With stores restocked, Michael Jackson's music sales climb

Wed Jul 8, 2009 4:11am EDT
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By Keith Caulfield

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - On the day the world said goodbye to Michael Jackson, his star continued to shine on Billboard's charts, a testament to his lasting musical legacy and impact.

Based on preliminary sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, Jackson's catalog of solo albums sold a whopping 800,000 copies in the U.S. in the tracking week that ended at the close of business Sunday (July 5). That's an increase of 90 percent from the previous week, when his combined albums sold 422,000.

A jump in sales was expected, since this was the first full week of sales since Jackson's passing on June 25. Most physical retailers swiftly sold out of available Jackson albums in the days after his death, but last week Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group replenished brick-and-mortar stores with CDs to meet customer demand.

Physical albums accounted for 82 percent of Jackson's sales last week -- 656,000 physical albums versus 144,000 download albums. In the week previous, when Jackson's albums moved 422,000 copies, physical albums accounted for 43 percent of that sum (181,000), and digital albums made up 57 percent (241,000).

When SoundScan's charts are released Wednesday morning (July 8), Jackson's "Number Ones" collection will be the top-selling album in the United States, with 339,000 (up 215 percent), and will also be No. 1 on Billboard's Top Comprehensive Albums chart. "Thriller" will be No. 2 with 187,000 (up 86 percent). The third-place set will be the newly released "Now 31" compilation of various pop artists, which will start with 169,000.

Jackson will again dominate the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. It tallies albums that are more than 18 months old, have fallen below No. 100 on the Billboard 200 and don't have a current radio single. Catalog albums are ineligible to appear on the Billboard 200 chart -- the main album chart -- but they can make it onto the Top Comprehensive Albums chart.

Last week, Jackson had a record eight albums out of the top 10 on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, and a Jackson 5 compilation also found its way into the upper tier. This week, the entire top 10 belongs to Jackson. He alone has albums at Nos. 1-6 and Nos. 8-10, with a Jackson 5 title ("The Ultimate Collection") residing at No. 7.

On Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart, Jackson will hold down five of the top 10 slots, with "Man in the Mirror" leading as his top-selling digital download song of the week (159,000; down 3 percent). Overall, it ranks as the second-best-selling song of the week, next to the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" (215,000; up 6 percent).

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

<p>Freshly printed covers of Michael Jackson's 'Number Ones' CD are pictured in the Austrian 'ArtPress' factory in Hoefen July 3, 2009. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler</p>