Even though Jackson’s 25th anniversary album sold 166,000 copies this week, technically putting it at number 2, Billboard categorized the album as a catalogue- or oldies album, making it ineligible for inclusion in the Billboard 200.
Jackson’s label, Sony, argues that this should not be the case because in addition to classic hits the album also contains six new songs. One label source explains, “Michael went into the studio and recorded with Kanye West, Fergie, Akon, Will.i.Am – and there’s a brand-new song from Michael, and videos.”
According to Billboard chart expert, Geoff Mayfield, “We were approached by Sony and Sony BMG to consider ‘Thriller 25’ as a current album. But we had to be consistent with hundreds, if not thousands, of reissues that have come to the market. There have actually been new issues of classic albums that include even more new material. We didn’t just make the decision on our own. We contacted major retailers [like Wal-Mart and Best Buy], and that was the consensus.”
Still Mayfield adds that Jackson should find comfort in knowing, “It’s the largest sum for an album on the catalogue chart to be sold in 10 years.”