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Brooks Passes Presley In Certified US Sales

November 06, 2007 | People
Garth Brooks, who edged out Elvis Presley in 1999 for the title of best-selling solo artist of all time, only to lose it five years later, reclaimed the crown from the King Monday, according to the tab keepers at the Recording Industry Association of America. Brooks is in the RIAA's books as having sold more than 123 million albums, more than any other man, woman or band, save for the Beatles. Presley stood at 118.5 million, per the RIAA Website. The next top-selling solo act was Billy Joel, at 79.5 million.

Brooks, the country singer with the arena-rock sensibility, and Presley, the rock 'n' roller with the down-home roots, have been fighting for supremacy for years.

In 1999, the RIAA declared Brooks the 20th century's most successful male recording artist, and indeed, its biggest selling solo artist. At the time, Brooks clocked in at 89 million albums sold. Presley, who was lauded for releasing the most gold- and platinum-selling albums, came in behind Brooks, and ahead of Barbra Streisand (the top-selling female artist), with 77 million. (All figures reflect only United States sales.)

But then Brooks, who made it big with the help of "Friends in Low Places," retired. And in 2004, the dead but still-working-it Presley was named the RIAA's top solo act, with 117.5 million albums sold.

That announcement was made, as such announcements are wont to be made, on the occasion of what would have been Presley's 69th birthday. It followed a new count of Presley's old albums.

Meanwhile, Brooks took time away from Leisure World in 2005 to seal a deal with Wal-Mart to exclusively peddle all of his recorded wares, including his then-new collection, Garth Brooks: The Limited Series. With the about-to-be released Ultimate Hits, Brooks has released five albums since vowing to enjoy his golden years. And on Monday, his hard re

The Beatles: 170m
Garth Brooks: 123m
Elvis Presley: 118.5m
Led Zeppelin: 109.5m
Eagles: 91m
old shep wrote on November 06, 2007
Surely this is for American sales only?Typical Americans they have a world series baseball tournament and only they play the game!
lvisfan wrote on November 06, 2007
Here we go again. As I've posted before, the numbers are very deceiving. It's hard to compare the two with an industry that is different from when Elvis was still around. Garth's sales are for albums alone because basically, that's all he's released. Only a few singles that weren't huge sellers. With Elvis, fans were buying up more singles than albums. If RCA had not released any singles at all, fans would have been forced to buy the albums...just like in the case of Garth. So as far as total record sales, no one will ever touch Elvis. We've all heard the "billion" figure for years...probably more like 1.5 billion. You just can't compare the two! And it ticks me off when stories like this are reported without explaining the how's and why's. With all that said, RCA has admitted to poor record keeping and it's still hard for me to believe that albums like "Golden Records" is only reported to have sold 5 million copies after all these years. If the truth were known, our man is really the king of albums sales too. And yes, Old Shep, the figures the RIAA talk about are for U.S. sales only.
old shep wrote on November 06, 2007
Thanks lvis fan for that information.Talking of figures it's about time that the people at Elvis.com got their act together with some more up to date figures too
FLY-TROUBLE! wrote on November 06, 2007
Who is Garth Brooks? I suppose (s)he is a singer,but i've never heard of him/her.
EspenK wrote on November 06, 2007
Then you need to get in touch with the rest of the world, Fly-Trouble. He's an ultra-american hillbilly, horrible singer singing horrible, traditional sounding western songs about love, pain and family values. I can't stand the guy, but of course I've heard of him. Unfortunately.
FLY-TROUBLE! wrote on November 06, 2007
I'm living in Europe and in my country he's completely unknown.
wayup wrote on November 06, 2007
Same here. Completely unknown in my country and in the rest of Europe too, as far as know. I think that it is more like markening trick.... to compare someone with Elvis, to write he outsold Elvis etc. Also it is ridiculous to use only Elvis and Brooks sales in USA. If they will compare Worldwide sales, the situation will be probably 10:1 for Elvis.
Pedro Nuno wrote on November 06, 2007
Who Cares!? Strange it may be, Presley sells more and is more respected here in Europe than in the USA. Long live The King and his (European) fans! TCB all
Sean Ryan wrote on November 06, 2007
This is the biggest load of rubbish i have ever read.America, you should be ashamed to have been given Elvis.
byebye wrote on November 06, 2007
You´r right Pedro, it´s not important. I can´t name 1 song from Brooks, and I dont think anyone else can do that either over here. In 250 years from now Elvis will probably be remembered like Mozart or Beethoven, people know their names and recognize their famous tunes/symphonies, and that has nothing to do with sales, just the impact on the world in their own time while they lived and afterwords. Anyway, congrats to Garth(!) and remember the Beatles have sold about 180 million albums in the US, so there you go....
