Thursday, May 23, 2024

Michael Jackson’s New Album Finishes at Number 3 in US, But It’s an International Hit


Michael Jackson‘s “Michael” album enters the charts at number 3 this week, right behind Taylor Swift and Susan Boyle.

“Michael” sold 224,000 copies, about 25,000 less than the two women.

On the other hand, “Michael” was the highest debut album of the week according to It outsold new CDs by R. Kelly and P Diddy by more than 100,000 copies. Around the world, however, Sony says it’s an international hit. (See further below.)

However, Jackson’s last album, “Invincible,” sold 363,000 copies in its first week, back on October 30, 2001.

Given the modest amount of money that went into marketing “Michael” and the huge sums wasted on P Diddy, you could say “Michael” is even a bigger hit.

What it lacks, though, is a break out hit. And the album still has not overcome the stigma of Jackson’s vocals possibly not being his–and they are.

Sony sort of screwed this up from the beginning. The version of “Breaking News” that was put on the website for streaming in November didn’t sound like Michael Jackson. It was in fact the wrong mix. This led the rabid Jackson fans to scream that they were being fooled.

It’s too bad: “Breaking News” is a great single. On the album, it’s clearly Michael Jackson singing all the way through the lead. Jackson fans are denying themselves a real treat if they think otherwise.

The real first single, “Hold My Hand,” with Akon, has not been a crowd pleaser.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I do think Sony rushed the release. They had no marketing campaign, no focus, and a lot of negativity to overcome. If they’d waited til spring, some more thought could have gone into how to launch this CD.

“Michael” has plenty of potential singles. “Monster,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Another Day” are all great. But Sony’s going to have to implement some out of the box thinking to make them happen.

Around the world, “Michael” is a different story. Here’s a press release from Sony:

# MICHAEL shipped Platinum in 14 territories including the United States, UK, Germany, France (2x), Italy (3x), Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Belgium, Czech Republic (4x), Canada, Korea and the Middle East.
# The album debuted at #1 in Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden.
# And on top of the # 1 album chart entry in Germany, sales of MICHAEL broke the country’s 2010’s first-week record with over 85,000 units sold.
# Opening week sales of more than 113,000 in the U.K. scored the biggest opening week for a new Michael Jackson studio album since ‘Dangerous’ nearly 20 years ago.
# In Japan, the album is the fourth Michael Jackson album to ever debut in the top 3, joining Bad, Thriller and last year’s “This Is It” companion album.
# The album is in the top five in Belgium (#2), US (#3), Japan (#3), the UK (#4), France (#4), Denmark (#4). In the US, the album shipped platinum and debuted at #3 of the Billboard Album chart with just under 230,000 copies sold.
# The album went Gold in 17 territories on arrival in Japan, China, Australia, Ireland, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, India, Philippines and Taiwan.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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