France Album Sales: U2

Zooropa (1993) Era

By 1993 no one was doubting U2 selling power. Still, no one was expecting such an outstanding showing by their back catalog during that year.

For sure, the main focus of 1993 was set on their new album Zooropa. Promoted by #18 single Stay (Faraway, So Close!), the set debuted at #1 for a week before being blocked at #2 for several weeks behind Johnny Hallyday new live album. Holding well for a few months without reproducing the resistance of Achtung Baby yet, Zooropa sold a calculated 345,000 units by the end of 1994.

If this era looks pretty normal, we must set the focus on their past albums to really understand why I mention a huge year. In the middle of a gigantic world tour, the band entire catalog was hot as hell all year long. When Zooropa got released, each War, Achtung Baby and Under A Blood Red Sky were charting lower down the Top 50. A few weeks later The Joshua Tree joined them and for most of the summer the band had five albums charting simultaneously inside the Top 50. The 1983 album War was especially impressive as it even challenged Zooropa, being as high as #4 against the fresh new album which was #2.

In November 1995, Island had the good idea to fully audit U2 catalog again. That good idea had the bad idea to stick within’ 90s sales only. Indeed, it seems the major someway lost bills of older sales as they certified War Platinum for its 1990-1995 sales, same for Under A Blood Red Sky, 2xGold for The Joshua Tree and Gold for Rattle And Hum. Indeed, U2 label partner Bob Marley got exactly the same treatment in both 1992 and 1995. Both acts, despite clearly reaching higher criteria with various albums have never been fully audited again since, with one last audit in 1996 again focusing on post-1990 sales only. Whatever data Island still own, what’s safe to say is that U2 catalog albums sold an incredible three times more than their new album Zooropa at 227,000 units for the year 1993.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Stay (Faraway, So Close!) – 3,921,000
  2. Numb – 2,277,000
  3. Lemon – 2,274,000

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