Understanding: Billboard BB200 vs US Album Sales

The Jacksons

II) Examples of application

G) Jacksons / Michael Jackson (Epic)

The Jacksons and Michael Jackson on Epic came chronologically after the Motown era with the Jackson 5 and young Michael Jackson. Since the latter period wasn’t audited by the RIAA, it is more relevant to start with the Epic albums though to check if there are gaps due to the R&B sector.

Off the Wall reached Platinum status in late 1979 and then 5xPlatinum in 1985 after the introduction of multi-Platinum awards. Calculations suggest 5 million was indeed reached during 1985. That being said, it rose to 6xPlatinum in 1988 while not charting during the interval so figures appear to be just a bit too low.

Thriller‘s chart run is so specific that it is quite amazing to see even it fits well with the calculations. Please notice that since the formula considers higher sales per week for each new consecutive weeks, isolated weeks at the top are downgraded into top 5 weeks. It lasted so long at the top that each week is worth about half a million units, which happens to be almost true! The total is inflated by 10%, but this is so sensible that we should take it with a pinch of salt. If we assume 15 weeks at #1 in a row in 1984 instead of 17, the figure goes down to 20 million, exactly the amount certified.

With Bad, we see a figure clearly over the top in comparison to the reality. What’s more normal for the King of Pop to be over-represented inside Billboard Pop Album Chart.

Instead, figures of the Jacksons are rather perfect. Gold awarded albums sold indeed near half a million and Platinum LPs broke the million mark. By then, his popularity was balanced equally in all branches, creating relevant calculations.

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Please reply back soon MJD, I’m trying to do an analysis on Zara Larsson and I need 2017 album sales, audio streams and downloads for all markets please 🙏🏻

Donald Miller

I found the part about Teddy Pendergrass interesting because of his comparable lack of crossover success. Would have been nice if you had included a non-crossover country act or two for contrast.


Hi MJD, You are really good at getting the more accurate figures. It is your unstinting skill, why don’t you and your team start a worldwide top 100 songs in a weekly basis. What i dont like in us billboard hot 100 charts is that there is a limit now on the number of weeks for a song staying on the charts and if it reaches that limit, the song will not appear on the following week even if its sales are still enough to be in the hot 100. For the uk charts, i dont like their new rule… Read more »


And 2013 Album sales for Europe, Australia, new Zealand, Canada and the United States


Actually I changed my mind, can I instead get CD, Vinyl and digital Album Sales and the total number of streams and singles sales for all markets in 2017, if you can can you list them on here please?