A la Dido, the success of Moby wasn’t exactly an out of the blue event. The album Play is likely the only album ever to be an underground hit album spanning four singles over 15 months and then a crossover hit with five singles. In total it got nine singles released over a 30 months period.
The first life of the album was mostly a UK-US phenomenon. All four 1998/1999 singles were Top 40 hits in UK, but all failed to chart in France. It wasn’t bad yet as Moby, a major Dance act since the early 90s, was strictly underground. In early 2000, various of his songs including Natural Blues and Porcelain got used on several TV ads with heavy rotation on main channels worldwide. This sent Moby into a new dimension.
During February 2000, the album Play first entered the Top 75 album chart at #50, nine months after its official release. Noticing the highly favorable public reaction to his hits radios started to air Natural Blues. Play profile increased again. The set reached the Top 10 by April, in late June, it was the unexpected #1 selling album in the country. The Dance act fully enjoyed his new status by dominating completely the market during the summer, cumulating nothing less than 10 weeks at the top.
Although several of its certifications are missing from SNEP website, the album went 2xPlatinum in 2000 and 3xPlatinum in 2001. In September 2003, it finally reached Diamond status, over four years after its release.
In years 2003-2006 Play sold 55,000 copies, plus to date sales of 35,000 units of the Play / 18 2CD box. The 2006 release of Go, The Very Best Of pretty much killed catalog sales of studio albums while the lack of success from Moby recent albums isn’t helping either. It added some 40,000 copies since, most of them in late 00s.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,130,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP.