Madonna Vs. Gaga

Since Nielsen SoundScan data was not launched until 1991, we can't fairly compare Madonna's sales to Lady Gaga's. We can, however, look at their Billboard chart performances in their first 23 months after each artist's Hot 100 debut, since that's how long Lady Gaga has been impacting the chart. Madonna first reached the Hot 100 dated Oct. 29, 1983, and Lady Gaga, Aug. 16, 2008:

Billboard Hot 100

Madonna: 8 entries, 7 top 10s, 2 No. 1s (and 2 Gold titles, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Lady Gaga: 10 entries, 7 top 10s, 2 No. 1s (and 4 Platinum titles, according to the RIAA)

Billboard 200

Madonna: 2 entries, 2 top 10s, 1 No. 1
Lady Gaga: 2 entries, 2 top 10s

Dance/Club Play Songs (comparing each artist's first 26 months, since Lady Gaga first charted on the list dated May 3, 2008)

Madonna: 5 entries, 5 top 10s, 3 No. 1s
Lady Gaga: 8 entries, 8 top 10s, 7 No. 1s

Adult Contemporary

Madonna: 7 entries, 2 top 10s
Lady Gaga: 5 entries

Thus, in this strict comparison of charted titles, Madonna and Lady Gaga line up extremely similarly approximately two years into each artist's careers, especially on the Hot 100. At that checkpoint, each singer shows seven top 10s and two No. 1s.

Madonna's Billboard 200 ledger is more impressive, having banked a No. 1 with her second set, "Like a Virgin," as is her early Adult Contemporary crossover appeal. Conversely, on Dance/Club Play Songs, Lady Gaga's first two years-plus clearly outshine Madonna's, in terms of chart visits and top 10s (8-5 in each category) and No. 1s (7-3).

Only time well tell if Lady Gaga's career can continue to evolve along that of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-enshrined Madonna, now counting 28 years since first putting her iconic stamp on pop music and culture.

Like Madonna, Lady Gaga writes her own material and possesses a unique sense of flare, so it's certainly possible that such a successful future could be in store.

Check back around 2036 and we'll have a better idea.

--Gary Trust