The Beatles sold a lot of albums last week

The BeatlesThe Beatles‘ catalog sold 626,000 units in the U.S. last week, according to Billboard. Five of the top ten best selling albums of the week are Beatles albums. Of course, you won’t find them on the Billboard 200, because that chart anachronistically excludes albums that were released over 18 months ago, and remastered reissues don’t count. So yeah, the Beatles got Michael Jacksoned.

But here are the Top Comprehensive Albums, which includes both catalog and current releases:

1. Jay-Z – “The Blueprint 3” – 476,000

2. Miley Cyrus – “The Time Of Our Lives” – 120,000

3. The Beatles – “Abbey Road” – 89,000

4. Whitney Houston – “I Look To You,” – 88,000

5. The Beatles – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – 74,000

6. Raekwon – “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2” – 68,000

7. The Beatles – “The White Album” – 60,000

8. The Beatles – “Rubber Soul” – 58,000

9. Brooks and Dunn – “#1s … And Then Some” – 55,000

10. The Beatles – “Revolver” – 46,000

Keep reading to find out how all 16 new Beatles releases sold last week, and to see the top ten of the Billboard 200.

09.09.09 Beatles Albums

1. “Abbey Road” – 89,000

2. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – 74,000

3. “The White Album” – 60,000

4. “Rubber Soul” – 58,000

5. “Revolver” – 46,000

6. “Help!” – 39,000

7. “Let It Be” – 32,000

8. “Past Masters Vols. I and II” – 31,000

9. “Magical Mystery Tour” – 30,000

10. “A Hard Day’s Night” – 29,000

11. “The Beatles in Stereo” – 26,000

12. “Please Please Me” – 23,000

13. “With the Beatles” – 22,000

14. “Beatles For Sale” – 21,000

15. “Yellow Submarine” – 14,000

16. “The Beatles in Mono” – 12,000

Do you agree with that ranking? Does the collective American music purchaser’s taste in Beatle music jibe with your own? Personally, I think Beatles For Sale should be way higher on that list.

Billboard 200

1. Jay-Z – “The Blueprint 3” – 476,000 (debut)

2. Miley Cyrus – “The Time Of Our Lives” – 120,000

3. Whitney Houston – “I Look To You,” – 88,000 (down 71%)

4. Raekwon – “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2” – 68,000 (debut)

5. Brooks and Dunn – “#1s … And Then Some” – 55,000 (debut)

6. Trey Songz – “Ready” – 45,000 (down 65%)

7. Black Eyed Peas – “The E.N.D.” – 44,000 (up 29%)

8. Boys Like Girls – “Love Drunk” – 41,000 (debut)

9. Kings of Leon – “Only By The Night” – 40,000 (down 11%)

10. Taylor Swift – “Fearless” – 33,000 (down 6%)

Further down:

15. “The Beatles in Stereo” – 26,000 (debut)

40. “The Beatles in Mono” – 12,000 (debut)

By the way, this is Jay-Z‘s 11th #1, which pushes him “ahead of Elvis Presley as the solo act with the most No. 1 albums in the more-than 50-year history of the Billboard 200. And Jay will now have the second-most No. 1 albums among all acts. Fittingly, only the Beatles, with 19 No. 1s, have more.” Eleven albums? That’s a lot.

And Michael Jackson’s “Number Ones” still sold 45,000.

13 thoughts on “The Beatles sold a lot of albums last week”

  1. Freaky. I bought #1, #2, #4, #5, and #8 on the Beatles list (I already have Let It Be Naked and couldn’t find a copy of the White Album on the shelf). Figured I’d pick them up at $12 before the stores get around to jacking them up to $20 like the Stones remasters.

    Also slightly annoyed that the discs were tough to rip onto my mp3 player because of the multimedia stuff. But I eventually got the records into the formats I wanted.

    Fascinating that Abbey Road gets the most love of all. Evidently it’s not just me that likes it the best.

  2. So this is the like second or third Beatles revival I’ve seen. And when I was kid they were still a band and more popular than Jesus.

    Wonder how well remasters of Brooks/Dunn and Raekwon will be selling in another 35 years?

