France best selling albums ever:
(1997)

Valses By Andre Rieu

Minor music genres are often dominated by one or two acts only. The general public buys mostly Pop / Rock / Urban albums and then go on with Bob Marley (Reggae), Miles Davis (Jazz), ABBA (Disco), Shakira (Spanish language) or Andrea Bocelli (Opera) to fulfill their low demand on each minor genre. From mid-90s, Andre Rieu cleverly took that spot for Classical genre, selling it to the masses.

It all started in 1997 with the album Valses. The album, hardly receiving airplay support, was almost completely driven by TV boosts. TV spots, his songs used on some ads, airing of a live performance, Andre Rieu was everywhere. This cult insurance ad was the main generator of sales, extensively using the song Waltz 2 from Dmitri Shostakovich. This unusual promotion led Valses to various ups and downs as TV boosts are much more concentrated than radio airplay.

Thus, the album debuted at #32, climbed to #11 and then immediately dropped to #28. It did 22-9-11 one month later and then 10-16-6 just after. From October 1997 to May 1998 it had various such movements, peaking at #4. In the meantime, sales total was climbing week after week.

It sold about 320,000 units in 1997 and was relevantly certified Platinum late that year. Selling all year long in 1998, the record was certified 2xPlatinum for 600,000 sales in March. In fact, it sold an estimated 520,000 units that year, ending as the 15th bestseller. It broke the 900,000 units barrier during 1999 until finally denting the million mark in October 2001.

As it isn’t a proper album with specific tracks by instead one more package of known songs, Valses isn’t getting strong catalog sales at all this days. The fact Andre Rieu got various more hit albums – an impressive total of 14 top 20 regular albums plus 2 compilations from 1997 to 2010, more than one per year – means many different packages have been released since. Sales for the album concerning us are estimated at around 80,000 since 2002, most of them in the earliest years.

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!

Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Youtube.

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