Saturday, 31 July 2010

ARTICLE: Why Rihanna Is More A Singles Than An Albums Artist...

ARTICLE: Why Rihanna Is More A Singles Than An Albums Artist...

This week, Billboard announced that Rihanna Fenty, arguably one of the world's biggest popstars at the moment, has only sold 5 million albums in the US since her debut in 2005. Now, while this may have come as a suprise to some people, we can tell you that it most definitely did not to us.

Why, you ask? Well, we intend to share with you stats, facts and figures and our thoughts as to why it is clear that Rih appears to be more of a singles artist than an album one.

First off, let's truly think about how many albums Rih should be selling in correlation with the extensive promotion she undertakes, the incredible amount of money behind her, the great songs she's been given and the individual image she currently has. For RR and GGGB, L.A Reid has truly been spending that cash like no other. It is possible that Rih has one of the largest marketing budgets in the music industry; the producers hired for her two latest albums have been some of the best and most higly paid in the world - Stargate, Will.I.Am, Justin Timberlake, Tricky Stewart, Timbaland and The Dream. You'd be hard pressed to find better producers/writers (with the exception, of course, of JD and hitmaker Timbaland). They give her incredible song after incredible song, hit after hit - Umbrella, Don't Stop The Music, Take A Bow, Cold Case Love, Rudeboy, Photographs. THEN, in the months preceding and succeeding the release of Rih's albums, we see her all over the place; performing, shopping, on all the hottest talk shows.

Then, of course, there is that individualistic image. Rih is one of the most easily recognisable popstars in the world. With that trademark haircut and fashionista styling, she is often found on best-dressed lists and frequently named as one of the best dressed women in Hollywood.

So, with all these factors; with an incredible team behind her and all this promo, why can she still not shift boatloads of albums?

Well, it's actually quite simple. Rihanna, while having some admittedly incredible songs - and indeed great albums (we own AGLM, GGGB and RR) - is simply not someone who the American public seem to take seriously on a musical level. It is apparent that, while they are willing to buy her singles (and indeed give her 7 #1s) and dance to her music in the clubs, they aren't prepared to actually venture out and buy an entire album. It is possible to argue that there is a world of difference between paying 99c for Rudeboy on iTunes and shelling out $10 for Rated R. People just don't seem to want to spend that kind of money on her.

And, for someone who is supposed to be hovering near the level of The Trinity (who we will discuss shortly) in terms of popularity, it is clear that Rihanna simply isn't as popular as her team would have you believe. Is she merely a victim of excessive hype rather than a testimony to how she is actually viewed by the general public.

Now, we can tell that some of you are probably saying something along the lines of the following: 'But she's sold 15 million albums worldwide! That's significantly more than 5 mill in the US!'. And there you would be correct. But not when you put into perspective how much money Def Jam are spending on Rihanna, her records and the extensive promo she undergoes for each album. To make up for all of that, she should be selling around the region that The Trinity are.


The Trinity, comprised of Beyonce Knowles, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, are the three most famous and powerful popstars in the world (Legends notwithstanding). All three are in the Forbes 100 at #2, #4 and #6 respectively and have combined earnings of $213 MILLION in the last year ALONE.

This same concept applies to Rih's tours. Beyonce, Britney and Lady Gaga are all known for their ability to perform damn well and put on an incredible show. Rihanna, on the other hand, isn't. It isn't possible to argue that she is a better entertainer than the other three, and, while she has improved considerably in the last few months and her voice is both memorable and actually good, it just isn't enough in a B-Brit-Gaga world. The other three sell out date after date because they are entertainers on a level Rihanna will simply never be. And that isn't shade to Rih - that is actually just a fact.

Rihanna, who is arguably just beneath them in terms of popularity, is worlds away when it comes to record and ticket sales. To avoid argument, we'll compare stats.

Beyonce has sold 30 million albums with three solo records, which comes to an average of 10 million per album. Lady Gaga has sold 15 million with two records, for an average of 7.5 million. Britney has sold 78.5 million with six records, for an average of 13 million. In comparison, Rihanna has sold just over 15 million albums with four records, for an average of 3.75 million per album. That is a significant difference for someone who is supposed to be up there with them on the world stage.

