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Kitty Dunn

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Post-death popularity factor

After Amy Winehouse died last weekend, a lot of people rushed to their computers to download her albums.  In fact, she's back on Billboard's Top Ten. In the sales cycle ending on Sunday, 50,000 copies of her two albums were sold. Compare that to 1400 the week before..and 44,000 so far this year (according to Nielsen Soundscan).  More than 46,000 of the albums that sold (mostly from Saturday to Sunday, I'm sure), were sold as downloads. Makes sense, since most of us probably found out about Winehouse's death online. I found out on facebook. One more click..and I would have had the whole album! The surge in the sale of Amy Winehouse albums has got me thinking about the whole concept of rock stars' music becoming more popular after their death. I guess it seems like a natural way to mourn..to appreciate the artists' work and realize that their music will live on. What I don't get is the bandwagon people..who really had no interest in an artist until they died. I'll have to admit, I got more interested in Elvis after he died in August of 1977. I didn't run out and buy any albums, but I did cut a lot of articles out of the paper and make a scrapbook. And despite the fact that I was a John Lennon fan before his death, I didn't even go out and buy Double Fantasy, but millions of people did. I just couldn't get past the Yoko factor on that one, so I just threw some Beatles on the turntable and let that music help me heal. But you know record companies have mixed feelings when their artists die. Sure it cuts down on the long range sales projections, but in the short term, it means big bucks. This concept was the topic of a Smiths song that came out in the 1980's on the album "Strangeways Here We Come."  The song "Paint a Vulgar Picture"  starts out like this.. "At the record company meeting, on their hands a dead star, and oh the plans they weave, and oh the sickening greed..." But greed is good, right?

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07/27/2011 8:09AM
Post-death popularity factor
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