The singer's passing proves a bonus for retailers all around the world

Updated June 26, 2009 04:20 PM
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Since Michael Jackson’s shocking death Thursday, legions of fans have been scrambling to purchase lasting memories of the pop star.

Only two hours after Jackson’s passing was confirmed, his hit album Thriller reached number one on iTunes. As of Friday afternoon, Jackson albums occupy nine of the top ten slots, with the iTunes Essential Michael Jackson as the top-seller. In addition, a quarter of the top 100 songs purchased on the site are either by Jackson or the Jackson Five. On Amazon, it’s all Michael Jackson all the time, as the top 15 albums all belong to him.

News of the pop icon’s death quickly spread across social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook. More than 7,000 fans even created memorial playlists featuring their favorite Jackson songs and videos on Facebook and

With round-the-clock coverage on the King of Pop – all of the morning shows devoted their programming almost exclusively to Jackson, and MTV has been running his videos non-stop – a summer sale by Julien’s Auctions, featuring 21 items from his career and personal life is sure to generate intense interest. A few gems include hand-written lyrics to his number one hit “Bad” (estimated value $500-$700) and a pearl-and-Swarovski-crystal-studded shirt from The Jacksons’ “Victory” tour in 1984 (estimated value $1,000-$1,500).

It’s been 25 years since Jackson enjoyed this kind of commercial buzz. After selling nearly 750 million albums worldwide, reports claim the singer died nearly $400 million in debt. Of course he was hoping to put a dent in that figure, as he was about to embark on a sold-out 50-show concert series, all of which was to take place in London. It is still uncertain whether the $85 million in sales will be refunded. While, some reports estimate Jackson was to make a $1 to $1.5 million per appearance.