Sales of Michael Jackson's catalog drowned out the competition in the week after his death. Consumers flocked last week to online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon.com to purchase Jackson’s catalog but the flurry of activity did not help other artists.

Total album sales dropped 8% versus the previous week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. New releases dropped 17% while catalog albums rose 3% and deep catalog increased 8%. A week-to-week change in the -10% range is not unusual, and the week did not have any blockbuster debuts.

Even so, the performance of the country’s top albums is clear evidence that Michael Jackson’s death had a negative impact on the rest of the market.

Except for debuts, no album in the previous weeks’ top 100 gained over the previous week. Of the top 200 albums, 149 had double-digit declines, 159 were in negative territory, two were flat and nine sold more units that in the previous week. There were 27 debuts that week.

Compare the recent week-over-week changes to the week ending June 21 when only 66 of the top 200 albums were in negative territory. Not including new releases, 96 of the previous week’s top 200 albums gained over the previous week while two were even. For the week ending June 14, the top 200 had 122 losers, 45 gainers, 6 evens and 27 debuts. In the week ending June 7, there were 61 gainers, 107 losers, six flat and 24 debuts. In the week ending May 31 there were 43 gainers, 140 losers, six flat and 9 debuts. One reason for the high number of losers that week was the 24 titles that were in their second week of release, a period in which an album usually has a large drop-off from first-week sales.

The below graph shows the percent of top 200 albums at SoundScan that either gained or lost ground versus the previous week. For example, in the week ending June 28, 2009, the week in which Michael Jackson died, only nine of the top 200 albums – or 4.5% -- gained ground over the previous week. For the week ending June 21, 2009, 96 out of the top 200 albums – or 48% -- sold more than in the previous week. The “Adjusted Gainers” category takes into account debuts in the top 200 albums, titles that could not have gained or lost versus the previous week because they were in their first week of release. When accounting for the 27 albums that debuted in the top 200 for the week ending June 28, the “adjusted gainers” is 5.2% (a bit higher than the 4.5% for the unadjusted figure).