Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 1: Background

Michael Jackson was the original King of Pop. Who is his rightful successor?

There will never be another Michael Jackson.

His achievement is one-of-a-kind and would never be repeated again. But that should not detract the fact that some of the artists he’s influenced has had their own share of successes.

MJ himself has been rather inactive ever since we entered the new millennium, releasing only one studio album that didn’t make as much impact as he used to in his heydays. Who rightfully reigns as the King of Pop for the new millennium, then?

Note: This analysis refers ONLY to the period spanning 2000-2013, from the new millennium to the time of writing. No, pre-2000 achievements are not counted here. That’s why it’s called King of Pop of the “new millennium”.

Artists Eligible to be the New King of Pop

We have nine contenders, listed here in alphabetical order: Adam Levine (of Maroon 5’s fame), Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, David Guetta, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke, Usher.

As we’re not here to find the next King of Hip-Hop, powerful rappers such as Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye West are regrettably ineligible from my analysis. Artists who were HUGE but ended up as one-hit wonders are also excluded from the list—Robin Thicke, who is no rookie but has only scored a hit recently, is so close to getting cut but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt as we’ve yet to see whether ‘Blurred Lines’ is a true breakthrough or a fluke.

Key Criteria to Crown the New King of Pop

To keep this as unbiased and objective as possible, most criteria are borrowed from Rolling Stones’ Introducing the Queen of Pop article.

Key factors which I’ll be using over my next few blog updates are album sales, single sales, chart performances, music video views, social media fans, industry accolades and critical receptions.

Many of the data are not attainable without breaking the piggy bank, so I have either omitted them from the criteria (e.g. touring receipts) or use alternative comparable measurement (e.g. album sales are represented through RIAA shipment certifications).

Instead of limiting it to the contenders’ performances from the last three years like Rolling Stones did, I have also expanded the scope to cover 2000-2013 so as to fit the whole concept of King of Pop for the new millennium.

I won’t be going through the whole methodological details. We can spend countless hours debating what is and isn’t part of the criteria, only to realize that there’s no one definite way to scientifically determine what makes an artist a King of Pop. So let’s just hop on and enjoy the ride…

Did I miss anyone important? Let me know in the comment box below.

Watch out for the next updates as I begin analyzing the contenders through the criteria.

All Posts on the King of Pop and Queen of Pop series:

[Image Credit: 浩森 陈]


13 Comments Add yours

  1. kenna12998 says:

    This is impossible to happen. New King of Pop. Doesn’t happen. Michael always the King of Pop.


    1. Andrew Darwitan says:

      Yes, this has been pointed out from the very first sentence of the blog post. The point is not about replacing Michael, but to consider who among the artists active in 2000-2010s (strictly speaking) is closest. That’s like The Beatles will forever be the best band of all-time, but that doesn’t stop Nirvana from being the best band of 1990s.


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