  3. Yahoo Chart Watch points out that “This is the 12th straight week that The Billboard 200 has excluded one or more of the five best-selling albums in the country. Billboard has defended its decision to exclude catalog albums from the big chart by saying that it has an historic commitment to promote current releases and, especially, new artists. That’s a valid point. But it seems to me it has an even larger commitment to its readers and followers around the world, who look to the magazine and its flagship charts for clear, straightforward reporting.”

  4. “What changed in the music business was the loss of a center, the disappearance of the monoculture. You just can’t get critical mass.”

    Not that I disagree with him but this isn’t exactly earth shattering insight. In fact, I am pretty sure we’ve been toeing that line for years now.

  5. Sure, but I like this one: Black Eyed Peas, “The 1910 Fruitgum Company of today.”

    Plus, I like that he gives the cumes. How else would I find out that Hootie’s solo album has sold 931,263?

    Lefsetz’s brand of insight might not be original, but he makes it his own, ha ha.

  6. His advice for U2 is the best and most spot-on:

    “Time for U2 to stunt. Release a whole live concert free on the Net. Don’t appear on SNL, do a live show on YouTube. Do something first, that will get people’s heads to turn. Stop being desperate, and start being innovative.

    Play a house concert in every town where you do a stadium gig. Show up with acoustic instruments and implore all in attendance to record it and upload it to the Web.

    Show up unannounced and open for Kenny Chesney. Or the aforementioned DMB. Or even the Jonas Brothers. Be irreverent. Blow our minds. Make us care once again.”

    Abso. They have the power to essentially do anything they want, so are they just lacking the imagination?

  7. Sales update via press release:


    More Than 2.25 Million CDs Sold During First Week in North America, UK , Japan

    London, England – September 22, 2009 – Underlining their timeless appeal and unique status in music, The Beatles have broken multiple chart records around the world following the September 9, 2009 (9-9-09) CD release of their digitally re-mastered catalogue. In the major music markets of North America, Japan and the UK, consumers purchased more than 2.25 million copies of The Beatles’ re-mastered albums, individually and in two multiple-CD boxed sets, one in stereo and one in mono, during the first five days of release (excluding non-traditional retail outlets whose sales are not tracked by the chart compilers).

    The Beatles’ original UK studio albums were re-mastered by a dedicated team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios in London over a four year period, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result is the highest fidelity the catalogue has seen since its original release.

    The most popular band of the 20th century, The Beatles are beloved by music fans in the 21st century, as evidenced by their current unparalleled global chart performance:

    · US: During the first five days of release, consumers purchased more than one million copies of re-mastered Beatles titles, and the individual CD and boxed sets debuted strongly across multiple Billboard charts.

    · On Billboard’s Comprehensive Albums chart, which lists the most popular album releases in the US, including current and catalogue titles, The Beatles set a new record for the most simultaneous titles by a single artist (18), including five of the top 10 and nine of the top 20.

    · On the Pop Catalog chart, The Beatles achieved another new Billboard chart first for the most simultaneous titles in the top 50 (16), a record they previously set themselves with 12 titles in December 1995. The Beatles have nine of the chart’s top 10 titles, and all 14 re-mastered CDs are in the top 20, led by ‘ Abbey Road ‘ at number one and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at number two.

    · On the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, ‘The Beatles’ stereo boxed set debuted at number 15, and ‘The Beatles in Mono’ limited edition boxed set debuted at number 40.

    · UK: In last week’s chart, The Beatles had four titles in the top 10, seven in the top 40 and 16 in the top 75, including both the stereo and mono boxes, as well as 2000’s ‘Beatles 1’ compilation. This set a new record for the most simultaneous albums in the UK charts according to the UK Official Charts Company. In this week’s UK chart, The Beatles have 13 albums in the top 75. A further 84,000 CDs were sold last week, bringing their total sales of the re-masters to more than 354,000 in 11 days and their total UK sales this decade to 6,755,000.

    · Japan: All 14 re-mastered titles and boxed sets debuted in the top 25 of the international chart, including seven of the top 10, led by the stereo boxed set at number two, the mono boxed set at number three, ‘Abbey Road’ at four and ‘Let It Be’ at six. Across all titles and box sets, more than 840,000 albums were purchased by consumers in Japan in the first three days of sales.

