Hammer Time!
April 7, 2005 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Who has sold more albums total, Usher or MC Hammer?

How can I find this out? My powers of google-fu are being strained.
posted by mzurer to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
You can use the RIAA gold/platinum certification lookup to get rough low-bound answers.

Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em - 10M
Let's Get It Started - 2M
Too Legit To Quit - 3M
Funky Headhunter - 1M
Total - 16M

My Way - 6M
8701 - 4M
Confessions - 8M
Total - 18M

So I think Usher has pulled away. Last year, Hammer would still have been in the lead.
posted by smackfu at 8:23 PM on April 7, 2005

1. Start with RIAA sales certifications (Gold, Platinum, Multi-Plat...) HERE.

2. Search for your artist (the search database link is on the right side of the page).

3. Figure out what the award codes mean (g, p, m) and what numbers they translate to.

4. Add and compare.

Preview - DAMN! Smack beat me to it.
posted by SlyBevel at 8:25 PM on April 7, 2005

As the beast responsible for the OPOHM Program (Ongoing Purchase Of Hammer Music) I can assure you that regardless of the albums Usher has sold, or the money he has made, MC Hammer will, in the long run, be known as The Greatest Musician Ever Known.

I think it's relatively safe to reveal to the tiny audience of Metafilter that MC Hammer is not a mere "rap artist". He is a time-travelling superhero, and the eventual saviour of all mankind.

Imagine, if you will, the year is 2059. MC Hammer, still of youthful appearance due to a rigorous program of gene replenishment therapy, is down in the Hammerlab, working on a new type of mix-board, when he discovers the very secrets of time and space while re-mixing his classic, "Too Legit to Quit". MC Hammer discovers that by tuning his certain wavelengths he can travel the very waves that make up time and space.

MC Hammer, always looking forward, decides to travel into the future. Years flash by, and he discovers the world has turned into a hell hole of fascism, controlled by the iron fist of a cyborg Avril Lavigne.

It appears Avril, having sold more records in her lifetime than any other artist, earns enough money to purchase the entire Brazilian Defence force in 2084. From their global domination comes quickly (in 2084 Brazil is the most powerful nation on the planet). Avril then institutionalises the insidious "World-Pop Law", whereby all other music is banned.

MC Hammer quickly realises that the only way to combat the menace of Avril is to sell more albums than any other artist on earth. Quickly, using his interspatial mix-board, he travels back to the year 1990 at the height of his powers before his 2032 revival CD, "Can Touch This After All", which Rolling Stone II described as "a masterpiece".

This is where MC Hammer and I came into contact. I worked at a Major Investment Bank, which I'm afraid I can't disclose. I helped MC Hammer create an investment fund (the afore mentioned OPOHM Program) to be used to fund the slow purchasing of MC Hammer albums over the next 100 years, thereby making MC Hammer the greatest selling artist of all time and preventing the cruel reign of Avril Lavigne. MC Hammer then returned to 2059 - or at least, I assume he did. Still, my instructions are clear - the slowly, steady purchasing of MC Hammer albums.

So, while Usher may seem ahead at the moment, give MC Hammer 10 or 20 years, and you'll see the figures a little different.
posted by   at 12:05 AM on April 8, 2005

I'm not even sure Usher is ahead at the moment (for that matter, I suspect that truly accurate figures don't even exist). The figures people are citing don't include albums that didn't go gold, and don't include international sales. What's more, much of Hammer's work was released in the pre-SoundScan era and sold through independent outlets.

My slightly-educated guess is that Hammer is the better-selling artist, and that's before even considering his work on the Addams Family soundtrack.
posted by box at 1:19 PM on April 8, 2005

Response by poster: Hmmm... Singles don't count for this bet (probably a wash) but the non-gold albums might add up for Hammer. Maybe I can get someone to do it on ask.google for a nominal fee. An expensive dinner hangs in the balance.
posted by mzurer at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2005

If Usher isn't definitively ahead already, he will be shortly. Hammer's non-platinum albums are actually very low sellers, for the most part.
posted by anildash at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2005

On further review, I think my answer using the certification levels was complete crap. Each of those numbers should actually be what I gave +1/2 million with a +/- of 1/2 million, and so the possible ranges for the two artists overlap quite a bit.

Hammer: 18M +/- 2M so 16-20M
Usher: 19.5M +/- 1.5M so 18-21M
posted by smackfu at 10:06 AM on April 10, 2005

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