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How many records has Led Zeppelin sold?


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I don't do the RIAA/CRIA method of multiplying an album or box set by how many discs are in it. Physical Graffiti was never sold 16m times in the US, it has only been purchased 8m times. It is only one album not two, so I see no reason whatsoever to intimate or calculate that it sold 16m same goes for everything else such as TSRTS, Box Set, Mothership etc etc etc Also most territory do not multiply their awards, the UK, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Japan etc all do not.

Led Zeppelins sales and popularity in the US (and Canada) is far greater than anywhere else in the world. USA might have 30% of the worlds music market, but Led Zeppelin probably have between 60%-70% of their total sales coming from these two territories alone, probably 2/3's of their total sales are from the US alone. Their popularity in Germany is not great HOTH reached No.8, LZIV No.9 (originally, it's just hit No.6), PG No.17, Presence No.27, ITTOD No.28, Coda No.43 in fact their popularity in a lot of European countries waned terribly as the 70's wore on, due to limited exposure and never touring in these countries anymore.

Presence has sold less than TSRTS, it is fact. Presence was last certified at the RIAA in November 1997 at 3,000,000, TSRTS was last certified at the RIAA in February 1997 at 4,000,000. TSRTS is the only Led Zeppelin album with more than one disc that has not been RIAA multiplied, it should actually be at 8m on the RIAA website.

Presence has sold 497,000 (379,000 December 2006) through Soundscan since 1991 upto March 2013, the original TSRTS had sold 369,000 upto December 2006 and the November 2007 Re-issue had sold 150,000 through Soundscan upto January 2013, so it was at least at 520,000 but with nearly a year missing. Presence has only spent 30 weeks on the Billboard 200 whereas TSRTS has spent 51 weeks.

Why wouldn't Early Days outsell Later Days, I can't honestly understand why somebody wouldn't think this. Early is made up of songs from 4 albums that have shipped 49m (8m, 12m, 6m & 23m) Latter Days 4 albums that have shipped 28m (11m, 8m, 3m & 6m). The songs on Early are far more popular than the songs on Latter. Even just from an outside perspective you'd assume Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III & Led Zeppelin IV tracks are easily more popular than Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Presence & In Through The Out Door tracks.

Pink Floyd have easily outsold Led Zeppelin albums wise, outside the US & Canada you'd be hard pushed to find a single territory in the whole world, where Zep have better sales, better chart placing, more weeks on chart, more weeks at No.1 and catalogue sales wise, Led Zeppelin maybe good but Pink Floyd are absolute beasts. Even in the US these days and for a while now Zep have waned while Floyd still sell enormously. Since soundscan started in 1991, LZI 1.9m, LZII 2.7m, LZII 1.5m & LZIV 3.9m altogether have soundscanned around 10m, Dark Side of the Moon alone has sold 9.7m, with The Wall at 6m and Wish You Were Here at 3.7m, even lesser hits like Animals was at 1.7m (Oct 11) and A Momentary Lapse of Reason had done 1.7m by (Feb 07). I would also confidently say The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna & Elvis have all definitely sold more albums than Zeppelin. Acts like Queen, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, AC/DC & U2 may also have, but not definitely.

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This is from the wiki so take it with some salt.


Artist Country of origin Period active Release-year of first charted record Genre Total certified units
(from available markets)[Notes] Claimed sales The Beatles United Kingdom 1960–1970[5] 1962[5]Rock / Pop[5]

Total available certified units: 264.4 million[show]

600 million[29][30]Elvis Presley United States 1954–1977[31] 1954[31]Rock and roll / Pop /Country[31]

Total available certified units: 207.8 million[show]

600 million[40][41]
500 million[42]Michael Jackson United States 1964–2009[43] 1971[43] Pop / Rock /Dance /R&B[43]

Total available certified units: 174.3 million[show]

400 million[56][57]
350 million[58]
300 million[59][60]Madonna United States 1979–present[61] 1982[61] Pop / Rock / Dance /Electronica[61]

Total available certified units: 165.8 million[show]

300 million[65][66]
275 million[67][68]Elton John United Kingdom 1964–present[69] 1969[69] Pop / Rock[69]

Total available certified units: 161.1 million[show]

300 million[72][73]
250 million[74][75] Led Zeppelin United Kingdom 1968–1980[76] 1969[76] Hard rock / Heavy metal[76]

Total available certified units: 138.3 million[show]

300 million[80][81]
200 million[82][83]Pink Floyd United Kingdom 1965–1996[84] 1967[84]Progressive rock /Psychedelic rock[84]

Total available certified units: 114.3 million[show]

250 million[86][87]
200 million[88][89]

  • The column for Certified Sales above includes markets, the databases of which contain certifications representing figures of 100,000 and more.
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  • 3 years later...

It's interesting to know these numbers, but it's really not important if your favourite band sold a lot of albums or more then someone else.

When I started to listen to them in 1995, I didn't even know they were a big band for 2 years.

And their status in the UK or elsewhere compared to Queen or someone else? How exactly do you define status and how do you measure it? I sure hope not by media and tabloid appearance.

And someone said not releasing singles in the UK backfired on them? They wanted it to backfire on them, they were about the music and the full albums, not the pop approach, even if they had to release singles in the USA because of the record company.

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In regards to the UK Led Zeppelin dropped the ball on occasion.

1 * Not playing a set for The Old Grey Whistle test. The BBC still shows sets from Bowie, (Spiders from Mars era) Bob Marley, John Lennon still have the ability to re enter the consciousness through the classis gigs. The amount of new admirers Zep could have and could still be winning over. Possible the only major band to have no TOGWT gig.

2 * I might need clarification on this but I think the UK press had no time for them. Disagree the UK is about POP, I believe it is indie. Also the music press historically here is both brutal and easily bored. So many acts seem to struggle after the first LP partly due to being overhyped straight away and before they have found themselves so to speak.

3* Hammer of the Gods nearly destroyed them. For some reason of all the bands that did overplay the Rock n Roll cliché their reputation was damaged far more than other bands.

4 * Not releasing singles backfired in the wider consciousness which someone mentioned about Queen.

If 6 Music did not play them I cannot imagine who would on UK radio. By the way biggest LZ track on airplay. Black Dog.


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