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Thread started 09/23/14 8:12am

Dilan

Could Prince have almost been the biggest selling artist of all time

This is a thought i've had for quite some time. I think this possibility could have been a reality so easily if he hadn't sabotaged his own success after the release of purple rain - didn't saturate his own market with the release of an album every year and released the best from his vault consistently for each album. Say if he had released albums like MJ eg. every 4 years and that album consisted of the best from eg. Prince - 1999 take the most successful singles from there and the best vaulted output eg extraloveable.

I sort of understand it though, he does whole recording process alone whilst others require up to 10-20 people so I would see why become quite boring be alone trying to perfect 10 songs for four years whilst constantly dreaming up new songs. It's obvious his record sales will go through the roof when he passes but what I am suggesting here is that the sales while he is alive particularly in the 80s/90s could have been so much more.

I'm feeling a bit fammy™
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Reply #1 posted 09/23/14 8:45am

RODSERLING

Dilan said:

This is a thought i've had for quite some time. I think this possibility could have been a reality so easily if he hadn't sabotaged his own success after the release of purple rain - didn't saturate his own market with the release of an album every year and released the best from his vault consistently for each album. Say if he had released albums like MJ eg. every 4 years and that album consisted of the best from eg. Prince - 1999 take the most successful singles from there and the best vaulted output eg extraloveable.

I sort of understand it though, he does whole recording process alone whilst others require up to 10-20 people so I would see why become quite boring be alone trying to perfect 10 songs for four years whilst constantly dreaming up new songs. It's obvious his record sales will go through the roof when he passes but what I am suggesting here is that the sales while he is alive particularly in the 80s/90s could have been so much more.

YES, definitely. We can see it now, instead of making an easy million seller with the reedition of PR, he prefers to focus on 2 albums that will fail on charts.

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Reply #2 posted 09/23/14 9:00am

ufoclub

avatar

He makes enough money to do what what he wants to do and live like he wants to live. Probably no driving reason (to work and strategize to sell more to the masses) exists unless he was running a corporation that supported a workforce and their families.

Warners (or any entertainment company) on the other hand had every reason to push him to try to be popular and very commercial.

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Reply #3 posted 09/23/14 9:01am

fnksoul



My thoughts are had he stayed with Warner Brothers, put out a stedy flow of consistent quality albums say once a year/2 years with an accompanying tour rather than trying to flood the market there is no doubt he would have been one of, if not the biggest selling artists of all time.

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Reply #4 posted 09/23/14 9:02am

KingSausage

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No.
"Drop that stereo before I blow your Goddamn nuts off, asshole!"
-Eugene Tackleberry
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Reply #5 posted 09/23/14 9:11am

alandail

The problem is everyone disagrees with what 10-12 songs from each 4 year period would be considered "the best".

I have no problem with what he did through the symbol album. That's not when he sabotaged his own success. It's after that when he started battleing his record company when he sabotaged his career. What he did with the Gold Expirence, Come, Chaos and Disorder is when he damaged his career. He didn't want WB to have a hit album. He not only sabotaged his career, he sabotaged his back catalog sales.


Either way, there is a pretty substantial gap between Prince at 100 million albums sold and the Beatles at 600 million albums sold. The Beatles released 12 albums in 8 years, so quanity of output wasnt' a problem.

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Reply #6 posted 09/23/14 9:19am

RODSERLING

The best example is PURPLE RAIN : 21 millions copies sold worldwide, including only 6 millions outside the US.

When ATWIAD was released PR was still on the top spot. BEAUTIFUL ONES, DARLING NIKKi or BABY IM A STAR could have been huge on charts too. The moment it was going to be a phenomena in Europe, the promotion stopped.

RAVE UN 2 should have been a 10 mILLIONS SELLER worldwide if he didn't fuck everybody up.

After he left WB, it was a mess, and he missed so many opportunities !

Too long to enumerate, to name a few :

- promoting song on tv that are not released at all

- release GOLD one year after BEAUTIFUL GIRL

- promoting 2 albums the same year with different names

- doing a superbowl with no album to promote

- bashing fans and his own material

- change his name

- choose the worst lead singles possible (GREATEST ROMANCE, TI AMO CORAZON, BETCH BY GOLLY etc.)

- mask himself,

etc.

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Reply #7 posted 09/23/14 9:56am

EroticDreamer

alandail said:

The problem is everyone disagrees with what 10-12 songs from each 4 year period would be considered "the best".

I have no problem with what he did through the symbol album. That's not when he sabotaged his own success. It's after that when he started battleing his record company when he sabotaged his career. What he did with the Gold Expirence, Come, Chaos and Disorder is when he damaged his career. He didn't want WB to have a hit album. He not only sabotaged his career, he sabotaged his back catalog sales.


