France Album Sales: Madonna


This Excel capture displays both the album sales of each Madonna studio set as well as the percentage of evolution from album to album.

As per the evolution curve, Ray Of Light is the artist most successful album while her worst is Hard Candy. Surprising? Well, not that much. In fact, both Like A Virgin and True Blue were immensely popular, each with respectively 191% and 153% of their immediate predecessor sales starting from a high point. If both end up nowhere near Ray Of Light, it is because Madonna was still a fresh new hyped act. Without downgrading results of her early albums, tons of artists have been big with their first albums. What appears to be a gigantic smash is reproducing hey-days sales after several lower profile albums, which is very precisely Ray Of Light.

At the end of the day, if Madonna had followed a natural path her sales would have continued to go down in late 90s and afterwards. Had this situation happened, Celine Dion would have been likely the biggest selling female album artist ever. Ray Of Light changed Madonna career from one of the biggest female artists of all-time to the biggest female artist of all-time.

In the same way, Confessions On A Dance Floor outstanding results have been as unexpected as impressive.

Among negative albums, each Like A Prayer, Erotica, Bedtime Stories, Music and American Life sold 58-72% of their predecessor. It is no surprise that both MDNA (45%) and Rebel Heart (52%) are two huge flops. I myself often argued how much of a flop Hard Candy was when it was first released in 2008, only to be contradicted by many. This album is the exact opposite of Ray Of Light, an album that lowered expectations so much – only 25% of its predecessor –  that it made the artist lose sales once all things considered as it destroyed the artist profile in the middle and long run, as shown on results of following records.

A last comment, pretty relevant in Madonna case. Among her 12 non-debut studio albums, 4 of them outsold their predecessor, each of them achieving from 153% to 390% of the previous set. In the other side, her 8 decreasing albums all did 25-72% of their predecessor. As incredible as it may seem over the curse of 12 albums, none of them sold 73-152% of their predecessors. In other words, all Madonna albums have been huge smashes or relative flops, an entire career made of up and down albums. Obviously, it must be said that this curve of sales have been entirely done on very high waters with Madonna weakest albums selling numbers dreamed by many.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: SNEP, IFOP, GFK, Spotify,

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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.