France Album Sales: Britney Spears

In The Zone (2003) Era

A duet with Madonna may seem a good idea to start a new promotional campaign. It resulted as a very good decision in the end.

The song, Me Against The Music, was used as the lead single of Britney Spears fourth album, November 2003 set In The Zone. The #11 peak wasn’t that bad but it was reached mostly due to the duet hype, after which the song went down and down. Once the album was released, it went straight at #1 thanks to the artist fan base but by week two In The Zone was down to #11 and to #21 on its third week highlighting the very little support got from the single.

If the decision to use this song as the lead single due to the famous collaboration was bad it’s because the album definitely had radio friendly material. In fact, both subsequent singles Toxic (#3) and Everytime (#2) were the American superstar biggest hits since 1999. The problem is that the album had already the image of a flop at that point – down to #76 by January before Toxic release -, which is very different to change. The low sales from January to August also prevented the album from sales as well as it should have done considering those successes. Had Toxic or Everytime been released as the lead single during the Christmas season, this album would have no doubt sold more copies by now. Still, with some 125,000 units sold in each 2003 and 2004, the album final sales were nothing to be ashamed of.

In late 2004, a first career compilation was released, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative. A #1 in Compilation front, this record sold over 160,000 units in its nine weeks of sales during 2004, plus 40,000 copies in 2005 as new songs used as singles failed to support this package.

As the artist was struggling with personal issues, her label Jive continued to exploit her catalog by releasing B In The Mix – The Remixes for 2005 fall. The set peaked at #32 in the compilation chart and sold 15,000 units.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Toxic – 79,068,000
  2. Everytime – 24,907,000
  3. Me Against The Music feat. Madonna – 7,251,000

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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