Sales of exported recorded music produced in France jumped 12% in 2010 to €55 million ($73.1 million) with 36% coming from digital sales (18% in 2009), according to the latest figures unveiled by the French Music Bureau Export.
The jump came from booming digital sales, as well as outstanding results for artists such as David Guetta.
Europe represented 72% of the French recorded sales abroad, against 14.5% for the United States, 6% for Japan 5% for Canada and 2.5% for Australia.
While overall figures for 2011 were unavailable, the Bureau Export unveiled the best sales abroad for last year. David Guetta sold over 3.5 million albums abroad, including 1.2 million copies of Nothing But the Beat (EMI Music France) in the two months taken into account by the Bureau Export since the album's release at the end of the summer.
Other English-spoken albums reached good sales abroad, such as M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Naïve), which came out in September and already sold 150,000 units, and Belgian artist Selah Sue, whose self-titled debut album sold 150,000 copies abroad (Because Music). Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which came out in 2009 (EMI Music France), sold 150,000 copies in 2011, which pushed its total sales abroad to 900,000 units.
But French export's main surprise last year came from singer-songwriter Zaz, whose first eponymous album, all in French, sold 450,000 copies abroad in 2011, in addition to 100,000 units already sold in 2010 (Play On / Sony Music France).
On the live end, soul artist Ben L'Oncle Soul gathered over 1 million viewers to his concerts abroad in 2011. In 2010, money generated by French concert promoters abroad totaled €12.2 million ($16.2 million).
Artists to watch in 2012 according to Bureau Export, based on expected tours, album releases, and international development plans, are Moriarty, Housse de Racket, Camille, François and the Atlas Mountain, Chateau Marmont, Tinariwen, Revolver, The Do, and Ivan Ilic in classical music.
The Bureau Export is a non-profit organization jointly funded by the music sector and by the French government to enhance the presence of locally produced music internationally. In 2011, it financially supported 195 artists and 91 companies for international projects. Due to a more time-consuming reporting process, French export sales are unveiled with a one-year delay.