
ABBA could have sold even more singles in the US. In the first half eg 1978 they had huge success with The Name of the Game and Take a Chance on Me (and The Album selling a million). They had a major promotional campaign in the US in May 1978. The Album was the 22nd best selling album of 1978.  However, they did not take advantage of this momentum
 
- Eagle was released as  a single but then withdrawn...link
- Summer Night City wasn't released 
- Chiquitita, which was featured in the high profile multi-artist UNICEF gig wasn't released for almost  a year after that.