Michael Jackson albums and songs sales

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.

CSPC 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?

Table of Contents

ChartMasters’ method: the CSPC

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC) in order to relevantly gauge the act’s results. It will not only bring you sales information for all albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will really determine the act’s popularity.

If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a nice and short video of explaining the concept. I recommend watching it before reading on and to the sales figures. You’ll get the idea in just two minutes.

And if you want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.

Now let’s get into the artist’s detailed sales figures!

Original Albums Sales

Got to be There (1972)

  • America
    • US – 600,000
    • Canada – 30,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 60,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – N/A
    • Japan – N/A
  • Oceania
    • Australia – N/A
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 650,000
    • UK – 180,000
    • France – 75,000
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherland – N/A
    • Switzerland – N/A
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 1,600,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Ben (1972)

CSPC Michael Jackson Ben
  • America
    • US – 1,050,000
    • Canada – 75,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 90,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – N/A
    • Japan – N/A
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 50,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 610,000
    • UK – 200,000
    • France – 50,000
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherland – 80,000
    • Switzerland – N/A
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 2,125,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Music & Me (1973)

CSPC Michael Jackson Music & Me
  • America
    • US – 150,000
    • Canada – 10,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 25,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – N/A
    • Japan – N/A
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 25,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 460,000
    • UK – 125,000
    • France – 50,000
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherland – N/A
    • Switzerland – 25,0N/A00
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 800,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Forever, Michael (1975)

CSPC Michael Jackson Forever Michael
  • America
    • US – 125,000
    • Canada – 10,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – N/A
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – N/A
    • Japan – N/A
  • Oceania
    • Australia – N/A
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 290,000
    • UK – 80,000
    • France – 30,000
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – N/A
    • Spain – N/A
    • Sweden – N/A
    • Netherland – N/A
    • Switzerland – N/A
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – N/A
  • World – 550,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Off The Wall (1979)

  • America
    • US – 8,735,000
    • Canada – 775,000
    • Argentina – 155,000
    • Brazil – 415,000
    • Mexico – 400,000
  • Asia – 1,435,000
    • Japan – 720,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 375,000
    • New Zealand – 105,000
  • Europe – 6,420,000
    • UK – 2,740,000
    • France – 750,000
    • Germany – 675,000
    • Italy – 420,000
    • Spain – 330,000
    • Sweden – 120,000
    • Netherland – 265,000
    • Switzerland – 90,000
    • Austria – 55,000
    • Finland – 25,000
  • World – 19,425,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Thriller (1982)

CSPC Michael Jackson Thriller
  • America
    • US – 30,400,000
    • Canada – 3,300,000
    • Argentina – 690,000
    • Brazil – 1,810,000
    • Mexico – 1,775,000
    • Colombia – 360,000
  • Asia – 5,290,000
    • Japan – 2,800,000
    • Hong-Kong – 135,000
    • Singapore – 50,000
    • India – 145,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 1,160,000
    • New Zealand – 195,000
  • Europe – 19,140,000
    • UK – 4,760,000
    • France – 3,775,000
    • Germany – 2,525,000
    • Italy – 1,410,000
    • Spain – 975,000
    • Sweden – 455,000
    • Netherland – 1,035,000
    • Switzerland – 370,000
    • Austria – 210,000
    • Finland – 120,000
    • Denmark – 195,000
    • Belgium – 605,000
    • Norway – 165,000
    • Portugal – 110,000
    • Greece – 200,000
    • Yugoslavia – 150,000
    • Czech Republic – 140,000
  • Other
    • South Africa – 450,000
    • Israel – 115,000
    • Zimbabwe – 14,000
  • World – 65,800,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Bad (1987)

CSPC Michael Jackson Bad
  • America
    • US – 9,925,000
    • Canada – 1,025,000
    • Argentina – 205,000
    • Brazil – 870,000
    • Mexico – 500,000
    • Chile – 75,000
  • Asia – 3,960,000
    • Japan – 1,250,000
    • Hong-Kong – 140,000
    • Singapore – 55,000
    • India – 210,000
    • China – 450,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 490,000
    • New Zealand – 140,000
  • Europe – 15,340,000
    • UK – 4,750,000
    • France – 1,805,000
    • Germany – 2,450,000
    • Italy – 1,400,000
    • Spain – 700,000
    • Sweden – 325,000
    • Netherland – 600,000
    • Switzerland – 380,000
    • Austria – 255,000
    • Finland – 55,000
    • Turkey – 525,000
    • Denmark – 215,000
    • Belgium – 255,000
    • Norway – 215,000
    • Portugal – 85,000
    • Greece – 140,000
  • Other
    • South Africa – 250,000
    • Israel – 45,000
  • World – 33,600,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Dangerous (1991)

CSPC Michael Jackson Dangerous
  • America
    • US – 7,750,000
    • Canada – 750,000
    • Argentina – 300,000
    • Brazil – 585,000
    • Mexico – 625,000
    • Chile – 150,000
  • 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
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 715,000
    • New Zealand – 100,000
  • Europe – 12,480,000
    • UK – 2,315,000
    • France – 2,180,000
    • Germany – 2,475,000
    • Italy – 885,000
    • Spain – 750,000
    • Sweden – 400,000
    • Netherland – 430,000
    • Switzerland – 315,000
    • Austria – 230,000
    • Finland – 65,000
    • Belgium – 180,000
    • Norway – 170,000
    • Portugal – 120,000
    • Greece – 70,000
    • Hungary – 40,000
  • Other
    • South Africa – 350,000
    • Israel – 50,000
  • World – 29,550,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

HIStory: Past, Present & Future (1995)

