Renaud albums and songs sales

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 Céline Dion‘s ferocious competition wasn’t enough to stop him.

Ironically, Renaud has 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 StraitsBrothers 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.

ChartMasters’ method: the CSPC

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC) in order to relevantly gauge the act’s results. It will not only bring you sales information for all albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will really determine the act’s popularity.

If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a nice and short video of explaining the concept. I recommend watching it before reading on and to the sales figures. You’ll get the idea in just two minutes.

And if you want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.

Now let’s get into the artist’s detailed sales figures!

Renaud’s original albums sales

Please be aware that the figure displayed inside the graphic represents the Worldwide sales of each album.

A total of 13,23 million, an average of 827,000. Historically, the market of France and the French-speaking parts of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada has been about 8 times lower than the US market along with mainstream Canada. It means Renaud‘s albums sold in those areas the equivalent of 6,5 million on average in North America. This highlights the magnitude of his success.

Morgane de Toi, Mistral Gagnant and Boucan d’Enfer were his stand-out points with Renaud now joining them. His consistency is insane too – the only three albums that sold under 400,000 units are albums of cover songs. In fact, his debut remains his only album of original music under half a million sales.

Just like most rockers he sold many more albums than singles. It isn’t a reason to overlook those singles though. The next sections reveal his performances in every format for singles.

Physical Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.


After a slow start Renaud took off thanks to the hit Laisse Béton. He directly entered French culture history as it popularized the verlan, an argot consisting of reversing syllables. It remains widely talked up to this day.

His albums started to do well from then on but no song really did wonders in physical single format, although Marche à l’ombre was a decent seller.

Amoureux De Paname (1975) – 6,000 equivalent albums

Hexagone / Amoureux de Paname – 20,000

Laisse Béton (1977) – 120,000 equivalent albums

Laisse Béton – 300,000
Adieu Minette – 70,000
La Boum – 30,000

Ma Gonzesse (1978) – 30,000 equivalent albums

C’est mon dernier bal – 25,000
Ma Gonzesse – 50,000
J’ai la vie qui m’pique les yeux – 25,000

Marche A L’Ombre (1980) – 60,000 equivalent albums

Marche à l’ombre – 150,000
It is not because you are – 50,000

Le Retour de Gérard Lambert (1981) – 12,000 equivalent albums

Mon beauf’ – 40,000

Morgane De Toi (1983) – 107,000 equivalent albums

Dès que le vent soufflera – 125,000
En cloque – 80,000
Morgane de toi – 50,000
Doudou s’en fout – 100,000


By the release of Mistral Gagnant, Renaud was arguably the biggest artist in France. This popularity was translated into album sales once again with no song really selling much in physical singles format. This includes even Mistral Gagnant, the title track, which is often regarded as the greatest ballad of all-time.

Mistral Gagnant (1985) – 63,000 equivalent albums

Mistral gagnant – 60,000
Miss Maggie – 100,000
Baby-sitting blues – 50,000

Putain De Camion (1988) – 45,000 equivalent albums

La Mère à Titi – 50,000
Me Jette Pas – 50,000
Remaining singles – 50,000

Marchand De Cailloux (1991) – 27,000 equivalent albums

Marchand De Cailloux – 40,000
P’Tit Voleur – 30,000
La Ballade Nord-Irlandaise – 20,000

Renaud Cante El’ Nord (1993) – 3,000 equivalent albums

All singles – 10,000

A La Belle De Mai (1994) – 6,000 equivalent albums

All singles – 20,000

Chante Brassens (1996) – 0 equivalent albums

No single released.

2002-2016 and orphans

After nearly 15 years with no true big hit, Renaud dropped a duet with Axelle Red, Manhattan-Kaboul, a heart felt answer to the September 11 attacks. A big #2 hit in France, the song sold 600,000 units. Les Bobos was a #8 hit although the market was starting to dip. Surprisingly, Toujours Debout became the first official #1 smash single of the singer in 2016, more than 40 years after his debut. The absence of streaming incorporation at that point no doubt helped, but it is still quite a feat for an artist that had been around for so long.

In the meantime, the Soundtrack song Viens Chez Moi, J’habite Chez Une Copine sold well in the early 80s.

Boucan D’Enfer (2002) – 194,000 equivalent albums

Docteur Renaud, Mister Renard – 40,000
Manhattan-Kaboul – 600,000
Coeur Perdu – 5,000

Rouge Sang (2006) – 29,000 equivalent albums

Les Bobos – 75,000
Arrêter La Clope – 20,000

Molly Malone Balade Irlandaise (2009) – 0 equivalent album

No single released.

