Make no mistake: in terms of the global recorded music business, this is the sales story of the year so far.
In a fast-declining albums market, French superstar Johnny Hallyday’s last album – Mon Pays C’est L’Amour (My Country Is Love) – has officially smashed records to hit No.1 in his home country’s chart.
As noted by MBW yesterday, the album – the first, and likely last, posthumous LP release by Hallyday – has become a national event in France.
The numbers are astonishing. After its release last Friday (October 19), Mon Pays C’est L’Amour sold 780,177 copies in the French market in its opening seven days.
That is the biggest week-one sales tally in the history of the French charts, and equivalent to one in every 86 people in the market purchasing a copy.
The biggest debut album sales week in the United States this year, if you didn’t know, is Drake’s record-breaking Scorpion.
According to Billboard/Nielsen, Scorpion sold 732,000 equivalent albums in its opening seven days in the USA.
Of these equivalent albums, just 160,000 were actual album purchases by fans. The rest (572,000 ‘sales’) were all converted from streaming plays of tracks.
Hallyday’s Mon Pays C’est L’Amour just sold a bigger number (780k vs. 732k), in a country whose population is about five times smaller than that of the United States (67m vs. 326m).
“The reaction from his fans has been overwhelming and I know he’d be delighted that so many of them are listening to and enjoying his last work.”
Thierry Chassagne, Warner Music France
What’s more, MBW is told that 97.2% of Mon Pays C’est L’Amour sales were physical, 1.8% were downloaded and just 1% were ‘streaming equivalents’.
If you’re interested in such things: this means approximately 757,000 sales of Hallyday’s album were on CD or vinyl. Considering the CD of Mon Pays C’est L’Amour has a current retail price (via Amazon) of €15.99 ($18), this must mean that, in one week, the albums physical sales will have generated over €12m (approx $13.8m).
Add in downloads and streaming, and we can’t see a way that Mon Pays C’est L’Amour didn’t just generate more than $14m at retail.
In a week.
Hallyday, who died aged 74 in December last year, breaks the record he set in 2002 when his album À la vie, à la mort! sold 305,634 copies in its first week.
Following Hallyday’s death, a national tribute in Paris was attended by dignitaries including President Macron, with one million fans lining the streets and 18 million more watching on TV.
Warner Music France ran a major promotional campaign for Mon Pays C’est L’Amour, which included a simultaneous ‘listening session’ on Deezer.
Interestingly, Warner did not release any tracks to media or digital partners ahead of the album’s launch on October 19 at 00.01am.
Thierry Chassagne, President of Warner Music France, said: “This is an exceptional album and Johnny was fully involved in its creation. The reaction from his fans has been overwhelming and I know he’d be delighted that so many of them are listening to and enjoying his last work.
“His voice on the album is incredibly strong and the songs are excellent. During the recording, he imagined playing this album in his future stadium tour. Johnny was always worried about his fans’ reactions and he would have been proud to see this success.”
In the lead up to release, Warner built a unique structure in Paris that let 200 people at a time listen to the album over three days.
Another partnership with broadcaster RTL and cinema chain CGR saw selected fans across France preview the album in movie theaters.
Music Business Worldwide