France Album Sales: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) Era

I started the description of the band first album noticing that many popular acts started slowly. Not many struggled that much yet. Those difficulties came to an end thanks to 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

The success of the previous record enabled the new set to debut in October at #25 in UK and #14 in the US. Lead single Give It Away went #73 in the US, contributing in the band profile increase and sustaining well the album during the first months.

It was the second single still, the massive Under The Bridge, that changed everything for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song was a big #2 hit in the US. We may expect it to have been such a smash everywhere, but in reality the song initially peaked at #26 in UK and failed to chart in France, just like Give It Away. What about the album? Blood Sugar Sex Magik failed to chart in France too in 1991/1992. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t selling as all singles gained relevant rotation in rock stations, pushing the album to Gold status, 100,000 units sold, in 1993 third quarter, an average 1,000 units per week during its first two years.

While the album was being promoted for already two full years, several singles got reissued in early 1994 since the band profile had been constantly increasing. Give It Away reissue went #9 in UK and #49 in France while Under The Bridge reached #13 in UK and missed French Top 50. In April 1994, over two years and a half after its release, the album ultimately charted in France, debuting at #41. From April to September, the record charted 12 weeks, peaking at #33. Those incredible legs sent it to 2xGold in February 1995.

In-between, as the popularity of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was growing thanks to Under The Bridge, EMI decided to release in September 1992 a compilation of their first four albums singles, What Hits?. Although it failed to chart in France despite hitting #23 in UK and #22 in the US, the album still sold an estimated 30,000 units there. A couple of low profile compilations of rarities, Live Rare Remix Box and Out In L.A. got released in 1994.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Under The Bridge – 118,635,000
  2. Give It Away – 27,095,000
  3. Suck My Kiss – 11,607,000

8 thoughts on “France Album Sales: Red Hot Chili Peppers”

  1. Hi MJD; recently I read the book American Popular Music. in the book I read the some sentence, France has the 7% market share of worldwide pop markets. I believe Musicians who hit the chart in the France could have the big seller. if some musician sells a lot of records in the U.S, they didn’t sell the records much worldwide. what do you think? still France is big market place in the world? and more 7% now? thanks.

    1. Hello!

      Sorry for the delay. In fact France is still a large market, #4 in the world for physical sales and #6 in digital area with an overall share of 6% of worldwide market. If you remove Japan that is very difficult to break for foreign artists, there is only 80% remaining which means France represents 7,5% of markets where artists usually sell. The US represents 30% of the overall total and 37,5% taking off Japan, so definitely a huge part of sales for most acts.

      The important point with France is that while most international sellers will achieve album sales of 200-300k just like they do in Canada or in Australia, here the potential when crossing over the general public is much higher, as seen on Stromae / Adele recent examples of nearly 2 million units for each album. Some artists very well adopted in France like Mika, Selah Sue or Muse sell a large part of their total sales in this country.

      1. thanks MJD, actually I just watched your statics before and I was so interested in those datum. South Korea is unusual country like France for album sales. maybe Oasis, Coldplay and Radiohead are big 3 in this country. Metallica and RHCP are also popular here. you know those bands have a gigs here. some of them already made more than 3 times. Foo Fighters did it in 2015. Nirvana is the only popular american band without gigs here.

        so I’m curious Nirvana and RHCP. around 2011, I read your article of both 2 bands. RHCP was 69.6 million and Nirvana was 69.4 million at that time. it was narrow than 2007. so what about now? sorry for write here.

  2. Great mix of different artists so far! Keep on adding more and more artists!

    Can you do Mariah Carey next?

  3. Hi there. Very interesting info I used to like them but hold no interest now.

    Could you do Take That next please?

    1. Hello Nirvanamusic!

      Giving your name, I would have expected a Nirvana query instead 🙂

      Take That sold close to nothing in France. Nobody Else debuted and peaked at #13 in 1995, selling some 70,000 units in total. Their Greatest Hits failed to reach 50,000 while after this period only Progress charted with a #42 peak and some 20,000 total sales. A far cry from their UK results!

      1. Thanks for that! Yeah Nirvana and My Chemical Romance are my absolute favourites but I can’t resist Take That’s pop music/songs either..! Must be a British thing by looks of those sales!

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