CSPC Michael Jackson HIStory
  • America
    • US – 3,725,000
    • Canada – 425,000
    • Argentina – 100,000
    • Brazil – 325,000
    • Mexico – 360,000
    • Colombia – 150,000
    • Chile – 50,000
    • Central America – 75,000
  • Asia – 3,245,000
    • Japan – 905,000
    • Hong-Kong – 100,000
    • Singapore – 65,000
    • China – 250,000
    • South Korea – 375,000
    • Taiwan – 600,000
    • Thailand – 200,000
    • Malaysia – 150,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 580,000
    • New Zealand – 140,000
  • Europe – 8,830,000
    • UK – 1,700,000
    • France – 1,680,000
    • Germany – 1,800,000
    • Italy – 435,000
    • Spain – 400,000
    • Sweden – 150,000
    • Netherland – 400,000
    • Switzerland – 205,000
    • Austria – 160,000
    • Finland – 65,000
    • Denmark – 350,000
    • Belgium – 350,000
    • Norway – 100,000
    • Turkey – 225,000
    • Greece – 75,000
    • Hungary – 75,000
    • Poland – 150,000
  • World – 18,625,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Invincible (2001)

CSPC Michael Jackson Invincible
  • America
    • US – 2,440,000
    • Canada – 160,000
    • Argentina – 30,000
    • Brazil – 140,000
    • Mexico – 120,000
    • Chile – 15,000
  • Asia – 635,000
    • Japan – 250,000
    • South Korea – 65,000
    • Singapore – 25,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 140,000
    • New Zealand – 15,000
  • Europe – 2,540,000
    • UK – 400,000
    • France – 645,000
    • Germany – 350,000
    • Italy – 195,000
    • Spain – 140,000
    • Sweden – 45,000
    • Netherland – 125,000
    • Switzerland – 55,000
    • Austria – 20,000
    • Finland – 17,000
    • Denmark – 30,000
    • Belgium – 70,000
    • Norway – 60,000
    • Portugal – 20,000
    • Turkey – 100,000
    • Hungary – 10,000
    • Poland – 60,000
  • Other
    • South Africa – 100,000
  • World – 6,475,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Michael (2010)

CSPC Michael Jackson Michael
  • America
    • US – 560,000
    • Canada – 80,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 30,000
    • Mexico – 15,000
  • Asia – 305,000
    • Japan – 150,000
    • Hong-Kong – 10,000
    • Singapore – 5,000
    • China – 25,000
    • South Korea – 15,000
    • Taiwan – 25,000
    • Thailand – 5,000
    • Malaysia – 5,000
    • India – 35,000
    • Indonesia – 15,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 45,000
    • New Zealand – 10,000
  • Europe – 1,190,000
    • UK – 270,000
    • France – 145,000
    • Germany – 200,000
    • Italy – 135,000
    • Spain – 70,000
    • Sweden – 35,000
    • Netherland – 25,000
    • Switzerland – 20,000
    • Austria – 25,000
    • Finland – 15,000
    • Denmark – 25,000
    • Belgium – 40,000
    • Ireland – 15,000
    • Norway – 20,000
    • Portugal – 15,000
    • Turkey – 7,500
    • Hungary – 5,000
    • Poland – 25,000
    • Russia – 25,000
    • Czech Republic – 35,000
  • Other
    • Middle East – 7,500
  • World – 2,300,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Xscape (2014)

CSPC Michael Jackson Xscape
  • America
    • US – 535,000
    • Canada – 50,000
    • Argentina – 10,000
    • Brazil – 55,000
    • Mexico – 35,000
  • Asia – 225,000
    • Japan – 140,000
    • South Korea – 12,500
    • China – 12,500
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 35,000
    • New Zealand – 5,000
  • Europe – 750,000
    • UK – 175,000
    • France – 150,000
    • Germany – 125,000
    • Italy – 35,000
    • Spain – 30,000
    • Sweden – 10,000
    • Netherland – 50,000
    • Switzerland – 12,500
    • Austria – 10,000
    • Finland – 5,000
  • World – 1,750,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Original Album Sales – Comments

Michael Jackson Portrait

1972 Got to be There – 1,600,000
1972 Ben – 2,125,000
1973 Music & Me – 800,000
1975 Forever, Michael – 550,000
1979 Off The Wall – 19,425,000
1982 Thriller – 65,800,000
1987 Bad – 33,600,000
1991 Dangerous – 29,550,000
1995 HIStory: Past, Present and Future – 18,625,000
2001 Invincible – 6,475,000
2010 Michael – 2,300,000
2014 Xscape – 1,750,000

Sometimes numbers speak for themselves. When we see those results, it is hard to believe that when Off The Wall was released, no non-Soundtrack album had ever sold more than 16 million units.

Got To Be There and Ben were both great successes. After all, a 13-year old R&B singer wasn’t supposed to sell that well, especially in a market strongly dominated by singles. Their follow ups, Music & Me and Forever, Michael failed to gain traction and could have represented the end of the road for Michael Jackson.

What came next is part of the history books. When it had sold 6 million units by 1980, Off The Wall was already the greatest selling album by a black artist of all-time. It wasn’t enough for the popstar who wanted to beat all the records with Thriller. That’s exactly what he did. The best selling album ever since early 1984, the album has been increasing its lead ever since. At one point, Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd was catching up, but nowadays, even in terms of catalog sales, Thriller is still the leader of the pack.

Bad and Dangerous were giants in their own right. By 1993, they had joined Thriller as the Top 3 best selling solo albums of all-time. HIStory sold someway less, although it was twice the price as it was a double album, and has been suffering from very low catalog sales due to its unavailability as a stand-alone record. The end of its run was also transferred into the remix album Blood On The Dancefloor. With everything considered, it isn’t very far from its two predecessors.

At nearly 6,5 million Invincible would be regarded as a smash for many artists, but not by Michael Jackson‘s standards. Still, it pushes the Epic 6-albums total to an unreal 173,5 million, the average is just absurd at 28,9 million.

