The Effect of Death on Music Sales

Mondays are usually tough enough in their own right, but this week on the 4th of March 2019 the start of the working week was accompanied by the savage loss of Keith Flint. As well as being an absolutely crucial character to British music, Keith was also an incredibly funny character who will be missed by millions around the world. Right now all Prodigy fans are in a time of mourning, but they can take comfort from one consequence of Keith’s death; the Prodigy’s music is now  being played more than it has in years. As can be seen in the graph below the Prodigy’s monthly listeners on Spotify has been increasing each day since Keith’s passing at the start of the week.

Prodigy's monthly listeners

As unfortunate as the death of any musician is, a positive externality of their demise is that there is an influx of media attention toward the artist immediately after their death. This media attention functions as a form of advertising for the artist, reminding old fans of their music and exposing new listeners to it. As a result of this, the Prodigy’s monthly listeners increased by +13.07% from March 4th, the day of Keith’s death (marked in red), to the 6th of March yesterday.

This phenomenon happens quite regularly when famous musicians die, and this topic was actually the central thesis to my own undergraduate dissertation in University College Cork in Ireland as part of the Ba Economics through transformational learning programme; which is still an available course in the college today.

RIP Keith.

Daragh O’Leary

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