Now for tours. Beyonce's latest tour, her I Am... Tour, made over $103 million, Britney's The Circus Starring Britney Spears made over $130 mill, while Lady Gaga's is set to also top $100 mill by the time it's complete. This is a world away from Rihanna's which is rumoured to have grossed only about $20-25 mill for a 58 date tour.

Again, some may argue that Rihanna has only been out since 2005 so it's unfair to compare her to Britney and Beyonce, and we'll go so far as to say it's unfair to compare her to Lady Gaga as well. However, please remember that Rih is on her FOURTH album. By this time, Britney had had three sold out world tours, Beyonce was on Destiny Fulfilled level of fame and success (along with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams) and God only knows how successful Lady Gaga will be in two records time. So Rihanna should most definitely be selling a lot more records and tickets than she is at the moment.

Our opinion as to why The Trinity is outselling Rihanna by a clear margin when it comes to albums is that people are more interested in purchasing their albums than hers. Whenever you read the comments beneath blog posts on the four ladies concerning their next releases, you will see the following beneath a Trinity post - 'I can't wait for ______'s new album!' or 'I need a new ____ album'. Under a Rihanna post, you'll see 'I can't wait to hear Rih's new music' or 'Yet another #1!'

There is a world of difference between these statements. While the former give an insight into why The Trinity sell records on a superior level, the latter shows you just why Rihanna has yet to have a #1 album five years into her career. People are more interested in buying her singles and hearing them on the radio, than they are in buying her actually very good bodies of work.

And all these factors contribute to why we are sure that Rihanna, while being incredibly popular and considerably commercially successful (when not compared to The Trinity), will never be a legend or an icon. She can neither perform like them (and, while Britney may not have the best voice, she is still one of the most influential popstars of the last decade and can put on a damn good show) or sell records on their level. When you ask someone about, say, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Madonna or Prince and what made them icons, most often album titles will feature or memorable performances will pop up in their explanation about what makes these artists stand out. Indeed every legend has that iconic/memorable performance, i.e. one that can be considered a turning point in their career. For Beyonce, one could argue that it was her incredible 2003 VMA performance, for Britney, her 2000 VMA showing, for Lady Gaga, her 2009 VMA shocker. Rihanna has yet to have that.

Conclusively, we have no idea what steps Rih could take in order to up her credibility when it comes to albums or have a performance where it is just her OWNING the stage, with no props, dancers or explosions. Yes, she has improved greatly in the last few months, yes, in our opinion, her albums are some of the best of the last ten years and, yes, she can sing. But this isn't enough. She needs to come even harder. She needs to prove her naysayers wrong, that she deserves to be just under The Trinity on the world stage and that she CAN roll with them.

If not, we fear she may just be lost in pop history along with the many other, hot-at-the-moment, stars who came. And went.


  1. i love rihanna and i love her style and think she is really cool but... dayum all this is reaally true!!
    she cant TOUCH "The Trinity" (haha love saying that) when it comes to performing, i mean she has got better lately but it is just stiff and learnt as opposed to Beyonce, Britney and GaGa who are natural on stage and the truth is although i ALWAYS go on about how amazing her singles are i cant be bothered to buy her albums...
    i dont know what but LA Reid needs to do something to get people to start thinking of Rihanna as a real artist, instead of putting her all dolled up in pretty clothes on the cover of a new album with a completely different image to the last album...
    still love you Rihanna but i say you will be over in about 3 years :(


  2. bullshit. check your facts homeboi

  3. @mommacaliente - We have. And we have numerous sources. *kanye shrug*

  4. this is some real shit! But sadly rhianna stans are retarded and cant comprehend what your saying. The funniest thing ive heard from a rhianna stan is them saying that she is only 22 and has 7 #1s and did more than beyonce LMAO!!!!! Beyonce at 22 won 5 grammys on one night and tied the record, DIL the album went on to sell 4.5 mil in the US alone and her #1 songs CIL and BB spent weeks on the charts and this is right before the industry changed everything as far as counting more of the digital downloads. I tell people all the time you can hate beyonce, britney on even gaga but you cant just wipe away what they've done just to made yourself or your fave look better. I'm not the biggest mariah fan but im not delusional either and i respect the hell out that woman and what she has accomplished and will never discredit her. The difference between rihanna stans and The trinity stans is our first priority is supporting our fave artist that internet beefing and all the shit is secondary or something that happens when we actually have to make people look dumb, but when a beyonce or gaga concert is coming to town the day the tickets go on sale im on the computer trying to get the best seats possible, when the album is released i buy more than one copy and when dvd whether its concerts or movie im the first at walmart at midnight buying it. See i think rhianna stans arent really stans their jjust people that hate The Trinity ande finds refuge pumping her up and giving the delusion that a #1 record is better than a #1 album or even better than the album selling at all but Trinity stans know better. So Rhianna if you ever read this i really hope you step your game up but sadly i just dont ever see her winning 16 grammys or selling out WW tours, or even selling past 2 million albums WW from hear on out but i could be wrong.

