One month after being cleared of sex assault charges, Michael Jackson's latest album, The Essential Michael Jackson, has flopped. In the first week of its release only 8000 copies were sold. At this pace it will take nearly one hundred years to equal his most popular album, Thriller, which has sold 40 million copies. Jackson may have been cleared of all charges, but his fans aren't buying his product. Is this a portent of things to come? Let's look at some of the reasons why Michael Jackson may be long "past peak" when it comes to entertaining in the US.
The Michael Jackson Trial got the attention of Americans in the first half of 2005 as the drama was played out nightly on cable news shows. Indeed, it seemed as if CNN and Fox News were battling to be the first one to bring the latest and greatest information to viewers. Finally, in June, the verdict was in: not guilty. The Jackson legal team breathed a sigh of relief and pundits predicted that Jackson would recover over the next year.
So, why has The Essential Michael Jackson flopped? Certainly it isn't because of the quality of the songs which include Jackson 5 favorites: "Rockin' Robin", "Ben", and "ABC" as well as "The Girl is Mine" recorded with Paul McCartney and and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" with Seidah Garrett. True, it does not contain new material, but the song list should be popular enough to grab the attention of Jackson devotees. It hasn't. More than likely there are other reasons why it is a slow seller including:
1. The Trial. Jackson may have been cleared of all charges, but this is the second time he has been raked through the coals over alleged behavior. Whether you believe him to be guilty or not, all the publicity did nothing but hurt Jackson. Additionally, the trial just got over...why didn't record producers wait six months or more to release this album? Oh yeah, someone has to pay his legal bills!
2. Changing Tastes. American music tastes change quickly. What was acceptable a few years ago is not necessarily acceptable today. In Europe, Jackson's music is still widely accepted. Hmmm... me thinks that Germany or France may put up with him.
3. The Weird Factor. Okay, I have to mention it. Jackson just looks weird. Compared to when he was a kid and also a young adult, Jackson looks nothing like he used to look. Is he white? Is he black? Is he male? Is he female? These are some of the questions asked by fans and followers. Weirdness sells...to a point. Track the career of Boy George for comparison purposes.
Personally, I think Jackson was guilty of at least some of the charges and I believe that many fans think the same way. You can be a very good singer, but after awhile fans will tire of all the negative attention and go elsewhere. Witness O.J. Simpon's life post trial and you can expect Jackson to have a similar fate.
Unless, of course, Michael Jackson moves to Europe.
Matt writes on a variety of topics as well as designs and manages web sites. Please visit The Article Writer to preview his portfolio.