In France, single CDs have totally disappeared from the music shops’ shelves since 2014. The singles market has been, since then, consisting in downloads and streaming.
But last week this rule was broken.
French superstar Mylène Farmer released her latest single, ‘City Of Love’, in CD format and as a 12″ vinyl, but did not make it available for downloads.
As reported by French journalist Charles Décant, the single succeeded in shifting 6700 copies, thus outselling by far the week’s most downloaded track, Kungs’ ‘This Girl’.
Mylène Farmer, who has always enjoyed a solid cult following, is not new to such chart feats. She is the record holder for most number one singles on the French charts. Counting ‘City Of Love’, she now boasts 15 number one singles, despite having moved out of the mainstream field for more than a decade now.
The last time a physical single had outsold the week’s most downloaded track in France was in October 2010, when novelty record ‘Mignon Mignon’ shifted more copies than Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl (In The World)’.
The sales figures of ‘City Of Love’ might seem abnormally low to non-French observers.
That’s because the French singles market, once physical formats started being withdrawn, never succeeded in reaching even the half of the volumes it used to shift in the golden days of the single CDs (late 90’s) or those of the 7″ vinyls (early 80’s).
In comparison, in the UK, the lowest sales ever for a number one single, according to the Official Charts Company, stand at 17.6 k units for Orson’s ‘No Tomorrow’ in March 2006.
In France, an average number one track has lately been shifting around 7k units, a ridiculously low figure for a country of 67 million inhabitants.
Fortunately, streaming seems well on its way to bring back life to the French singles market as figures show continuous growth. Two significant records have been set lately: Rihanna’s ‘Work’ set a new all-time high for most streams in a week, at 2m+. And last week saw, for the first time ever, as many as 11 tracks stream beyond the 1 million barrier, according to chartsinfrance.com website.