France Album Sales: Madonna

Like A Virgin (1984) Era

Released in November 12 1984, Like A Virgin shipped almost 3 million units within’ 1984 alone, a huge number for the time as this album was among Warner’s top sellers of the year topped by the gigantic 11 million sales of Prince album Purple Rain.

Those figures highlight how high Madonna’s profile was rising. At that period of the industry, artists had to prove their selling power at each level before getting promoted elsewhere. This extraordinary success in late 1984 was mostly a US phenomenon and then opened doors to international markets. That’s why by March 1985 the album climbed into the Top 10 in the UK after several weeks low in the Top 75, with the lead single Like A Virgin hitting #3. In France too the track was the first Madonna song to gain ground, hitting #8. This was the first Top 10 hit of a woman who would become an absolute legend within a few years.

The album failed to chart though as the Top 20 Album ranking was extremely hard to break for both newcomers and foreign artists, let alone for artists entering both categories. Following singles Material Girl, one week at #47, and Angel, which failed to chart, didn’t help the album. The situation wasn’t looking very good for Like A Virgin at that point.

After two singles failing to make much of an impact, the era of an album generally should be over. The luck of this record is that those singles did succeed very well in various countries including the US and the UK, so the promotion continued, including in France. Thus, the fourth single, Into The Groove, was released in September.

It became a massive 15-week Top 10 hit, peaking at #2. The single also rocketed the album instantly inside the Top 10, running 5-5-9-10 in Monthly charts of the last four months of the year, selling a calculated 243,000 units. The success only in France as the album concluded 1985 with incredible totals of 6 million US sales plus 5 million elsewhere. The same report reveals the debut album was well over 4 million copies worldwide although it was still nowhere to be seen in France.

Fifth and last single Dress You Up, which reached #18, in February 1986 helped the album to remain inside the Top 20 best sellers for four additional months running 14-9-12-16 from January to April. The set sold a calculated 181,000 units for the year, 424,000 in total, pushing it past the 400,000 criteria for Platinum status, which the album received that year. From May, eyes moved from Like A Virgin to the follow up album…

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Like A Virgin – 27,336,000
  2. Material Girl – 24,041,000
  3. Into The Groove – 12,078,000

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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.