France Album Sales: Michael Jackson

Invincible (2001) Era

Returning after a six years hiatus to follow up four consecutive million sellers, the King Of Pop dropped his new opus in October 2001 with the Invincible album.

Widely regarded as a big flop in later years, the album still broke two major records in France. First, it was the fastest selling album since the introduction of retail sales scans in 1996, moving 166,000 units in its debut week. While Johnny Hallyday stole that overall record a few months later, it took until Adele’s 25 in 2015 to see that mark topped by an international album, as this later LP sold 169,000 to debut at #1.

#1 that’s where Michael Jackson was sitting on all three major charts – Album Chart, Singles Chart, Airplay Chart – at some point with the album Invincible and the single You Rock My World, a feat never achieved before. After three weeks at the top the album was already up to nearly 300,000 registered sales.

Second single Cry wasn’t big. A song undesired by the artist, a video clip Sony Music created without even involving Michael Jackson, that single was poised to perform poorly, peaking at #30. After a couple of months in the market the album was already up to a huge half a million units sold, definitely on its way to sell a million with a stability similar to its predecessor that each enjoyed a few two-years promotional period.

Unfortunately, that was it. After one and a half singles, no more investments were done on the record marketing. No tour was performed either. As a result the record collapsed from the Top 10 to out of the Top 150 within’ a mere three months, ultimately climbing to 570,000 sales by early 2005.

To benefit from Invincible’s release, Off The Wall (#53), Thriller (#33), Bad (#43) and Dangerous (#67) were issued in remastered editions, all charting back in the Album ranking at the positions mentioned in brackets. Songs from the HIStory album were still fairly recent so the album saw no remastered sound, but the greatest hits CD1 was released as a standalone record, peaking at #10 in the Compilation Chart. Weirdly enough, the second disc containing the new songs from HIStory was never released by itself, weakening the album catalog sales considering its heavy price. By the end of 2002, Michael Jackson sales were looking as detailed below.

Studio Albums

1972 Got To Be There – 60,000
1972 Ben – 40,000
1973 Music And Me – 40,000
1975 Forever Michael – 25,000
1979 Off The Wall – 570,000
1982 Thriller – 2,810,000
1987 Bad – 1,415,000
1991 Dangerous – 1,935,000
1995 HIStory – 1,520,000
2001 Invincible – 555,000

Compilation Albums

1975 Best Of Michael Jackson – 50,000
1992 Motown Greatest Hits– 100,000
1995 Best Of – Anthology Series – 40,000
1997 The Very Best Of – 30,000
2001 Greatest Hits HIStory Vol 1 – 70,000
2001 Talents Du Siècle – 70,000

Remix Albums

1984 Farewell My Summer Love – 50,000
1997 Blood On The Dancefloor – 410,000

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. You Rock My World – 20,786,000
  2. Butterflies – 5,247,000
  3. Speechless – 3,043,000

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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.