Janet Jackson vs Michael Jackson – Who’s the Best Artist?

Who wins the battle of Janet Jackson vs Michael Jackson?
This photo was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

In the world of pop music, there are few names as recognizable and beloved as Janet and Michael Jackson. These two siblings have left an indelible mark on the music industry, shaping the sound and style of popular music for decades to come.

But when it comes down to a head-to-head comparison between Janet Jackson vs Michael Jackson, who comes out on top? Well, in this article, I’m going to compare and contrast the talents and achievements of these two incredible artists to determine who truly deserves the title of the King (or Queen) of Pop Music.

Janet Jackson vs Michael Jackson (TLDR)

This photo was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson are two of the most iconic figures in pop culture. They both had unique vocal ranges, sold millions of albums, and had numerous #1 hits and awards.

While Michael Jackson had a longer career and achieved more success overall, Janet Jackson’s contributions to the music industry should not be overlooked. Ultimately, both artists have left a lasting impact on the music world and will be remembered as pop royalty for generations to come. 

But at the end of the day, you can’t dethrone Michael Jackson as the King of Pop, which is why he wins this competition against his talented sister Janet. In fact, the massive numbers behind his record sales and award wins makes it hard for any artist to surpass him. Michael Jackson has sold billions of records on his way to becoming one the biggest cultural icons of all time.  

He also helped push MTV (and music videos) into a new stratosphere. And unlike a lot of artists, who often find major success in their early 20s, Michael Jackson had been churning out hits since before he bit puberty.  We adore Janet Jackson here—but Michael Jackson was the best artist of the two.

Comparing Vocal Range

This photo was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

One of the most important aspects of a singer’s talent is their vocal range. Both Janet and Michael Jackson are known for their distinctive voices, but how do they compare in terms of range? 

It’s believed that Michael Jackson had a tenor range of 4 octaves and a semi-tone, while Janet Jackson had a mezzo-soprano range of 3 octaves and a semi-tone. While Michael had a wider range, Janet’s voice is known for its semi-sultry and smooth quality, which has earned her comparisons to legends like Diana Ross and Eartha Kitt.

Winner: Tie 

It’s almost impossible to truly know the vocal range of artists like MJ and Janet, whose voices themselves are instruments.  In fact, one could argue that, at times, they sound a bit like one another too.  I think this is going to be an instance where I rule a category winner as a tie, giving both Janet and Michael a win here.

Comparing Album Sales

It's hard to beat Michael Jackson's album sales.

When it comes to album sales, Michael Jackson is the clear winner. He has sold over one billion records worldwide according to the RIAA. Yes, a BILLION! Making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. His landmark album Thriller alone has sold an estimated over 70 million copies. 

Other successful albums of his include Bad, Dangerous, and Off the Wall, which also sold millions of copies worldwide.

Janet Jackson, on the other hand, has sold an impressive 160 million records worldwide, but that is still a fraction of what her brother has achieved. Her most successful album is the self-titled JANET, which has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Other successful albums of hers include Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, and The Velvet Rope, which have sold millions of copies worldwide as well.

Winner: Michael

Comparing #1 Singles

This photo was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

When it comes to #1 singles, both Janet and Michael have had their fair share of hits. Michael Jackson has had 13 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Black or White,” and “Man in the Mirror.” He also had numerous #1 singles on the charts in other countries, including the UK and Australia.

Janet Jackson has had 10 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, including “When I Think of You,” “Miss You Much,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” and “All for You.” She has also had #1 singles on the charts in other countries, including Canada and Australia.

Winner: Michael

Comparing Awards

Both Janet and Michael Jackson have been recognized for their incredible talents with numerous awards and accolades. Michael Jackson holds the record for the most Grammy Awards won in one night, taking home 8 trophies in 1984. Carlos Santana is the only other artist to achieve this feat. 

He has won a total of 13 Grammys throughout his career (38 nominations), as well as numerous other awards, including American Music Awards, Billboard Awards, and MTV Video Music Awards. Janet Jackson has also racked up an impressive collection of awards, including 5 Grammy Awards, 11 American Music Awards, and 10 Billboard Music Awards.

Both Janet and Michael Jackson are enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well.

Winner: Michael

Comparing Songwriting

Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

When it comes to songwriting, both Janet and Michael Jackson have had a hand in crafting some of their most iconic hits. Michael Jackson co-wrote many of his biggest hits, including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller,” and also wrote all of the songs on his album Dangerous. 