The two posthumous albums disappointed at first, but finish up with pretty solid sales for this day and age with over 4 million combined. In total, Michael Jackson sold 182,6 million studio albums.

Physical Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.

1972-75

Got to be There, Rockin’ Robin and Ben were all massive US hits. In terms of schedule, they perfectly followed the smashes of the Jackson 5. In fact, combined the brothers sold 25 million singles from 1970 to 1972, an incredible total. The years from 1973-1975 were nowhere near as big with less than 1 million sales in total.

Got to be There (1972) – 1,488,000 equivalent albums
OUTPOST_STREET ART_111106 - 060

Got to be There – 2,130,000
Rockin’ Robin – 1,970,000
I Wanna Be Where You Are – 680,000
Ain’t No Sunshine – 180,000

Ben (1972) – 747,000 equivalent albums

Ben – 2,490,000

Music & Me (1973) – 69,000 equivalent albums

With A Child’s Heart – 160,000
Morning Glow – 25,000
Music & Me – 25,000
Happy – 20,000

Forever, Michael (1975) – 204,000 equivalent albums

We’re Almost There – 230,000
Just A Little Bit Of You – 450,000

1979-87

Artists selling a lot of albums are rarely good sellers of singles and vice versa. This kind of mechanical rule didn’t stop Michael Jackson from performing incredibly well. From 1979, his singles reached the million mark more often than not. The cult pairing of Billie Jean / Beat It sold more than 9 million together!

Even more impressive than the magnitude of each hit, the most striking fact is the number of such hits per era. With 4 US Top 10 hits, Off The Wall already set the all-time record for the most Top 10 hits from one album. He smashed his own record with 7 top 10 hits from Thriller. Never afraid of challenging himself, Michael went on to register 5 #1 smashes from Bad.

Every song released in the US for this period sold at least 770,000 units worldwide. This historical consistency concludes on combined singles sales from Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad totaling some 7,6 million, 17,4 million and 13,2 million units respectively.

Off The Wall (1979) – 2,283,000 equivalent albums
Michael Jackson

Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough – 2,870,000
Rock With You – 2,650,000
Off The Wall – 970,000
She’s Out Of My Life – 1,090,000
Girlfriend – 30,000

Thriller (1982) – 5,229,000 equivalent albums

The Girl Is Mine – 1,970,000
Billie Jean – 4,870,000
Beat It – 4,410,000
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – 1,450,000
Human Nature – 770,000
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – 930,000
Thriller – 3,030,000

Bad (1987) – 3,948,000 equivalent albums

I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – 2,180,000
Bad – 2,320,000
The Way You Make Me Feel – 2,030,000
Man In The Mirror – 1,600,000
Dirty Diana– 1,970,000
Another Part of Me – 950,000
Smooth Criminal – 1,390,000
Leave Me Alone – 500,000
Liberian Girl – 220,000

1991 onwards

Dangerous had only one song at near 2 million or more, Black Or White, against 4 each for Thriller and Bad. This is due to Dangerous’ singles, bar the lead one, hitting some markets while failing others, unlike 80s smashes that were huge everywhere. Singles from this era still had an incredible consistency as 7 made the Top 10 in France and the UK while 8 reached the top tier in New-Zealand. Thanks to this impressive volume, Dangerous‘ singles sold more than 10 million units combined.

HIStory is an atypical release. The presence of a greatest hits disc made the album incredibly expensive, especially since millions of people already owned most of the songs from the compilation CD. To answer this situation, many consumers decided to go buy the singles rather than the album.

That’s how Earth Song and They Don’t Care About Us became some of his top selling singles ever in Europe. Even if it wasn’t released in the US, the former sold almost 3 million. With 3 singles less than Dangerous, the HIStory era amassed 10 million physical singles sales.

The truncated promotion campaign by Sony is very visible here with a mere 2 singles released from Invincible, one of which wasn’t released in the US. The market was also collapsing so total sales are much lower than that of previous albums.

Dangerous (1991) – 3,036,000 equivalent albums
Michael Jackson tributo 2010 al Rock Star Café (3)

Black Or White – 2,860,000
Remember The Time – 1,450,000
In The Closet – 970,000
Jam – 570,000
Who Is It – 700,000
Heal The World – 1,760,000
Give In To Me – 580,000
Will You Be There – 1,110,000
Gone Too Soon – 120,000

HIStory (1995) – 3,006,000 equivalent albums

Scream – 1,550,000
You Are Not Alone – 2,970,000
Earth Song – 2,880,000
They Don’t Care About Us – 1,820,000
Stranger In Moscow – 360,000
HIStory/Ghosts – 440,000

Invincible (2001) – 339,000 equivalent albums

You Rock My World – 1,050,000
Cry – 80,000

Michael (2010) – 6,000 equivalent albums

Hold My Hand – 20,000

Orphans

There is still some interesting stuff among the Orphan category. One Day In Your Life sold past 1 million mostly thanks to huge UK sales where it reached #1. Say Say Say, the duet with Paul McCartney, is a tremendous seller. In a 00s context, it would have most likely pushed an expanded edition of Thriller with it, although it wasn’t the norm at the time. The same can be said about the Rockwell smash Somebody’s Watching Me which didn’t fail to surf the Michael Jackson wave. Blood On The Dancefloor sold nearly 1 million units while promoting the remix album with the same title name.

Orphan – 3,450,000 equivalent albums

Ease On Down The Road – 360,000
You Can’t Win – 120,000
A Brand New Day – 230,000
One Day In Your Life – 1,110,000
Say Say Say – 4,570,000
Farewell My Summer Love – 570,000
Girl You’re So Together – 60,000
Somebody’s Watching Me – 2,760,000
Get It – 170,000
Why – 430,000
Blood On The Dancefloor – 950,000
One More Chance – 170,000

The cumulative tally of his physical singles over the course of his career is up to 79,35 million.

