Saturday, April 13, 2024

Michael Jackson Brand Damaged by Poor Sales of New CD and Books


Considering all the people who write to me screaming about how they love Michael Jackson, etcetera, etcetera, here’s a question: where are you?

Jackson’s much touted CD of new, unreleased, and reconfigured material has been a bust. Forget proclamations that it’s “number 1 in 50 countries” or other such nonsense. In the United States, after four weeks of sales, “XScape” has sold just 286,000 copies.

That’s it, and it’s around number 25 on the album charts. It’s not coming back, either. “Xscape” had one marketing ploy and it’s over. That was the dancing “hologram” on the Billboard Music Awards.

Meantime, two new books about Jackson, pegged to the fifth anniversary of his death on June 25th, are also flops. “Michael Jackson Inc” by Zach O’Malley Greenburg, has done the worst. It’s ranked around number 16,000– sixteen thousand— on That’s pretty much no sales.

“Remember the Time,” an interesting memoir by two former Jackson bodyguards, has done a little better. Deservedly so. That book is up around number 1,320, which means it’s had some sales, good worth of mouth and online reviews. But it’s no best seller.

Maybe the authors of the books are waiting for the death anniversary to do some publicity. I think they should get going now. Those books are not going to revive themselves. Like the CD, they simply haven’t caught on.

The CD, of course, was a bad idea. Remixing and fiddling with Jackson’s unreleased music was a kind of heresy. It served no purpose. Just releasing the demos as they were would have been plenty.

As it is, many good unreleasedĀ  songs were thrown out because they’d already been included in the “Bad” 25th anniversary album. There isn’t that much left now in the vaults. Sony would be wise to issue a series of live CDs from concerts.

What do people want of Michael Jackson? The hits, the ones they love, and have ties to. “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” already outlasting the “new” stuff.

Meantime, TMZ has a LOL story about Jackson’s ex-wife and her purported engagement to gay pornographer Marc Schaffel. Apparently, he has a wife. Only on TMZ, my friends, only on TMZ.


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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