XSCAPE: Sales & Chart Performance (Week 3)

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Things seem to be easing off a bit in relation to sales, streaming and overall chart positions for the King of Pop this week.

As usual, the Billboard charts and worldwide streaming statistics are where I begin my analysis. In terms of the ‘XSCAPE’ album, it drops four spots to a healthy #7 on the Billboard 200 this week, selling 35,000 copies. That takes it’s overall U.S. sales figures past the quarter-million mark to 259,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan – more than half-way to Gold certification with the RIAA. ‘Number Ones’ drops eleven spots to #44, ‘The Essential’ is down twenty-seven spots to #98, and ‘Thriller’ comes in at #115, twenty-seven spots lower than last week.

The “Love Never Felt So Good” single has taken another giant plunge on the Hot 100, down eleven places this week to #27. Digital and radio heat on the single seems to be wearing off in major markets, while “Billie Jean” (#14 last week) and “Slave to the Rhythm” (#45 last week) have dropped completely out of the top 100 song rankings in the U.S. this week.

In the world of streaming, official Jackson content was viewed more than 6 million times this week via YouTube/VEVO. The official “Love Never Felt So Good” music video took up more than half of those figures with 3.3 million views this past week, while the not-so-Michael Jackson “Slave to the Rhythm” hologram video was watched an additional 2.2 million times. The remaining half-million streams were relatively evenly spread between four other official VEVO versions of “Love Never Felt So Good” – the solo audio, the duet audio featuring Justin Timberlake, the Fedde Le Grand remix and the iHeart Radio Music Awards multimedia clip. “Love Never Felt So Good” has received 34.3 million collective views via YouTube/VEVO since the release of its various versions, with “Slave to the Rhythm” coming in at 15.4 million all up.

After spending twenty-one consecutive days at #1 on the Worldwide iTunes Song chart (between day 2 and day 23) “Love Never Felt So Good” has begun the slow decent back down the global rankings. After being dislodged from the top spot eleven days ago by Pharrell Williams’ positivity anthem “Happy” (which has spent an astonishing 125 of the past 195 days at #1 on iTunes Worldwide), “Love Never Felt So Good” spent ten consecutive days at #2. Today it finds itself at #3 – its lowest position on the Worldwide iTunes Song chart since it debuted there 34 days ago.

‘XSCAPE’ drops just one spot on the Worldwide Albums chart this week to #3 with sales of 139,000 copies, taking its overall tally to 728,000. Although the album’s high chart positions could be interpreted as translating to a strong sales performance, this is simply not the case – at least not in comparison to the first posthumous Jackson effort.

Despite outselling ‘XSCAPE’ by a ratio of 2:1, the controversial 2010 album ‘MICHAEL’ was considered a commercial flop. It shipped what was promoted as a ‘record’ 3 million units worldwide in its first week. However, retailers struggled (and in many cased failed) to turn those shipments into transactions, meaning that in the long-term the album did not hit sales targets in most markets around the world. ‘MICHAEL’ sold 734,000 copies worldwide in its first week – a strong start considering the ultimate fate of its overall sales tally – and had racked up more than 1.4 million in sales by the end of its third week. From there sales figures diminished and it plummeted from the charts. Comparatively, after three weeks on the market, the ‘XSCAPE’ album has still not sold what the ‘MICHAEL’ album sold in its first week alone.

‘XSCAPE’ charts at #5 in Australia this week after selling another 2,000 copies. The album has now sold a total of 18,000 copies Down Under and is more than half-way to achieving ARIA Gold accreditation. “Love Never Felt So Good” rises one spot ARIA Singles chart this week to #45. In England ‘XSCAPE’ drops four spots to #9 on the UK Albums chart, while “Love Never Felt So Good” remains at #12 for a second week.

This week the album rises one spot to chart at #2 in France, also comes in at #2 in Spain, #4 in the Netherlands and #8 in Italy. ‘XSCAPE’ also ranked at #8 in Japan with weekly sales of more than 14,000 copies, taking its overall tally there to 46,000. “Love Never Felt So Good” comes in at #4 in France this week, #7 in the Netherlands, #9 in Spain and #13 in Italy.

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