The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) made the announcement Wednesday (Dec. 15) with the Estate of Michael Jackson, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings, as the new milestone continues Jackson’s reign as the most selling artist of all time with over 100 million sales for Thriller worldwide and 1 billion total sales to his credit.
“RIAA has awarded Gold & Platinum records on behalf of the music business for nearly 60 years, but this is the first time an artist has crossed the 30X multi-Platinum plateau,” RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement. “We are honored to celebrate the unique status of Thriller in Gold & Platinum history. What an exceptional achievement and testament to Thriller‘s enduring spot in our hearts and musical history.”
Jackson’s Thriller was released Nov. 30 1982 and spent nearly 2 1/2 years on the Billboard album chart with 37 weeks at No. 1, holding the modern day record. It was also the first album in history to spend its first 80 weeks in the album chart’s top 10, which has only been replicated once since.
The Quincy Jones and Jackson-produced LP was also the first ever certified RIAA 20 times multi-platinum, doing so after 112 weeks on the album chart — less than two years in all. Seven tracks off the album became top 10 singles with three — “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — topping the singles chart.
Worldwide, Thriller topped charts in nearly every market, hitting No. 1 in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and apartheid South Africa. The album won a record-setting 8 Grammys with nominations in 12 categories — another first.
“It is crystal clear that Michael Jackson is simply the greatest and biggest artist of all time,” Epic Records chairman and CEO LA Reid said in a statement. “Not only are his charts hits and sales stats staggering, but his pure musicality was other-worldly. Thriller was groundbreaking and electrifying…it was perfection. I am extremely proud that Michael is the heart and soul of Epic Records and he will forever remain the one-and-only King of Pop.”