Either way, there is a pretty substantial gap between Prince at 100 million albums sold and the Beatles at 600 million albums sold. The Beatles released 12 albums in 8 years, so quanity of output wasnt' a problem.

I don't agree and believe anything that Prince releases that has his name on it is something he considers art and holds to high esteem, including The Black Album. He even sang many tracks from those albums you selected in concerts.

Maybe I feel this way because I luv the Come album, minus the last track (such a lackluster closer).

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Reply #8 posted 09/23/14 10:05am

EroticDreamer

RODSERLING said:

The best example is PURPLE RAIN : 21 millions copies sold worldwide, including only 6 millions outside the US.

When ATWIAD was released PR was still on the top spot. BEAUTIFUL ONES, DARLING NIKKi or BABY IM A STAR could have been huge on charts too. The moment it was going to be a phenomena in Europe, the promotion stopped.

RAVE UN 2 should have been a 10 mILLIONS SELLER worldwide if he didn't fuck everybody up.

After he left WB, it was a mess, and he missed so many opportunities !

Too long to enumerate, to name a few :

- promoting song on tv that are not released at all

- release GOLD one year after BEAUTIFUL GIRL

- promoting 2 albums the same year with different names

- doing a superbowl with no album to promote

- bashing fans and his own material

- change his name

- choose the worst lead singles possible (GREATEST ROMANCE, TI AMO CORAZON, BETCH BY GOLLY etc.)

- mask himself,

etc.

Indeed.

I always thought Erotic City should have been held back from LGC's bside and would have been a great title track to the follow up album after Purple Rain.

[Edited 9/23/14 10:06am]

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Reply #9 posted 09/23/14 10:07am

alandail

RODSERLING said:

The best example is PURPLE RAIN : 21 millions copies sold worldwide, including only 6 millions outside the US.

When ATWIAD was released PR was still on the top spot. BEAUTIFUL ONES, DARLING NIKKi or BABY IM A STAR could have been huge on charts too. The moment it was going to be a phenomena in Europe, the promotion stopped.

RAVE UN 2 should have been a 10 mILLIONS SELLER worldwide if he didn't fuck everybody up.

After he left WB, it was a mess, and he missed so many opportunities !

Too long to enumerate, to name a few :

- promoting song on tv that are not released at all

- release GOLD one year after BEAUTIFUL GIRL

- promoting 2 albums the same year with different names

- doing a superbowl with no album to promote

- bashing fans and his own material

- change his name

- choose the worst lead singles possible (GREATEST ROMANCE, TI AMO CORAZON, BETCH BY GOLLY etc.)

- mask himself,

etc.

The purple rain singles were losing momentum. THeir chart positions were 1, 1, 2, 8, 25.

Raspberry Beret hit #2, Pop Life hit #7.

Darling Nikki wasn't going to get any airplay in 1985. The other two you listed wouldn't have done any better than Take Me with U. Every post purple rain album through the sumbol album had at least one top 10 song. Prince had a stron run for a decade, then self sabotaged his career.

And there is absolutely no way Rave was going to sell 10 million copies. It was a Clive Davis project, but every change he made at Clive Davis's request made the album worse, then Clive Davis was fired the day the album was released.

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Reply #10 posted 09/23/14 10:17am

feeluupp

avatar

when u view his total world wide sales to this day, especially from the 80's... he was a one of the most commercially sucessfull artists of his time. madonna, michael jackson, whitney houston numbers were all on another level, but from 78-89 is an 11 year period releasing albums every year which not many people did, if at all.

in the end it was prince's own personal control issues, lack of promotion, but he could have been a huge seller if he just slowed down his output so people can appreciate him more, like little richard said in the 89 documentary about him.

don't forget from that 78-89 period prince did sell extremely well, sold more in those 11 years than most artists will ever sell in his career...

starting from 1999 album

1999 - 6 million world wide

purple rain - 20 million world wide

atwiad- 4 million world wide

parade - 4 million world wide

sign o the times - 4 million world wide

lovesexy - 1 million world wide

batman - 7 million world wide (reports of batman selling 4 million world wide and 11 million worldwide, however the most accurate number has been confirmed that it is 7 million total)

obiously his last two big sellers untill the musicology album if you count those give aways as sales were diamonds and pearls: over 6 million world wide and 0+> which sold over 3 million world wide.

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Reply #11 posted 09/23/14 10:34am

feeluupp

avatar

RODSERLING said:

The best example is PURPLE RAIN : 21 millions copies sold worldwide, including only 6 millions outside the US.

