Was there really any doubt? Of course, the King of Pop has to be tops on this week’s Music Power Rankings. Friday marks the one-year anniversary of his death and, in many ways, he’s never been more popular. Since last June 25, his estate has earned anywhere between $200 million and $1 billion, depending upon varying press reports, and concert film, “This is It,” helped rehab his tarnished image, especially in the U.S., and put the public’s focus squarely back on his talent, as opposed to his personality quirks (to put it nicely).
1. Michael Jackson (not ranked last week): The sales, respect and success that had eluded him for the last decade or so returns for the saddest of reasons and proves, tragically, that death is a good career move.
2. YouTube (not ranked): The Google-owned site won a summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit earlier this week when a court ruled that the online site was not guilty of copyright infringement if the web channel took preventive measures and took down copyrighted material when the owner asked them to. Entertainment websites that constantly embed YouTube’s material, despite dubious ownership, breathe a big sigh of relief, although the piano-playing cat is severely pissed. Viacom plans to appeal.
3. Eminem (last week no. 4): Call it a comeback or just call it “Recovery.” Either way, Marshall Mathers is on track to score the largest first week-sales of the year, selling as much as 600,000 copies. No “Relapse” here.
4. Drake (last week no. 2): Sometimes the reality lives up to the hype. Drake’s “Thank Me Later” zooms to the top of the Billboard 200 this week, selling three times as much as the No. 2 album.
5. Roger Faxon (not ranked): EMI Music Publishing chairman/CEO Roger Faxon takes over all of EMI, including the struggling labels as EMI repositions itself as “a comprehensive rights management company.” Is this the way that the other remaining three major record companies are headed or is it merely a rearranging of the deck chairs on the Terra Firma-owned EMI?
6. Google (last week no. 1): It was a good week for Google. In addition to the YouTube win, more details about its music service leaked out. It looks like when users Google a song or artist, Google’s online store will pop up. Android + Google= a major worm in Apple’s iTunes.
7. Jim Urie (not ranked): The head of Universal Music Distribution has always been a free thinker. Sometimes his ideas have worked, sometimes they haven’t, but you have to give him credit for taking action. This week, he launched a “call to action” to petition government to regulate ISPs as a way to fight against the piracy that has, as he says, “decimated” an entire industry.
8. Glastonbury (not ranked): The granddaddy of all music festivals gets underway in England as it turns 40. Even with U2 having to pull out as headliner, the line-up remains strong with U2-replacement The Gorillaz, Stevie Wonder, Muse and The Flaming Lips. Even Prince Charles showed up to join in the festivities and get his rave on in the dance tent.
9. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (not ranked): Nashville’s power couple spearheaded June 22’s “Nashville Rising” benefit for flood relief. Final tallies aren’t in, but friends Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and even Sandra Bullock all showed up to support the effort.
10. Black Eyed Peas (not ranked): The ubiquitous group’s “I Gotta Feeling” becomes the first single in the U.K. to reach the 1 million-download mark. We bet Will.I.Am’s new squeeze Cheryl Cole is responsible for at least half of those.
What do you think?
Music Power Rankings appear every Friday in The Beat Goes On on HitFix.