France Album Sales: Mylène Farmer

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L’Autre (1991) Era

March 1991. It has been less than a year since the last single aimed to promote En Concert was released when the new one Désenchantée came out. No need to say the single and its parent album L’Autre were heavily anticipated. The single lasted an impressive 9 weeks at #1 while L’Autre on its side dominated the Album ranking during an incredible 20 weeks.

One may say end of story as numbers speak for themselves. As explained on the detailed article about this album yet, the album had no competition at all during its long run at the top and sold less than what’s suggested by those positions. This era was still flawless. Each subsequent single – Regrets #3, Je T’Aime Mélancolie #3, Beyond My Control #8 – went Top 10 and the album remained relevant until mid-1992. Shipping 350,000 units within’ three weeks, it shifted 825,000 copies by the end of 1991, 1,15 million by May 1992 and 1,25 million by the end of 1992.

For all artists with a strong fanbase who collect all their favorite artists items, the target of labels is to issue as many records as possible. In France, there is two artists enjoying way more active collectable items purchasers than anyone else, Johnny Hallyday and Mylène Farmer. The impact on the latter was the 1992 release of Dance Remix, a collection of remixes as it is made clear by the package title. Promoted by #9 single Que Mon Coeur Lâche, the set wasn’t eligible for the main album chart. By 1992, the Compilation chart, which encapsulate both multi-artists compilations as well as greatest hits type packages, had been created. The remix album charted at #3 there during the holiday season behind best of albums from Joe Cocker and Police. Its late 2xGold certification, 200,000 units by April 1994 do not mean the level was reached at that time. Indeed, Polydor did no audit at all in 1992 / 1993 until certifying all best of type albums on May 25 1994, an audit on which was included Dance Remix.

The interesting point is that most of those Polydor compilations certified in April 1994 were exactly those who competed into charts against Mylène Farmer album. Below is this list of records with their ranking on 1992 Christmas frame:

  • #3 PoliceGreatest Hits – Platinum: 300,000
  • #4 Mylène Farmer – Dance Remix – 2xGold: 200,000
  • #5 Bee GeesSuccess Story – 2xGold: 200,000
  • #6 SupertrampThe Very Best Of – Gold: 100,000

The Bee Gees set was released one month earlier during which it was #2 so it hasn’t necessarily sold less than Dance Remix. Supertramp record was released the exact same week and charted lower all along but not by much. Sales by April 1994 certification can be estimated on 230,000 units for Mylène Farmer package.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Désenchantée – 2,239,000
  2. Je T’Aime Mélancolie – 293,000
  3. Regrets – 267,000

16 thoughts on “France Album Sales: Mylène Farmer”

  1. Hi dear MJD !!!

    Congratulations again for the website and also for the analysis carried for France Album Sales of Mylène Farmer.
    Then I would like to know if this week you analyze some singer or group, maybe you will analyze the CSPC of the Rolling Stones !!!

    1. Hello Anthony,

      I won’t kill the fun by saying who it concerns, but yes a CSPC analysis is ongoing! Not sure it will be of most interest for you as it is about a recent solo act 😉

      The Rolling Stones CSPC article will come out at the same time as their new album!

      1. Of course dear MJD, I believe will be analized one of Drake, Sia, Alicia Keys and Robbie Williams. Then I’m interested in all the artists that you analyze, it is true, I have my preferences for the groups and for the music of the 60 ‘, 70’, 80 ‘ but I am a lover of records sold for each artist as their own you !!!

  2. These articles are great. Thank you so much. Concerning the quantity of albums sold worldwide, I heard like 30 mio. Correct, possible ?

    1. Hello Florence!

      Thanks for your nice words! There is many legends about Mylène Farmer album sales in various countries like Japan but most of them are false. For example, in that specific country where she is supposed to be a superstar as per various French Medias, she never entered the Top 300 Album Chart.

      She did break into Russian market, but ironically that’s a small one, very few legal copies are sold there. Of course, there is French-speaking countries outsold France where she did sell some records. Innamoramento got certified for 200,000 units sold abroad in late 2001, when it had topped 1 million in France. If we follow that pattern that would mean about two and a half million sold elsewhere, while going deeper into analysis would provide better results, from 2 to 3 million is likely the correct ballpark.

      At 14-15 million, we are still very far from 30 million. Claims are often made on cumulative record sales yet. Adding 7 to 8 million singles – again, would require deeper analysis – a couple of million music videos plus digital sales plus duplicating all discs sales like Les Mots which is a 2CD set, we get close to 30 million overall. As I often stated though, while this is an efficient communication trick, I don’t think all sales of all formats are worth being added together without weighting properly each type of record.

  3. it is safe to say that she is the 2nd best selling female in france after celine dion right?
    btw off the top of your head how many male singers sold more than celine in france? i assume johnny hallyday, jean jacques goldman for sure, anyone else?

    1. Hi Pat!

      I assume you refer to album sales. Hallyday is safely ahead, Michel Sardou too. Then both Goldman and Cabrel are close enough to require additional study in order to rank them. If you include singles, the later has no chance though.

      Indeed, among female singers, Celine and Mylène are at 1/2 in terms of album sales!

      1. yes i was referring to albums and i thought of cabrel and sardou but didn’t think they would be close or in sardou’s case way ahead. i need to look at sardou’s discography closer. i can’t wait for their sales in france posts.
        man your work is fantastic, for anyone who loves numbers and putting numbers in perspective, this is heaven!!

    1. Hello Djouahra!

      I mentioned from 2 to 3 million, which isn’t exactly the same thing 😀

      She sold routinely 8-10% of her French sales in Belgium, some 3-5% is Switzerland and about the same in Germany / Netherlands / Scandinavia. Using the average for each area, this brings 17% of 12 million additional sales, which equals to slightly more than 2 million.

      Then, one need to consider her sales in Russia – some recent albums sold as much as 10% of their French sales there – and the few units she sold in the likes Canada or Japan. All in all, that will sum up to around 2,5 million. As it involves shares calculations rather than albums-specific estimates, I prefered sticking with a ballpark, e.g. 2 to 3 million 😉

  4. OMG big fan of Mylene here.. I’ve always wondered how she marketed herself and stayed relevant all these years especially 2006 onward as not much controversy has been issued from her-probably her loyal fans. But I was wondering if you could do an analysis on her former protege Alizee. Her debut single/ album was monster and her sophomore album did pretty fine but when she left the Farmer/ boutonnat machine- it was pretty much over.

    1. scratch that with Alizee-actually please do an analysis of Laurent Boutonnat- it seems as every French artist he in a sense creates turned to gold – Mylene, Nathalie Cardone, Alizee…

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