When ATWIAD was released PR was still on the top spot. BEAUTIFUL ONES, DARLING NIKKi or BABY IM A STAR could have been huge on charts too. The moment it was going to be a phenomena in Europe, the promotion stopped.

RAVE UN 2 should have been a 10 mILLIONS SELLER worldwide if he didn't fuck everybody up.

After he left WB, it was a mess, and he missed so many opportunities !

Too long to enumerate, to name a few :

- promoting song on tv that are not released at all

- release GOLD one year after BEAUTIFUL GIRL

- promoting 2 albums the same year with different names

- doing a superbowl with no album to promote

- bashing fans and his own material

- change his name

- choose the worst lead singles possible (GREATEST ROMANCE, TI AMO CORAZON, BETCH BY GOLLY etc.)

- mask himself,

etc.

if prince capatilized with the momentum he had with purple rain it would have been a massive success. can you imagine if prince released sign o the times after purple rain, with the conert film... that would have easily been another 10 million selling plus album... but it didn't happen.

that's the genius and also stuborness about prince. he wanted to challenge his fans musically, and it then isolated him from his general fans to the real fans.

gold was a great album, just at the wrong time. maybe i'll sound harsh here, but we like prince because of his music, many people try to forget that prince's music is on another level, it's sophisitcated, and when it becomes sophisitcated to that artistic and musical level we try to compare him with what's modern. gold is a great album among prince fans, but can you image the sound at that time in 1995, his music just didn't fit in. with the exception of shhh, the whole album was just out of place in the musical market, especially during the mid 90s and no matter the promotion it wouldn't have sold well for that TIME period.

Rave would never have been a big seller for the same reason, the year he released rave you had santanna on the charts, brittney spears, backstreet boys, nsync, destinys child... and then prince wearing a tight blue jump suit with a title rave un2 the joy fantastic... sorry wasn't the 80s anymore, the general public besides his real fans had no interest in that image or album.

i believe with better promotion, better marketing, slowing down the input, his album sales would have doubled... his biggest sellers:

1. purple rain - 20 mill

2. batman - 7 mill

3. 1999 - 6 mill

4. diamonds and pearls - 6 mill

just those 4 albums over 39 million copies sold, is more than most artists whole career.

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Reply #12 posted 09/23/14 2:53pm

thedance

avatar

Nevermind. Prince has "only" sold 100 mio records in his career,

BUT, that's a lot after all. eek

1 - Beatles = 346.500.000 (12/2007)
2 - Michael Jackson = 205.500.000 (09/2008)
3 - Pink Floyd = 193.700.000 (02/2008)
4 - Madonna = 188.500.000 (01/2008)
5 - Elvis Presley = 187.000.000
6 - Elton John = 177.200.000 (01/2008)
7 - Queen = 170.100.000 (09/2008)
8 - Rolling Stones = 169.100.000
9 - U2= 166.400.000 (02/2008)
10 - Led Zeppelin = 165.500.000 (01/2008)
11 - Celine Dion = 163.000.000 (12/2007)
12 - Eagles = 147.800.000 (12/2007)
13 - Mariah Carey = 147.800.000 (12/2007)
14 - Rod Stewart = 140.100.000 (03/2008)
15 - Barbra Streisand= 139.800.000 (02/2008)
16 - Whitney Houston = 134.200.000 (12/2007)
17 - AC/DC = 133.700.000 (11/2007)
18 - Garth Brooks = 131.900.000 (02/2008)
19 - Bruce Springsteen = 130.900.000 (02/2008)
20 - Eric Clapton = 129.000.000 (02/2008)
21 - Billy Joel = 124.500.000 (12/2007)
22 - Bee Gees = 122.100.000 (12/2007)
23 - Phil Collins = 122.000.000 (12/2007)
24 - Bob Dylan = 119.800.000 (12/2007)
25 - Fleetwood Mac = 118.100.000 (12/2007)
26 - Santana - 117.700.000 (03/2008)
27 - Neil Diamond = 117.300.000 (02/2008)
28 - Aerosmith = 113.500.000 (11/2007)
29 - Bon Jovi = 107.200.000 (12/2007)
30 - Simon and Garfunkel = 105.100.000 (03/2008)
31 - ABBA = 104.200.000 (09/2007)
32 - Paul McCartney - 103.700.000 (02/2008)
33 - Dire Strait = 102.800.000 (12/2007)
34 - Metallica - 102.500.000 (01/2008)
35 - Prince = 99.900.000 (02/2008) smile
36 - Genesis = 98.000.000 (12/2007)
37 - David Bowie = 95.700.000 (12/2007)
38 - Van Halen = 94.000.000 (02/2008)
39 - Guns N' Roses = 93.200.000 (12/2007)
40 - Kenny Rogers = 90.400.000 (02/2008)
41 - The Doors = 89.700.000 (01/2008)
42 - Julio Iglesias = 89.500.000 (03/2008)
43 - Stevie Wonder= 87.100.000 (03/2008)
44 - Bob Marley = 86.600.000 (01/2008)
45 - Backstreet Boys = 85.900.000 (02/2008)
46 - R.E.M. = 83.800.000 (02/2008)
47 - Eminem = 83.400.000 (12/2007)
48 - Neil Young = 79.900.000 (06/2008)
49 - Enya = 78.300.000 (12/2007)
50 - Kenny G = 77.900.000 (03/2008)

