The Baltimore Sun
Most popular movie soundtracks of all time, according to Billboard data
By John Harrington
May 9, 2023
Music has gone along with cinema since the beginning – initially in the form of live orchestras or a theater organist accompanying silent movies. When the first sound films were released, the sound was music – not dialogue.
The first commercially released movie soundtrack was that for the 1937 Disney animated classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” put out in the form of an album of 78 rpm disks in 1938. Soundtrack albums became popular on a large scale in the 1940s, and they haven’t stopped since. Many movies have distinguished themselves with memorable soundtracks over the years, often featuring hit songs that either made their performers stars or embellished their fame. (These are the most popular songs originally written for movies.)
24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data for movie soundtracks on the Billboard 200 album charts to determine the most popular soundtracks of all time. Soundtracks were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 200 points, a week at No. 2 is worth 199 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 200 is worth one point. Billboard data is current through the week of March 18, 2022. The biggest song on each soundtrack album is based on the total number of plays on Spotify.