In the past few years, the music community has been hit extremely hard with deaths of many famous musicians from a multitude of genres. Several led a good life, but many left this place way too soon for reasons we will likely never understand. There has been a multitude of tributes and great homages to these artists, which is fitting for the impact they left on so many.
Seeing as we like keeping our followers informed, we often share music news that may be interesting to people who like our page, because we personally find it interesting. This could be humor (we try to keep it light), some in-depth questions regarding personal preferences in gear and popular gear culture, and even the sad news as well. One thing that I started to notice is following a celebrity death, their music sales would be trending in the music store (I’m an iPhone guy, so I’m referencing Apple Music/iTunes). When you go to search, Apple comes up with a list of the top 10 most searched items, and consistently after each musician passed, their name or bands they were in are at the top of the trending searches.
I started noticing this trend in 2015, and it’s stayed consistent after each high-profile death. Why is this? The very first thing that could be said is profit. It’s an opportunity to cash grab and make some extra money from the tragic event. I’d like to think that isn’t the culprit, but in today’s world, it’s too real of a possibility. I’m one to try to find the silver lining in things, so I’m going to look past the $$$ and focus on what I’ve noticed the past few years, and how it may have a ripple effect down the line.
So why the sudden surge in interest in their music after the artist has passed? My first guess is nostalgia. During my life, I’ve drifted from one genre of music to another in phases, but I always love the “classics” that defined various parts of my life, and those songs/albums will always act as a bookmark of sorts to a memory (good or bad). Being 31, Linkin Park’s first two albums left a mark on me during my awkward teenage years, so when I heard about Chester passing, I immediately went back and grabbed those two albums on iTunes and had a bit of a nostalgia-fest. When I first started playing the guitar, the album that drove me to want to play non-stop was BB King and Eric Clapton’s “Riding with the King”. When BB passed in 2015, I took it a lot harder than I expected, because I felt as if I had known him because of spending so much time listening to his old records and trying to (admittedly) openly steal his licks. Again, it was a resurgence that made me go back and listen to those records, and if I didn’t have them then I downloaded them to fill the void that my heart felt like it had after losing a piece of my upbringing.
Another reason potentially behind the increase in sales is curiosity. I’ll be the first to admit that I liked a few of Prince’s songs, but it wasn’t until his death that I really became interested and started studying his catalog. He was a renowned guitarist and songwriter, and I was curious WHY? I spent about a month learning some of his songs and I totally understood it…there was an undeniable groove and feel to his music that set it apart from everything else. This made me think that if it did that for me, my hopes were that it also sparked others who may not have been interested before to check out his music. This is a bit of a silver lining that is overlooked but hopefully is true.
With every famous musician’s death, the subsequent reaction is a boost in their music sales. In that case, I would hope that a young kid just learning to play music or write songs would see that potentially unfamiliar name on their trending list, and check out an artist they would otherwise have overlooked. Again, I think I’ve romanticized this in my mind, but if a single young kid can be exposed to great music, that it may change their life and push them to become the next Prince, or BB King or Chris Cornell, etc. then their music has made an impact (which I like to think was the goal in the first place for many artists).