Digital Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between albums and digital singles.

1972-75

While none of those figures are record-breaking, they are quite nice. Got to be There has 4 tracks which continue to be alive which in itself is surprising. Ben only has one, the title track, but that’s a million seller.

Got to be There (1972) – 252,000 equivalent albums
David Greene's Michael Jackson

Got to be There – 340,000
Rockin’ Robin – 680,000
I Wanna Be Where You Are – 190,000
Ain’t No Sunshine – 370,000
Remaining tracks – 100,000

Ben (1972) – 182,000 equivalent albums

Ben – 1,030,000
Remaining tracks – 180,000

Music & Me (1973) – 20,000 equivalent albums

All tracks – 130,000

Forever, Michael (1975) – 33,000 equivalent albums

One Day In Your Life – 120,000
Remaining tracks – 100,000

1979-87

The two US #1 hits from Off The Wall are over 5 million downloads and ringtones combined, a very solid showing for songs from a 1979 album. Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough for example does much better than anything released by Madonna prior to the digital era. It almost pales in comparison to what comes next for Michael Jackson though.

Thriller at 8,44 million, Billie Jean at 6,62 million and Beat It at 5,49 million are absolute monsters. The whole Thriller track list is out of this world. To use again our point of reference, Madonna, 5 out of the 9 songs from the album have more downloads than her biggest catalog hit Like A Prayer.

In total, songs from this LP register the immense number of 28 million downloads,  as much as big smash albums from the 00s. It largely breaks the record of Appetite For Destruction from the Guns N’ Roses, which at 19,7 million was the most successful pre-2000 album in downloads that we studied so far. It had itself a sizable lead over its runner up, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac at 15 million.

Rumours doesn’t drop from #2 to #3 on this specific ranking, though. In fact, it drops directly to #4 due to downloads of songs from Bad. Man In The Mirror leads the pack at 4 million, Smooth Criminal is over 3,5 million, The Way You Make Me Feel is ever closer to 3 million and Bad is over 2 million. Tracks from the album combine for over 16 million.

Off The Wall (1979) – 1,094,000 equivalent albums
Michael Jackson project

Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough – 3,230,000
Rock With You – 1,970,000
Off The Wall – 810,000
She’s Out Of My Life – 530,000
Working Day and Night – 300,000
Remaining tracks – 450,000

Thriller (1982) – 4,206,000 equivalent albums

The Girl Is Mine – 530,000
Billie Jean – 6,620,000
Beat It – 5,490,000
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – 2,340,000
Human Nature – 1,230,000
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – 2,840,000
Thriller – 8,440,000
The Lady in My Life – 300,000
Remaining tracks – 250,000

Bad (1987) – 2,402,000 equivalent albums

I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – 530,000
Bad – 2,110,000
The Way You Make Me Feel – 2,910,000
Man In The Mirror – 4,010,000
Dirty Diana– 1,530,000
Another Part of Me – 230,000
Smooth Criminal – 3,540,000
Leave Me Alone – 430,000
Liberian Girl – 390,000
Remaining tracks – 330,000

1991-95

Although lower than songs from Thriller and Bad, downloads from Dangerous and HIStory are extraordinary. Their pattern is very similar, both have one song over 2 million, Black or White on  Dangerous and You Are Not Alone on HIStory, both have two songs around 1 million and both have close totals at 7 million and 6 million respectively.

Dangerous (1991) – 1,037,000 equivalent albums
0090 - Michael Jackson - Dangerous

Black Or White – 2,580,000
Remember The Time – 870,000
In The Closet – 300,000
Jam – 280,000
Who Is It – 220,000
Heal The World – 1,180,000
Give In To Me – 260,000
Will You Be There – 750,000
Gone Too Soon – 140,000
Dangerous – 200,000
Remaining tracks – 130,000

HIStory (1995) – 903,000 equivalent albums

Scream – 610,000
You Are Not Alone – 2,160,000
Earth Song – 1,020,000
They Don’t Care About Us – 1,340,000
Stranger In Moscow – 280,000
Smile – 210,000
Remaining tracks – 400,000

2001-2014

While albums Invincible, Michael and Xscape enjoyed far less single releases than their predecessors, each of them have one million selling download. The biggest of the three is the 2014 hit Love Never Felt So Good that benefited from a strong Asian smash to amass 2,9 million sales.

Invincible (2001) – 273,000 equivalent albums
Michael Jackson in Barcelona

You Rock My World – 1,040,000
Butterflies – 370,000
Remaining tracks – 410,000

Michael (2010) – 434,000 equivalent albums

Hold My Hand – 1,430,000
Remaining tracks – 1,460,000

Xscape (2014) – 644,000 equivalent albums

Love Never Felt So Good – 2,900,000
Remaining tracks – 1,390,000

Orphan – 510,000 equivalent albums

Say Say Say – 340,000
Somebody’s Watching Me – 1,010,000
We Are The World – 1,070,000
Blood On The Dancefloor – 140,000
Ghosts – 160,000
One More Chance – 170,000
This Is It – 100,000
Remaining tracks – 500,000

Streaming Sales

Michael Jackson ''Tribute For King Of Pop''

Streaming is made up of two families – audio and video. Our CSPC methodology now includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube. As detailed in the Fixing Log article, Spotify represents 132 million of the 212 million users of streaming platforms, while YouTube is pretty much the only video platform generating some revenue for the industry. Below is the equivalence set on the aforementioned article:

Audio Stream – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit

Equivalent Albums Sales = 212/132 * Spotify streams / 1500 + YouTube views / 11750

Streaming Part 1

Many would have expected Michael Jackson‘s albums to be monster sellers and his post-Off The Wall records to have done wonders in various formats as they did. The expectations were fairly low on his early Motown albums though, especially on the streaming front. Got to be There is quite impressive with album tracks over 1 million on Spotify and 4 songs at 7 million or more. The album has a total of 50,000 equivalent album sales from streaming.