Lex wrote on November 06, 2007
Elvis who? Garth had a minor hit in the Netherlands (but hey, we are very liberal :-)) and some tv exposure a couple of years back. Gladly we learn fast too (well, hearing all the rubish on the radio that's not true either..)
EspenK wrote on November 06, 2007
I live in europe too! Norway. And when he's known in this deserted icy corner of the world, then it's weird you guys havent heard about him. Don't you listen to radio? Read contemporary music charts and magazines? Watch VH-1?
Sean Ryan wrote on November 06, 2007
I dont mean to put Garth down cause he is a good act and even when he picked up the RIAA award some years ago acknowledged the fact that Elvis has sold more than him but anyone surely must realise that Elvis has sold more albums/singles than him.Didnt the RIAA recently award Michael Jackson as the 'Biggest selling artist of all time'.What a complete and utter joke.
Steve V wrote on November 06, 2007
Although Garth should never be compared to Elvis in any way , shape or form, he is a decent artist and not the typical crap artist of today. No one was bigger in the 90's. To say youve never heard of him shows how out of touch some Elvis fans are. He has toured the world. I mean even here in 'shameful, arrogant' America we have heard of Cliff Richard, Frank Ifield, Edith Piaf, and Roy Wood.
James69 wrote on November 06, 2007
Yeah Garth Brooks is a nice guy, why should anyone bash him??? Just because Sony/BMG does NOT WANT to invest in getting Elvis properly certified is not Brooks fault. For now, and until Sony/BMG does something about it, Garth Brooks is the #1 selling solo artist in the USA, but Garth Brooks has indeed said in the past that Elvis is the #1 selling artist, he knows it, so give the guy a break. And Ireland loves this guy, in 1998, he played 3 nights, to 60,000 people per night! But besides Ireland, I think he is pretty much unknown in Europe.
PaulFromFrance wrote on November 06, 2007
Garth Brooks seems to be an American thing only. He is totally unknown elsewhere. Nothing to compare with someone as universal as Elvis, the Beatles and some others were (and are). Every country has its own stars known by local people only. What is true for European countries is true for the States. Garth Brooks is just one of these stars and I see nothing wrong with this. For example, I'm well known in my neighborhood and it's not so bad. :-)) Simply, Elvis and the Beatles play in another league. And of course... because of its universality, Elvis, obviously, sold more records than Brooks.
My boy, my boy wrote on November 06, 2007
Poor Garth...Had Elvis been alive, Garth would run straight to Memphis and give the crown back to Elvis !
John4126 wrote on November 06, 2007
The usual dismissive comments from a sad bunch of fans who will not accept that maybe, just maybe Elvis has indeed been outsold in the USA. Brooks album sales in the US are very impressive - does it put him in the same league as Elvis? Doubtful, but then again a pretty cruddy group called Westlife are about to surpass the Beatles in terms of UK number ones. Does that make them the most influential band ever? Of course not.
Brian Quinn wrote on November 06, 2007
To add insult to injury: If all goes Jay-Z's way, the rap mogul will tie rock legend Elvis for the most number one albums in history, a feat that depends on the success of the rapper's American Gangster album. Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, landed his ninth number one album last year with Kingdom Come, which sold about 680,000 in its first week, the rapper's best to date. The Kingdom Come album put Jay-Z in a tie with another iconic rock act, The Rolling Stones, who have landed number nine number one albums throughout their 40-year career. If Jay-Z's American Gangster sells well, only The Beatles would have offered the music world more number one albums, with an incredible 19.
Sean Ryan wrote on November 06, 2007
Brian, So in the US, the album charts go by sales unlike the singles charts?
Jerome wrote on November 06, 2007
Congratulations Barth Crooks, eh..Garth Brooks!!
