Call me crazy. Here's a weird thought but an increasingly valid one: Michael Jackson could end up being the top-selling artist of 2009.
According to industry website Hits Daily Double, Sony Music has shipped more than 8 million CDs since Jackson's death two weeks ago. Bear in mind that these are all physical CDs sold via Walmart, Best Buy and the two or three remaining brick-and-mortar record stores, etc. (Hits didn't break down whether that was in the US alone or worldwide, but the figures I heard last week were 2.5 million U.S./5 million worldwide, so my hunch is the 8 million is worldwide).
This does not include all the down loads via places like iTunes that contribute to the album tally (if 10 or more songs from a title are purchased). As you know, Jackson's albums have been at the top of all possible download lists, but for albums and individual tracks.
As we reported earlier this week, the top selling CD of 2009 through June 28 was Taylor Swift's "Fearless," which sold 1.3 million copies of its 3.4 million total since Jan. 1.
It's estimated that Jackson's "Number Ones" will be closing in on a million copies sold over the last few weeks by the end of next week. Add in "Thriller" and "Essential Michael Jackson," both of which are still selling more than 100,000 copies per week in the U.S. alone and the idea isn't so farfetched. Then, when you consider how titles like "Bad" and "Dangerous" are selling-although at a much slower pace, they'd still add in to the total-and it's starting to look like a banner sales year for Jackson.
To be sure, there are going to be repackaged titles, possibly some previously unreleased material and the DVDs of the concert rehearsals (if AEG is smart, they'll do an audio component so that will jack up Jackson's CD sales even higher.)
Given Jackson's obsession with album sales, somehow we think he'd like the thought of coming out on top in 2009.