Week Ending July 5, 2009: All Michael, All The Time - Chart Watch
Week Ending July 5, 2009: All Michael, All The Time
Posted Wed Jul 8, 2009 11:47am PDT by Paul Grein in Chart Watch
Michael Jackson has three of the five best-selling albums in the U.S. for the second week in a row. Number Ones sold 339,000 copies this week and would have held at #1 on The Billboard 200 if catalog albums were eligible to compete on that chart. (The 2003 compilation sold a little more than twice as many copies this week as NOW 31, the album that holds the #1 spot.) Thriller sold 187,000 copies and would have jumped from #3 to #2 if catalog albums were invited to the party. The Essential Michael Jackson sold 125,000 copies and would have dropped from #2 to #5. (Billboard excludes catalog albums from the big chart on the theory that new albums need the spotlight the chart provides more than past hits do.)
Jackson's catalog of solo albums sold 800,000 copies this week, up from 422,000 copies last week. (This was the first full week following Jackson's death on June 25. Last week's total reflected just four days of sales.) Billboard reports that 82% of the Jackson albums sold this week were CDs (vs. digital downloads). Last week, 43% of the Jackson albums sold were CDs. I think this shows that on a special album, people want the CD as a keepsake. (What a retro concept!)
Jackson's total song download sales this week, including hits with his brothers, stand at 2.2 million downloads, down just a little from 2.6 million last week. A total of 47 songs that feature Jackson are listed on the Hot Digital Songs chart. (This is down just a bit from last week's eye-popping total of 50.)
Number Ones racked up the biggest weekly sales total in Nielsen/SoundScan history for a catalog album (excluding Christmas albums). Jackson also held the old record, which he set in February 2008, when Thriller 25 sold 166,000 copies in its first week. Number Ones also posted the biggest one-week sales tally for an album by a deceased performer since the Notorious B.I.G.'s Duets: The Final Chapter debuted in December 2005 with first-week sales of 438,000.
Number Ones has sold 564,000 copies so far this year, which puts it at #18 on Nielsen/SoundScan's running list of the best-selling albums of 2009. If it keeps going like this, it could topple Taylor Swift's Fearless as the #1 album for the year-to-date. (Fearless has sold 1,352,000 copies since Jan. 1.) This will (in all likelihood) be only the third time in Nielsen/SoundScan history that an album by a deceased performer has ranked among the year's top 10. 2Pac's All Eyez On Me was the #6 album of 1996 (he died on Sept. 13 of that year). The Notorious B.I.G.'s Life After Death was the #6 album of 1997 (he died on March 9 of that year).
Number Ones holds at #1 on the Catalog Albums chart. (Catalog albums are albums that are more than 18 months old, have fallen below #100 on The Billboard 200 and don't have a current radio single.) Jackson owns the entire top 10 this week, counting a Jackson 5 album. The Essential Michael Jackson holds at #1 on the Digital Albums chart. The collection sold 53,000 digital copies this week.
This is the third time that Thriller has posted sales of 100,000 or more units in a week in the Nielsen/SoundScan era (which dates to 1991). As noted above, the album sold 166,000 copies when a 25th anniversary edition was released in February 2008. It sold 101,000 last week, in the aftermath of Jackson's death. Thriller is the only the second catalog album (again, excluding Christmas albums) to top the 100,000 sales mark more than once since 1992. It follows the Grease soundtrack, a 1978 blockbuster that came back strong in the mid-1990s. The John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John tune-fest topped the 100,000 sales mark twice in December 1996 and again in April 1998, when the movie was re-released theatrically.
Jackson has five songs in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs this week: "Man In The Mirror" at #2, "Billie Jean" at #4, "Thriller" at #5, "The Way You Make Me Feel" at #7 and "Beat It" at #10. Later today, I'll post a Chart Watch Extra in which I count down Jackson's 40 most songs with the most cumulative paid downloads. The list shows which of Jackson's songs have best stood the test of time-and which haven't.
Pop Quiz: To get you in the mood, here's a good (but seriously tough) Jackson trivia question. What do these three songs have in common: "Rock With You," "Human Nature" and "Man In The Mirror." Answer below.
Jackson is selling around the world. In the U.K., The Essential Michael Jackson moves up to #1, dethroning Number Ones (which drops to #3). In Japan, King Of Pop vaults from #43 to #6.
In a Chart Watch Extra (here's the link), I told you that Michael Jackson has had 17 #1 hits on the Hot 100 (combining Jackson 5 and solo records). Let me add that he has also had five #2 hits. Twice, he peaked at #2 behind hits that went on to be Billboard's #1 single of the year. That was the fate of the J5's "Never Can Say Goodbye" (which got stuck behind Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World," the top hit of 1971) and his own "Rockin' Robin" (which ran up against Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," the top hit of 1972). The J5's "Mama's Pearl" peaked at #2 behind the Osmonds' "One Bad Apple," which was created in the mold of the early J5 hits. His other #2 hits were the J5's "Dancing Machine" and his duet with Paul McCartney, "The Girl Is Mine."
Quiz Answer: Those were the first "outside songs" (songs that Jackson didn't write) to be released as singles from his three most famous albums, Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. (I told you it was tough!)