Today, April 21, marks the one-year anniversary of Prince’s death, and the dearly departed artist’s record sales indicate that his loss was acutely felt by the American public. From April 21, 2016 through April 13, 2017 in the U.S., 2.3 million Prince albums were sold and there were 5.4 million digital song downloads, adding up to a total of 7.7 million copies sold, per Billboard.
To put this in context, in terms of “copies” (albums plus digital song downloads) Prince was the top-seller of 2016, beating out Adele by a large margin. Album sales, of course, are not the sole metric of popularity: Prince’s protracted absence from streaming sites doubtless had some role in bumping up his album sales. Since his return to streaming platforms in 2017, he has hit 66 million audio streams and 6 million video streams—Billboard’s model suggests he could have 280 million streams by this year’s end.
Prince’s most popular titles for digital sale have been “Purple Rain,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Kiss” and “Little Red Corvette,” while “When Doves Cry” is the most popular Prince radio track for 2017 so far. “Purple Rain,” “Kiss” and “When Doves Cry” all made Paste’s top five Prince songs, and the other two made it in our top 20. Check out our definitive Prince song ranking here and enjoy Paste Cloud video of Prince performing live circa 1982 below.