What makes a hit album

Everyone can agree that making a hit single is easy. Take a catchy beat, combine it with some vapid lyrics and add a club remix for good measure. Voila! Making a hit album, on the other hand, is easier said than done. Despite this, several artists have managed to make a lasting impression on the charts as well as the critics. So, how did they do it? We took a closer look at the 25 albums that have performed the best since 1990, and here’s what we found:

1. The month of an album’s release can make a world of difference!

More annually best-selling albums have been released in the months of May and June than any other! In fact, 36% of these smash hits were released in the second quarter of the respective year. The search for the perfect summer anthem has certainly helped album sales!

The third quarter of the year, however, has produced the least number of best-selling albums, accounting for just 8% of the total. In fact, none of the most successful LPs of the last 25 years have been released in August or December!

2. 13 might not be as much of an unlucky number as we’ve been led to believe, after all! 20% of the highest-selling albums since 1990 have had 13 tracks each.

When it came to singles, listeners were just as clear about their preferences. Albums that featured 4 or 5 singles were the most successful in their respective years. 32% of the highest-selling releases in the last 25 years featured 4 singles, with another 32% featuring 5 singles!

3. Listening to an album that’s too long can be a bit of a drag, but it shouldn’t be so short that you can’t really get into it. And we’ve got the numbers to prove this. Albums with a duration of less than 35 minutes or more than 80 minutes did not feature on the list at all!

The sweet spot between 40 and 50 minutes was always a hit, with 36% of the last 25 years’ best-selling albums clocking in at that duration!

4. Men have ruled the charts in the last 25 years. In fact, 52% of the most successful releases since 1990 have been by male artists. Female acts accounted for 36% of these hits, whereas albums by various artists have made up for 12% of the number.

5. Solo artists have also proven to be way more successful than groups or collaborations. 68% of the biggest releases of each year since 1990 were by solo acts, while groups came in at 20%. Soundtrack albums, featuring various artists, trailed behind at 12%.

6. The odds of an artist putting out the most successful album of a year are also much higher with their debut. 28.5% of the most commercially successful albums of the last 25 years were debut LPs!

7. Unsurprisingly, pop has been the most successful genre in the last 25 years. Yes, 64% of the highest-selling albums since 1990 have been classified as pop!

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