France best selling albums ever: Supernatural by Santana (1999)

After Moby and Dido, this the the third international 1999 release that waited the 00s to break the main audience. Just like the other two, the very slow start hasn’t prevent the album from getting numerous weeks at #1.

Unlike the others yet, Santana was already a well known act before Supernatural release. By 1981, he had collected a noticeable eight Gold albums, especially impressive considering early 70s low market. After that date though, he lost momentum never reaching this milestone anymore with his studio releases. Supernatural didn’t seemed to break that bad trend, charting 64-67 in June 1999 before leaving rankings for the rest of the year.

Solid successes of singles Smooth and Maria Maria, the latter hitting #1, the album came back on charts in late January 2001 in an impressive way climbing 64-15-10-8-7-1. This was the first of 9 weeks at #1 and 29 weeks inside the Top 5. Nevertheless, sales weren’t as big as this immaculate chart run suggests.

In fact, the lack of big debut and the relatively low rankings in fourth quarter limited sales of this record which went 2xPlatinum on 16/01/2001, after the bulk of its sales. While this doesn’t look like a million selling album, it still was the official #2 seller of 2000, topping Play by Moby, which shipped in excess of 750,000 copies during that year.

The fact is that BMG France hadn’t audit sales in last few months of 2000. By its certification, Supernatural was up to 820,000 copies, a total increased by 110,000 copies during 2001.

The album failed to turn into a strong catalog seller, never appearing again on charts from 2002 to date. In both US & UK, on which more data is available and where the album hasn’t been more of a good catalog seller, it added in that period about 7/8% of its late 2001 sales. This puts the record just on 1 million to date in France.

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

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

Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Soundscan.

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