France best selling albums ever: Zaz by Zaz (2010)
Coming out of nowhere in May 2010, newcomer Zaz quickly gained attention thanks to her atypical hit Je Veux and its parent album, Zaz. Entering at #11, the intergenerational appeal of the album sent it to #1 in its 6th week where it remained for 9 weeks. Loved by the youngest kids who appreciated her fresh new authenticity, Zaz also attracted older people who saw her as some kind of young Edith Piaf, the most iconic French artist of all time.
This eponymous album itself became iconic, managing the unreal record of 10 different runs inside the top 10. The immediate hype also translated into enduring success as the album reached the Top 50 every single year from its 2010 release until 2015.
Yearly French retail sales stand as below:
- 2010: 349,000 CD + 24,000 DL
- 2011: 278,000
- 2012: 103,000
- 2013: 55,000
- 2014: 60,000
- 2015: 25,000
- 2CD boxes: 35,000
A grand total of 929,000 copies sold. This being said, shipment data reveal higher results:
The most important thing to consider when checking certification data is how much the album was selling at the time. In this case, both times the album was certified in late December, when all extra copies shipped for the Christmas market are still lying on on retail shelves. The album was Top 10 during 2010 Christmas rush and was one of the breakthrough albums of the year so record stores picked it immensely at the time. This explains how the album managed Diamond status despite selling only 373,000 copies.
The second Diamond award is more relevant, however. By 2003, the album’s life was over, although it was still selling decently as a catalog item. At that point, retail sales were up to 809,000 copies, quite short of a million. When data is conflictual, only certified sales stand as scanned retail sales involve calculated data and appear to be time to time a bit off in reality. Out of the 120,000 copies sold since the Double Diamond award, an estimated 20,000 was already shipped by the time of the audit.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,100,000 copies.
Although not the main subject of this serie of articles, it’s worth noting how Zaz is the best selling French-language album outside France since Céline Dion’s golden years with a massive 845,000 copies sold up to late 2012.
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