This Artist from the 1700s Scored the Biggest-Selling CD of 2016

On the Eve of His 225th Anniversary, Mozart Scores the Biggest-Selling Album

Image by Szymon Buhajczuk (CC by 2.0)

Unlike other top artists and record labels, I’m pretty sure Mozart himself didn’t spend any money on promotional advertising.

It’s no secret that major record labels spend millions in promoting top artist music albums. Every year, labels and artists alike vie for the top spot of top-selling album. They spend hours on producing high-quality musical content. In 2015, Adele’s 25 took home the honor. In 2014, Taylor Swift scored with 1989 in the digital arena, narrowly beating out Disney’s Frozen soundtrack. But, would you ever consider Mozart to take home the top prize this year?

That’s exactly what happened. Billboard reports that Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition shifted 1.25 million total CDs since its release just five short weeks ago. The collection beats out other CDs like The Life of Pablo and Views. The collection contains a whopping 200 compact discs. It presents every single work by the classical music giant. It features 600 world-class soloists and 60 orchestras. Total play time is 240 hours, excluding reading additional material included.

Universal spent 18 months on the album on just curation and planning. They declared Mozart 225 “most authoritative, complete and scholarly box set ever devoted to the work of a single composer.”

The October 28 release coincided with Mozart’s 225th anniversary of his death. UMG Mozart 225 director Paul Moseley said,

It is wonderful to see the reaction to this box set, which is the fruit of years of scholarship, planning and curation.

Mozart’s immortal melodies, no less than The Beatles or Abba, are in some way part of all our lives – and this Edition is the perfect way to celebrate that on his 225th anniversary.

Decca and Deutsche Grammophon produced Mozart 225 in collaboration with the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation. On e-commerce giant Amazon, the album is available for $332.93 and free shipping. Amazon UK sells the album for £420.25 plus £1.26 UK delivery.

6 Responses

  1. Paul Baxter

    Of course the CD set is 200 discs, and they’ve counted every single disc. So the actual sales numbers for the set are in the 1000s…

    • Josh Norek

      Paul Baxter, you are correct. When you do the math and divide the number of CD’s by 200 CD’s per box set, it appears that Universal only actually sold around 6000 box sets. And as the son of a public library reference desk librarian, I can tell you that a majority of those box sets were likely sold to libraries and universities as opposed to individuals. So yeah, this announcement really needs to be given more proper context since probably only a few thousand actual human beings bought this box set.

  2. Jeffrey Biegel

    Mozart and his music will outlive all of us. We are here for a short time, yet his music continues to survive through the eras. Ditto Bach, Beethoven and the like. But Mozart’s music has a basic human understanding of emotions which touches the hearts a souls of every listener in every generation. A side note, pardon the pun, is that I dared to record all 19 solo piano sonatas, with all repeats, adding Mozartean embellishments in the repeat sections. It was a daunting and humbling experience indeed, but I would have felt remiss if I did not go through with this quest for the sake of the music and for legacy sake. Mozart and his music will always stand the test of time.