France Album Sales: Britney Spears

Baby One More Time (1999) Era

Barely 17, Britney Spears stormed into the summit of charts all around the world with her debut single Baby One More Time. During the various previous studies, we noticed the large majority of American acts needed multiple albums before even entering the France Album Chart. Britney Spears story was completely different as she was one of the acts in music industry history that was a superstar from day 1.

The single debuted at a very high #6 position and climbed all the way to the top spot during the following month, lasting two weeks at #1 and 17 weeks Top 10.

With the single dominating in April 1999, the album was launched too hitting #20. From that point the promotion kept going very well with one new hit every four months, each sustaining the album well. Second single Sometimes went #13 in August, sending the album to a new peak of #19 after dropping at #55 on its lower point. Third single was (You Drive Me) Crazy, a huge five weeks #2 smash during 1999 Christmas season. This success pushed the album from #38 to #4, a new peak reached on the very last week of the year. This hit right on time for the busiest period of the year exploded sales of the album. On 150,000 units prior this single, a few weeks later by the end of the year the set was up to 350,000 copies and still selling well in January. As it was happening for nine months, when the album started to go down a bit a new single took over, this time Born To Make You Happy. This #9 hit gave Baby One More Time album a last ride into the Top 10 in March 2000, almost one year after its release.

A mere one month after this record last stood into the Top 10, Britney Spears moved to her next album. Still, Baby One More Time was Top 75 by  July, dropping out only because of the short Album Chart. In total, the album sold over 220,000 units in 2000, a to date tally of 550,000 copies. In 2001, when the ranking was extended from a Top 75 to a Top 150, it appeared the album was always selling as it charted in January, but for now let’s move on to the next era.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Baby One More Time – 56,099,000
  2. Sometimes – 9,992,000
  3. (You Drive Me) Crazy – 8,274,000

6 thoughts on “France Album Sales: Britney Spears”

    1. Hello Sam!

      Thanks a lot for the nice words. I’m well aware of both figures you are quoting, as I’m also the webmaster of fanofmusic website. Those two pages were done many years ago with assumptions related to the market size and IFOP year end chart. It appeared in later years that IFOP figures were often quite off the mark, which is why it was replaced by GFK as official data provider.

      The key information in the case of Britney album is that Virgin did a major audit of their catalog on July 9 2002. At that point, Britney was 2xGold (200,000) and it was not updated to Platinum (300,000). The album slowed down a lot after July, had it sold 405,000 units by the end of the year, it would have necessarily shipped enough to be certified Platinum during this July audit. It went Platinum in the next Virgin catalog audit in February 2003 instead. My assumption is that the album was truly close to the 300,000 mark by that point, which is how it concluded the year on 350,000 overall copies sold.

    1. Well first of all, this article is outdated. Her CSPC analysis has updated sales for her albums in France. They look like this now:

      1999 Baby One More Time – 720,000
      2000 Oops!… I Did It Again – 510,000
      2001 Britney – 415,000
      2003 In The Zone – 280,000
      2007 Blackout – 95,000
      2008 Circus – 190,000
      2011 Femme Fatale – 90,000
      2013 Britney Jean – 30,000

      She’s the biggest female of her generation in France. Not just there, in most of Europe actually. Her numbers are very good, I don’t see what’s disappointing about them. They’re slightly less impressive compared to what she pulled in Asia/North America/South America, but not “disappointing” by any means. Christina Aguilera’s whole discography (<400k) sold less than Britney's 3rd album in France and Beyoncé's total in France is equal to 720,000 aka the sales of Britney's 1st album there.

      The only European market where she had album sales that I could understand someone labeling them as "disappointing" is the UK, considering what a big market it is. However, everywhere else, she was huge. (Germany, Poland, Belgium, France, Austria ect)

      1. Even in the UK her album sales are still very good. She’s among the Top 20 best-selling female artists ever in terms of album sales.

    2. Can’t be that disappointing when she has outsold all her main female peers there, and by a large margin…

      1. Britney Spears – 2,675,000
      2. P!nk – 1,605,000
      3. Alicia Keys – 1,420,000
      4. Jennifer Lopez – 1,085,000
      5. Avril Lavigne – 850,000
      6. Destiny’s Child – 820,000
      7. Beyoncé – 755,000
      8. Christina Aguilera – 400,000

      She’s also outsold Shakira (around 2.2 million album sales), and obviously the likes of Taylor Swift (who has yet to outsell Glory with her new album), Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc.

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