France Album Sales: Michael Jackson

Thriller (1982) Era

Considering how many singles and albums reached OK-ish sales in 1979/1980, the name of Michael Jackson was already known in France, but expectations were still fairly modest by 1982 when Thriller first came out.

Charting at #17 in February thanks to lead single The Girl Is Mine airplay, the album was already at a higher peak than every other album Michael Jackson had released prior. Second single Billie Jean then exploded in April. A career changing smash, the hit went on to sell more than 1 million units, a massive amount for the market. The album followed the same road, climbing all the way to #1 during the summer. Beat It was released as the third single, itself rocketing to #1 and one million sales just like its immediate predecessor, while the album too passed that mark.

With six months inside the Top 5 during 1983, the single Thriller destroyed all competition. Becoming the third million selling single of the album – while only five non-Michael Jackson songs sold that much in 1983 and 1984 combined – this track and its iconic video clip pretty much created the viral concept. It was Top 5 for most of 1984, and the album achieved an all-time record of 2,1 million copies sold by the end of that year.

The artist’s last album with his brothers Victory was released in 1984, quickly hitting Gold status, representing 100,000 units sold. Thanks to this new popularity too, Off The Wall sold relevant amounts as a catalog album pushing its to date tally to 150,000 units. Motown tried to benefit from this buzz as well, dropping Farewell My Summer Love album. It failed to make that much noise, selling under 50,000 copies.

Top 3 (+3) Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Billie Jean – 164,055,000
  2. Beat It – 104,077,000
  3. Thriller – 75,538,000
  4. P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) – 51,570,000
  5. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – 32,476,000
  6. Human Nature – 27,220,000

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Hi MJD can you make Janet’s France album sales entire discography please because for the Control and Rhythm Nation you mentioned 0 sales here in France I know that she wasn’t famous back then before the Janet album here in continental Europe but I would like to know…


Crazy numbers. Biggest artist of all time.


Would you please give us Michael’s little sister, Janet Jackson, too?


Fantastic work… like always!


Hello MJD!
Very impressive sales, but for Jackson nothing is impossible!
I think that a CSPC analysis for him would be really interesting. I imagine that it will be a gigantic task but I can not wait to see how the figures will be.
Can you say me what are the next artists you will study?


I expected massive sales but not this massive! The one and only king of pop!



Actually 14 million is an extremely massive numbers, especially considering the little amount of albums he released. Madonna literally had to sell twice as much album and still she cannot beat his record, even trailing 4 million, which is a very huge number considering the french market. To put into perspective 4 million is the entire number of albums Whitney Houston managed to sell in France. Therefore you can see how much bigger he is compared to Madonna, whom she herself is an extremely big star in France and probably the biggest after MJ and The Beatles.


i am assuming you mean MJ Beatles and Madonna are the biggest international non-french speaking artists in France? Because if it is any international star, then all of them are way behind Celine Dion.


That’s so wrong. MJ released over 30 albums as you can see. Madonna releases 26. Compilations are equally important as studio albums, you can’t just disregard them.


Lol. Sorry Jayden. I misread your comment. Please ignore it.


+14 million albums!!! Yes!!! Great numbers for Michael, as espected.