Ben is solid too at 28,000 equivalent album sales thanks to the 15 million streams on Spotify of the title track.

Streaming Part 2

The albums Music & Me and Forever, Michael were flops in the first place and haven’t reversed that trend since. The name of Michael Jackson draws plenty of users on his page though, so even the least known songs manage nearly 300,000 streams. The only noticeable song from those two albums is One Day In Your Life which had a second youth in 1981 when Motown released it to utilize the new found popularity of the pop star.

Streaming Part 3

Both #1 hits from Off The Wall have well over 50 million streams on Spotify and 100 million on YouTube. The remaining two Top 10 hits are over 14 million on both platforms. Those results are impressive, even more impressive are the insane streaming figures of every album track. All the songs are over 2,5 million on Spotify and Working Day And Night has a stunning 12 million, an album track with more streams than many #1s from its era. This great showing is worth 241,000 equivalent album sales for Off The Wall.

With Thriller, we enter uncharted territory. A territory where 3 35-years old songs can be well over 100 million streams on Spotify with one on 267 million. A territory where those 3 songs can combined for 1,9 billion views on YouTube. A territory where 4 more singles can average 48 million Spotify spins. A territory where both album tracks are on their way to hitting 10 million. If Thriller was the hottest album out there in 1983, it remains the hottest LP of its era up to this day with streams worth almost 1 million album sales.

Streaming Part 4

Combining Spotify and YouTube streams, as many as 4 songs from Bad crack the 300 million mark. The remaining 5 songs issued as singles back in the day are in the 14-45 million range on Spotify. Speed Demon also continues the string of unbelievably strong album tracks at more than 10 million. The 8 outtakes added to the 25th anniversary edition all have over 1,5 million streams too. Those all-around golden numbers amount for 662,000 equivalent album sales.

Dangerous too is pretty amazing. The total of 364,000 equivalent album sales is lower, but still stunning nonetheless. The comparison with history-making albums like Thriller and Bad is kind of unfair. If we compare it to U2‘s Achtung Baby, a very solid Rock smash released at the same time, Dangerous crushes it by almost 2 to 1. Black Or White tops 100 million on Spotify and 8 more songs have a rounded 10 million or more. Among them is the title track, which is one more non-single that is up to massive numbers.

Streaming Part 5

For an album that receives so little love these days, HIStory has impressive streams too. They Don’t Care About Us has 61 million streams on Spotify and both You Are Not Alone and Earth Song top 30 million. All its songs are at least on 2 million. YouTube views are even better with more than 1 billion views combined. HIStory has 280,000 equivalent album sales.

At 1,25 million Spotify streams, Threatened is the lowest song of the entire adult-catalog of Michael Jackson which says a lot. As expected the biggest hit from the album is You Rock My World at 33 million and 181 million on Spotify and YouTube respectively. Invincible has 100,000 equivalent album sales from streams.

Streaming Part 6

The album Michael was strongly rejected by fans when it came out. Called a cash-in and even a fraud on the back of conspiracy theories relating to who was actually singing on some of the songs, it suffered an incredible backlash. The surprise comes with its streaming numbers that are far from being low.

All its songs are comfortably over 2 million and Hold My Hand enjoys impressive catalog streams at over 50 million by now. Ironically, the 3 songs that fans call not legitimate from the album are all among the 5 most streamed songs from Michael, an album which adds for 103,000 equivalent album sales.

Xscape was the most shared album on Spotify during the year 2014. By then, streams were still relatively low. The record continues to get high rotation though and now all its songs are over 10 million. The leading hit is undoubtedly Love Never Felt So Good, the song recorded during the Thriller fever in 1983 has now around 200 million streams on both Spotify and YouTube. Xscape is up to 359,000 equivalent album sales.

Streaming Part 7

Full Length related record Sales

michael jackson

It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.

All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP. Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.

Remaining Long Format – Part 1 – Compilations #1

How to understand this table? If you check for example the The Best Of Michael Jackson compilation line, those figures mean it sold 2,500,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 82,000 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.

The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package. Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from Got To Be There are responsible for 53% of the The Best Of Michael Jackson track list attractiveness. This means it generated 1,333,000 of its 2,500,000 album sales and so forth for the other records.

Except a singles pack, this list is full of Motown compilations covering the early albums of Michael Jackson. The 1975 set was the first choice of fans newly gained by later successes which increased its sales for many years. As Got To Be There includes 4 out of the 5 big hits from Motown, it is responsible for the majority of the sales of most of the compilations.

In some cases, like 18 Greatest Hits, the package was shared with the Jackson 5 which means Michael Jackson isn’t rewarded 100% of its sales. Those situations are indeed more favorable to the group as I Want You Back and ABC are the most popular songs from the entire Motown period.

Remaining Long Format – Part 2 – Compilations #2

More of the same with the continuous flow of anthology / rarities / love songs / whatever compilations issued by Motown. While they all sold low amounts, combined the total is interesting and Got to be There continues to be the main appeal provider.

Remaining Long Format – Part 3 – Compilations #3

Apart from the new Motown best of albums, the record to point out is clearly HIStory. A real box of one compilation plus one studio album rather than a double album, this package includes the main hits of Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.

Although the release format wasn’t traditional, the catalog reacted the same with a drop on catalog sales during the following years and much lower sales than the norm from follow up compilations, because that one was already owned by the majority of people interested.

Its distribution pattern is key as it is mostly the one of all compilations from Sony. Thriller is responsible for half of its sales but each of the other three albums have a strong impact too.

Remaining Long Format – Part 4 – Compilations #4

The previous page highlighted how HIStory included a true compilation. This is verified with the release of the stand-alone best of in 2001. It would have sold many millions if it was the first compilation of Michael Jackson, but the market was already cannibalized by the double set.