Renaud (2016) – equivalent album

No single released.

Orphan – 96,000 equivalent albums

Viens Chez Moi, J’habite Chez Une Copine – 200,000
C’est Un Mauvais Garçon / Le P’tit Bal Du Samedi Soir – 30,000
Le Camionneur Rêveur – 10,000
Anaïs Nin – 60,000
Dans La Jungle – 20,000

Digital Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between albums and digital singles.


The issue with digital sales for French artists is that the format never really took off there. While the France / US ratio of album sales has for long been around 1 / 8, in terms of download sales it is around 1 / 30.

With this information in mind, we understand that Renaud‘s first six albums are full of very popular tunes. The biggest of them is Morgane de toi, followed by Dès que le vent soufflera from the same album.

Amoureux De Paname (1975) – 8,000 equivalent albums

Hexagone – 20,000
Société tu m’auras pas – 10,000
Remaining tracks – 20,000

Laisse Béton (1977) – 8,000 equivalent albums

Laisse Béton – 20,000
La chanson du loubard – 5,000
Remaining tracks – 25,000

Ma Gonzesse (1978) – 6,000 equivalent albums

Ma Gonzesse – 10,000
Chanson pour Pierrot – 15,000
Remaining tracks – 15,000

Marche A L’Ombre (1980) – 8,000 equivalent albums

Marche à l’ombre – 15,000
Dans Mon H.L.M. – 15,000
Remaining tracks – 25,000

Le Retour de Gérard Lambert (1981) – 8,000 equivalent albums

Mon beauf’ – 10,000
Manu – 25,000
Remaining tracks – 15,000

Morgane De Toi (1983) – 17,000 equivalent albums

Dès que le vent soufflera – 30,000
En cloque – 15,000
Morgane de toi – 50,000
Remaining tracks – 15,000


Mistral Gagnant was a poor seller in physical format but digital sales give more credit to the truly popular songs. It sold 110,000 units in that format, a very strong figure for a catalog hit. Albums which came out between 1988 to 1996 clearly contain far less remembered songs.

Mistral Gagnant (1985) – 20,000 equivalent albums

Mistral Gagnant – 110,000
Miss Maggie – 10,000
Remaining tracks – 15,000

Putain De Camion (1988) – 2,000 equivalent albums

La Mère à Titi – 5,000
Remaining tracks – 10,000

Marchand De Cailloux (1991) – 2,000 equivalent albums

La Ballade Nord-Irlandaise – 10,000
Remaining tracks – 5,000

Renaud Cante El’ Nord (1993) – 1,000 equivalent albums

All tracks – 5,000

A La Belle De Mai (1994) – 2,000 equivalent albums

All tracks – 10,000

Chante Brassens (1996) – 1,000 equivalent albums

All tracks – 5,000

2002-2016 and orphans

Manhattan-Kaboul remains a favorite for the general public with solid sales of 40,000 units. Elsewhere Les Bobos and Toujours Debout enjoyed an already existing digital market when they were first released to build decent figures.

Boucan D’Enfer (2002) – 8,000 equivalent albums

Docteur Renaud, Mister Renard – 5,000
Manhattan-Kaboul – 40,000
Remaining tracks – 10,000

Rouge Sang (2006) – 4,000 equivalent albums

Les Bobos – 15,000
Arrêter La Clope – 5,000
Remaining tracks – 5,000

Molly Malone Balade Irlandaise (2009) – 1,000 equivalent album

All tracks – 5,000

Renaud (2016) – 6,000 equivalent album

Toujours Debout – 25,000
Remaining tracks – 15,000

Orphan – 2,000 equivalent albums

Viens Chez Moi, J’habite Chez Une Copine – 5,000
Remaining tracks – 10,000

Streaming Sales

On all CSPC articles, I use the ratio 132/212 to extrapolate Spotify figures into comprehensive audio streams numbers. In France, Spotify is second to Deezer, which concludes on a very different ratio. Its market share of audio streams in terms of revenue went from 14,4% in 2013 to an expected 30% in 2017, while its share in terms of units is calculated on 30,3% to date with 31,2 billion streams out of 103 billion. Obviously, Spotify is higher elsewhere at 62,3%. Assuming Renaud registers about 90% of his streams in France, it results on 33,5% of his streams coming from Spotify. Due to the improvement of Spotify lately, the same data focused on the years 2016/2017 concludes on 38,5% of streams by the album Renaud coming from Spotify.

