Michael Jackson Tops Charts and Breaks Records Again After Death

As soon as the news of Michael Jackson’s death began to spread last Thursday afternoon, radio programmers around the country cued up his songs, and fans rushed to retail and online outlets to buy his music in quantities that broke records on Billboard’s sales charts.

The three best-selling albums in the United States last week were all by Mr. Jackson: “Number Ones” sold 108,000 copies; “The Essential Michael Jackson” sold 102,000; and “Thriller” sold 101,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In total, 422,000 copies of Mr. Jackson’s albums were sold in the week that ended on Sunday —more than 40 times the previous week’s figure — as fans snapped up everything in sight.

Many retail stores reportedly ran out of stock over the weekend, which might have contributed to Mr. Jackson’s remarkable sales tally online: 57 percent of his album sales were digital downloads, and 2.3 million downloads of single tracks were sold, separate from album sales. In the five years that SoundScan has tracked downloads, no artist has sold more than 1 million tracks in one week. Last year Mr. Jackson sold a total of 2.8 million tracks.