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US: Sales of Jackson music, videos climb online

By Rachel Metz
27 Jun 2009 5:28 AM

NEW YORK, June 26 AP - Michael Jackson's death has led to skyrocketing sales of his music and videos, with major retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble selling out of products that have regained immense popularity overnight.

Bill Carr, Amazon's vice-president of music and video, said on Friday that once the world learned that the pop icon had died on Thursday, the website sold out within minutes all CDs by Michael Jackson and by the Jackson 5 - the group Jackson and his four older brothers formed out of Gary, Indiana, in the late 1960s.

Sixty per cent of Amazon's CD orders on Thursday were for Michael Jackson music, something Carr called "stunning". He said he'd "never seen anything like this" before at Amazon after the death of a pop culture icon.

As of Friday afternoon, Jackson's albums accounted for all 10 of Amazon's Bestsellers in Music list, with the 25th anniversary edition of the celebrated Thriller album taking the top spot.

Meanwhile, Barnes and Noble's website and retail stores are currently sold out of most Jackson CDs, DVDs and books, chief merchandising officer Jaime Carey said. Like Amazon, its 10 bestselling CDs were Jackson titles.

Both companies said they were working to get the products back in stock.

Apple would not describe the level of demand for Jackson's music at its iTunes online store, but his dominance of iTunes' top-seller lists on Friday speaks for itself.

About the time of Jackson's death, only one of his albums ranked in the top 100 on iTunes in the United States. By Friday morning, eight of the top 10 albums were Jackson's. An Essential collection of Jackson's songs compiled by Apple's iTunes music team was the top-selling album, followed by Thriller.

Five of Jackson's singles made it to iTunes' list of most-purchased tracks - Man in the Mirror, Thriller, The Way You Make Me Feel, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough and Smooth Criminal - in what may be one of the best barometers to gauge his most popular songs.

With Amazon sold out of Jackson CDs, Carr said many customers were buying Jackson's music in digital form. Sales of Jackson-related videos are also up on Amazon - Carr said most DVDs, including the 1978 movie musical The Wiz, are out of stock.

Carr said it was difficult to say whether the increased sales would persist, saying Amazon for now was taking things "minute by minute" and reacting to customers' orders.

"They love him, he's a legend, and they're anxious to make sure they have his music in their collections," he said.