France Album Sales: M. Pokora

Linkup – Notre étoile (2003) Era

The standard TV Talent show is divided into two parts, first a mass audition with judges and second prime time television with votes from the public added to the process. M6 program Popstars was different though as the first part included the full audition while later episodes were a making of the album. Thus, immediately after the end of the season airing, the album was issued.

This is what happened in November 2003 when boy band Linkup won the third edition of the contest, releasing their debut album Notre étoile right away. It was difficult to set expectations as the first two winners faced very different fortunes. The first winners L5, an attempt at creating a local equivalent to the Spice Girls, destroyed the French music industry in a minute by topping 1 million in its first month. The second winners Whatfor shifted nearly 300,000 units in the run of Christmas 2002, but a few weeks later the project went downhill with the group being accompanied by mockery more than anything else. By the time Linkup won the third season, both the first two winners were already regarded as forgettable pop groups.

This difficult context damaged their chance of really breaking the main audience. Their first single Mon étoile replicated the feat of their two predecessors by debuting straight at #1 due to the heavy hype created by the win a couple of days earlier – a formula later used by the X Factor in the UK. The album release debuted at #3.

It was all about buzz though as by week 2 it collapsed to #14 and a mere six more weeks later it left the Top 100. This free-fall continued and by the end of the year only 139,000 units had been sold in spite of the 250,000 copies shipped upon release that made it a Double Gold album. Weak ongoing sales during 2004 failed to make up for the gap with the album ending on just 177,000 units sold.

On their side, singles sold respectively 269,400 units for Mon Etoile, 36,000 units for Une Seconde D’Eternité and 124,400 units for You And Me Bubblin’ their duet with Blue. All figures come directly from GFK institute reports.

If this flop wasn’t promising for the trio’s future, the charisma of one member of the boy band was obvious from day 1 of the TV program. Matthieu Tota knew about his own potential leaving the band after this era to start his own career under his music alias, M. Pokora.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Mon Etoile – 143,000
  2. Une Seconde D’Eternité – 37,000
  3. Ca Arrive – 8,000

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