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Cynical but true: death is good for an artist's sales figures...

iTunes Chart Watch: Michael Jackson Dominates The Digital World


We'll start this week's iTunes Chart Watch with help from our good friend, Mr. Michael Stipe.  "Death is pretty final, I'm collecting vinyl."  Okay, so we're not so much collecting vinyl as digital bits of 1s and 0s, but death turned out to be a pretty good career move for Michael Jackson.  I know that's being a little glib, but take a look at our singles and album charts.  It's all Michael Jackson.  Anyone who released an album last week caught a bad break, although I think it's fair to say it sucked a good deal worse for Michael.

It's not surprising, but it is pretty amazing.  Michael Jackson's death reminded us why there was so much hype in the first place.  As I mentioned in the piece I co-wrote with several Blogcritics colleagues, Michael hadn't been musically relevant in a long time but his death reminded us of a time when he was.  These charts are a little time portal to 25 years ago when he reigned supreme as the undisputed King of Pop.  In subsequent years, erratic behavior and sinister rumors and allegations overshadowed his musical achievements.  In death, his music got remembered one more time.  The only question is how long this sales surge will last.

Non-Michael Jackson singles come from Black Eyed Peas, who continue to keep two songs in the Top 10 along with Sean Kingston and Drake.  The big loser here is Lady GaGa, who has kept two song in the Top 10 since I started this feature.  This week?  Zero.  Are listeners tired of her or is this a one-week hiatus?  My guess is the latter, but I'm hoping for the former.

Top 10 Singles

1. "I Gotta Feeling," Black Eyed Peas

2. "Man In the Mirror," Michael Jackson
3. "Thriller," Michael Jackson
4. "Boom Boom Pow," Black Eyed Peas
5. "Best I Ever Had," Drake
6. "Billie Jean," Michael Jackson
7. "The Way You Make Me Feel," Michael Jackson
8. "Fire Burning," Sean Kingston
9. "Beat It," Michael Jackson
10. "New pide," Linkin Park

The albums chart is pretty much the same as the singles: Michael Jackson.  The Black Eyed Peas continued to sell and I suspect Wilco would have been in the Top 10 with a lot of pre-orders were it not for the obvious.  Regina Spektor continues to do well as do Kings of Leon and Dave Matthews Band.  Apparently the indie crowd were less motivated to help Michael's estate lift itself out of a reported enormous debt.  It's Eminem who takes it on the chin this week, bounced by the onslaught of the Michael Jackson sales tsunami.

Top 10 Albums

1. The Essential Michael Jackson – Michael Jackson
2. Thriller – Michael Jackson
3. Number Ones – Michael Jackson
4. Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
5. Far – Regina Spektor
6. The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) – Black Eyed Peas
7. Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen (Original Soundtrack) – Various Artists
8. Bad – Michael Jackson
9. Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King – Dave Matthews Band
10. Only By the Night – Kings of Leon


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