  5. What kills me is that L.A Reid is now has her doing a song with Eminem about DV. Now there will be a video. This is a wrong thing for Rihanna to have done being that she claim DV a year and half ago. And as for Eminem he is a known women beater that beat his wife on a daily It seems like they are just giving her anything just to get their money back. But looks like it's not working. Rihanna don't have no control of her career what so ever. But all said above is true. It's really sad. And on the real note I though that Rihanna was doing very well from what her fans are saying. I guess not. Someone said that she will be gone in 3 years, well I think it will be less.

  6. SINCE RIHANNA'S FANS ARE RETARTED, THEN WHAT DOES IT MAKE OTHERS FANS. before you get to excited and think that rihanna can r,i,p, check this out and read it for your own reading pleasures.
    chart watch extra: gaga's nice round number-chart watch.

  7. no one can say what tomorrow is going to bring, but rihanna must be doing something right shes being compared to the greats and she might not have but 5 years in the industry so what. and who cares about what dj is doing promoting her no more are no less than beyonce's dad and pr,, and no more are less than gaga's pr people are doing for them . make all of the assumptions you want to and rihanna is still her to stay shes not going no place but straight up.the article is trying to put a positive and a negative spin on rihanna and trying to say that her # 1 don't count but you are wrong her #1 do count just like they count for beyonce and gaga. people keep talking about her four albums so what she has four and shes did not sell as many as gaga sold and gaga has only two albums and she beat beyonce so what is the point? check all of their
    discographys and see before you try and write a sad story because i do not think that 10 million singles off one album is bad at all. and how dare you to try and say that rihannas #1 don't count. the point is one dark album that gave rihanna a chance to vent about the dark period of her life , that she wants to keep behind her. it turns out that that album spin off three top tens and a #1 theres people whos been in the industry for years and have not accomplished what this young artist has accomplished. but rihanna is doing something right because this THRUTHFULLY SPEAKING have got them a story going that people are having a good time with and trying to make it seem like rihanna is not up there in the count. but you had better check again because according to chart watch shes # 3 right behind the can people work so hard to alwasy try and put rihanna down why is this? why all of the negative vibes? tell you waht keep writing your articles and keep low rating rihanna because that just tends to help kee the shine right where it belongs and thats on rihanna.thanks for helping rihanna's fans out and oh by the way her fans whos growing at an alarming rate. people love rihanna and they see all of the mean things that people writes about her and it only tends to help rihanna get bigger and bigger faster. for rihanna the sky is the limit and theres no stopping her no negative comments and the often comparisions with many other artist will not stop and who cares she is here to stay and let her company spend money on her if they wants to. its their money and in case you are mad because you see her every place , well so do we see beyonce and gaga all over the place ,,,, thanks for the article on rihanna and by all means keep analyzing the international super star!!!!

  8. and about the eminem and rihanna collab. its one of the best of the best. it gave both of them a chance to vent because they have both lived it and so why not bring it to the forefront. theres nothing wrong with eminem song featuring rihanna "love the way you lie" it will make history. eminem is a genius and not only is he a producer, writer, rapper, singer hes smart as far as marketing his work. this is a great song the whole album is fiyah. and he and rihanna singing this song is off the hooks. and eminem 's people will not turn their backs on eminem like a lot of you other people who always looking for fault in others work. eminem's people will wrap their arms around rihanna and love her right along with their eminem and pull rihanna right on up to the top. it was great to see that eminem's song last week was holding down 13 # 1 spots on billboard. rihanna has come from nothing to get to where she is, shes humble and shes taking her time and building her a solid foundation in the music world. the united states has a jealousy for rihanna because she from the islands and she has come to this great country and out did a lot of people who has lived here their whole life. she is one of the most celebrated artist out there right now. many of whom has had voice lessons, music training and other things that has helped them along the way. yet she started from the ground up . and shes doing just great, and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. and she still have room to grow, therefore the sky is the limit for this young super star. compare her to monica, solange, keri, ciara, brandy, beyonce, those six people check her credits out aganist these 6 yes including beyonce and shes HOLDING HER OWN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

  9. what do you think that people have to like Rihanna she is a flop. And far as Eminem he's a known good women beater with a drug habbit.

