Monday, May 27, 2024

Pop Legacy: Michael Jackson Sales Around 1 Million Year to Date, Ahead of the Eagles, Behind the Beatles (Exclusive)


I probably should have written this last week for Michael Jackson’s 65th birthday.

Remember how everyone wrote him off when HBO aired their negative documentary? His critics claimed his legacy was ruined.

According to Luminate, thirteen years after his death Jackson has sold the equivalent of 977,000 albums so far in 2023. He will surpass 1 million and could get as high as 1.5 million before the year is out.

That’s with no active marketing this year other than his sold out Broadway musical, “MJ.” And, of course. he’s not here to do any promotion. Among deceased pop stars, he’s number 1.

To put Jackson’s popularity in context. he’s running behind The Beatles (1.2 million) but ahead of The Eagles (722K). Each of those groups is promoted all year long. The Eagles are about to go on a final tour. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr keep the Fab Four’s flag waving all the time.

Adding in two big legacy groups: Queen is just behind Michael. Elvis Presley is behind both of them. Fleetwood Mac is just behind the Beatles.

Probably the two biggest female acts are far behind. Madonna is nowhere near this range — only around 350K. Mariah Carey is around the 550K mark mostly thanks to “All I Want is Christmas.”

But Michael Jackson’s music just keeps going. So far this year he’s been streaming 1.2 billion times. Think of all the times you’ve been somewhere in public and heard “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” or “Billie Jean.” It’s endless.

Happy birthday, Michael.

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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