The album chart that came out yesterday was filled with Grammy-feted albums, but there was one notable omission from it: The new, Akon-studded version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which sold 166,000 copies but was relegated to Billboard‘s catalog charts. According to the New York Daily News, execs at Sony are calling Billboard‘s decision “unfathomable… Michael expected it to be on the Top 200 chart.” But the mag claims that other reissues with even more deluxe material than Thriller 25 have also been placed on the catalog chart, and that Wal-Mart and Best Buy concurred with its decision.
Which leaves Thriller at No. 2 on Billboard’s Comprehensive Chart–the listing of top-selling albums that combines current albums and catalog albums, and that was last covered in this space during the whole Eagles/Britney kerfuffle–leading some to wonder whether or not that chart, instead of the arcane-rule-filled Billboard 200, should become the “official” chart that gets cited by the media in these cases. Given that the catalog/”new” divide is one of the few things separating the two charts–and the resurgence of catalog albums is becoming more and more of a story these days, as evidenced by the post-Super Bowl Tom Petty rush–I’m starting to wonder if that shouldn’t become the case.
And besides, as Chris Molanphy noted to me yesterday, shouldn’t Sony be happy that the old and new sales of Jackson’s most famous album are being smooshed together? At the very least, it gives Thriller to retake the highest-selling album of all time mantle back from the Eagles’ greatest-hits collection, an outcome that any right-thinking person should want.