The Beatles FAQ

Fun stuff about the Fab Four. Linked to The Beatles Teaching Pack



Sunday, 19 January 2020

How many records have The Beatles sold?



Singles

  • The Beatles released a total of 63 singles worldwide
  • By 2014, the official figure for US single sales was an astonishing 1.6 billion
  • Estimated world sales were well over 2 billion

Albums


  • The Beatles officially released 13 albums, plus three anthologies
  • They had a total of 21 Number 1 albums in the US. 
  • Total US album sales are estimated at around 177 million
  • Album sales outside of the US are in excess of 600 million.  

These figures are lowere than  those for later acts like Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and Michael Jackson. This is because Beatlemania occurred before the boom in album sales in the 1970s.

Post break-up

Sales of Beatles albums have remained strong since the band broke up in 1970 . Compilations, such as the 'red' and the 'blue' anthologies have  sold particularly well to new generations of fans. 


In fact the biggest selling album after Sergeant Pepper, Number 1s,  a compilation of singles. This was only released in 2000, thirty years after the band last recorded together. 

New formats

Sales were also helped by the mass switch from vinyl to CD in the 1980s. Ironically, the CD format has seen a rapid decline in this century, while vinyl has undergone a mini revival. 

A new trend has been for special reissues and previously unreleased tracks. The Anthology series was a mass market example of this. 

More recently sales have become increasingly difficult to assess, as downloads of individual tracks are added to traditional singles & albums.



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