Radio celebrated Michael Jackson’s music in a huge way following news of the King of Pop’s death, as Jackson’s biggest hits jumped nearly 1,735 percent in overall airplay over the previous week, with many stations solely dedicating their play lists to Jackson’s discography this weekend. According to the Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, which tracks total airplay for terrestrial, satellite and cable radio stations, Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was played the most over the airwaves, logging 4,540 plays from June 22nd to June 28th. Of those, 4,446 plays came after Jackson passed away on June 25th. Last week, “Billie Jean” registered 318 plays total, according to Billboard.com.
In all, 20 Jackson songs registered more than 1,000 plays last week following news of Jackson’s death. By comparison, only Jackson’s “Rock With You” managed to crack 500 plays the previous week. “Thriller,” which was only played twice on Tuesday, June 23rd by all stations combined, was spun 1,497 times on Friday, June 26th, and collected 3,570 plays for the week. Also cracking the 3,000 plays mark were Off the Wall‘s “Rock With You” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”
Additionally, four Jackson 5 songs managed to crack 1,000 plays: “ABC,” “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There” and “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Judging by the sales numbers on iTunes and Amazon.com, Jackson is expected to have a similar album on this week’s album charts, with many discs from the King of Pop’s catalog expected to reach the upper echelons of the SoundScan charts.