France best selling albums ever:
Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain by Yann Tiersen (2001)

Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amélie Poulain by Yann Tiersen

Many soundtracks are well known for being part of all-time best sellers everywhere – a la Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Bodyguard or Titanic. Strong selling local soundtracks have been a very rare phenomenon yet although France music scene is dominated by local acts. We can name three main ones, each selling over a million: Le Grand Bleu by Eric Serra, Amélie Poulain by Yann Tiersen and Les Choristes by Bruno Coulais.

Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain, one of the most successful French movie locally and internationally, was largely supported by its outstanding soundtrack composed by Yann Tiersen. Despite being mostly instrumental and with an atypical sound, songs like J’Y Suis Jamais Allé, La Valse D’Amélie and Comptine D’Un Autre Été took FM radio playlists by storm.

Worldwide, those songs stared as real underground hits and ended as absolute anthems. As a reference, the very best French catalog songs are up to around 2 million streams in Spotify. All 20 tracks from this album crush the 3 million mark, all higher than Renaud‘s Mistral Gagnant which is nothing else than the most heard song from the 80s. Comptine D’Un Autre Été is up to the ridiculous total of 65 million streams, higher than Michael Jackson‘s Thriller single. Yeah, there is no mistake on this text.

Debuting at #9 in April 2001, the album quickly gained attention until reaching #1 by its fifth week, leaving the Top 30 on its week 52, a real performance for usually short-lived soundtracks. It wasn’t over yet as by week 61 the set jumped all the way to the Top 10 thanks to mid-price operation, before being excluded from charts following weeks for the same reason.

The album sold 600,000 copies in 2001 alone and an additional 240,000 in 2002, plus 90,000 in 2003. By 09/12/2003 it had reached 900,000 overall sales, it was the first EMI accounting since three months. As a classic album, this release continues selling well to this day. Estimated yearly sales stand as below:

  • 2004: 35,000
  • 2005: 25,000
  • 2006: 15,000
  • 2007-2015: 75,000
  • 2/3CD boxes: 10,000

Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,090,000 copies.

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

Sources: SNEP, IFOP, L’Express.

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