Lawyers Prepare For Courtroom Faceoff Over Michael Jackson Estate
Lawyers Prepare For Courtroom Faceoff Over Michael Jackson Estate

As predicted, Michael Jackson is once again the King of the Pop charts.

Based on preliminary sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, the entire top nine positions on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart will house Jackson-related titles when the tally is released in the early morning on Wednesday (July 1). Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week ended at the close of business on Sunday (June 28) night.

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Jackson himself has a record eight out of the top 10, while a Jackson 5 compilation also finds its way into the upper tier.

The King of Pop's "Number Ones" will fittingly lead the pack at No. 1 with 108,000 (an increase of 2,340%) while "The Essential Michael Jackson" and "Thriller" are in the Nos. 2 and 3 slots with 102,000 and 101,000, respectively. Last week "Number Ones" was the only Jackson title on the chart, at No. 20 with 4,000 copies; both "Essential" and "Thriller" re-enter the tally this week.

Additionally, his classic 1979 studio set "Off the Wall" re-enters at No. 4 with 33,000 while his 1987 album "Bad" returns at No. 6 with 17,000. At No. 5, the Jackson 5's "The Ultimate Collection" debuts with 18,000. Jackson's fourth studio album for Epic Records, 1991's "Dangerous," re-enters at No. 7 with 14,000 while his 2001 compilation "Greatest Hits: HIStory -- Volume 1" also comes back to the list at No. 8 with 12,000. Finally, Jackson's 2004 box set "The Ultimate Collection" charts its first week on the Pop Catalog chart, arriving at No. 9 with 11,000.

The lone non-Jackson-related set in the top 10 is a reissue of the "Woodstock" movie soundtrack, which bows at No. 10 with 8,000.

Collectively, Jackson's solo albums sold 422,000 this past week. That's extraordinary, since his titles sold a combined 10,000 in the week that ended June 21. Of the 422,000 total, 57% were digital downloads.

Additionally, the 422,000 albums sold just last week is nearly 42% more than what Jackson's catalog had sold the the entire year up through June 21 (297,000).

Speaking of digital albums, on the Top Digital Albums chart, Jackson has a record six out of the top 10 slots, including the entire top four. "The Essential Michael Jackson" leads the Top Digital Albums list with 80,000 downloads sold, while "Thriller" is No. 2 with 57,000.

With the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." moving back to the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 chart with 88,000, this week marks the first time since Nielsen SoundScan began compiling data in 1991 that a catalog album has sold more than the No. 1 current set on the Billboard 200 albums chart. (All three of Jackson's top sellers on the Pop Catalog chart outsell "The E.N.D.")

Ironically, the feat almost occurred when Jackson re-issued "Thriller" in February 2008. The set relaunched with 166,000, re-entering at No. 1 on the Top Pop Catalog chart. That week, Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static" led the Billboard 200 chart with 180,000 while Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" was at No. 2 with 115,000.

Catalog albums are ineligible to appear on the Billboard 200 albums chart, though they can chart on the all-encompassing Top Comprehensive Albums list. On the latter chart, Jackson's "Number Ones," "Essential" and "Thriller" are at Nos. 1-3, followed by the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." at No. 4.

Jackson places a record 25 songs on the 75-position Hot Digital Songs chart (21 solo hits and four with his siblings), smashing the mark of 14 charting titles established by David Cook in the June 7, 2008 issue. Jackson's Halloween radio staple, "Thriller," moves 167,000, which is good for second place on the chart behind the 203,000 shifted by the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling."

"Thriller" was also Jackson's best seller in the week before his death with 5,000 downloads, which translates to a 3,551% jump. Jackson's total volume of downloads this week -- including his tracks with the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons -- account for 2.6 million downloads, a remarkable number considering last week's cumulative sum was 48,000. Moreover, Jackson becomes the first act to sell more than 1 million song downloads in a week.

Besides "Thriller," Jackson places five other songs in the top 10 including "Man In The Mirror" (No. 3, 165,000), "Billie Jean" (No. 4, 158,000), "The Way You Make Me Feel" (No. 6, 136,000), "Beat It" (No. 7, 134,000) and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (No. 8, 125,000).

Not surprisingly, each of the tracks in the top 10 of Hot Digital Songs were among the top 10 most-played Jackson selections at radio following his passing. According to research provided by Nielsen BDS of monitored airplay from over 1,600 terrestrial and satellite radio stations and cable music channels, "Billie Jean" was the Jackson track with the most spins for the week ending June 28 with 4,540 -- 97% of which occurred after news of his death became public. The track posted only 318 plays in the prior week.