How many albums can you say have gone 30x platinum in the United States? None! And according to MTV, Michael Jackson‘s Thriller is set to become the first to reach the historic status. They say his posthumous album sales are regularly outperforming new releases on the Billboard album charts, and his classic Thriller album, which currently holds the record as the world’s best selling album, is about to surpass the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971 – 1975) as the top-selling album of all time in the U.S.
Their Greatest Hits was certified platinum for the 29th time back in 2006, meaning that sales of the compilation surpassed 29 million copies in the United States. Meanwhile, Thriller was last certified in March, when it passed 28 million. Demand for physical copies of Jackson albums (an estimated 82 percent of his sales have been actual CDs) have ramped up the number of copies of Thriller in circulation, and the RIAA believes that said demand has brought the number up to 29 million.
That does not necessarily mean that Thriller has sold 29 million copies, as the RIAA’s certification process is based on the number of albums shipped to stores, not necessarily the number actually scanned and sold. But based on the rabid consumption of Jackson’s music in the past few weeks and the hard numbers released weekly by SoundScan, it’s doubtful that there is much distance between the number of CDs shipped and the number sold. If the pace continues, Thriller will become the first album to go triple diamond, meaning 30 million albums sold.
This goes out to everyone trying to give ANY of today’s artists the title of “the next Michael Jackson.” Artists of today can’t even get their albums to go 2 or 3x platinum … let alone 30x platinum!