JerryNodak wrote on November 06, 2007
John4126, James69, Steve V: I couldn't have said it better myself. Having said that, I think this constant wailing and gnashing of teeth about Elvis' sales numbers compared to Garth Brooks, The Beatles or whoever is ridiculous.
pomm01 wrote on November 06, 2007
Hey, Garth Brooks is a great and popular artist in the USA and always speaks respectfully of Elvis. He will eventually have more certified sales in the USA then anyone. However certified sales are not the same as actual sales. It is well known that for a multitude of reason Elvis has more uncertified sales then those that have been certified by the RIAA. You will find explanations for this elsewhere. It is irritating as it gives the wrong impression as can be attested to by some of the other feedbacks. But be assured that Elvis's sales are far above those reported and certified for any other act.
Ken in Tasmania wrote on November 06, 2007
Thanks to the many friends I have made on this site. I have received a Warning because I mentioned a web site with my comment before, regarding Slim Dusty Australia's King of Country Music. Who cares about Garth Brooks ,this article is causing a bad taste. So after the warning I have received for telling the truth about what i said, sadly I am saying Godbye.......
Devon wrote on November 06, 2007
I live the United Statesand im here to tell you Brooks couldnt hand Elvis one of his scarves, Elvis is and always will be The KING!!!!
Rycher wrote on November 07, 2007
Sean Ryan-America wasn't "given" Elvis, America made Elvis. He is pure American. The fact that Elvis has been gone for thirty years, and is still selling is quite remarkable in itself. Garth Brooks was/is considered a great entertainer, but do you think his music will still be selling strong in thirty years? No one will even remember who he was. Remember John Lennon-"Before Elvis there was nothing.."
Steve V wrote on November 07, 2007
Remember folks they are talking about album sales not total record sales. Elvis was never an album selling artist. Allbums didnt become a hip thing till Pet Sounds, Sgt Peppers, etc. I fully accpet The Beatles sold more albums than Elvis. They may be the only act that sold huge amounts of singles & albums consistently. But who cares about this crap? RCA didnt even keep accurate records (gee what a shock) in the 50's when it mattered most.
Elvisnites wrote on November 07, 2007
It's so nice to see all of you stand behind the King for once. I believe earlier I saw a remark about a Brooks being a hillbilly. That hillbilly went to college and obtained a degree in advertising, which he used to market himself. I am not a fan, but come on now. Also, thank you Rycher for answering Sean Ryan. If America hadn't of made Elvis so popular, the rest of the world would never had heard of him. Just my two cents worth.
FLASHBOY wrote on November 07, 2007
Who cares! Elvis will always continue to sale album t'ill the end of this world. Garth Brooks, in ten years from now will be gone!
Tony C wrote on November 07, 2007
These are meaningless statistics. How many Garth Brooks songs could the average person in the street name? That is what puts Elvis and The Beatles head and shoulders above any more recent artists.
Deke Rivers 6 wrote on November 07, 2007
Yes meaningless. Even Brooks' children prefer Elvis' music lol
Lefty wrote on November 07, 2007
Records are made to be broken. If Brooks or someone else breaks the record set by Elvis, it doesn't diminish Elvis one bit. Good luck to Brooks and to anyone else that is successful in the music business. Knock yourself out!
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on November 07, 2007
great balls o' fire
Brian Quinn wrote on November 07, 2007
For Sean Ryan. The Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) is the official certifying body for GOLD, PLATINUM and DIAMOND record awards in the United States. The R.I.A.A. was established in 1952, but did not award certifications until 1958. Prior to the inception of the R.I.A.A., gold records were most often awarded ‘in house’ by record companies and did not necessarily carry ‘official’ status. The original award for ‘Hound Dog’ is such an award. On an historical note, the first award given to Elvis by the R.I.A.A. was a Gold one for the sales of one million copies of ‘Hard Headed Woman’. R.I.A.A. CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS As the music industry has evolved over the years, so have requirements for Gold and Platinum awards. Initially, the popular music market was predominantly a singles-oriented one, with the success of an artist’s single releases being considered much more important than album sales. Most artists, including Elvis, were judged in this manner, and their careers were developed accordingly. In line with this thinking, the original requirements for a GOLD single was one million units sold, and after 1976, for a PLATINUM, two million units. Conversely, albums were awarded GOLD status for sales of one million dollars worth based on thirty-three and a third percent of an album’s retail price, rather than one million units, which was reflective of the lower priority placed on album sales. Today, a GOLD single/long form album is awarded for 500,000 copies shipped and a PLATINUM award is given for 1,000,000 copies shipped. However, short form albums (Extended Plays) are awarded GOLD status for shipping 250,000 copies and PLATINUM for shipping 500,000 copies. On March 16th, 1999, a DIAMOND Award was established for any album which shipped 10,000,000 copies. As regards the 'Billboard' Album Charts in the U.S.A., these are compiled by an organisation called 'Soundscan' who count 'units shipped' as opposed to actual sales. Downloads are composed of actual sales.
