The first way to go in this study was to check everything carefully. It means that when an artist has been studied, I checked all sources mentionned above for all his albums, putting all the data together and working on it.
I first take an overal look to chart performances from all countries, to get an idea of catalog sales of each albums. Some charts are to short to reach them as a catalog record, so this kind of correlation is very useful. The second step is checking US informations. This isn't the hardest country to estimate, many certifications are regularly updated. We also have a lot of dated data, that says us how many copies has been sold since the last certifications and so on.
After the US, European countries are checked, UK first. Why? To start with countries on which I have the most informations, then when checking countries less documented, it is easier to put a reliable sales figure on the avalaible data. I check carefuly a sample of 10 European countries - UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Finland. From IFPI European certifications, I calculated cumulative sales in those countries multiplicated by 1.2 gives us a very good approximation of sales in the continent. If the act is especialy big in a single country (like an Italian singer in Italy), I cut off the misleading sales figure, replacing it by an other of the same order than other countries to make calculations, then I add back the remaining sales from the said country (Italy in this example).
The third step is to estimate American sales out of the USA. Canada is usualy a mirror of the USA in a different scale. I check avalaible to build proportions between both and then estimate Canadian sales from the American ones. The rest of America is estimated from known info from Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. They are not always known (by far), recent releases help in judging popularity of each act in this area. Keeping in mind the share of Latin American sales from international acts achieved in those 3 markets (Brazil 1/3, Mexico 1/3, Argentina 1/6), we got a realistic view of sales of each album.
The fourth step is to add remaining known data, for example from Australia or New-Zealand. The last step is Asia, when we know already which albums from the act sold the most to date etc... At this point, we can check Oricon Japanese sales to estimate precisely updated sales in this country before making extrapolation for the rest of Asia, unless we have evidences showing that the act is not equaly successful in Japan and in the rest of Asia (for example, Mariah Carey is successful in all Asia, while Westlife, despite massively successful in continental Asia, are not popular at all in Japan). We know which acts are especialy big in some regions mainly thanks to Billboard who regularly printed articles about such phenomenom of sales. The rest is only basic mathematics, adding sales from each area to get a worldwide total of each album, then adding sales of each album to get an artist total.
To introduce this list of sources, I thanks a lot chart expert Nelson, who provided informations about all
countries, searching and pointing out an incredible amount of official data, which helped immensely to know which artists
are popular or not on areas where the data is very limited. The articles from Billboard and such refered earlier in this page
have mainly been discovered by him, which is just a little part of his contribution. Edu, just like Nelson, has been a
great help for me years ago to understand precisely how everything around charts and sales works. Thanks to him too.
Thanks also to all providers mentionned in the following breakdown of sources.
Billboard - Chart runs on BB200 and catalog charts
Soundscan - Shop sales from May 1991 to now
BMG Music Club - Top 100 best sellers from their introduction to 2003
Columbia House - List of all albums avalaible on this club
RIAA - All certifications and their dates
Data providers: Special thanks to Hanboo who provided all charts and most of the Soundscan data. Other providers include Dane, Bks, Thebigham, HolidayGuy, Basil, SeattleBoy, Hur, Will231982, John2000 Borderwolf, Paul Grein's blog, Metalsludge.
IFPI.ORG - Certifications from 1994 to now and statistics of markets from countries.
OCC - The Official UK Chart Company, Chart runs, Year-end/All time lists
Music Week - Shop sales data
Radio One - All time lists
Chart Plus - Full top 200 charts
Zobbel - Chart data and Market sales informations
Hitmusic - Year end charts and sales
Record Mirror - Year end charts and sales
Record Companies - Exact shipment data for specific albums
BPI - All certifications and their dates
Data providers: Special thanks to Hanboo, Oldbloke and Jimmypages. Other providers include Borobutch, Basil, Kingofskiffle, Dave, Martin, ManicKangaroo, Andy, RollingBob.
IFOP - Charts from 1996 to 2008, sales from charts
Fan Of Music - Chart runs and sales
Charts In France - All certifications and their dates
Infodisc - Charts from 1984 to 1996
SNEP - Organization of certifications
Data providers: Fan Of Music is the first provider of sales data for this country. All sales used have been provided by myself.
Chart Surfer - Peak positions before 1976
Musik Woche - Weekly updates of charts and certifications
Musicline - All chart runs from 1992 to now
Alltime document - Include chart informations from 1962 to 1998
IFPI.DE - All certifications and their dates
Hit Parade Italia - Points based year end chart from 1965 to now
FIMI - Official weekly charts provider
M&D - Shipment data from 1986 to now
Data providers: Frankie, Zago, me.
Promusicae - Official weekly charts provider & certifications organization
Data providers: Special thanks to Davidalic who provided almost all the data about this country.
Hislistan - Official weekly charts provider
IFPI.SE - All certifications (excluding the first 99) and their dates
Dutchcharts - Chart runs from 1993 to now, catalog charts
Top40web - Charts data from 1970 to 1993
NVPI - All certifications and their dates until 2006
De-Megaman Blog - Some recent certifications as well as sales data
Swisscharts - Charts runs 1984-now, certifications 1989-now
Austriancharts - Charts runs from 1975 to now
IFPI.AT - All certifications and their dates
Finnishcharts - Charts runs from 1995 to now
IFPI.FI - All certifications and their dates
Canoe JAM - Official weekly charts provider, sales of the top albums
RPM - Charts from 1970 to 1996
CRIA - All certifications and their dates
ABPD - All certifications and their dates
CDs - Shipment printed on codes from 2003 to now
Data providers: Special thanks to AutomaticBR who provided almost all the data about this country.
Amprofon - Official weekly charts provider & certifications organization
Data providers: Special thanks to Hafo.
CAPIF - Official weekly charts provider & certifications organization
MIAK - Official weekly charts provider & certifications organization
Data providers: Special thanks to Fan Of Music!
Oricon - Official weekly charts provider including sales data
Data providers: Special thanks Mario who provided all the data about this country.
ARIA - Official weekly charts provider & certifications organization
Pandora - Full top 100 charts
RIANZ - Official weekly charts provider & certifications organization
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