Michael Jackson is the biggest star to die during the SoundScan era and it's expected that his physical catalog, much like his digital sales , will receive a huge boost from his untimely death.
Retailers and Sony Music are anticipating the rush and are working to ensure Jackson's catalog is available in stores. Sources at Sony tell Billboard that more than one million copies of his albums have been ordered by retail outlets around the country since last night. Employees at Sony's pressing plants in Pitman, N.J., and Terre Haute, Ind., are being told to plan on overtime work as the plants will be running over the weekend.
And what type of sales boost is expected? After Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994, sales of Nirvana's "Nevermind" rose from 7,000 the week before his death to 20,000 the week of his death to 35,000 the week after his death, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Nirvana's "In Utero" went from 18,000 to 40,000 to 60,000.
After rapper Tupac Shakur was killed in 1996, sales of his best-selling album, "All Eyez on Me," went from 16,000 to 56,000 to 76,000.
When rapper Notorious BIG was killed in 1997, he had just released an album; sales of his previous album, "Ready to Die," went from 3,000 to 10,000 to 12,000.
Finally, when Frank Sinatra died in 1998, sales of "Very Good Years" went from 4,000 to 18,000 to 30,000.