Michael Jackson rules pop charts for third week
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 biggest-selling album for a third straight week, Nielsen SoundScan reported on Wednesday.
Ninety percent of those sales were physical CDs, as opposed to Internet downloads. The Gloved One also amassed 1.9 million downloads of his singles last week.
The bulk of those 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.
His latest weekly album sales 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 tally now stands at 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.
"Number Ones" sold 349,000 copies this past week to eclipse R&B star Maxwell's "BLACKsummer's Night," the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart of new releases with 316,000 units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
In fact, Jackson had six of the top 10 bestsellers last week, including his 1982 blockbuster "Thriller," "The Essential Michael Jackson," "Off the Wall," "Bad" and "Dangerous." All saw sharp increases over the previous week.
The all-time sales total for "Number Ones" now stands at 2.6 million copies since its release in November 2003, and it also ranks as the eighth-best-selling album so far this year. If sales remain robust through the year, it could eventually surpass the reigning No. 1 album, Taylor Swift's "Fearless."
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)