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.