If Kidz Bop proved anything, it’s that you can never underestimate the power and appeal of music you can sing along to. The Greatest Showman released in theaters all the way back in December of 2017 and the musical’s powerful earworms held sway over the charts all of last year. So much so that The Greatest Showman Soundtrack was the best selling album in the world in 2018.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an organization that represents the recorded music industry worldwide, tracks the sales of both physical and digital albums to rank the best-selling albums of the year. According to Billboard, the IFPI has announced that with 3.5 million units sold, The Greatest Showman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was the best-selling album in the world in 2018.
The Atlantic Records release topped the charts in Japan and the English-speaking countries of the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, where the soundtrack spent 28 straight weeks at No. 1 on the albums chart. Even now, 63 weeks later, The Greatest Showman (OST) is still at No. 4 in the U.K. The soundtrack also managed to hit No. 1 on iTunes in more than 77 countries, showing the worldwide appeal of the film’s music and message.
This level of success defied expectations and was a pleasant surprise according to the CEO of recorded music at Warner Music Group, who cited the soundtrack’s success as a triumph of the music, the marketing, and the fans. The Greatest Showman soundtrack also bucked the trend with, in this streaming and digital download age, about half of its sales coming from physical formats.
To land at No. 1 on IFPI’s charts, The Greatest Showman soundtrack beat out two albums from K-Pop supergroup BTS as well as the likes of Johnny Halladay, Ed Sheeran and Eminem. The Greatest Showman soundtrack wasn’t the only feature film soundtrack to crack the top 10 though.
Sitting at No. 4 with 1.9 million units sold is superstar Lady Gaga’s soundtrack for A Star is Born. Bohemian Rhapsody was the most successful musical film of last year and Queen’s album for the mega-hit also landed on IFPI’s chart at No. 7 with 1.2 million units sold. Rounding out the top 10 was the soundtrack for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again with 900K sold.
We had already heard that the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman was the best-selling album of the year domestically but this latest news shows that the appeal of that film and its music was truly global. The incredible success of the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman is reflective of the success of the film itself. Despite never hitting No. 1 at the box office, The Greatest Showman sung and danced its way to around $435 million worldwide. It even had special sing-a-long screenings and a cover album.
Clearly this music connected with people in a major way to the point that they not only wanted to listen to it, they wanted to own it. And in an era where you have an all-you-can-eat musical buffet with streaming, that is saying something.
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