Thriller25 Blocked From The Pop Chart

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When is the second highest selling album of the week nowhere to be found in the top 200?

There used to be a number of reasons but now it’s down to one: When the disc has been classified as a catalog release.
The 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" (Epic/Legacy) sold 166,000 copies in its first week of release, which would make it the second biggest seller of the week that ended Sunday.

 Despite it containing a DVD and five newly reworked versions of the songs, it is considered a catalog release by Billboard, which categorizes sales data collected by Nielsen SoundScan.

In much of the rest of the world it has been categorized as a new release and debuted at No. 1 in France, No. 2 in Germany, Australia, Holland, Norway and Switzerland,  and No. 3 in the U.K. “Thriller,” which has sold 27 million copies, is No. 1 on Billboard’s catalog chart. Most catalog chart toppers sell between 15,000 and 20,000 copies per week.

Last year, Billboard eliminated its rule that barred from the top 200, releases available at a single retailer. That was in response to the Eagles selling more than 700,000 copies of "Long Road to Eden" at Wal-Mart outlets.

Billboard continues to make decisions on bonus packages that mystify many people in the industry. In many cases, a major star – Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, etc. – can release a second version of a hit album that includes new songs, new mixes and videos, but its sales are included with the initial release.

Other discs – and this often affects soundtracks –  are almost always split between regular and deluxe editions, regardless of their time of release. There have been exceptions, though, and that seems to drive some execs bonkers. Just like the folks who want the world to know "{tag Thriller 25}" is the No. 2 seller in the country.

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