Nobody would seriously expect a 65 year old singer to register the best selling album of the year with fresh new material in any given relevant market. However, the French singer Renaud did just that in 2016 in his native country. Even ferocious competition from Céline Dion wasn’t enough to stop him.
Ironically, Renaud had never had the #1 top selling album of the year in France in spite of 3 gigantic albums, all featured inside the all-time Top 100 best selling albums in the country. His Morgane de Toi was blocked by Michael Jackson‘s Thriller in 1983. Both Dire Straits‘ Brothers In Arms and Jean-Jacques Goldman‘s Non Homologué beat his Mistral Gagnant in 1985, while the same album was topped by Daniel Balavoine‘s Sauver L’Amour in 1986. The tremendous smash of Boucan d’Enfer in 2002 would have guaranteed the #1 spot in most years, but Patrick Bruel‘s Entre Deux prevented this feat.
Just like every other country the music market in France isn’t limited to pure album sales, as the country is quickly morphing into a streaming-axed market. Compilations still sell well and live albums are especially strong. The iconic song by Renaud, the 1985 ballad Mistral Gagnant, is available through more than 30 supports in total. For this reason, it is time to apply the CSPC to a non-international act for a change.
Among French artists I had five main choices. The first two are Francis Cabrel and Jean-Jacques Goldman who sold terrific amounts of records in relatively few eras. The largest part of the former’s discography just arrived on Spotify while the latter isn’t available still, which prevents me from applying relevant formulas to combine compilations into their original studio albums. Then there is Mylène Farmer who also sold tons of units with her original albums plus compilations and live sets. Her popularity in some foreign countries like Russia distorts the ratio of Spotify too as we will see later which excluded this possibility. The case of Johnny Hallyday would be fascinating but let’s be honest, his Elvis-like discography makes it a nightmare. So, that leaves us with our local Bruce Springsteen, the rock giant Renaud and his impressive catalog.
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Renaud‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.