When news of Michael Jackson’s untimely passing broke late last week, many fans’ reaction — after the initial shock and sadness — was to celebrate the man by purchasing or re-purchasing some of his music. I personally stopped by not one but two brick-and-mortar CD retailers to fill some gaps in my MJ collection recently, only to find that each location was completely or nearly sold out.
Yet you’d have no idea of this mini-sales boom if you only looked at the new Billboard 200 albums chart. The Black Eyed Peas return to the top spot there after selling an okay-not-great 88,000 copies of The E.N.D. in its third week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Three Michael Jackson sets actually did substantially better business than the Peas this past week: Number Ones moved 108,000 units, The Essential Michael Jackson notched 102,000, and Thriller scored 101,000. But due to Billboard rules barring old albums from the main sales chart, what would have been this week’s No. 1-3 by a healthy margin ended up getting relegated to the TopPop Catalog Albums chart instead — hence the Peas’ misleading victory.
This is the first time that any catalog album (let alone three) has sold more than the Billboard 200’s No. 1 in a given week. Chalk it up as one final chart record for a man who broke plenty of ’em over the decades. Jackson’s overall sales this week totaled a whopping 415,000 copies, which is over 40 times the amount his catalog sold the previous week: Not a bad testament to how much he meant to so many.
What do you think of those numbers? And did you buy any of Michael Jackson’s albums this week?
More from EW on Michael Jackson:
“Scream” director Mark Romanek on Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson: 18 key moments in the life of the King of Pop
Michael Jackson’s music dominate on iTunes and Amazon
Michael Jackson’s musical legacy: Tell us how you remember him
Michael Jackson dies at 50
Jackson on TV: A classic artist, a revolutionary
‘Thriller’ at 25: Still Can’t Beat It