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Did Michael Jackson Die to Save the Pop Charts?

Unsurprisingly, Michael Jackson's death last Thursday has sparked a massive resurgence of interest in his body of work, leading to booming sales for all of his records. Jackson's albums and singles are presently dominating the iTunes sales charts, and his most recent hits package is the No. 1 album in the U.K., followed closely by four of his proper LPs. Though back-catalogue sales typically spike following the death of a beloved artist, Jackson's work is benefiting greatly from the ease of digital sales, resulting in huge numbers of impulse purchases. More to the point, Jackson's popularity had waned so much through the entirety of the digital era that most listeners simply did not have his songs in their personal libraries, even if they had bought his albums long ago. Essentially, people needed some kind of cultural permission to revisit the old hits, and the near omnipresence of his music in the wake of his passing was just the trick. There will likely always be some baggage attached to Jackson fandom, but at least for now, it's pretty cool to listen to him again. Well, that is, unless you're just listening to "Heal the World" and "Will You Be There" on an endless loop. That will always be a little bit weird.

Michael Jackson's album reaches No 1 [Telegraph UK]

Photo: Courtesy of Sony