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What Kind Of Numbers Would A 'modern' Thriller Put Up? (1 Viewer)

This question was asked the other day on another forum, I'm replicating it here because I think the answer is interesting (and I'm new here and would like engage more with existing and new members who are joining recently)..

My honest opinion, I don't think an album will ever get the same type of hype or sales again because this was unique to Michael and the music scene has changed so much since Thriller's release.

I'm no expert in music sales by no means, but considering sales in music from the last decade...

Adele's albums "21" (2011) and "25" (2015) are the top two best selling albums of the 2010's. "19" (2008) was the 7th best selling (based on sales from 2010 onwards) - so in a rudimentary sense, these collectively could be considered an approximate comparison to Thriller (numbers of sales), and considering they're from the same artist. Combined, Adele's top three albums sold 11.2 million units (from this wiki list).

Thriller is estimated at 66 million units as of 2017 (Guinness)
Is there more recent, or as close to an actual figure that we know of?

Given that, it would take a SHIFT of music artistry and consumption format, to change the game again. While there was nothing quite like the sound of Thriller on the music scene in the early 80's - the $ony Walkman, was 'only' introduced in 1979 (I think), ensuring that so many more people had access to mobile music. (Paving the way for the Discman - MP3, & Streaming Music. The first commercial CD (17 Aug '82 - from 1979 of Claudio Arrau performing Chopin waltzes) was just three months before Thriller was released. - This must have impacted music sales, not only for Michael, for music in general - although no other album or artist has come close since.

Since the change of format from records and tapes to CD, we've had digital download, then rented and now licenced music from Spotify et al.. which affect figures of sales. The consumption of albums today is vastly different than buying albums 'back then' (maybe I'm getting old) we tend not to consume albums anymore since we can cherry pick favorite tracks from playlists. If I'm honest, I rarely buy albums myself now.

As a fan, I can't imagine a world where the sales of actual Thriller records, cassette tapes, compact discs and digital downloads could be surpassed, but... I'm willing to believe (how ever doubtful) that it's not impossible! We just haven't had the next Thriller yet. I believe an album like Thriller happens once. Only.

A successor would need to achieve more than 66 Million units sold, as a baseline and that's massive! (Massive is nowhere near! As far as I'm aware, nobody has ever come close to it.. I mean, significantly more large scale than what Thriller did to 1983 than, what a new 2021 album would do for the entire 2020's and beyond, still - THAT. IS WHAT THRILLER DID and we still listen to it daily, TODAY!

With today's music industry and how we consume media, compared to the landscape in 1982, it's tough to make the comparison. I genuinely believe Thriller was unique (and changed how 'pop-stars' and music engineers developed music). We often hear how MJ changed music forever with that album and today's Pop/R&B music/artistry is proof of that.. it just happens to be normal for everyone after Thriller.

It's an awesome question, and I'd like to know the answer too, but it's not just about Michael and the entire Thriller team (mixers, produces, recorders etc..) it's about individual people and how teams collaborate to get the best music.

I'd love to get more perspectives on this..

Here's an interesting video on the sales of Michael's solo studio albums. The data represented in the video is from The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) from Ricardo Walker's YouTube channel.

Interesting, thanks for posting!
Thriller was released during such a unique time, where it completely captivated the world. There are so many distractions and niches nowadays that I personally think it would be impossible for such a phenomenon to be replicated. When Motown 25 was first aired, there would have been little other choice on tv and as result it gained a huge audience, which goes back to my point of there being far more distractions and choice nowadays.

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