Are record sales important?

“The business of music is selling music” – a classic quote from 50 Cent.  Is he right?  Music is an art form that is all about expression and whether you are feeling a song or not, it is all a matter of opinion.  We discuss the arguments for and against record sales being important?


Michael Jackson

Study the featured image above.  Michael Jackson’s 1982 release “Thriller” is the highest worldwide recorded album sales of all time. The album has sold 65 million copies all across the globe. MJ was undeniably the “King of Pop.”  MJ was an icon, a man that transcended music.  In 2009, a significant part of music died when he passed. There will never be another Michael Jackson.

Debate rages with regards to what was his best body of work. Looking at his discopgraphy, does it matter? Every project sold major “reccids”

mj discography

Is this the best catalogue you have ever seen in your life?

Kanye West

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Kanye West performs onstage during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on September 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Kanye West on a grand stage – as he should be

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The self-proclaimed greatest to ever do music. It is correct that the climate of music sales has changed since the hey-day of MJ but musicians are still selling. Kanye West is a musical genius and sonically his albums are beyond his peers efforts. Let the ‘shenanigans’ not fool you. If Kanye was unable to post big numbers I may slew him too.

Disclaimer: Imperious Ent is a colourless brand and inclusive in nature. For the purpose of the post we have to unfortunately discuss race.

Kanye West is the highest selling ‘black rapper’ of all time. Hold on to this point when I include the counter-argument.

Kanye West has sold 121 million records worldwide in comparison to Jay Z’s 100 million.


If Jigga is bigger than hip hop where does that elevate Kanye?


rihanna albums

Rihanna needs to “Talk that Talk” more

Rihanna is an interesting case. I feel like she is an unsung hero in comparison to a Beyonce who gets all the love. However, record sales are important in terms of letting the fans know the real levels. Or am I wrong?

Ri Ri has outsold Beyonce by a DISTANCE.

Rihanna has been in the game since 2005. Beyonce burst onto the scene in 1997 but for the sake of argument she went solo in 2002. Rihanna has sold 200 million albums worldwide. Beyonce has sold 75 million worldwide.

Who is better?




Marshall Mathers LP – a classic

“The great white hope” (RESPECTFULLY). Eminem is the highest selling rapper of all time.

Em has posted up 155 million worlwide, 34 million more than Kanye. Prominent hip hop voices such as our big homie Lord Jamar has denounced the sales of Eminem in relation to cultural importance. Does Eminem benefit from a ‘so called white privilege?’

Yes, it is about skill levels and technically he is great. The Marshall Mathers LP was one of the first hip hop albums I ever bought.

Is he in my top 5? No, respectfully.

50 Cent

Proof that it is not just a black or white thing like my man MJ says:


Get Rich or Die Trying went 6x Platinum

50 Cent was the hottest thing in hip hop between 2003 and 2005. 50 Cent sold 8.4 million copies in the US alone.

Is 50 Cent relevant in 2016? The great man 50 is better known for his non-musical controversies these days than his music. Even when Meek Mill sent for 50 on a diss “reccid”, 50 responded by way of internet memes. But they were hilarious.

Is this a case of record sales over-boosting somebody’s status. Jigga once said “Argue all day about who’s the best MC, Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas?” Will 50 ever be added to this conversation, respectfully?


Man like Usher has sold 75 million worldwide. Bob Marley has also sold 75 million. They run parallel in that sense but they are not quite the same. When it is all said and done Usher will not go down as a legend in the game like Bob Marley. Or will he?

Usher was heralded as the new MJ at an earlier point of his career. I bump Usher’s music but the sales have surely inflated his cultural importance.


Usher’s “Confessions” sold over 20 million worldwide


The King of the Jamaicans – Bob Marley

Closing thoughts

Music sales are important in the sense of they are a useful indication of how well received your music is commercially. Everybody cares about sales as the music industry is a business at the end of the day.

On the other hand, cultural importance is independent of music sales.

You decide…


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