France Album Sales: Michael Jackson

Thriller (1982) Era

Considering how many singles and albums reached OK-ish sales in 1979/1980, the name of Michael Jackson was already known in France, but expectations were still fairly modest by 1982 when Thriller first came out.

Charting at #17 in February thanks to lead single The Girl Is Mine airplay, the album was already at a higher peak than every other album Michael Jackson had released prior. Second single Billie Jean then exploded in April. A career changing smash, the hit went on to sell more than 1 million units, a massive amount for the market. The album followed the same road, climbing all the way to #1 during the summer. Beat It was released as the third single, itself rocketing to #1 and one million sales just like its immediate predecessor, while the album too passed that mark.

With six months inside the Top 5 during 1983, the single Thriller destroyed all competition. Becoming the third million selling single of the album – while only five non-Michael Jackson songs sold that much in 1983 and 1984 combined – this track and its iconic video clip pretty much created the viral concept. It was Top 5 for most of 1984, and the album achieved an all-time record of 2,1 million copies sold by the end of that year.

The artist’s last album with his brothers Victory was released in 1984, quickly hitting Gold status, representing 100,000 units sold. Thanks to this new popularity too, Off The Wall sold relevant amounts as a catalog album pushing its to date tally to 150,000 units. Motown tried to benefit from this buzz as well, dropping Farewell My Summer Love album. It failed to make that much noise, selling under 50,000 copies.

Top 3 (+3) Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Billie Jean – 164,055,000
  2. Beat It – 104,077,000
  3. Thriller – 75,538,000
  4. P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) – 51,570,000
  5. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – 32,476,000
  6. Human Nature – 27,220,000

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