Mr. Songman wrote on November 07, 2007
Garth is all right. I've never been a fan of his, but he has had nothing but good comments about Elvis. Garth Brooks and everyone else in the music industry know that Elvis is an icon. They also know that just to be mentioned in the same breath as Elvis is an honor. Don't fret someone breaking an Elvis record (true or not). Elvis would have been the first to congratulate him.
Sean Ryan wrote on November 07, 2007
Brian, Thanks for those statistics. Rycher, the point im trying to make is that it seems that Elvis is more famous outside of the US than in it.I dont think its remarkable at all that Elvis is still selling.In the US Elvis has had 3 songs top the singles sales chart and they are totally ignored by the Billboard chart.Check out Elvis's album/singles chart record in the UK.They are counted by actual sales and downloads, then compare them to the US album/singles chart.Since BMG took over from RCA, see how much material has been released.It seems that the US dont realise how great Elvis is and it seems he is not getting the respect he deserves.
francieep wrote on November 07, 2007
If Elvis were still here with us there isn't anyone that could compete. He would still be on top. Marketing today is much better than it was back when Elvis was here. Also, Garth and any other singer are still producing and putting out new material and Elvis material is what we have been listening to for a long time so it stands to reason the new and fresh songs will win out for Garth or anyone else. But if Elvis were here they would be back in the dust. I never tire of Elvis beautiful voice and his wonderful songs. I play them over and over and love every one of them. I agree with the person who said the US doesn't appreciate Elvis enough. I wish they would wake up and give Elvis the recognition he deserves.
EinVegas wrote on November 08, 2007
Is the RIAA adding all the sales of the popular FTD series to any of these numbers? Are those considered foreign releases? I've wondered why I've never saw a Gold Record for "The Jungle Room Sessions." That is a must for ALL Elvis fans and I know Good Rockin at Graceland and Amazon sell a ton of them. When I was at the 30th.... I Sing All Kinds and Easy Come, Easy Go FTD's were not to be found on EP Blvd early in the week.
James69 wrote on November 08, 2007
EinVegas, the FTD sales do not qualify, because they are pressed and sold in small quantities of 10,000 copies or less.
CEP wrote on November 08, 2007
Garth Brooks is a phenomenon-incredible quantity of album sales in the USA in a comparatively short space of time and smashing concert attendence records.He is just releasing his Ultimate Hits Collection this month so exect him to pull ahead of Elvis by another 10 or more million shortly.Also expect Led Zeppelin to pass Elvis's mark soon now that they have reformed and are on a comeback tour.Actually it won't do any harm at all to try and shift the emphasis on reporting on Elvis from quantity of records to quality of records
Rycher wrote on November 08, 2007
Would the person that wouldn't print my opinion please tell me why it wasn't posted. If I don't know why, I can't correct the problem in the future.
byebye wrote on November 08, 2007
Rycher, dont worry. Sometimes you just gotta press "save" again and the post comes in. Another solution is to step back1 page and type in your member ID + the little "remember me" square, then go back to your post and press save. If for some reason the editors (wich almost never happens) decide to remove someones post due to ruel violations, then that field is marked in red with a explanation. God luck!
everett001 wrote on November 09, 2007
Garth is a good country artist;but there are a lot of better country artist.He has I'm sure sold a lot of records. The way records were selling in the early years and elvis recording for the largest record label; maybe actual numbers were not reported in order to beat Elvis and the I.R.S. out of their true cut. A giant possibility?
elvisfan1958 wrote on November 09, 2007
What a crock! If I'm reading this right, from 1999 to 2004, Elvis sold 40.5 million records, and took the top spot, passing Garth, going from 77 million to 117.5 million. Then from 2004 to 2007, Elvis only sold 1 million records??? , going from 117.5 million to 118.5 million. Yeah right! Somebody needs to recheck their figures, before giving the top spot to Garth. That makes no sense. What do you think?
