France Album Sales: Madonna

Who’s That Girl (1987) Era

Released while France was in complete Madonna madness, Who’s That Girl debuted at #2, only blocked by… Madonna’s own album True Blue that climbed to the top for the very first time in the bi-weekly chart of August 1987.

The following chart, as the artist performed her monster show in Paris, the ranking went mad. True Blue remained at #1, Who’s That Girl stood at #2, Like A Virgin reentered charts after over a year at #5 and the debut Madonna album made its very first entry at #9. Although the summer competition wasn’t strong, those results were absolutely astonishing. In the single chart her domination was just as impressive as the Who’s That Girl single climbed all the way to #2, replacing her own La Isla Bonita as the runner up to Vanessa Paradis’ hugely hyped debut hit Joe Le Taxi.

The album had an incredible chart run, totaling 10 weeks at #2. The first four of them were behind her own True Blue, the following four topped by the most anticipated album of all-time, Michael Jackson’s follow up to Thriller, Bad. The last two weeks were behind the most successful Jean-Jacques Goldman album, the longest running French album at #1 of the decade in the country.

As if it wasn’t enough, the end of the year saw the release of You Can Dance, a remix album. This record was itself blocked at #2 for four weeks due to the aforementioned Goldman album. During Christmas week, You Can Dance and Who’s That Girl were respectively sitting at #2 and #3 while True Blue was still in the Top 15. By the end of 1987, True Blue had sold over 10 million units outside the US, more than 5 million in the US, while Who’s That Girl and You Can Dance sold 8 million units worldwide combined.

In early 1988, this outstanding era was concluded with The Look Of Love single, which peaked at #23. All three charting albums slowed down during that year’s first quarter, leaving rankings one by one. Madonna was going to come back soon enough in a big way though.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Who’s That Girl – 3,437,000
  2. Causing A Commotion – 638,000
  3. The Look Of Love – 228,000

12 thoughts on “France Album Sales: Madonna”

  1. Spotify figures don’t include all the streams. You have left out almost all Immaculate Collection- and Celebration-collection albums’ streams. For example Papa Don’t Preach’s total streams are 11,63 M ( True Blue-album: 4,02 M, Immaculate Collection-album:0,87 M, Celebration-album 6,74 M) or Like A Prayer’s total streams are 45,25 M (Like A Prayer-album: 15,93 M, Immaculate Collection-album: 0,93 M and Celebration- album 28,39 M). And so on and so on.
    Sami

    1. Hello Sami,

      Of course you are correct! I voluntarily leave out live versions and remixes on most of those studies because they are pretty meaningless in the usage of streaming and add in heavy work that is thus inefficient, but Madonna songs streams have never been merged unlike most artists. I now added all studio/compilation versions together. Thanks again!

  2. i dont think flop is the right word. u cant compare sales of ray of light to mdna or sales of true blue to rebel heart. the industry is different albums dont sell like they used to. sure some of her albums have underperformed a bit but all have made the best seller list world wide for the year they were released . great article though

    1. Hello Kieron,

      I’m afraid to say it is pretty much the opposite, e.g. the likes MDNA / Rebel Heart are not bad sellers due to the bad market, instead they charted OK-ish thanks to the market. The overall collapse of sales is not equal to all type of consumers, regular buyers left the game to get into streaming, fans still pick up proper albums just like older public (the average age of CD buyers in 2015 is 48!). Thus, The flop of those latter Madonna albums don’t look as big as they really are since the overall weakness of regular buyers purchases give fan base buyings a ridiculously inflated importance. The same performing albums, had they been released during the 90s, would have sold a bit more for sure but they would have been nowhere to be seen in Top 50 year end charts of most countries.

      MDNA for example was officially the 12th top seller of 2012, but nowhere near the Top 50 most successful albums of the year. In fact, in a few years you will be able to notice it when checking combined streams of all albums from that year and see it will be way, way lower down the pack.

  3. What a great job!
    Thank you for this!

    Madonna for me is a unique album seller.
    I am happy that after 30+ years her NEW album “Rebel Heart” managed to sell 55.000 in France and 1.000.000 worldwide… I mean that 1 million for 2016 is a great number!

    Also I should add that Rebel Heart sold 1million WORLDWIDE and the sales are spread WORLDWIDE. For example Celine’s latest album might have sold 1 million but the 800k are from France and Canada. (I am exaggerating a little bit but I want you to understand my point of view). I am happy that Madonna sold 55k in France, 250 in the US, 80k in the Uk, 50k in Italy, 50k in Asia, 100k in south america etc….

    I love your website, continue the good job!

  4. Actually there were no additional single for Hard Candy in France, after summer, until the release in December of Miles Away, without a video. About 6 months separated the 2 singles and that killed off the album which had managed to remain within the TOP 100 all along the first singles career runs.

    1. Hello FM,

      France got the same singles as other countries – 4 Minutes, Give It 2 Me and Miles Away. In fact, Give It 2 Me was not available on physical format which is why it hasn’t chart, but it was fully promoted on radios and TVs and charted for as much as 20 weeks in the Digital chart from April to September, peaking at #11 and being #44 in the 2008 Year End Chart with close to 30,000 downloads. This single was fully responsible for the album stability during the summer.

  5. Angel was no single in France, only in a few markets like the USA. In France we did have Crazy for you during the summer which has been one of her least successful album.
    Into the Groove was huge and managed to get into the French top 10 as soon as it was released, a very rare achievement at that time.

    1. Hello again FM,

      During the 80s, labels were defining a list of singles to track in order to build the weekly ranking. Time to time, they were delaying the addition of a song in order to create a higher entry. It happened with several singles, most notably Kaoma hit La Lambada for which Sony tried to create a #1 debut by delaying various weeks its inclusion on charts. When they finally did, it appeared they did so too early as the song debuted at #3 before topping the ranking from its second week.

      Into The Groove was an other example of a voluntarily delayed chart inclusion creating the illusion of a huge entry. Ultimately it was obviously a big hit but the high debut is much more due to a chart technicality rather than an illustration of an unusual popularity.

        1. Hello Gustavo,

          The website has a Twitter page since the beginning and a Facebook page has now been created. Links at the right top and bottom. All publications will be posted on each social media!

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