Understanding: RIAA / Label audits – The case of Michael Jackson

This is my first vinyl

IX) Years 2013-2015

Years and years after becoming eligible, Epic finally audited Jackson‘s catalog again in May 2013 to conclude on the following certifications.

JACKSON, MICHAEL THE ESSENTIAL 05/16/13 EPIC M (3)
JACKSON, MICHAEL GREATEST HITS: HISTORY VOLUME 1 05/16/13 EPIC P
JACKSON, MICHAEL THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION 05/16/13 EPIC G
JACKSON, MICHAEL THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION 05/16/13 EPIC P
JACKSON, MICHAEL NUMBER ONES 05/16/13 EPIC M (4)
JACKSON, MICHAEL BAD 05/16/13 EPIC M (9)

Ironically, except the Platinum award of The Ultimate Collection, all those certifications were over-due since the end of 2009. By May 2013 Number Ones was over 4,9 million, nearly on 5xP. The Essential was even already over 2 million, enough for 4xP. Greatest Hits HIStory Volume 1 was over 1,2 million and Bad had scanned 1,4 million units since its 8th award.

The likes of Dangerous, HIStory, Invincible were still some what short of further certification marks to be updated. All in all, this audit from 2013 brings virtually no information, except that post-2003 albums really sold nothing via music clubs.

In August 2013 Motown randomly certified Michael‘s first solo album, Got To Be There. I’ll ignore that Gold plaque as it has nothing to do with Epic.

One more stand-alone certification was the one of Xscape.

JACKSON, MICHAEL XSCAPE 09/18/14 EPIC G

The album scanned 459,000 units during 2014 so it isn’t surprising to see it at Gold status. Especially when it sold additional copies bundled with the Cirque du Soleil show, including 9,000 units in its first week, without having them counted into its Soundscan tally. We can expect from 25,000 to 50,000 copies sold the same way.

We can notice that Thriller wasn’t updated in 2013. It has been kept very well updated ever since the 90s, so we can only believe it wasn’t eligible for an update. In fact, it scanned 900,000 units from August 2009 to May 2013 and shipped a bit less due to the huge shipments that occurred after Jackson‘s death. His catalog received no new award for the remainder of 2013 nor during the year of 2014. One new award however arrived in 2015:

JACKSON, MICHAEL THRILLER 12/16/15 EPIC M (30)

Here it is! More than 31 years after hitting the mind-blowing milestone of 20 million, Thriller jumps to over 30 million. This award was slightly late still. The album sold near 1,3 million units since its last certification, but we can’t use this fact as by August 2009 plenty of copies were still on store shelves. We need to use the previous awards, which were all date-specific, to see what happened since:

  • 04/2005 – 27xP – 2,3 million scanned
  • 03/2009 – 28xP – 3,4 million scanned
  • 12/2015 – 30xP – 5,5 million scanned

We can see that Thriller sold 3,2 million units since reaching 27 million. By 2005 it wasn’t shipping much as it was a low period of activity musically for Jackson along with the trial. Conservatively, Thriller was up to 30,15 million by December 2015.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

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

17 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Heretis

RIAA makes record labels pay for audits and membership having no set rate. Most labels have reportedly said less than 10% of their releases have been profitable. Same kind of goes for soundscan. How much are these figures subject to manipulation and/or estimation? I’ve also read where Soundscan doesn’t contact every retailer, just the ones they believe are enough to get a good sample for weighted averages, even among its members. For instance, instead of calling all the WalMart stores, they’d call 1 or 2 and calculate the rest based on how many were sold but give less weight to… Read more »

John

A time for an update MJD? Some of these albums were re-certfied last year.

chris

double CDS count twice i wondered as a child that so many people bought MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE .. by smashing pumpkins it was certified 10xPLATINUM =DIAMOND but albums that sold half were higher in the year end charts in the US than that album but as a teen i found out that sales were just 4,4 million and that it was counted twice in every article it is said that it was their breakthrough. but one moment. SIAMESE DREAM was released in 1993 and was certified 4xPLATINUM and sales stand at 4,6 million ridicolous On the other hand… Read more »

17
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x