Bryan wrote on November 09, 2007
So Garth is ahead of elvis? , like so many of you said they didn't count Elvis record sales in the whole world!!..if they do count that, Elvis will still be the best selling-Solo performer of all time! the last years elvis did get many more Golden and Platinum Records. Garth can't top that!..and no.. led Zeppelin will not top Elvis!!! they never did and they never will! Elvis will be back!! Elvis lives!! and Elvis's DVD 30 Number1's is #1 in sweden.. enough said!
Rycher wrote on November 09, 2007
Thanks Jesper. I'm afraid my comment is gone and it took me forever to word it correctly. I guess that's the way it is...
lvisfan wrote on November 09, 2007
I like Garth. But as an old friend of mine told me a few years ago. "Garth is one of the great mysteries of the 20th century" This guy was in his 70's and didn't get it. The thing about Garth that really bothers me is his tactics of selling CD's. He talks about retiring, which of course sends his fans into a CD buying frenzy as if there were never going to be another CD on the market. Then he buries the master tape to his "Greatest Hits" CD to never be used again...and agian stiring up a frenzy with his fans. What a crock! Like his record label doesn't have the masters in their vaults. Plus if BMG/Sony was selling Elvis' Box sets for $25 like Garth's there would have been a lot more sold. As a matter of fact, Wal-Mart seems to have a ton of Garth's box sets. They don't seem to be moving them very fast. He's a smart guy, and he's working the marketing end of the business to the hilt. But as I stated earlier, the truth be told...Elvis has a lot more sales than has been reported. Plus back in the day it was a singles driven market, so somehow that would have to be factored in. If it were, Elvis is untouchable! It's just the way the press reports it that bothers me. The headline will read "Garth leads Elvis in record sales in U.S". They hardly ever explain that that figure is albums only and not total records.
theoldscudder wrote on November 09, 2007
Brooks breaking Elvis sales record is the equivalent of Bonds breaking Aarons. There is only one King & Garth is one of a long line of pretenders. The Old Scudder say's ong live the King!
stu wrote on November 09, 2007
I with you on that Old Scudder, "ong live the King"!!
JerryNodak wrote on November 09, 2007
lvisfan: Why do Garth's tactics bother you? It's called marketing. Which Garth has a college degree in. There's nothing wrong with knowing how to market yourself. In fact in today's marketplace it's more important than ever. If Elvis would have been surrounded throughout his career by people who understood marketing as well as Garth Brooks does, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Bryan wrote on November 10, 2007
and still they are wrong that Garth is the Biggest selling Solo artist of all time,these figures are wrong and u know it ,And Garth isn't even as big as elvis, nor wil he ever have the amount of Golden and Platinum Records Elvis has...cause Garth isn't very populair and well known in Europe, Elvis is very popular en very well known in the rest of the world and in Europe a lot people lift up their shoulders,when you ask them " do you know who Garth Brooks is" that's how popular he is, nice marketing indeed, Garth will never be compared to Elvis,and he will never be as big as Elvis, and thats how it is.
John4126 wrote on November 10, 2007
Bryan - these figs relate to US sales. It's safe to say that Elvis is the world's best selling solo artist. If the RIAA included all sales and not just those under a certain amount, and RCA made proper records of sales particularly in the 50's, Elvis would be top of the US list quite comfortably. Although the latter is slightly dubious as far as im concerned as Parker was known to be 'economical with the truth' when it came to stats like that and prone to the odd exaggeration or two.
Elvisnites wrote on November 10, 2007
To make things right, they'd have to hire Garth Brooks. Not a bad idea. Let him market Elvis and see the sales increase, with better material.
lvisfan wrote on November 10, 2007
Jerry, the reason Garth's tactics bother me is the way he does it. He starts rumors that he may retire...then doesn't...then finally does. You know how fans react to news like that? They rush out to buy CD's. Then burying the Master tape I mentioned earlier. Even though it's worked for Garth, there is a lot of deceit that goes with it.
get real wrote on November 10, 2007
i think the interesting thing is NOT the battle between Elvis and Garth,,,,,,,i think the interesting thing is how far ahead the Beatles are ahead of both of them.
