France best selling albums ever: Entre-Deux by Patrick Bruel (2002)
When Patrick Bruel released Entre-Deux in 2002, his last three sold albums had sold cumulatively over 4 million copies in France, setting very high expectations on the new record. In this context, changing a winning formula was seen as a very risky move, Bruel still took it by dropping an album of French standards covers initially released in-between both World Wars. Most songs were duets with other French giants including Johnny Hallyday, Francis Cabrel, Jean-Jacques Goldman and, ironically, his upcoming best charts enemy Renaud.
Losing the battle to Renaud blockbuster Boucan D’Enfer album in its debut week, Entre-Deux was strong enough to climb to the Top on its 3rd week and remain there for 11 weeks. During the initial nine months of the album life, it never left the top 10.
Although this run was impressive, as with Renaud, the most impressive was the ground of sales managed during the early weeks. In fact, the album shipped 900,000 copies in one month only and went Diamond within’ twelve weeks despite being released in the low summer period. After five months, it was up to 1,7 million units shipped. It ended 2002 year with 1,8 million copies sold in France.
By the time the album wasn’t over yet as it sold an additional 300,000 copies in 2003, although an estimated 50,000 of them was part of the 1,8 million units shipped during the previous year. It did well in 2004 too with 80,000 copies sold and kept selling an average of 20,000 copies a year until 2007 included. Since that time the artist hasn’t been as successful as he used to be and Entre-Deux suffered as well, never coming back on charts for over 8 years, adding an estimated 40,000 units.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 2,230,000 copies, making it the highest selling album of the 21th Century.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Le Parisien, Le Figaro.