France best selling albums ever:
One by The Beatles (2000)

In terms of overall worldwide sales nobody can compete with the Beatles. In terms of album sales in France yet several acts, including international ones – Michael Jackson or Pink Floyd among others – seriously challenge their hegemony. It hasn’t prevent One 2000 compilation from managing huge sales in the country.

Released in November, the best of was certified 2xPlatinum by the end of the year – although this award is absent from SNEP website nowadays, it is only a data glitch. Stocks got fulfilled for Christmas season and despite not all were sold in the year itself, the album was still the #1 selling compilation of the year. Over 200,000 copies sold in 2001 plus a few 2002 units pushed the album total over 800,000 by the start of 2003.

As the definitive hits package of the band the album kept selling. It never charted from 2003 to 2008, nevertheless I own GFK data for this record which surpass 95,000 copies for this period, some 16,000 copies a year. Many albums sold less copies despite charting a few weeks each year. This is very specific to the Beatles, in fact, EMI policy of almost never decreasing the price of their bestselling act avoid ups and downs. Their records sell steadily the same amount week after week, until enjoying major promotional pushes – iTunes availability, remasters and such.

One itself benefited from such a major boost in 2009 thanks to the remaster series that put the Beatles under highlights again. The set sold 31,000 units that year. In 2011 it was itself remastered, adding 25,000 copies to its tally. An extended version, 1+, was then released in late 2015, a year during which the album sold 20,000 units. Yearly French retail sales stand as below:

  • 2000: 570,000
  • 2001: 220,000
  • 2002: 30,000
  • 2003-2008: 95,000
  • 2009: 31,000
  • 2010: 15,000
  • 2011: 25,000
  • 2012-2014: 40,000
  • 2015: 20,000

Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,060,000 copies.

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

Sources: SNEP, IFOP, GFK, Paris Match.

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