Janet Jackson also co-wrote many of her most famous songs, including “Nasty,” “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” In terms of songwriting, it’s difficult to determine a clear winner, as both artists have contributed greatly to the creation of their music.

Winner: Tie

Comparing Career Moments

Both Jackson’s careers were filled with memorable moments. When it comes to performing, the Jackson family does not settle for anything but legendary. Michael is known for bringing grown audiences to tears of excitement. Some of his signature moments include his Moonwalk performance at Motown 25 and his halftime show at the Super Bowl. 

Imagine seeing someone Moonwalk live in 1983 and trying to tell someone about it with no social media. He was the ultimate performer and it’s hard to find any record of him having a subpar performance or appearance. 

Janet is no slouch either. She was the Queen of the dance break and had several legendary performances of her songs, “Control”, “Nasty”, “Rhythm Nation” and other hits that have influenced generations of young women.

While both artists had huge career highs, they are equally known for some of their more infamous moments. Let’s be real, MJ was an interesting guy. From having a pet/friend monkey named Bubbles to his changing his skin tone (or dangling his son over a balcony), MJ had his share of antics. 

Janet, on the other hand, is more of the victim of a bad situation. Janet’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, as its been coined, almost derailed her career.  Rolling Stone even crafted an article suggesting that former CBS head Les Moonves allegedly banned Janet from presenting at the Grammys following her Super Bowl appearance.  

Who knows how Janet’s faux pas at the Super Bowl would’ve played out in today’s society, with social media’s popularity butting up against a politically and socially fractured society.  My guess, sadly, is that Janet’s fate wouldn’t be much different.

Winner: Tie

Comparing Dancing

Both Michael and Janet Jackson are known for their exceptional dance skills. Michael’s signature moves, such as the Moonwalk, the robot, and the iconic Thriller dance, have become part of pop culture history. 

Janet is known for her innovative choreography, which incorporates various dance styles and has been emulated by many.  In fact, Janet learned some of her best dance moves from Paula Abdul.   

Both artists have set new standards for stage performances and have left a lasting impact on the music industry through their dance abilities.

Winner: Michael (I’m going to give it to Michael here—but I actually think this is a bit closer than people think.  Go back and watch Janet and Michael’s “Scream” music video—Janet can do virtually everything Michael can in their synchronized dance sequence.  But between Michael’s long career of dancing, and cementing the Moonwalk into pop culture, I have to give it to MJ).

Janet Jackson or Michael Jackson – Cultural Impact

Both Janet and Michael Jackson had a significant impact on popular culture. Janet Jackson was a massive trailblazer for female artists, breaking barriers with her music and fashion choices. A number of the top R&B and Pop artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Britney Spears, call to Janet Jackson as a major influence. 

Her music also often directly spoke on many pressing issues of the times including female empowerment, HIV/ AIDS, race, and poverty (this is a theme shared by her brother). Today the Queen of Pop is still a prominent performer, songwriter, choreographer, activist, and all-around leader for women around the world.

Michael Jackson revolutionized the music industry with his groundbreaking videos and dance moves, inspiring a generation of artists. However, Michael’s impact and influence extended beyond music. His philanthropic work and humanitarian efforts earned him global recognition and respect. MJ was and in many ways still is the ultimate pop culture icon. 

If you sing and dance you likely draw some inspiration from the moves and sound of Michael. He is still commonly referenced throughout popular media and even 30+ years later, his videos (or mini-movies for Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, and more are captivating audiences.

Winner: Michael

It’s clearly Michael but if it were close, what gives him the edge is the fact that he had his one video game, Michael Jackson’s: Moonwalker.

And the Winner Is…

This photo was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

While both Janet and Michael Jackson are incredibly talented and accomplished musicians, Michael Jackson comes out on top in this comparison. He has a larger vocal range, has sold significantly more albums, has had more #1 singles, and has won more awards. 

Additionally, Michael Jackson’s influence on pop music and culture is unmatched. From his groundbreaking music videos to his electrifying live performances, Michael Jackson changed the game for pop music and paved the way for future generations of musicians.

Despite the controversies that surrounded him later in his life, there is no denying that Michael Jackson was a true music icon and a legend in the industry.

This article was written by Justinian and edited by Michael.

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