If one start looking for the most widespread link between all French million selling albums of the last 20 years, his conclusion will definitely be a three-letter one: TF1. French Media environment has this particularity of being extremely dominated by the first TV channel. The only one available during many years in the past, the average 40+ music consumer of French variety has the habit of mixing “television” and “TF1”, there is no other channel for a large part of the country.
Even in 2015, with all new channels (both free and per subscription), TF1 scooped the ridiculous number of 98 programs out of the Top 100 TV highest ratings of the year. I’ll let you guess how insanely popular the channel was by 2002.
This powerful position enabled the channel to discover, release or sponsor more than half of the million selling albums in France since two decades. Star Academy formula, half reality TV, half singing contest, revealed to be incredibly successful, to the surprise of no one. The 2002 edition was the second one, earned by Nolwenn Leroy, who issued the extremely sucessful Bretonne album, selling 950,000 copies since its 2010 release.
First album of Star Academy 2 alumnis, Chante Michel Berger, felt short of selling a million copies in France, although managing the milestone in Europe once Belgium and Switzerland sales added. Their second album yet, Chante Les Années 80, also titled Fait Sa Boum, released only one month later while the season was still ongoing and hotter than ever, needed no help in its quest. Despite never been certified Diamond, the album went 3x Platinum, 900,000 copies shipped, in five weeks only.
Those five weeks were enough to be #6 bestseller of the year, ahead of stiff competition including Paradize by Indochine, with an estimated 20,000 lead. The album was still going strong in early 2003, completing the year as the #36 bestseller, with an estimated 210,000 copies sold, some 40,000 copies below Paradize.
I’m using the Indochine album as a referential since Chante Les Années 80 French certifications are pretty meaningless as obtained quickly and during the massive Christmas rush and both albums ended both years 2002 and 2003 very close on year end charts. Since the rock band album sold 1,06 million, that implies 1,04 million for Star Academy 2 album. This figure fits perfectly with its January 2003 IFPI European Platinum award representing 1 million sales.
The album had two weeks inside the catalog chart in 2004 but has been pretty much forgotten since.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,080,000 copies.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!