France best selling albums ever: Suprême NTM by Suprême NTM (1998)
French hard core Rap band Suprême NTM, which has been strongly controversial from their early days (the fact the NTM acronym stands for the French translation of Fuck Your Mother certainly doesn’t help), saw its popularity of the band grew year after year during the 90s.
Composed by Frenchman Joey Starr and French-Portuguese Kool Shen, both went on to become successful on their own afterwards in both music and other domains. In fact, Starr performed successfully in movies while Kool Shen became one of the biggest French poker players.
Strong success of 450,000 selling Paris Sous Les Bombes 1995 album helped building a solid fan base for NTM. Backed also by iconic lead single Laisse Pas Trainer Ton Fils, the release of eponymous Suprême NTM 1998 album was concluded with a #1 entry in April. This debut stopped the 14-weeks run at the top of Titanic soundtrack.
After the initial buzz that generated 260,000 sales within’ two months slowed down, second single Ma Benz that became a street anthem on its own helped stabilizing the record which never left the Top 50 during the entire year. Ending 1998 as the 11th bestseller behind Madonna‘s Ray Of Light, it sold 570,000 copies in the process.
Adding 30 more weeks inside the Top 75 as well as 130,000 sales during 1999, the album passed the 700,000 mark, as reported a few months later by the Billboard. From November 1999 to February 2001, the album never charted. When charts got extended from Top 75 to a Top 150 in early 2001 yet it appeared the album was still selling very well as it was charting in lower areas representing almost 1,000 copies per week. The album charted several weeks in 2002 as well until old albums got excluded from charts by 2003 rules. From 2000 to 2002 the album added 120,000 copies sold.
This chart exclusion remained true until 2011 when catalog albums have been re-instituted in the main chart. From 2012, we have been able to notice how Suprême NTM album was re-entering regularly. Indeed, during last four years, the record charted 24 weeks but even more importantly it did so in 14 different months. It explains why the album hardly charted in catalog charts between 2003 and 2011, simply because it was actually a mid-price chart while Suprême NTM was selling steadily at full price. It keeps selling close to 300 units a week as of now. Estimates put this album on 20,000 copies a year until 2005 and 15,000 a year since.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,030,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Le Parisien, Billboard.