XSCAPE: Sales & Chart Performance (Week 2)

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The King of Pop saw more record-breaking success on the U.S. charts this week with an incredible three songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100 and four albums on the Billboard 200.

Current single “Love Never Felt So Good” had a reasonably strong sales and streaming week despite dropping nine spots on the Hot 100 to #16. Overall “Love Never Felt So Good” has been digitally downloaded more than 375,000 times in the U.S. alone, and viewed more than 30 million times worldwide via the official Michael Jackson VEVO channel. The music video featuring Justin Timberlake makes up 16.5 million of those views with an additional 10.5 million views coming from the audio-only version of the same track. The audio of the Michael Jackson solo version has been viewed 2 million times, the Fedde Le Grand remix 580,000 times and the iHeart Radio audio mix 445,000 times.

As a result of the Billboard Awards hologram performance last week “Slave the the Rhythm” has made it’s Hot 100 debut at #45. This marks the 50th time a Michael Jackson song has appeared on the prestigious chart. The track rocketed up the iTunes rankings during the broadcast of the Billboard Music Awards, peaking in the mid-30s in the days following. In the end 75% of its chart position is credited to the 3.9 million online streams it achieved in the U.S. – 2.2 million of which come from views of the the VEVO upload. The video has been viewed more than 13 million times worldwide since being uploaded a week ago.

Perhaps the most impressive of all this week’s chart results is that “Billie Jean”, which was originally released as a single in 1983 and topped the charts for seven weeks that year, has re-entered the Hot 100 at #14 – an astonishing achievement for a song released some 31 years ago!

Michael Jackson has seventeen-year-old Pitman High student Brett Nichols to thanks for the track’s resurgence. The teen busted out an impressive dance tribute to the King of Pop’s historic Motown 25 “Billie Jean” performance during his school’s talent show in Turlock, California recently. A video of the performance was uploaded to YouTube and went completely viral online. The video, which features the original audio sampled from Jackson’s 1982 ‘Thriller’ album, was view so many times that it out-ranked “Love Never Felt So Good” (#16 as previously noted) on this week’s Hot 100 with a mammoth total of 11.2 million streams in the United States alone, according to Nielsen BDS.

The ‘XSCAPE’ album managed to hold steady at #3 on the Billboard 200 this week, selling another 67,000 copies on top of the 157,000 it sold last week. That takes its two-week tally to 224,000 copies sold in the United States so far. Not bad for a posthumous album released in mid-May! Three other Jackson albums remain a presence on the Billboard 200 – ‘Number Ones’ at #33 (down five spots from #28 last week), ‘The Essential’ at #71 (down four spots from #67) and ‘Thriller’ at #88 (down eighteen spots from #70).

In Australia ‘XSCAPE’ has spent its third consecutive week at the top end of the ARIA Albums chart. After debuting at #3 two weeks ago and rising to #2 last week ‘XSCAPE’ drops just two places to #4 this week with sales of 3,200. That takes its Aussie total to more than 15,000 copies. The “Love Never Felt So Good” single drops eighteen spots in its fourth week on the ARIA Singles chart to a disappointing #46 this week with total digital downloads of 17,000 Down Under.

‘XSCAPE’ is currently #4 in Japan with estimated sales of more than 32,000. The album is also #2 in Spain, #3 in France and Italy, #4 in the Netherlands and #5 in the UK and Germany. “Love Never Felt So Good” is currently #2 in France, #3 in The Netherlands, #9 in Spain, #10 in Italy and #12 in the UK.

In the worldwide market ‘XSCAPE’ has had reasonably good second week sales, charting at #2 and selling 224,000 copies (on top of the 365,000 it sold last week). That takes its worldwide sales tally past the half-million mark to 589,000. In comparison to 2010’s ‘MICHAEL’ album, however, this number is significantly less. Two weeks after the ‘MICHAEL’ album was released it had racked up more than 1.2 million in worldwide sales. The big numbers from ‘MICHAEL’ didn’t last long though with the album seemingly vanishing from existence within 5-6 weeks of its release due to continued fan outrage over the authenticity (or lack thereof) of three songs on the album combined with poorly planned promotion. Will the heavily promoted ‘XSCAPE’ be able to stick it out on the charts longer than ‘MICHAEL’?

The longevity of the ‘XSCAPE’ album will be dependent on Epic Records’ ability to keep the album in the public eye. As long as radio is playing “new” Michael Jackson music, people will continue buying the album. Right now the “Love Never Felt So Good” single is, in the eyes of Sony Music, performing well all around the world, so a second single isn’t on their agenda just yet. However judging by the available statistics this week I’d say the single has now peaked in most markets and will begin to fade from here on out, so maybe they should indeed start thinking about a second single. A poll I’ve been running for the last couple of weeks indicates that Stargate’s remix of ‘A Place With No Name’ is the most popular choice among fans. I’ve been told that in the long run there are at least three, possibly four singles to be expected from this particular project. The Estate of Michael Jackson have hinted that they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve by stating that the whirlwind of promotion they’ve done so far is just the beginning. The Estate say they’re “just getting started” and have asked fans to “keep watching for what’s next.”

Follow Damien Shields on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with Michael Jackson-related news.

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