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 2009-07-11 06:22 pm Back to NEWS
Bob Marley more popular in non-white world than Michael Jackson

Reggae icon Bob Marley was more popular than Michael Jackson in most of the non-white world based on web searches up to the time of Jackson's death.

Blacks, Latin-Americans and many Asians were searching for Marley over pop icon Jackson with China and India as notable exceptions, due to limited reggae exposure. Splash utilised Google Trends which compared as a ratio the search activity for each artiste over time. Both artistes are said to be 'kings' in their respective fields, and trend data tells just how important each was in specific territories.

Jackson beat Marley in all major white countries except Portugal and Italy, with the US in a statistical tie at a ratio of 1.02 to 1.0 in favour of Jackson. It meant that for every 102 persons searching for Jackson in the US there were 100 searching for Marley. But Marley was more popular than Jackson in the states of Utah, South Carolina, California, and Florida.

But in the non-white world Marley was the king (at least up to Jackson's death, which spiked media and fan interest).

Latin-American countries which posted higher search ratios for Marley over Jackson in 2008 were Brazil - the largest black population outside of Africa - at 3 to 1; Mexico at 10 to 7; Chile at 10 to 7; Guatemala at 100 to 4; Costa Rica at 10 to 4; Columbia at 10 to 7; Argentina at 10 to 4; and Jamaica 3 to 1. Venezuela and Peru also had higher searches for Marley than Jackson in 2007, but Jackson beat Marley in 2008.

Asian countries that posted higher search ratios for Marley than Jackson in 2008 were Indonesia at 10 to 7; Philippines at 10 to 9; Thailand at 10 to 5; and Japan at 10 to 9. The Chinese don't seem to know of Marley, he doesn't register as a comparative search. India has four times as many searches for Jackson than Marley.

Most African countries do not register comparative searches of Jackson or Marley. The only countries which registered were Morocco with a 14 to 10 ratio in Marley's favour. South Africans had mixed results similar to the demography of the country. For every 10 Marley searches, 16 searched for Jackson. However in the Eastern Cape, a mainly black province in which former South African president Nelson Mandela was born, Marley was more searched than Jackson. In Egypt twice as many people searched for Jackson than Marley.

Marley died in 1981 and his most successful album Legend has sold over 20 million copies. Jackson's most successful album Thriller sold over 50 million copies. Up to yesterday Jackson tops iTunes pop charts in 21 of 22 countries. At the same time, Marley tops the reggae album charts on iTunes in 18 of the 22 listed countries worldwide.



Bob Marley, centre, and Michael Jackson, 4th on Bob's right, in full Afro, in 1975.


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