^ taken from:

http://prince.org/msg/7/330235

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #13 posted 09/24/14 12:44am

RODSERLING

alandail said:

The purple rain singles were losing momentum. THeir chart positions were 1, 1, 2, 8, 25.

Raspberry Beret hit #2, Pop Life hit #7.

Darling Nikki wasn't going to get any airplay in 1985. The other two you listed wouldn't have done any better than Take Me with U. Every post purple rain album through the sumbol album had at least one top 10 song. Prince had a stron run for a decade, then self sabotaged his career.

And there is absolutely no way Rave was going to sell 10 million copies. It was a Clive Davis project, but every change he made at Clive Davis's request made the album worse, then Clive Davis was fired the day the album was released.

Purple Rain was #1 on Cashbox sales, and on airplay, just like raspberry, for the record. wink

I agree with Darling Nikki in the US, but outside it would have been a hIt, more than TAKE ME WITH YOU, on which most people didn't KNOW it was Prince. Anyway, I think it was a missed opportunity to not release BEAUTIFUL ONES.

Some singles from RAVE could have been hits. I would have released :

- HOT WITH U

- SO FAR SO Pleased

- SUN MOON AND STARS

- STRANGE BUT TRUE

All very radio friendly

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Reply #14 posted 09/24/14 12:49am

RODSERLING

feeluupp said:

gold was a great album, just at the wrong time. maybe i'll sound harsh here, but we like prince because of his music, many people try to forget that prince's music is on another level, it's sophisitcated, and when it becomes sophisitcated to that artistic and musical level we try to compare him with what's modern. gold is a great album among prince fans, but can you image the sound at that time in 1995, his music just didn't fit in. with the exception of shhh, the whole album was just out of place in the musical market, especially during the mid 90s and no matter the promotion it wouldn't have sold well for that TIME period.

i believe with better promotion, better marketing, slowing down the input, his album sales would have doubled... his biggest sellers:

1. purple rain - 20 mill

2. batman - 7 mill

3. 1999 - 6 mill

4. diamonds and pearls - 6 mill

just those 4 albums over 39 million copies sold, is more than most artists whole career.

GOLD could have been a huge seller if TMBGITW would have been tied with the release of the album.

Then I HATE YOU should have been #1, but WB fucked up one of two days or release, and so, of sales. prince was even lucky to peak at #12, because there wasn't any music video to promote the song.

then GOLD made the top ten single in UK.

The best move would have been to release PUSSY CONTROL with a music video.

DIAMONDS AND PEARLS sold more than 7 millions worldwide

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Reply #15 posted 09/24/14 12:55am

SoulAlive

Prince definitely could have held on to his Purple Rain audience much longer if he had waited a few years before releasing a follow-up.Imagine if he didn't release any album in 85,and came back in late 1986 with a new album.It would have sold like Madonna's True Blue.But,it's clear that he wasn't too concerned with record sales.

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Reply #16 posted 09/24/14 12:55am

NouveauDance

avatar

I'm sure if he wanted to play that game he could've. Tour the world with Purple Rain, not put another LP until 86/87. Keep the singles coming with high production promos, all this kind of thing. I'm sure there were people at the label and on staff who wanted nothing more than that. And sure it probably would've been good for business. But that's not the Prince show, it's another show. I like to play mental what ifs like this, but I did tune in for the Prince show, it's my comfort viewing.

