The Beatles FAQ

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



Thursday, 11 April 2019

How many records have The Beatles sold?


This is increasingly difficult to assess, as downloads of individual tracks are added to traditional singles & albums.

Singles

By 2014, the official figure for US single sales was an astonishing 1.6 billion. It would be reasonable to extrapolate that when British and other international sales are added the number would rise to well over 2 billion

Albums

The Beatles had a total of 21 Number 1 albums in the US. Total US album sales, however, are 'only' 177 million, less than a third of those sold outside the US.  It should be remembered, however, that Beatlemania occurred before albums became the mass market they later became 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.


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