John4126 wrote on November 10, 2007
lvisfan - there is cleary a mass market out there prepared to buy millions of Brooks' albums. To me Brooks 'decieit' is no different to the flurry of 'Greatest hits' packages we have seen in recent years from BMG, or the continual re-hash of Elvis' christmas album. No one puts a gun against the head of those who choose to buy these releases. Then there's the debate over whether Elvis recent uk single number ones are actually new ones or whether ALLC is actually a hit for ElvisvJXL rather than Elvis Presley. What about the myth that Elvis 'never played to an unsold seat' or the inflated audience figures for Aloha? I ask you - viewed by a larger tv audience than those numbers that watched man first landing on the moon?!!! It's all about marketing the product. Do you get my point?
pomm01 wrote on November 10, 2007
An interesting article that may help the debate For The Billionth And The Last Time - Lifting the Lid on the King's record sales By: Nick Keene - Aug 16, 2007 Elvis Presley 1950s How many records has Elvis actually sold? Did he really sell One Billion records as has been claimed. Nick Keene has researched this subject in depth with help from Ernst Jorgensen at Sony BMG and has compiled the following report. Some might say spin and hype did not start with politics, but in the entertainment world way back at the time of the Roman circuses. And nowhere will you find the air more thick with spin or hype than in the record industry. It seems that pretty well everybody in the business exaggerates the achievements of their clients perhaps because they assume that everyone else is doing the same. Bing Crosby's disc sales were once upon a time estimated by his record company on the basis of a somewhat quirky analysis of his sheet music sales and those of the Beatles were for years inflated on the rather spurious grounds that the sale of each one of their albums should be considered as equivalent to six singles. It is, however, going to come as rather a shock when fans begin to realise that the Presley figures have also not been immune to the odd spot of massaging over the years. Elvis did not sell 1 billion records by 1982 which claim first appeared via an article in the 'Washington Post' dated 12 July of that year and quoted RCA as its source, nor is there any validity in the current claim of 1.5 billion – whatever RCA/BMG may say in the liner notes on the back of one or two recent DVD releases. Rest assured my investigations reveal that Elvis is still by a distance the greatest record seller of all time, but even some 25 years later it is no easy task trying to establish whether or not his sales have actually exceeded one billion copies. So what happened? Well it seems that around five years after Elvis died a former Radio Luxembourg DJ by the name of Don Wardell took over from Joan Deary as the product manager in charge of the Elvis catalogue at RCA. And it was during his watch that the 'Washington Post' claim first began to appear on the back of Elvis albums and in press releases. Somebody else in the old RCA backroom may have initially dreamt up the figures, but it was Don Wardell who publicised them and thus must bear the responsibility. When some time later after BMG took over RCA the new team tried and failed to elicit any kind of rational explanation from Don Wardell it swiftly became apparent to them that he hadn’t got one. Unfortunately it would appear that those in the company who knew this to be the case kept quiet, presumably because they felt stuck with a claim that over the years had come to be largely accepted by much of the media and regarded as beyond dispute by the fans. Inexplicably, about a year or so ago one or two folk in BMG probably in the publicity department proceeded to take this discredited claim a stage further – which strikes me as a patently senseless and daft approach to take since if there is one artist whose achievements require little hype it surely has to be Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley 1969 So how many records has Elvis actually sold? The truth is that nobody really knows or will ever know, because whilst it is possible, as I will demonstrate, to establish his likely American sales within what I deem to be an acceptable margin of error, Presley's international sales-like those of many other if not all artists- are much more difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless it is certainly possible to put forward a broad based estimate once a figure for his domestic sales has been determined. The previous 'finger in the wind' guesses by persons unknown in his record company to the effect that Elvis' US sales accounted for about 60% of the total are simply not borne out by the market evidence nor for that matter by the wealth of gold or silver disc awards from other countries which Elvis himself had hung up on the walls of Graceland during his lifetime. In 1973 RCA actually put his US sales even higher - 200 out of the then claimed 300 million or so - when attempting to work out where they should pitch their initial offer in an effort to buy out future Elvis royalties accrued through his back catalogue, but it has now emerged that they did not know what royalties Elvis was receiving from overseas outlets in the first place so they simply came up with a back of the envelope estimate. It seems that each of the RCA affiliated outlets overseas mailed their royalty cheques directly