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Orelsan, Adele, Vitaa and Slimane…

Photo credits: Alice Moiti / CBS / Pochette

You were expecting them, they are here. SNEP and The Parisian unveil the figures for the best album sales in France in 2021. And the first good news is that after a year 2020 marked by confinement, an increase in physical sales of 5%, as well as in the number of streaming listens, which goes from 85 to 93 billion, is noted over the last twelve months! 2021 also marked the return of many French and international big names. To start with Orelsan which, unsurprisingly, signs the best sale of the year with “Civilization”. In just a month and a half, the rapper from Caen crushed the intense competition with his disc, which thus beat all his rivals. Result, “Civilization” is the biggest musical success of 2021 with 338,463 equivalent sales exactly, streaming included. Of which, and it should be emphasized for a rapper, 236,000 physical and digital copies thanks to the sale of numerous limited editions on CD.

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Rap in force with OrelsanCHS and Damso

The rapper behind “Best Day” and “The Smell of Gasoline” therefore outclasses Grand Corps Malade, who was still a hit throughout the year with her album “Mesdames” and its reissue. Thanks to the hits “Behind the fog” and “Our most beautiful years”, the slammer still attracts 285,000 fans for his record, which should soon reach the symbolic milestone of 500,000 sales. The podium is completed by The Underworlds who, like every year, were able to unite their audience around their show “A ct de vous”: 234,000 copies of the show’s CD were snapped up.

Like every year, rap reigns supreme in the rankings. In the top 20, 12 records come from rappers. This is notably the case of SCH and Damso. The Marseille rapper created the surprise success of 2021 by casting 230,000 copies of “JVLIVS II” while the Belgian saw “QALF Infinity” being listened to and bought 209,000 times. The two urban stars are also ahead of the biggest musical comeback of the year, that of Adele. The English superstar is sixth in the ranking of best-selling albums in France with “30”, which attracted just over 203,000 music lovers. A nice score even if we are far from “25”, which had torn off more than 785,000 copies over the same period.

Vianney and Soprano find their audiences

Seventh in the standings, Vianney is resisting with “Let’s not wait”. The singer who became a father convinced 172,000 fans with his hits “Beau-papa” or “Our tomorrows”. It just overtakes Jul, eighth with “Tomorrow a ira” and its 167,000 counter sales. But in reality, if we take into account all his albums released this year, the Marseille rapper is the artist who has sold the most records this year. With his eight projects including “Le classico organis”, “Indpendance” and “Demain a ira”, the so-called UFO sold 549,000 records in France in 2021. The top 10 ends with Vitaa and Slimane, unbeatable with “Versus” which has 165,700 new copies, for a total exceeding 850,000 copies, then finally Soprano who played the “Star Hunter” with 160,000 travellers. A rather low figure, compared to his two previous albums “L’Everest” and “Phoenix”, respectively sold 800,000 and 700,000 copies.

With only one exception, the top 10 proves the vitality of French production, which is strong in the rankings. Among the 200 best-selling albums in 2021 in France, 83% are French productions. And in the top 20, there are only two international names: Adele therefore, but also Dua Lipa, who ranks 12th with her hit machine “Future Nostalgia” which made 155,000 French people dance. Just one place behind Clara Luciani, who brilliantly passed the milestone of the second album with “Heart” (157,000 counter sales). Among other international stars, Ed SheeranThe Weeknd (with the best of “The Highlights”) and ABBA exceeded 100,000 copies sold, while Billie Eilish sold more copies of “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” than his new project “Happier Than Ever”, respectively 49th and 51st in the ranking.

The 10 best-selling albums in France in 2021

1. Orelsan – “Civilization” (338,463 sales)
2. Grand Corps Malade – “Ladies” (285,255 sales)
3. The Underworlds – “Next to you” (234,866 sales)
4. SCH – “JVLIVS II” (230,944 sales)
5. Damso – “QALF Infinity” (209,349 sales)
6. Adele – “30” (203,144 sales)
7. Vianney – “Let’s not wait” (172,185 sales)
8. Jul – “Tomorrow will go” (167,688 sales)
9. Vitaa & Slimane – “Versus” (165,792 sales)
10. Soprano – “Star Hunter” (160,576 sales)


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