Friday, May 20, 2022

Another sales milestone!

Guaraldi’s soundtrack to 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas has just been certified quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).


Back in the day, such a count would have been tabulated by physical album sales: LPs and CDs. The RIAA included streams beginning in February 2016, so this Charlie Brown Christmas milestone is based on more than 4 million copies purchased over various formats, and 1.14 billion streams.


(The formula is 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale.)


As always gets mentioned in the same breath, this makes A Charlie Brown Christmas the second-best-selling jazz album of all time, behind Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, which went quintuple platinum in 2019. And as I always point out — most recently in this post, when A Charlie Brown Christmas went quadruple platinum in December 2016 — these RIAA figures are based mostly on electronically recorded sales made subsequent to 1991, when Neilsen SoundScan began tracking data. Clearly, Guaraldi’s album sold many, many copies during the previous quarter-century … but because Fantasy’s record-keeping was so sloppy during those earlier years, a precise figure has been impossible to determine.


It’s therefore entirely possible that Guaraldi’s album has surpassed Kind of Blue … but we can only speculate. (In fairness, Davis’ album also sold plenty of copies prior to 1991.)


Meanwhile, this is merely the latest in a long line of accolades showered upon Guaraldi’s score. The album first was certified platinum in 1996; was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007; and was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2012. Just last December, as detailed in this post, the album reached its highest-ever Billboard chart position, 56 years after its original release. Nor can we overlook Billboard citing A Charlie Brown Christmas at the top of its 50-position Greatest of All Time Holiday Albums List (followed, for those who are curious, by Michael Bublé’s Christmas, Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas, and Mannheim Steamroller’s A Fresh Aire Christmas and Christmas).

Good ol’ Charlie Brown may not have shone during baseball and football place-kicking, but he’s certainly no slouch when it comes to album sales!