How Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Changed The Music Business

An American singer-songwriter, dancer, actor, choreographer, poet, businessman, philanthropist and record producer; referred to as King of Pop-Michael Jackson is recognized as the most successful and the most influential entertainer of all time. His unrivaled contribution to music, dance and fashion made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. He took an aspiring take off of his solo career in 1971 and contributed ten studio albums to the industry. Of these, the 1982 album Thriller became the best selling album of all time, having sold more than 110 million copies worldwide.

Jackson is credited with elevating the music video from a mere promotional tool into an art form. His created groundbreaking video for songs such as Thriller has been voted as the greatest music video of all time. Thriller is the only music video inducted into the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress where inductions are preserved forever. Jackson’s thriller amassed a strong crossover following on MTV and also changed MTV, breaking down the cable network’s racial barriers and raising the bar for video quality

Before all that, “Thriller” gave a much-needed boost to the music business, then suffering from its second slump in three years. At the time, record shipments had declined by 50 million units between 1980 and 1982. It was very upsetting because nothing like that had ever happened before. Then Jackson changed everything. There is no question that ‘Thriller’ was the driving force behind what became the hottest span in history.

“Thriller” the first major release to debut worldwide simultaneously, the first album to be worked for close to two years instead of the usual six or eight months and the first album to spin off seven singles to radio-more than double the normal number.

Nearly 27 years after its release, “Thriller” still stands as the best-selling studio album in the United States, according to the RIAA, which has certified it 28-times platinum. But the album’s success can’t be measured by sales alone. As Jackson moonwalked his way into music history, “Thriller” set a new benchmark for blockbusters that changed how the music business promoted and marketed superstar releases.

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