Michael Jackson rules pop charts for 3rd week

Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:22pm EDT
 
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's memorial proved to be good for business, sparking another nostalgic frenzy for his music that continues to put the King of Pop atop music charts since his sudden death three weeks ago.

Jackson's catalog of solo albums sold 1.1 million U.S. copies in the week ended July 12, and his greatest-hits set "Number Ones" ranked as the top-selling album for a third straight week, Nielsen SoundScan reported on Wednesday.

Physical CDs, rather than Internet downloads, accounted for 90 percent of the business as music stores rushed to restock their Jackson inventory. Downloads had dominated sales immediately after his death.

The bulk of last week's sales came in the days following a two-hour-plus memorial salute to Jackson, which was televised live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles last Tuesday and featured numerous recording stars performing musical tributes.

The 1.1 million tally marked a 37 percent increase from the week before, when 800,000 Jackson albums sold, which in turn almost doubled the previous sales week, 422,000 units, ending just three days after his June 25 death.

By comparison, Jackson's entire catalog sold fewer than 10,000 albums the week before he died, and the last time he had a top-selling album while alive was his last studio release, "Invincible," which debuted at No. 1 with 366,000 copies sold in 2001.

Jackson's post-mortem sales total has now reached 2.3 million copies, led by "Number Ones," the first catalog album in SoundScan history to best a newly debuting album, a feat achieved for three weeks in a row.

"We never thought that could happen, and it turns out that the only person who could ever do it was Michael Jackson,' said Billboard magazine chart editor Keith Caulfield.   Continued...

 
<p>Michael Jackson performs during the halftime show at the NFL's Super Bowl XXVII in Pasadena, California, in this January 31, 1993 file photo. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn/Files</p>