Number Ones was negatively impacted the same way, even more damaged by the cancellation of the promotion due to the accusations coming out on the exact same day. It went on to sell steadily though, and with the inevitable boost that occurred after his passing, it is now up to an impressive 12,35 million units. Bad is fairly strong on its tracklist, representing 31% of its total streams. That’s worth nearly 3,8 million equivalent album sales for the 1987 album.

Remaining Long Format – Part 5 – Compilations #5

From 2005 to 2012 the two biggest packages released were The Essential and then King of Pop. The former has been a consistent seller, now up to 7,25 million. It contains hits from the entire career of Michael Jackson. The latter sold 4,1 million copies, even if it wasn’t released in North America. It focuses on roughly the same tracks as Number Ones.

Remaining Long Format – Part 6 – Live / Remix / OST

Both the remix album Blood On The Dancefloor and the soundtrack This Is It are over 5 million. Their tracklists are very different though as Blood contains mostly remixes of HIStory songs while This Is It is one more Number Ones-like compilation.

Remaining Long Format – Part 7 – Box Sets

Over the years, various box sets with multiple albums have been released. The most notable of them is The Collection, a 5-CD set with Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and Invincible, which sold 900,000 units since 2009 without a US release.

Remaining Long Format – Part 8 – Music Videos #1

Michael Jackson sold countless of albums, countless physical singles, countless downloads and has countless audio and video streams. What if I tell you his most mind-blowing numbers come from none of those formats?

Back in 1984, a music video selling 50,000 units worldwide was considered a sales beast. The Making Of Thriller broke every record reaching 1 million in no time. It was only matched by Michael Jackson‘s next videos, Moonwalker and The Legend Continues which continued to out-do the competition by more than 10 to 1. Soon, selling well over 1 million videos was almost normal for him and even a 2-VHS pack with already released sets was achieving half a million sales.

Several of those videos are themed after a specific studio album as shown by the Album column. Those represent tremendous additions to the already massive numbers achieved by them all.

Remaining Long Format – Part 9 – Music Videos #2

In recent years, Michael Jackson continued to register history-making results with his videos. Number Ones is near 3 million while Live In Bucharest isn’t far behind.

Already owner of 7 of the very best selling music videos ever, the death of the icon sent figures into a new dimension. The This Is It DVD shipped more than 12 million units in 2010. That’s twice more than Eminem‘s Recovery, the top selling album of the year with 6,0 million units sold.

Full Length related records Sales – Summary

Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated. Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw.

Got to be There and Ben have been steadily generating a few sales for Motown compilations here and there for many years. Forever, Michael is responsible for more than 1 million sales of compilations too mostly due to the 1981 success of One Day In Your Life.

Both Off The Wall and HIStory have solid hits and have been contributing greatly too with about 8 million equivalent album sales generated each, although always under the shadow of the remaining monsters. The share of Dangerous is higher at more than 11 million.

Things get wild with Bad. The 1987 juggernaut motivated more than 22 million sales of compilations. Thriller has no limits, with a record-breaking 40,5 million sales created including nearly 16 million music videos.

BONUS – Compilation Albums Sales

Blood On The Dance Floor (1997)

CSPC Michael Jackson Blood On the Dancefloor
  • America
    • US – 1,250,000
    • Canada – 100,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 155,000
    • Mexico – N/A
  • Asia – 660,000
    • Japan – 190,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 75,000
    • New Zealand – 15,000
  • Europe – 2,610,000
    • UK – 250,000
    • France – 515,000
    • Germany – 550,000
    • Italy – 230,000
    • Spain – 160,000
    • Sweden – 55,000
    • Netherland – 115,000
    • Switzerland – 70,000
    • Austria – 45,000
    • Finland – 25,000
  • World – 5,250,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Greatest Hits: HIStory Volume 1 (2001)

CSPC Michael Jackson Greatest Hits HIStory Vol I
  • America
    • US – 1,280,000
    • Canada – 200,000
    • Argentina – N/A
    • Brazil – 125,000
    • Mexico – 100,000
  • Asia – 230,000
    • Japan – 50,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 40,000
    • New Zealand – N/A
  • Europe – 720,000
    • UK – 265,000
    • France – 70,000
    • Germany – N/A
    • Italy – 15,000
    • Spain – 20,000
    • Sweden – 45,000
    • Netherland – 15,000
    • Switzerland – 15,000
    • Austria – N/A
    • Finland – 10,000
  • World – 2,850,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

Number Ones (2003)

CSPC Michael Jackson Number Ones
  • America
    • US – 5,400,000
    • Canada – 475,000
    • Argentina – 100,000
    • Brazil – 180,000
    • Mexico – 120,000
  • Asia – 850,000
    • Japan – 400,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 450,000
    • New Zealand – 75,000
  • Europe – 4,250,000
    • UK – 2,400,000
    • France – 340,000
    • Germany – 525,000
    • Italy – 80,000
    • Spain – 100,000
    • Sweden – 30,000
    • Netherland – 110,000
    • Switzerland – 70,000
    • Austria – 35,000
    • Finland – 10,000
  • World – 12,350,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

The Essential (2005)

CSPC Michael Jackson The Essential
  • America
    • US – 2,650,000
    • Canada – 225,000
    • Argentina – 25,000
    • Brazil – 40,000
    • Mexico – 75,000
  • Asia – 475,000
    • Japan – 225,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 620,000
    • New Zealand – 60,000
  • Europe – 2,880,000
    • UK – 1,100,000
    • France – 695,000
    • Germany – 200,000
    • Italy – 85,000
    • Spain – 60,000
    • Sweden – 95,000
    • Netherland – 40,000
    • Switzerland – 70,000
    • Austria – 25,000
    • Finland – 25,000
  • World – 7,250,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

