France best selling albums ever: Proxima Estacion Esperanza by Manu Chao (2001)
One of the most authentic acts of French music scene, Manu Chao, former leader of cult band Mano Negra, was in front of the biggest challenge of his career in 2001 when he had to follow up the monster seller Clandestino.
If that album broke all longevity records, the new 2001 set Proxima Estacion Esperanza went viral from its release thanks to the crossover hit serving as lead single Me Gustas Tu. Spending its first 17 weeks inside the Top 3, including 11 at #1, the album was certified Double Platinum in December 2001 audit, although it was eligible for various months already, since there has been no update of Virgin Music certifications between 26/6 and 18/12. By mid-December 2001, the album was indeed up to 850,000 copies shipped in France, after selling over 400,000 units by July and 800,000 by late September.
As both Best Of by Mano Negra as well as Radio Bemba Sound System by Manu Chao got certified during 2002, one may wonder why Proxima Estacion Esperanza wasn’t certified 3xPlatinum if the 850,000 figure is valid, despite selling 105,000 copies in 2002 as per year end chart. Fact is, December 2001 value including large amounts of shipments for Christmas rush, but Manu Chao has never been a gift favorite, rather one artist people buy for themselves. The low placing of the album at that time, outside the Top 40 already, which was never improved in 2002, imply most copies sold in first months of 2002 had been shipped in late 2001.
The 3xPlatinum award was finally received in 17/09/2003, the first time that year Virgin audited its sales, minus a couple of sub-division Jive audits, meaning the album reached 900,000 plateau anytime during the first three quarters of the year, most likely at the beginning of it. The album added 40,000 units that year and about 75,000 since, plus 50,000 for the 2CD box with Clandestino classic album.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,065,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, L’Express.