Mixed signals for Michael Jackson album sales
Monday 26 October 2009
The new Michael Jackson record "This Is It" hits stores around the world on Monday, kicking off a week of money-spinning events dedicated to the "king of pop," but the outlook for the two-disc album is decidedly mixed.
Experts predict that it will top charts in several key countries, most notably the biggest U.S. market, but with album sales in seemingly terminal decline, even relatively modest returns can secure the coveted number one slot.
The fact that fans have bought nearly six million Jackson albums in that country alone since the singer died suddenly in June of a prescription drug overdose is likely to temper demand for what is essentially another greatest hits collection.
Much depends on whether millions of people expected to flock to the accompanying "This Is It" movie, which hits theatres on Wednesday, feel moved to buy the record too, experts said.
"It's very hard to pinpoint what it will do, particularly due to the fact that a lot of these songs have already sold well this year," said Silvio Pietroluongo, director of charts at Billboard magazine which compiles the weekly rankings.
"Talking to the labels and industry insiders there is a huge sweep of opinion of anywhere between 200-300,000 and 500,000 albums sold in the first week," he told Reuters.
Pietroluongo predicted that should be enough to guarantee Jackson another Billboard number one in the United States.
FILM GENERATES MORE HYPE
This Is It goes on sale in most of the world today and in North America tomorrow, the eve of the eagerly anticipated movie of the same name.
The film features footage of Jackson rehearsing for his planned residency at London's O2 Arena, which was to have been his farewell to live performance after years of living as a virtual recluse.
The film, released by Sony's Columbia Pictures, could make more than $600 million in its limited two-week run, industry executives have predicted. The album, however, is unlikely to create the same buzz.
Its cause was not helped by a PR fiasco earlier this month when the pop star's first posthumous single "This Is It," which appears on the album, turned out to be an old song recorded 18 years ago by an obscure Puerto Rican singer.
The co-author of that tune threatened to sue Jackson's estate and he was quickly granted 50 percent of the copyright.
There have also been negative early reviews, with Britain's Independent newspaper giving the record one star out of five and calling it "a shoddy apology for an album."
In Britain, retailers said This Is It looked destined to become one of the big albums of the key Christmas period, but there were factors that could dampen demand.
"At the time of his death the response was very emotional," said Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for the HMV music retail chain.
"But there is a question as to whether that is as potent this time around. There is not that emotional intensity."
This Is It also goes on sale at around the same time as albums by other popular artists, including Cheryl Cole ("3 Words") and Robbie Williams ("Reality Killed the Video Star").
This Is It, released by Sony Music, includes Jackson hits like Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Thriller and Beat It and two versions (original and orchestral) of This Is It.
It also features demo versions of Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', She's Out of My Life and Beat It as well as a poem entitled "Planet Earth." Sony Pictures and Sony Music are units of Sony Corp.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Top Gear: Former co-host James May to present new BBC2 car show
The Rolling Stones announce biggest ever touring rock exhibition with Saatchi Gallery
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture