France Album Sales: Mylène Farmer

Cendres De Lune (1986) Era

After a couple of unsuccessful songs issued in 1984 and 1985, Polydor label still had a lot of faith in Mylène Farmer due to her strong potential. They invested huge amounts of money to release the music video of the song and were no wrong in doing so.

In April 1986, both the album Cendres De Lune and the single Libertine came out. As airplay started to climb, the video of the single was shot by career-long movie maker partner Laurent Boutonnat. Why do I mention that video so much? Quite simply because it was shot as a mini-movie of over 10 minutes which was premiered in Champs-Elysées theater with Mylène Farmer appearing at times fully naked on it. The buzz was created, the controversy was on and the career of the red-hair singer was started.

The fast word of mouth pushed the single all the way up to #10 in the last week of October. As seen in previous France Album Sales articles, it was truly hard to sell albums for newcomers in this country yet. In addition, the Top Album was barely a Top 20 chart which featured both Artist albums and Compilation albums. Thus, Cendres De Lune failed to reach the ranking. During 1987 pretty much the same scenario was reproduced. The album was newly released one year after the first version, adding the track Tristana. The video was huge, the single a #7 hit, the album still failed to chart.

This lack of information created a lot of myths around the album sales in latter years. There is some label-axed information though as in 1986 / 1987 Polydor were certifying its albums Gold like several ones from the Cure or Sting. Certainly coming close to the 100,000 units mark by the release of subsequent album a couple of years later, Cendres De Lune was effectively still under the milestone with an estimated 90,000 units.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Libertine – 518,000
  2. Tristana – 224,000
  3. Maman A Tort – 222,000

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What a very consistent result. Especially given the fact that she takes a long time to release each studio albums. I was just wondering about her sales in Canada. Was she huge there?


Oh wow. Very surprising. I thought she would’ve been massive in at least Quebec.


It’s because contrarily to Cabrel and Bruel, Farmer never really tried to promote herself in Quebec


OMG big fan of Mylene here.. I’ve always wondered how she marketed herself and stayed relevant all these years especially 2006 onward as not much controversy has been issued from her-probably her loyal fans. But I was wondering if you could do an analysis on her former protege Alizee. Her debut single/ album was monster and her sophomore album did pretty fine but when she left the Farmer/ boutonnat machine- it was pretty much over.


scratch that with Alizee-actually please do an analysis of Laurent Boutonnat- it seems as every French artist he in a sense creates turned to gold – Mylene, Nathalie Cardone, Alizee…



Okay, thank you for all these explanations.



Mylene Farmer has sold 2.5-3 million albums for export? I would have thought 1.5-2 million.


it is safe to say that she is the 2nd best selling female in france after celine dion right?
btw off the top of your head how many male singers sold more than celine in france? i assume johnny hallyday, jean jacques goldman for sure, anyone else?


yes i was referring to albums and i thought of cabrel and sardou but didn’t think they would be close or in sardou’s case way ahead. i need to look at sardou’s discography closer. i can’t wait for their sales in france posts.
man your work is fantastic, for anyone who loves numbers and putting numbers in perspective, this is heaven!!


i wonder where artists like piaf, mathieu and dalida figure there.


These articles are great. Thank you so much. Concerning the quantity of albums sold worldwide, I heard like 30 mio. Correct, possible ?


Amazing work ! Thank you very much !
Just curious : how much time do you spend on an article like this one ?


Hi dear MJD !!!

Congratulations again for the website and also for the analysis carried for France Album Sales of Mylène Farmer.
Then I would like to know if this week you analyze some singer or group, maybe you will analyze the CSPC of the Rolling Stones !!!


Of course dear MJD, I believe will be analized one of Drake, Sia, Alicia Keys and Robbie Williams. Then I’m interested in all the artists that you analyze, it is true, I have my preferences for the groups and for the music of the 60 ‘, 70’, 80 ‘ but I am a lover of records sold for each artist as their own you !!!