CSPC: Michael Jackson Popularity Analysis

CSPC Michael Jackson

After two weeks of teasing with related, making of-like articles, the wait is finally over. It’s time to shine our light on the King of Pop. Iconic, massive, legendary, cult, an anthem of a generation, we quickly run out of words while speaking of Michael Jackson.

Maybe the most amazing element is that he achieved this status with a mere six albums from the time he turning 18 in 1976 to his death in 2009. Obviously, it helps when those albums include blockbusters like Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.

This limited discography in volume raises some questions though. As popular as Michael Jackson has been it is hard to imagine him challenging artists like Madonna or Mariah Carey, who were massive too but issued far more albums and mostly during a more favorable time for record sales.

Additionally, artists with well-known elements like video clips, dance moves, widely covered / sampled and highly influential are often seen as bigger sellers than they really are. Since Michael Jackson assembles these elements better than anyone we may wonder even more how much he truly sold.

A lot of myths are well alive around him, from the 750 million record sales to the 100 million copies sold of Thriller. Those claims are clearly fake though, on par with the billion sales of the Beatles or Elvis Presley. Speaking of myths, most of them are related to Thriller. Is it so big that it eclipses everything else and asks the question, were the likes of Off The Wall and Bad less successful than often believed?

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Michael Jackson‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

Let’s go!

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Hello MJD really complimented for analyzing the undisputed myth ” the king of pop ” that is Michael Jackson. Then I have 2 questions to ask :
1) Don’t stop til you get enough counting both the official video on VEVO and the other videos uploaded to this song, I believe it exceeds 143,500,000 views
2) then I thought that Thriller had only sold in U.S. about 33 million copies sold

Tom Riise

Great work as usual MJD, nice to see that you included some sales
from my home country Norway.
I was guessing that CSPC for MJ was in the range of 300-325,
and yes Thriller is an absolute monster > Keep up the good work 🙂

Marlon Serpa

Amazing work!!! My Thriller’s 100 millions finally is alive hahaha.

So Madonna pure album sales (200kk+) is higher than MJ (183kk)?

Ryan Be

MJ is on 235,440,000, as per Page 53.


Yes this is were I was confused. If his pure album sales er 235. In the analys he claim that mj sold over 80 mill physical singles and that puts him at over 300. He sure sold more than 10 mill digital singles


You really need to read page 2. This is not just records sales this is CSPC analysis.

Ryan Be

Chris, Page 48 explains the method. Singles are weighted using the methodology relevant to their format. 🙂


Studio Album: sales of the original album
Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/11750 for Video stream)


Not quite
Madonnas Studio Albums 146,450,000 pg20
MJs Studio Albums 182,600,000(without posthumous 173,500,000) pg16

Madonnas Wirldwide Albums 201,900,000 pg53
MJs Worldwide Albums
235,440,000 pg47


Amazing piece of work ! you are truly a great team!

So if we count records sales The Beatles would be at ~ 500 million aprox while MJ at ~410 million records… I think in the long run he can catch up TB sales.

Thank you for your amazing work!.


He would have caught up already had the glorious American justice system and media not done their best to ruin his reputation. From the moment he started to break white records and became the first black person to trigger mass hysteria by whites, blacks, browns, yellows alike many in the white US and UK media considered him a threat. Once he bought the ATV catalog, with Beatles songs and all, the character assassination started in full force. By the time Evan Chandler teamed up with that pedophile Victor Gutierrez to concoct the molestation story Jordan Chandler was coached to memorize… Read more »



What an amazing work for an amazing career! The sales are so huge!
At least, Thriller doesn’t do 100 millions in pure sales but it does in CSPC!

Always a pleasure to read your work!

marcus andre

So Madonna has the best selling remixed album, not Jackson… S2

marcus andre

I didn’t know that. wow!

marcus andre

How do you estimated the sales of his 3 first albums here in Brazil?! The codes for the CD are too low to estimate that amount…

marcus andre

Thank You!


Amazing, Truly the king of pop 🙌 Is Sam Smith next, Considering his new era just started.


It’ll never happen. The new king of pop will go to either Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars or Justin Bieber.


I meant his sales report, idiot and what horrible delusional choices.


willst du mich verarschen Justin Bieber der King of Pop da lache ich mich ja tot niemals kommt einer an Michael Jackson Plattenverkäufe dran das wird keiner schaffen weil er der größte war und kein anderer wird der King of Pop es gibt nur einen King of Pop und der ist Michael Jackson und lass ihn endlich das wird keiner schaffen weil er der größte war und kein anderer wird der King of Pop es gibt nur einen King of Pop und der ist der King of Pop und wird es immer bleiben fertig aus


There is only one KING and that’s MJ


Elvis is referred to as The King, not Michael Jackson. Not that any of that “King”, Queen” or “Princess” of pop shit matters a jot, just silly terminology, that means absolutely nothing!

Lim Hyunjin

Elvis Presley is the king of rock and roll


One thumbs down, Sam still gets bitter gays pressed and folded YASS 🙌


Yay, I heard his debut sold 12 Million with SPS, 🙌

Stephon Jackson

This is brilliant work. My question is: Why’s it that “We Are The World” is never counted towards Jackson’s total single sales? I mean, he sung on the song and co-wrote/co-composed the song. I think it should be counted towards his (and Lionel Richie’s) total record sales imo.


They wrote the song and they are credited for that. The same as “You Are Not Alone” was written by R Kelly but it’s not credited to him, it’s a Michael Jackson’s single.
“We Are The World” is correctly credited to the one-time collective USA FOR AFRICA.

Stephon Jackson

Okay, thanks. Can you do the single/streaming sales breakdown of that song as well?


WOW! The King! Is this only album sales? Why is Rihanna only at 6500000 when she sold over 100 mill digital singles in US alone?


Did you ever bother reading? It is well explained in page 2 of every artist’s analysis.

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