France Album Sales: Lady Gaga


The Fame (2008) Era

Unless you are truly young, you must remember as well as me The Fame era just like it was yesterday. Hard to believe within’ a couple of years this record willl be a decade old. It all started with lead single Just Dance, issued first in April 2008.

After two months, the song appeared in first US Billboard rankings. Two more months passed until Just Dance broke into the Hot 100 Singles ranking. Then, it floated around for three months in low positions, before getting in the Top 50 by November. Everything accelerated from that point with the song taking over on radio and sales being there already, the hit climbed 49-27-21-16-7-5-4-3-3-2-1, ultimately registering three weeks at the top in early 2009, while sitting exactly at the same place during the same weeks in UK.

Ironically, the irrelevance of French singles chart, that was still focusing on physical sales only, enabled Just Dance to debut at #16 there thanks to her first few fans in September 2008, breaking the Top 20 earlier than in English speaking countries, a truly rare phenomenon for a new artist on our closed French market. What first benefited the song to rank high early then penalized Just Dance as the track peaked at #14 in the official chart while climbing inside the Top 10 at #8 in the Digital ranking.

Despite those positive results in the Singles chart, at the time Lady Gaga was still nobody in France, Just Dance was known and danced to on clubs but the public wasn’t aware of who was singing it. This situation was illustrated in the Album Chart where The Fame debuted at #73 in October and was sitting in low Top 200 positions during the Christmas season, selling 10,000 units only by the end of the year.

Incredibly, this context remained true for most of 2009. In fact, although Poker Face was a huge #1 hit (four weeks in official and physical chart, three in digital front), 20-weeks Top 10, the album climbed up to #27 only, failing to move the masses by not attracting buyers outside of the 15-25 public segment. Under LoveGame, a #5 hit, the album re-peaked, this time at #22. It may seem surprising that an arguably lower hit pushes the album higher, but The Fame result must be really seen as the accumulation of successful hits that was spreading Lady Gaga name over the general public. During the first semester of 2009, Poker Face was the second best selling hit, nearly first (69,500 units against 71,500), LoveGame and Just Dance were both Top 100 too, but The Fame was only the 58th best selling album at 47,700 physical units.

After the summer, Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) went #7 thanks to her developing fan base, as in the more relevant digital ranking it was a more modest song peaking at #22. The album that had time to slow down to #65 climbing back to #26, a similar showing than during the previous two hits promotions.

We are up to four singles and 58 weeks charted in November 2009, but still the album never broke the Top 20, very far from its results elsewhere. The Fame sales were up to 95,000 total units. Up to that point, Lady Gaga sold mostly thanks to successful radio hits, with TV promotion focused on M6 channel – a channel targeted at 6-18 years old audience – and no exposure on large channels that are a key for French market.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Poker Face – 107,299,000
  2. Just Dance – 72,356,000
  3. Paparazzi – 50,386,000

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