to Elvis but did not send copy correspondence to HQ. Such limited information as has come my way from a few utterances which have been made over the years by one or other of Elvis Presley's many songwriters would indicate that they have received the majority of their royalties from overseas, but in saying that no assessment relying on a couple of quotes is remotely tenable. So any researcher must look elsewhere for clues and ferret out such evidence as exists circumstantial or otherwise. Elvis Presley 1970s There is for a start no question that the American share of the global market declined several decades ago, when other countries as far apart as Brazil and Japan embraced Western music and culture and this is clearly demonstrated by the total global musical sales for the year 2005, which with figures cast in billions of dollars reads as follows: 1 USA 7.0 2 Japan 3.7 3 UK 2.2 4 Germany 1.4 5 France 1.2 The rest 5.3 Total USA share of market 33.7% Rest of the World 66.3%. It doesn't come much more conclusive than that. So the question then turns on whether Elvis' sales conformed to this pattern. In fact whilst a fifties classic such as 'Hound Dog' may well have initially sold twice as many copies in the States, as it did elsewhere-which as only the Americans had developed a consumer based society by that stage should hardly come as a surprise - it is plain from what we do know that subsequently up to70% of the sales of later singles were sold overseas. In Europe alone virtually all the big Presley hits from 'It's Now or Never' onwards more than matched US sales. Indeed the 1974/5 single 'My Boy' actually sold more copies in the UK than it did in the States. ELV1S 30 #1 Hits More recent and better documented data adds even more grist to the mill and demonstrates that the picture with Presley records was and is indeed very much in keeping with market trends. Sales of the 2002 album 30 Number One Hits have now topped the 15 million mark - with a good 11 million of those sold outside the States and the 2003 release 2nd to None has sold three copies overseas for each one sold in the USA - where it has long since gone platinum. In addition the majority of current single sales by any artist in the US, whilst still of symbolic importance, are negligible outside of those purchased for jukeboxes, but Elvis has continued to chalk up new sales elsewhere-over 1.4 million in the UK alone between June 2002 and June 2005. Twenty five years ago RCA were saying much the same thing. The last album released during his lifetime 'Moody Blue' was by 1982 thought to be one of the King’s top sellers with global sales in excess of 12 million copies. However once US exports to Canada are excluded it seems that less than 3 million of those were actually sold to the home market. And as a final example on its initial release back in 1970 the single 'The Wonder of You' sold 990,000 copies in the USA and some 2,200,000 overseas. The exception to this picture is Presley's gospel music which continues to find particular favour with the strong Christian movement in the States and has no parallel elsewhere. Domestically the indications are that Elvis has sold just over 400 million records of which interestingly perhaps only 20% (82 million) can be attributed to singles: Summary Of American Sales OF 1954-2007 Category D
PaulFromFrance wrote on November 11, 2007
pomm01... THANKS for your post ! This article is so clever... Thanks again !
Bryan wrote on November 11, 2007
i have been to Graceland many times... and when i came into the trophy-room, and see his many Golden and Platinum Records and awards, which is still growing, no other performer or group has achieved.. then i realise,that Elvis is the Greatest performer in the world. Elvis still sells millions of records today, over the whole world. there's only one King....The biggest selling artist of all time..Elvis Presley
Viva wrote on November 11, 2007
pomm01: Great input there. I have always been bewildered by the ridiculous criteria set out by the RIAA. The fact that Garth Brooks has overtaken Elvis in this list only goes to prove what a load of old toss the RIAA really are. You'd think it would be easy wouldn't you: 1 sale= 1 sale. I have always been bewildered by BMG/RCA's sales figures also, surely they must know how many of each album they made? I know that doesn't give an accurate sales figure, but it would be the best we've got at the present. Mind you, I am quite happy that most people seem to accept that Elvis outsells everyone. I read once that if you applied the same criteria to Elvis as EMI use for the Beatles, Elvis would have sold over 4 Billion records! I'll stick with that one I think.
ext_mnx wrote on November 17, 2007
And again this fools garth and insects beatles. Elvis Presley wins and again these sicks of mind garth and beatles attack again. Already Garth and beatles: shut up!!!!!! }:P and if you can attack Sinatra. why always Elvis Presley? And the Elvis fans as ever do not help and I am so curious about them. Excuse me but Is my opinion..
ext_mnx wrote on November 18, 2007
Elvis Presley beats forbes, billboard, garth, beatles and more ....
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on November 19, 2007
And if elvis' record is broken it will always be elvis' record that was broken
ext_mnx wrote on November 29, 2007
Jumpin Jehosaphat: your only a fool garth brooks XD. Who said break elvis´records sales is fool or sick of jelous