    · Canada: The Beatles have 15 of the top 20 catalogue titles including all of the top 11. The stereo boxed set is a new entry in the current albums chart at number four, the highest debut for a boxed set in Canada since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales. Cumulative sales across all titles were just under 160,000 over the counter.

    · France: All 14 of the re-mastered titles and boxed sets entered the latest album chart, including three in the top 10, led by ‘Abbey Road’ at number four, a new record for the most original studio albums in the French album chart in one week.

    · Italy: The Beatles have 17 titles in the current chart – all 14 re-mastered titles, the two boxed sets, plus the ‘1’ compilation, a record for the most simultaneous entries in the album chart.

    · Belgium: With 17 entries in the current chart – the 14 re-mastered titles, two boxed sets and ‘1’ compilation – The Beatles have set a new record for the most simultaneous albums in the Belgian chart as confirmed by chart compiler Ultrapop.

    · Sweden: The Beatles have 16 titles simultaneously in the top 60, led by ‘ Abbey Road ‘ at number six. Local industry body IFPI have confirmed that this is a record for the Swedish charts.

    · Argentina: Seven of the current top 10 albums are Beatles re-masters, led by ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at number two, ‘Abbey Road’ at number three and ‘The Beatles’ (The White Album) at number four. All 14 re-mastered titles are in the top 20 and the boxed sets are at numbers 73 and 74 in the chart.

    · Spain: 13 Beatles albums plus both boxed sets debuted in the latest chart, a record for a single artist. The combined sales of the boxed sets places them at number four in the chart.

    · Poland: All 14 re-mastered albums and two boxed sets debuted in the current top 100, led by ‘ Abbey Road ‘ at six. This is a record for the highest number of simultaneous entries in the Polish chart.

    · Switzerland: 14 Beatles titles, including the stereo boxed set, debuted in the most recent album chart, a record for the most simultaneous titles in the album chart.

    · Denmark: The latest album chart includes 15 re-mastered Beatles titles, plus the ‘1’ compilation, including four of the top 20.

    · Australia: The Beatles have 14 titles in the current chart, including the ‘1’ compilation.

    · Germany: The combined sales of the stereo and mono boxed sets, with one boxed set counted as one unit sale, places them as the number three best seller in the latest chart.

    · Austria: The current top 75 contains 12 re-mastered titles plus the stereo boxed set.

    · Portugal: The re-mastered titles occupy 11 places in the current top 30 album chart, including three of the top 10.

    · Norway: The combined stereo and mono boxed sets debut at number three with a further 12 re-mastered titles in the top 100.

    · Colombia: Half of the current top 10 albums are re-mastered Beatles titles.

    · Korea: During the first sales week The Beatles occupied 16 out of the top 17 spots in Korea ‘s Hottracks album chart.

  8. Phenomenal sales, and the most technologically advanced country, Korea, bought the most, and the most liberal, Canada had an entire top eleven of Beatles, phew. Thanks for the stats..

  9. I know this site has a history of not liking the Billboard system. I’m not clear, however, if you don’t understand that the purpose of their chart is not to serve history, but to serve as a promotional vehicle for music, or if you have objectons to that conceptual package. Also, practically, the Beatles are not going to pay a fee to see how their albums are selling.

  10. John, I understand that’s what they say, but I’m unclear why a magazine would care to differentiate between promoting new releases over older releases. A comprehensive chart would still be promoting albums…

    What possible interest, for example, would Billboard have in not promoting the Beatles remasters? Does Billboard really care about Trey Songz that much? Over the Beatles? Is the career of Trey Songz so important that to leave them off of the “top ten” chart would matter? Matter to who?

    Who is Billboard serving? Who is their intended audience? Retail? Why should retail care whether they’re selling Beatles units or Trey Songz units? A sale is a sale. I would think retailers would want to promote a handful of CDs that sell regularly from year to year… Stock it once and you never have to move the shelves around, ha ha. Retailers don’t care about new artist development, do they?

  11. I think the idea is that instead of forever relying on a small, but strong, pool of albums on which the entire industry is dependent, we have a growing pool. In other words: we need an Eagles Greatest Hits EVERY year, not just one year.

    And Billboard is an industry magazine, not a consumer magazine. It’s certainly in the industry’s best interests to create, develop and promote new acts in order to reach the above utopia.

    That’s my best guess anyway and my latest comment on this never ending argument.

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