France Album Sales: Madonna

Ray Of Light (1998) Era

From Like A Virgin to Like A Prayer, Madonna had four consecutive studio albums shifting well over half a million units. From I’m Breathless to Evita, she had four albums in a row selling around 200,000 copies a piece. At the same time various divas, both local and international, issued million selling albums. Being close to 40, the American artist seemed truly a star from the past.

In early 1998, Celine Dion with My Heart Will Go On, Janet Jackson with Together Again and Hélène Ségara in duet with Andrea Bocelli with Vivo Per Lei were occupying spots 1-2-3 in the Singles Chart for many weeks. Lower down the Top 10 huge female hits like Natalie Imbruglia Torn or Lara Fabian Je T’Aime were there as well. Female artists were dominating just as strongly in the album front.

That’s the context on which Madonna released her Ray Of Light album as well as lead single Frozen. This era proved to be incredibly successful for the artist, even more considering how unlikely the singer was to take the crown again on such a competitive background. The single peaked at #2 behind Celine Dion ground-breaking hit while the album did exactly the same with Titanic Soundtrack overshadowing its success. Ray Of Light remained the runner up for as much as seven weeks, shifting huge amounts of copies every week.

Drowned World (Substitute For Love), The Power Of Good-Bye, Nothing Really Matters and Beautiful Stranger all missed the Top 10 but all for the very good reason of helping the album rather than selling by themselves. With 52 weeks inside the Top 30 and 73 weeks Top 50 the album went on to become Madonna most successful record since True Blue. It peaked at #2 in 1998, #13 in 1999, an unreal #10 in 2000 and #61 in 2001 showing outstanding resistance. It passed 900,000 units sales during the latter year.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Frozen – 13,626,000
  2. Ray Of Light – 8,827,000
  3. The Power Of Good-Bye – 4,716,000

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Very nice wok.

You have information about japan charts.

I remenber good positions osaka hot 100, tokio hot 100.

But never found about oricon internationally chart.

Do you have?


I would love to read it. 😊


I completely agree about Hard Candy. It was the turning point (or maybe even of no return), not American Life. From the cover with her fingers touching her left cheek and box – it was creepy.


The greatest mystery for me is Immaculate Collection in Billboard 200. It entered the chart a month after ther release and peaked at #2 three months after the release. Why?


Thank you. Is it the only Diamond US album that weren’t #1 on Billboard 200? Funny it was at at first behind Vanilla Ice and then behind Mariah Carey.


I was just wondering. How does “Ray of Light” managed to be so successful in Europe when you consider most of her singles did terribly on the European charts. It seems like this album does not reflect the conventional belief that strong singles = strong album sales. It is the case in America though, as the album only managed to sell 4-5 million, which isnt really that big for Madonna standard. I hope you could explain to me how it ended being such a strong seller. Thank you in advance.


Hello MJD!

Do Janet Jackson’s too please 🙂

All the best



Angel was no single in France, only in a few markets like the USA. In France we did have Crazy for you during the summer which has been one of her least successful album.
Into the Groove was huge and managed to get into the French top 10 as soon as it was released, a very rare achievement at that time.


Hi MJD, do you have an official page in facebook? It would be easier to follow you there. Thanks!


Actually there were no additional single for Hard Candy in France, after summer, until the release in December of Miles Away, without a video. About 6 months separated the 2 singles and that killed off the album which had managed to remain within the TOP 100 all along the first singles career runs.


What a great job! Thank you for this! Madonna for me is a unique album seller. I am happy that after 30+ years her NEW album “Rebel Heart” managed to sell 55.000 in France and 1.000.000 worldwide… I mean that 1 million for 2016 is a great number! Also I should add that Rebel Heart sold 1million WORLDWIDE and the sales are spread WORLDWIDE. For example Celine’s latest album might have sold 1 million but the 800k are from France and Canada. (I am exaggerating a little bit but I want you to understand my point of view). I am… Read more »

kieron sargent

i dont think flop is the right word. u cant compare sales of ray of light to mdna or sales of true blue to rebel heart. the industry is different albums dont sell like they used to. sure some of her albums have underperformed a bit but all have made the best seller list world wide for the year they were released . great article though


Spotify figures don’t include all the streams. You have left out almost all Immaculate Collection- and Celebration-collection albums’ streams. For example Papa Don’t Preach’s total streams are 11,63 M ( True Blue-album: 4,02 M, Immaculate Collection-album:0,87 M, Celebration-album 6,74 M) or Like A Prayer’s total streams are 45,25 M (Like A Prayer-album: 15,93 M, Immaculate Collection-album: 0,93 M and Celebration- album 28,39 M). And so on and so on.