Audio Stream – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit

Equivalent Albums Sales = 100/33.5 * Spotify streams / 1500 + YouTube views / 11750

Part 1

There is no reason to expect an old Rock artist to get strong streams, except these figures contradict that thinking. Due to the lower share of Spotify in France, the comprehensive streams column is more relevant this time. We can see both Amoureux de Paname and Laisse Béton have one hit at 6 million audio streams plus various songs topping 1 million. With France representing only 4% of the global streaming market, these numbers are truly solid. Both albums enjoy 13,000 equivalent album sales from streams.

Part 2

Songs like Chanson pour Pierrot, Marche à l’ombre and Dans mon H.L.M. continue the string of hits with over 4 million audio streams. The album tracks continue to be incredibly strong. More than songs, users listening to Renaud are looking for an artist. Ma Gonzesse has 10,000 equivalent album sales from streams while Marche à l’ombre is even higher at 15,000.

Part 3

Manu steps up one more level with nearly 8 million audio streams and 10 million video streams. It is the main provider of its parent album’s total of 13,000 equivalent album sales.

Morgane de toi, the first million selling album of the rock star, has two monster hits plus one more solid success. All its singles easily top a million audio and video streams. Altogether, the album records more than 20,000 equivalent album sales, more than its yearly figures in original album sales.

Part 4

Mistral Gagnant isn’t as dense as its predecessor but the title track is so big that it eclipses the total of the previous album. Its comprehensive streams are quite simply the highest total of any French song from the 80s! The album has 24,000 equivalent album sales from sales, which is the equivalent to half a Gold album award.

Putain de camion shows a strong end point for the singer. The album sold bucket loads upon release thanks to the immense popularity of Renaud, but its songs failed to become hits. Only one of them has 1 million audio streams while the album finishes up on 4,000 equivalent album sales.

Part 5

Marchand de cailloux has a profile pretty identical to Putain de camion with only one relevant song. Renaud cante el’ Nord, a concept album with songs themed around the region of the North, is all but forgotten nowadays.

Part 6

Once again not much to highlight. The 90s were definitely the decade in which Renaud lost his super-star status. For good? Not quite…

Part 7

After as many as 5 albums with relatively weak results, Renaud managed an immense comeback with Boucan d’Enfer. Manhattan-Kaboul remains the second most streamed song of his catalog with a sizable 29 million combined audio and video streams. The album has 17,000 equivalent album sales from streams.

At 4,000, Rouge Sang is expectedly much lower. Finally, Les Bobos has decent streams and there isn’t much to say about the rest.

Part 8

Streams of Renaud are somewhat unimpressive considering the pure album sales it achieved. The album falls short of Mistral Gagnant and Morgane de toi in spite of its 2016 release. Spotify still shows four of its songs inside the Renaud‘s 10 hottest songs so time will tell how it will hold in the future.

Part 9 – Ophan songs

Full Length related record Sales

It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.

All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP. Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.

Remaining Long Format – 80s compilations

How to understand this table? If you check for example the Master Serie 1 compilation line, those figures mean it sold 370,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 36,000 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.

The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package. Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from the Amoureux de Paname album are responsible for 22% of the Master Serie 1 track list attractiveness. This means it generated 81,000 of its 370,000 album sales and so forth for the other records.

The discography of Renaud in terms of compilations is a funny one. His best of albums from the 80s were either limited releases or best of albums from massive series involving individual hits compilations for specific artists. As a result, there has never been a true big compilation released with a new song / any kind of relevant promotion. The likes of Master Serie 1 and Ma Compil’ went Platinum thanks to sales over time.

Sales distribution-wise, every studio album from 1975 to 1983 has a strong influx into sales of those compilations. Renaud is clearly not an artist relying on only one big blockbuster album.

Remaining Long Format – 90s compilations

1995 is the year that saw the first Renaud-specific compilations come out. Right from the start his label separated his discography into pre/post 1985. It was a clever move. The 1975-1983 period is full of relevant songs although no truly massive hit. The era 1985-1995 is much weaker but contains Mistral Gagnant which is strong enough to drive a compilation by itself. This balanced decently both periods with the two The Meilleur of Renaud volumes selling over 300,000 units each. The sales-distribution is the opposite: spread over all albums for the first one, heavily concentrated into Mistral Gagnant for the second. Please note The Very Meilleur of Renaud is weighted with a coefficient of 2 as it basically contains two greatest hits merged together.

