Musical epitaph: How music sales soar after untimely musician deaths

Donna Summer

It was her last dance today. Donna Summer, 5-time Grammy winner who shot to superstardom in the ’70s with iconic hits including Last Dance, Hot Stuff and Bad Girls, died in her Florida home from her long battle with lung cancer.

While tears are shed and records are played in commemoration to her legacy, one can help but wonder what the revenue is behind music sales after a celebrity’s passing.

When Amy Winehouse passed away, there was an incredible flux of record sales. After the confirmation of her death and the closure of the charts, Winehouse’s second studio album made a return to the charts, five years after its original release. Sales of the album increased by 37 times between Friday and Saturday, with track sales up by 23 times, according to data from the Official Charts Company.

Michael Jackson’s sales on iTunes went through the roof after his untimely  death back in 2009. Social Media has increased the sharing power of music and has directly affected music sales since the social media scene has been erected. Is the social media universe the digital heaven of musicians? Only time will tell.

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Written by Jim Vacey

Jim Vacey is the Assistant Marketing Director for Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor NY. Jim is a graduate from Dowling College with a BA in English and History and looks to pursue an MBA in Creative Writing. Jim is now the proud father of his first child, Harley Quinn Vacey.
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