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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Hi MJDangerous!
Thanks for your awesome work, which I follow since april 2004 (charts in france, then UKMix) 🙂
Maybe a little study about Michael’s sales since his death could be interesting! Thanks.
Have a nice day.


Dude. If you really dont trust this BOZO website then why are u wasting so much time here. If u hated this site so much than just leave it already. “The RIAA is NOT the authority on record sales…….Anyone using them as a basis in reality as far as the music business is concerned are idiots.” The RIAA is responsible for certifying Gold and Platinum albums and singles in the United States. So r u telling everybody that for decades albums and singles that has been certified platinum and gold and silver are fake? If there is anybody that sounded… Read more »


Can you please show numbers of mj’s “this is it” video selling 12 million copies…………..it’s just been bugging me. I find it incredibly hard to believe it sold that much.
Thank you,


in this article you put MJ’s Asian album sales at 24.163 million, but here you put it at 25.69 million. The global figure is the same, why is that?


15 days have passed


Dangerous “only” sold 250k copies in the “remaining markets” in Asia. How did the total climb to 2.3 million for Michael?


By 2009/06/27, according to Sony Music Taiwan, Thriller sold 140k copies, Dangerous sold 400k copies and HIStory sold over 400k there(don’t know if this was doubled because it sold 239k by November 1996). MJ sold over one million in total there and about 100 to 200 monthly (catalog sales).


I found Billboard magazine reported Dangerous sold 300k in 1993 and then Sony Music Taiwan reported Dangerous sold 400k in 2009. It is very logical so I wonder where the 500k figure from…


The same source, confirmed MJ’s top 5 best-selling albums in Taiwan in 2009/06/27 by 自由时报 1. HIStory, 450k in Taiwan (it seems like the 9xPlatinum thing?but IFPI confirmed 239k by November 1996) 2. Dangerous, 400k in Taiwan 3. Bad, 160k in Taiwan 4. Thriller, 140k in Taiwan (maybe without including Thriller 25, but can’t be that much because in 2008 Taiwanese media published the year’s best-selling western albums with figures, I didn’t see Thriller 25 in the chart) 5. Off The Wall, 80k in Taiwan official figures published by 自由时报 in the same link I gave, and fit with what… Read more »


Dangerous (1991)
Asia – 5,120,000
Japan – 925,000
Hong-Kong – 150,000
Singapore – 195,000
India – 250,000
China – 450,000
South Korea – 850,000
Taiwan – 500,000
Thailand – 450,000
Malaysia – 225,000
plus 575k in Indonesia and 300k in Philippiness, it is 4.87 million in total. Where did other 250k came from? According to IFPI Asia, there is only one country, Pakistan left, but it sold nowhere near 250k.


There is Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and many other asian countries. I believe those are the estimated sales for the other remaining countries combined.


IFPI only count 12 Asian countries, those countries that you mentioned are not counted into IFPI.


But Saudi Arabia is counted into Gulf States…


How do you estimate HIStory sales in china?


In China,we use “淘宝” more,Amazon is unnecessary

[…] much of Jackson’s later work. Still, while inevitably seen as a lesser work, Dangerous sold 30 million copies around the world, almost as much as Bad, though comparatively less in the U.S. (8 million Dangerous versus 10 […]

Why is this hitpiece posted here? This was written by Bill Wyman, a notorious MJ hater and his extremely subjective and twisted opinion, not to mention factual errors, have nothing to do with the hard data regarding sales and streams which is what this site is all about.


Hi MJD! I know you’ve been busy, I see you posted a few new articles this week. Great work as always. So, you probably haven’t had time to respond to the email I sent furthering our discussion on how to create more profits for the site. Take your time and get to it when you have a chance. 🙂 I just have a quick question though, for use on the project I’m putting together — For HIStory are your pure sales numbers based on the double album? Or is that the single disc count? I know the RIAA does doubling… Read more »


History was certified 9xP in Taiwan.1xP for international artists before 1996/1998 is 20.000, so it equals to 180.000 sales. I doubt it sold 600.000 to date.


Hi! That is from 1996 to 2002 when RIT started to track sales. Before RIT started, Platinum was 20k for international artists. History certified 4xP+G by RIT by October 1996, which equal to 225k sales


You shold really correct your Taiwan figures.
By 1996/02/17, Hisotry was 9xP in Taiwan.RIT was created in August 1996, So that was before RIT era. It was 1xP=20k for international artists before RIT era in Taiwan,so History was 180k by that time.

By 1996/10/14, History was officially certified 4xP+G for 239,365 copies. The total estimation should be at 300k, which was half of the figure you overestimated.


MJD,I want to ask your one question,how did you get MJ Thriller selling in Zimbabwe?what is the source?It’s amazing,can you get another Africa country ?


All right….I can’t understand….maybe I need improve my English…..

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