King of Pop (2008)

CSPC Michael Jackson King Of Pop
  • America
    • Argentina – 25,000
    • Brazil – 120,000
    • Mexico – 40,000
  • Asia – 1,250,000
    • Japan – 850,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 140,000
    • New Zealand – 10,000
  • Europe – 2,380,000
    • UK – 400,000
    • France – 220,000
    • Germany – 650,000
    • Italy – 160,000
    • Spain – 55,000
    • Sweden – 30,000
    • Netherland – 225,000
    • Switzerland – 55,000
    • Austria – 105,000
    • Finland – 10,000
  • World – 4,100,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

This Is It (2009)

CSPC Michael Jackson This Is It
  • America
    • US – 2,110,000
    • Canada – 250,000
    • Argentina – 15,000
    • Brazil – 55,000
    • Mexico – 30,000
  • Asia – 770,000
    • Japan – 520,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 120,000
    • New Zealand – 40,000
  • Europe – 2,240,000
    • UK – 610,000
    • France – 355,000
    • Germany – 200,000
    • Italy – 300,000
    • Spain – 90,000
    • Sweden – 75,000
    • Netherland – 100,000
    • Switzerland – 50,000
    • Austria – 25,000
    • Finland – 10,000
  • World – 5,750,000

NB: N/A means no specific number is available. Sales from the country are still accounted for in the Worldwide estimate by using figure patterns of both the artist and the country market. Countries not displayed in this fixed panel are factored in also.

BONUS: Total Album (all types) Sales per Country

World
  • America
    • US – 83,200,000
    • Canada – 8,250,000
    • Argentina – 1,785,000
    • Brazil – 5,500,000
    • Mexico – 4,500,000
  • Asia – 25,690,000
    • Japan – 10,100,000
  • Oceania
    • Australia – 5,360,000
    • New Zealand – 1,000,000
  • Europe – 90,730,000
    • UK – 26,275,000
    • France – 14,390,000
    • Germany – 13,750,000
    • Italy – 6,130,000
    • Spain – 4,115,000
    • Sweden – 1,975,000
    • Netherland – 3,930,000
    • Switzerland – 1,865,000
    • Austria – 1,250,000
    • Finland – 485,000
  • World – 235,440,000

Please note that some of the countries totals may be slightly incomplete when the figure is N/A for minor releases. Countries with too much missing information to be precise enough are listed as N/A.

Michael Jackson career CSPC results

So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each Michael Jackson album achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!

In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.

'Av.' stands for Average, 'LD' for Last Day.

As a reminder:

  • 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 1/6750 for Video stream)

Artist career totals

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers


Equivalent album sales of 116,732,000 copies. That isn’t a typo. Thriller is an insane selling machine that was activated on November 30, 1982 and never slowed down since.

We already knew it was the top selling album in pure sales format of all-time. At 40,5 million, it also generated the most compilations sales of all-time, leading both fundamental categories in spite of them cannibalizing each other. Among non-Soundtrack albums, Thriller is also the #1 ever in terms of physical singles sold, again challenging laws of gravity as this format also comes as an opposition to pure album sales. As for downloads of tracks, among pre-digital era albums, Thriller ranks… #1 of all-time.

With over 2 billion YouTube views, it also leads the comprehensive ranking for pre-2000 albums. At 766 million Spotify streams, Thriller misses a mythical 6-dimensions all-time domination as it is the runner up to Nirvana‘s Nevermind.

Those fabulous achievements are resumed by its overall tally of 116,7 million CSPC sales. To put it in perspective, it’s lead over the all-time #2, Saturday Night Fever at 67 million, is bigger than the total sales of U2‘s The Joshua Tree. Thriller is bigger than Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon and Whitney Houston‘s Bodyguard combined, those are the #2 and #3 top selling albums ever in pure sales format. Merging all three absolute classics of the BeatlesAbbey Road, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the White Album, would still not be enough to challenge Thriller alone.

It also tops the complete discographies of acts like Guns N’ Roses, George Michael plus Wham!, Britney Spears and Coldplay. You get the point, the success of this legendary album is quite simply unparalleled.

We tend to blame the lack of promotion, TV appearances or tours to explain why some albums sell poorly. Thriller had no re-issue in its first 15 years. It had no proper tour to support it. Michael Jackson did no interview, and no talk show during the entire run of the album. He did one, and only one performance, and it was a tribute to his former label rather than a real promotion of his current record. Songs and videos from Thriller were simply unstoppable by themselves.

With a steamroller of this magnitude we almost forget that Michael Jackson released more albums. The madness continues. At 62,9 million equivalent album sales, Bad takes over the #3 all-time ranking behind the aforementioned Thriller and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It tops by millions albums like Rumours (Fleetwood Mac), IV (Led Zeppelin), Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), Grease, Nevermind (Nirvana) and Bodyguard (Whitney Houston). It is as big as the full catalogs of Taylor Swift and Usher.

At 45,4 million, Dangerous cracks Come On Over by Shania Twain and every album of the Beatles and Madonna. So-so albums for Michael Jackson like HIStory and Off The Wall are bigger than 90s bangers like Spice by the Spice Girls and Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. The degree of his success is on a completely different level than any other act. Interestingly, HIStory almost matches the singles performance of Dangerous in all categories, which shows it would have been an even stronger seller if it wasn’t for its very high price.

The rest of his catalog is made up of recordings from his teenage years, a couple of posthumous releases and an album widely regarded as an absolute bomb. Those albums still add for a strong 36,4 million equivalent album sales.

Overall, Michael Jackson is up to 323,7 million equivalent album sales. The greatness of the Beatles consistency still provides them the #1 spot but the King of Pop comes in as an impressive runner up. His catalog sales as well as his streams remain as buoyant as ever so this tally will never stop increasing.