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Reply #17 posted 09/24/14 1:10am

RODSERLING

thedance said:

Nevermind. Prince has "only" sold 100 mio records in his career,

BUT, that's a lot after all. eek

1 - Beatles = 346.500.000 (12/2007)
2 - Michael Jackson = 205.500.000 (09/2008)
3 - Pink Floyd = 193.700.000 (02/2008)
4 - Madonna = 188.500.000 (01/2008)
5 - Elvis Presley = 187.000.000
6 - Elton John = 177.200.000 (01/2008)
7 - Queen = 170.100.000 (09/2008)
8 - Rolling Stones = 169.100.000
9 - U2= 166.400.000 (02/2008)
10 - Led Zeppelin = 165.500.000 (01/2008)
11 - Celine Dion = 163.000.000 (12/2007)
12 - Eagles = 147.800.000 (12/2007)
13 - Mariah Carey = 147.800.000 (12/2007)
14 - Rod Stewart = 140.100.000 (03/2008)
15 - Barbra Streisand= 139.800.000 (02/2008)
16 - Whitney Houston = 134.200.000 (12/2007)
17 - AC/DC = 133.700.000 (11/2007)
18 - Garth Brooks = 131.900.000 (02/2008)
19 - Bruce Springsteen = 130.900.000 (02/2008)
20 - Eric Clapton = 129.000.000 (02/2008)
21 - Billy Joel = 124.500.000 (12/2007)
22 - Bee Gees = 122.100.000 (12/2007)
23 - Phil Collins = 122.000.000 (12/2007)
24 - Bob Dylan = 119.800.000 (12/2007)
25 - Fleetwood Mac = 118.100.000 (12/2007)
26 - Santana - 117.700.000 (03/2008)
27 - Neil Diamond = 117.300.000 (02/2008)
28 - Aerosmith = 113.500.000 (11/2007)
29 - Bon Jovi = 107.200.000 (12/2007)
30 - Simon and Garfunkel = 105.100.000 (03/2008)
31 - ABBA = 104.200.000 (09/2007)
32 - Paul McCartney - 103.700.000 (02/2008)
33 - Dire Strait = 102.800.000 (12/2007)
34 - Metallica - 102.500.000 (01/2008)
35 - Prince = 99.900.000 (02/2008) smile
36 - Genesis = 98.000.000 (12/2007)
37 - David Bowie = 95.700.000 (12/2007)
38 - Van Halen = 94.000.000 (02/2008)
39 - Guns N' Roses = 93.200.000 (12/2007)
40 - Kenny Rogers = 90.400.000 (02/2008)
41 - The Doors = 89.700.000 (01/2008)
42 - Julio Iglesias = 89.500.000 (03/2008)
43 - Stevie Wonder= 87.100.000 (03/2008)
44 - Bob Marley = 86.600.000 (01/2008)
45 - Backstreet Boys = 85.900.000 (02/2008)
46 - R.E.M. = 83.800.000 (02/2008)
47 - Eminem = 83.400.000 (12/2007)
48 - Neil Young = 79.900.000 (06/2008)
49 - Enya = 78.300.000 (12/2007)
50 - Kenny G = 77.900.000 (03/2008)

^ taken from:

http://prince.org/msg/7/330235

When Musicology was released, he was already at 100 millions album.

Since then the VOB sold well (must be at 5 millions now),

ULTIMATE is a hit in UK (350.000 there at least, same amount in the US),

LOTUS FLOWER and MPLS SOUND sold 600.000 each:-D

MUSICOLOGY sold 3.6 million worldwide (according to Sony Music)

3121 sold 1.6 millions worldwide

PLANET EARTH sold 3.6 millions in UK alone

Prince wanted to make a lawsuit on Uk charts because his album should have been #1.

remember in 2008 when Prince said he's gonna make an audit because PR's sales were underestimated. Prince is interested in sales, that's for sure.

20TEN sold 4 millions in 5 countries.

To me sales in concert or press are pure sales, because :

-1) you pay a price to have the album

2) the music club sales were always added to the global sales of an album, even when it was gave away for free

3) When Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga or Jay Z gave away their album on I tunes, it is counted as sales

4) it's a way of distribution. Prince is the only artist that can afford to do that WITH A NEW ALBUM. And not every artist could have been accepted by a newspaper, you have to be a superstar for that

Maccartney's MEMORY ALMOST FULL was a success in the US because it was sold at starbuck.

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Reply #18 posted 09/24/14 8:19am

dreaminaboutu

There is no doubt Prince could have at least doubled what he has sold so far. He sometimes hits the "self-sabotage" button. Whether it is because he bores easily or he never wanted to just be measured as an artist by his sales no one will ever know. What did he say in his song "The Max"?....."tell me to walk a straight line I put on crooked shoes". That is Prince in a nutshell. In my opinion he has always been at war with himself whether to be this huge commercial artist - and everything that goes along with that or this cutting edge quirky music genius with a limited audience.

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