Volumes 2 and 3 of Master Serie still exploited his pre-1985 only which was dominated slightly by Morgane de toi songs.

Remaining Long Format – 00s compilations

From 1995 to 2004 an incredible number of compilations of Renaud were released. Firstly due to the disappearance of the artist from the media spotlight and secondly to exploit his successful comeback with Boucan d’Enfer. We see the songs of this last album appear from the release of Longbox. This album, along with Les 50 Plus Belles Chansons, are also weighted with a factor of two as they are closer to box sets than proper compilations – both contain as many as 9 of the 10 songs from Marche à l’ombre for example.

Remaining Long Format – 10s Compilations

Le Plein de super is the first real greatest hits of the artist that included all three of his massive albums – Morgane de toi, Mistral Gagnant and Boucan d’Enfer. Almost naturally, those three albums are far and away the ones that generated the most sales from this compilation. Hit Box 3CD is one more box-like compilation.

Remaining Long Format – Live Albums

Both Renaud à Bobino and Un Olympia pour moi tout seul were mostly fueled by the studio album they directly followed. The release of Le P’tit Bal du Samedi soir is interesting as it is basically a new album but released as a live set. From Visage Pâle Rencontrer Public onwards his biggest hits start impacting the track lists a lot with Mistral Gagnant dominating.

Remaining Long Format – Music Videos

Once again, Mistral Gagnant is the main provider for all those releases minus the last one.

Remaining Long Format – Boxes

With so many relevant albums the release of box sets was expected. The discography of Renaud is full of such packages with various of them hitting the charts in spite of very high prices.

One small thing to note, you may see “0” sales in front of some albums due to the rounding which makes those tables easier to read but no worries as the exact value is used for all calculations.

Full Length related records Sales – Summary

Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated. Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw.

The incredible strength of Renaud‘s catalog appears obvious in this table. Each of his first 7 albums generated more than half a million sales of compilations of every kind. The leader is obviously Mistral Gagnant with a tremendous 1,3 millions sales.


So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Renaud achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!

In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.

'Av.' stands for Average, 'LD' for Last Day.

As a reminder:

  • Studio Album: sales of the original album
  • Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
  • Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
  • Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/6750 for Video stream)

Artist career totals

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers

About 3 million equivalent album sales a piece for Morgane de toi, Mistral Gagnant and Boucan d’Enfer. Every French artist would dream of getting this kind of success once in a lifetime. Renaud did it three times.

Outside of those blockbusters the national icon has many more strong albums. His five remaining LPs issued from 1977 to 1988 all sold past 1,1 million units overall.

Elsewhere, figures continue to be superb as five more albums range between 850,000 to 1,000,000 units. This includes his last 2016 set which is an outstanding result in this day and age. Even more outstanding is that a mind-blowing total of this kind, which stands at 854,000 equivalent album sales, is still the lowest selling original album of Renaud‘s illustrious career.

In total, Renaud sold 21,97 million equivalent album sales. Obviously, local acts can’t compete against global stars, but this doesn’t stop this figure from being massive.

The following section lists his most successful songs.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube,


The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song’s own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales, and with appropriate weighting too, plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

1 2002 – Manhattan-Kaboul [Boucan d’enfer] – 2,300,000
2 1985 – Mistral gagnant [Mistral gagnant] – 2,170,000
3 1983 – Dès que le vent soufflera [Morgane de toi] – 1,160,000
4 1981 – Manu [Le Retour de Gérard Lambert] – 820,000
5 1983 – Morgane de toi [Morgane de toi] – 790,000
6 1977 – Laisse béton [Laisse béton] – 590,000
7 1980 – Dans mon H.L.M. [Marche à l’ombre] – 530,000
8 1975 – Hexagone [Amoureux de Paname] – 510,000
8 1980 – Marche à l’ombre [Marche à l’ombre] – 510,000
10 1983 – En cloque [Morgane de toi] – 470,000
10 1979 – Chanson pour Pierrot [Ma gonzesse] – 470,000

We have more for you…

… special focuses on Renaud‘s success in France, as well as some of his albums’ success in France:

checking out the upcoming artists or even voting for them!

… similar artists

… best-selling artists, albums, and singles

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