The following sections list his most successful songs as well as his records and achievements.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Chartmasters.org.

BIGGEST TRACKS – Michael Jackson

The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song’s own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales, and with appropriate weighting too, plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

Michael Jackson concerts

1 1982 – Billie Jean [Thriller] – 41,580,000
2 1982 – Beat It [Thriller] – 26,990,000
3 1982 – Thriller [Thriller] – 23,290,000
4 1991 – Black or White [Dangerous] – 18,760,000
5 1987 – Man in the Mirror [Bad] – 14,310,000
6 1979 – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough [Off the Wall] – 13,540,000
7 1987 – Smooth Criminal [Bad] – 12,700,000
8 1987 – The Way You Make Me Feel [Bad] – 12,020,000
9 1995 – They Don’t Care About Us [HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I] – 9,880,000
10 1979 – Rock with You [Off the Wall] – 9,510,000
11 1987 – Bad [Bad] – 7,830,000
12 1991 – Remember the Time [Dangerous] – 7,680,000
13 1995 – You Are Not Alone [HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I] – 7,250,000
14 1982 – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) [Thriller] – 7,160,000
15 1995 – Earth Song [HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I] – 7,070,000
16 1991 – Heal the World [Dangerous] – 6,510,000
17 1982 – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ [Thriller] – 6,100,000
18 2001 – You Rock My World [Invincible] – 4,990,000
19 1987 – Dirty Diana [Bad] – 4,580,000
20 1982 – Human Nature [Thriller] – 4,480,000
21 1972 – Ben [Ben] – 4,220,000
22 1987 – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You [Bad] – 3,900,000
23 1982 – The Girl Is Mine [Thriller] – 2,940,000
23 1991 – Will You Be There [Dangerous] – 2,940,000
25 1972 – Rockin’ Robin [Got to Be There] – 2,580,000
26 1995 – Scream [HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I] – 2,500,000
27 1979 – She’s Out of My Life [Off the Wall] – 2,310,000
28 1979 – Off the Wall [Off the Wall] – 2,160,000
29 1991 – Jam [Dangerous] – 2,020,000
30 2014 – Love Never Felt So Good [Xscape] – 1,780,000
31 1971 – Got to Be There [Got to Be There] – 1,690,000
32 2010 – Hold My Hand [Michael] – 1,670,000
33 1991 – Give In to Me [Dangerous] – 1,620,000
34 1991 – Who Is It [Dangerous] – 1,600,000
35 1991 – Dangerous [Dangerous] – 1,520,000
36 1995 – Stranger In Moscow [HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I] – 1,480,000
37 1983 – Say Say Say [Orphan] – 1,470,000
38 1975 – One Day in Your Life [Forever, Michael] – 1,440,000
39 1991 – In the Closet [Dangerous] – 1,370,000
40 1984 – Somebody’s Watching Me [Orphan] – 1,330,000
40 1979 – Working Day and Night [Off the Wall] – 1,330,000

Records & Achievements

Sales-related

  • At 65,8 million pure sales, Thriller is the best selling album ever.
  • At 33,6 million pure sales, Bad is the #2 top selling male studio album ever, top 10 album studio albums and top 10 album artist albums.
  • At 29,55 million pure sales, Dangerous is the #3 top selling male studio album ever, top 20 album studio albums and top 20 album artist albums.
  • Off The Wall and HIStory are among the top 100 best selling albums ever.
  • At 182,6 million, Michael Jackson sold more studio albums than anyone else.
  • In pure sales, Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory are respectively #2, #1, #1, #2 and #3 among the top sellers of their year of release.
  • At 30,4 million, Thriller is the best selling album ever in the US.
  • Thriller is the best selling international studio album ever in Canada, the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.
  • Thriller is the best selling English-speaking Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
  • At 5,29 million and 5,12 million, Thriller and Dangerous are the top 2 best selling international artist albums ever in Asia.
  • At 19,34 million and 15,14 million, Thriller and Bad are the top 2 best selling studio albums ever in Europe.
  • At 116,7 million CSPC sales, Thriller is the most successful album ever.
  • At 62,9 million CSPC sales, Bad is the third most successful album ever.
  • At 45,4 million CSPC sales, Dangerous is among the top 20 most successful albums ever.
  • At 16 million, Thriller generated more physical singles sales than any other non-Soundtrack album.
  • At 13,2 million, Bad is top 5 among the albums that generated the most physical singles sales among non-Soundtrack album.
  • Michael Jackson is the only artist ever with 4 albums which achieved 10 million sales with their physical singles.
  • At 40,5 million, Thriller generated more compilation sales than any other album.
  • At 28 million, Thriller generated more digital singles sales than any other catalog album.
  • At over 2 billion, Thriller is the catalog album with the most YouTube views ever. Songs from Bad and HIStory are over 1 billion.
  • At 12,3 million, This Is It is the greatest selling music video ever.

Charts-Related

  • At 11 years and 155 days, Michael Jackson is the youngest artist ever to top the Hot 100 while leading the Jackson 5 on I Want You Back.
  • You Are Not Alone was the first #1 debut ever of the Billboard Hot 100.
  • At 5, Michael Jackson has the longest streak of US #1 hits ever for a male artist.
  • At 5, Bad has the most US #1 hits ever from an album.
  • At 7, Thriller has the most US Top 10 hits ever from an album.
  • At 7, Bad and Dangerous shared the record for the most UK Top 10 hits ever from an album until 2012.
  • At 7, Dangerous has the most French Top 10 hits ever from an album.
  • At 7 weeks, Michael Jackson has the most consecutive weeks topping the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 simultaneously for a male artist.
  • At 37 weeks, Thriller is the longest lasting #1 solo artist album ever in the US.
  • In July 2009, Number Ones was the first catalog album ever to top the US Comprehensive Album Chart. The Essential and Thriller were #2 and #3.

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