Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Makes History As 1st LP To Go 33x Platinum

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Michael Jackson’s Thriller continues to be downloaded, streamed, and purchased by the millions, despite there having passed 35 years since its release. The 1982 classic has moved an additional three-million units since December 2015, when it made music history by becoming the first album to reach 30-million copies in sales, at least in the U.S. Today (February 16), Billboard is reporting that, once again, the LP is proving to be the world’s most popular album of all time.

Get in the Halloween Spirit with Rare Footage of Michael Jackson Practicing ‘Thriller’ Moves (Video)

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified Thriller as having moved 33-million units, which Billboard reports is a sum that “blends traditional album sales (one album sale equals one unit), tracks sold from an album (10 tracks sold equals one unit) and on-demand audio and/or video streams (1,500 streams equals one unit).” Even three-and-a-half decades since it dropped, millions are checking for, discovering anew, or re-purchasing the Michael Jackson masterpiece, an incredible achievement given the prevalence of pirating and illegal downloading. Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, Columbia Records chairman and incoming Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, Epic Records chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid and others posed with the newly minted celebratory plaques.


For those wondering why similar announcements weren’t made when the album went 31- and 32-times platinum, the answer is that, because of the RIAA’s adjustment in its Gold & Platinum Awards Program last February, Thriller‘s numbers ballooned. The new formula reflects a “growing from a pure album sales certification process to one that includes tracks and streams,” a development which led to the album’s certification being raised from 30 million to 32 million.

Also announced today was the news that 1987’s Bad has reached diamond status, meaning it has moved ten-million units. The King lives on, eight years after his death.