The untimely death of Michael Jackson has set off an unprecedented surge in interest in his musical legacy. The self-proclaimed "King of Pop" certainly ruled the Billboard charts in the 1980s and beyond, but his posthumous sales are setting all kinds of new records.
The top two selling albums this past week in the U.S. are Jackson's "Number Ones" and "Thriller." More Michael Jackson albums were purchased during this past week alone than through the entire first 26 weeks of 2009. In fact, for the first time ever, all Top 10 chart positions on the Catalog Album Chart are occupied by one artist as Jackson takes each spot.
Digitally, Jackson's sales are breaking new ground as well. In the past two weeks, Nielsen SoundScan has captured more than 5.6 million digital track sales for across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. This past week Nielsen SoundScan processed nearly 2.7 million Michael Jackson digital track sales across the three continents compared to 2.95 million last week and 52,000 track sales the previous week. Prior to this week, there were 419,000 Jackson digital track downloads in Europe/Oceania through the first 25 weeks of 2009; this week alone there are 552,000 digital track sales.
Over the past two weeks there have been more than 4.3 million Jackson tracks purchased. Prior to this week, there were 1.3 million of the artist's digital track sales during 2009. Each of the past two weeks there have been 2 million digital track sales from the "King of Pop." Nine of Jackson's songs were downloaded more than 100,000 times each and 16 songs downloaded more than 50,000 times this week alone.
Jackson is also setting music video sales records. "Number Ones" was purchased 50,000 times this past week by consumers; the top 4 spots on this week's Music Video chart belong to Jackson; and the nearly 90,000 Jackson music videos purchased this week amounts to a 250% increase over the previous week after being up 2000% the week before.
Jackson is even cleaning up in ringtones. This week there were more than 336,000 Jackson ringtone purchases, up from week ending June 28 when there were 200,000 Jackson ringtone sales in the U.S. Prior to this week, the artist had 83,000 ringtone sales during 2009. Since September 2006, Nielsen RingScan has captured more than 1.4 million Jackson ringtone purchases.