  10. Guys, it's no shade. Just the truth. Just get over it. i like her music though.

  11. Anonymous said...
    and about the eminem and rihanna collab. its one of the best of the best. it gave both of them a chance to vent because they have both lived it

    Rihanna has not lived it. She got beat up ONCE and fortunately for her someone called the cops while it was happening. They broke up right after that. Rihanna has not been through what Emninem's wife or ex-wife has been through. She does not truly understand what DV is as she has not lived it. My mother has lived through DV and i had a friend in high school who's bf used to beat her up all the time.Rihanna's behaviour is not that of someone who had live through DV. Making the song with Eminem was a GREAT marketing move as she is riding the DV train. However, it's really stupid on her part because she did it with Eminem who is a known women beater and has no respect for women whatsoever. She obviously has no control over her career. This is the truth.

  12. no one cares what you , are saying and no one gives a care about you talking about rihanna all it does is helps to keep that shine on her. love her are hate her it doesn't matter as alicia keys, beatzs sings. rihanna is doing her thing and to even be mention in the same comments as beyonce and gaga is turly an honor. beyonce did 3 studio albums, took them three albums and did 3 live albums from them, then 2 ep's, and 8 video albums and you bet your bottom dollar she sold all of those really good. just give rihanna some more weeks and days on the clock and shes coming to get the big girls. theres no stopping her she is not going no place . and keep talking about her its a welcome for her and she loves all of the attention. and no matter what she has already cemented her place in concrete just like the big girls.she comes from the bottom up, no training on musical instruments, no group, no voice lessons and she has come a long ways without having family and ties in the industry.and if her label wants to invest in her than so what? whats it to negative people ? she must be doing something right. and the numbers are not right that was tallied on this article but it does not matter one way are the other . after all we are all just expressing ourselves aren't we? rihanna has that thing about her called marketibility, and she is one of the most talked about artist in the world. and shes definitely a international super star.dhe can ride the dv train until the train runs off the tracks if she wants to. she can ride the dv train until the wheels runs off it, if she wants to, so what? theres nothing you narrowed minded people can do to this artist but be mean toward her and shes smart enough to know how to let negative comments roll off her back like water off a ducks back.she is wise beyond her years and she knows that theres sharks in the water. and she knows how the lay in wait for her to cross their private lanes, she knows how to thread the water slowly and carefully.she knows that thers oceans of sharks and she also knows that the air is full of vultures that awaits her.

  13. she can ride the dv train until the wheels runs off that train so what? shes a young woman who is out there shooting her goliaths . and she is definitely letting her haters be her motivators. shes already a winner. read this article,
    chart watch extra: gaga's nice round number-chart watch.

  14. beyonce Vs gaga Vs rihanna-chart beat
    a comparison of the three and facts by billboard.

  15. the multi-platium rihanna, singer and serial chart-topper she has spent more weeks atop the aria singles chart than any other woman in the last decade.

  16. 2010
    maxium hot 100 list
    rihanna rated #6 on the maxium
    hot 100 list.

  17. To the imbecile that said Gaga has outsold Beyonce.
    -Gaga has sold 15 million albums worldwide off 2 albums.
    -Beyonce has sold 25 million worldwide of 3.
    You do the math.

    Rihanna is simply a singles artist. You will get over it but at the end of the day

    Albums >> Singles.
    12.99 >> 0.99 cents.

    Four albums in and only 5 million sold in your home market. Dreadful.

  18. Actually the queen B has sold 30 milion check the update at her wiki page and at RIAA.

  19. ^^ Thanks. We've changed '26' to '30' in the above.


  20. U're telling the truth!!
    Thaanks for writing this :)