Yesterday Film And The Beatles Back In The Charts

Several of the posts on this site look at the effect which the release of a film about a musician has on the consumption of that musician’s music. Most recently I looked at how the release of Rocketman sent Elton John’s music back into the charts, and before that I looked at the release of Bohemian Rhapsody and Queen’s music. Well with the release of the Danny Boyle film Yesterday last week I thought I would conduct a similar analysis for the music of The Beatles.

The idea is very simple, I take note of the date of the film’s release and check the number of songs in the Spotify top 200 chart before and after that date to see if the release of the film coincided with an increase in consumption of the music of the artist. Just to give some context before we launch into the results, the Elton John study found that there was up to five songs of his in the chart after the film’s release, and Queens’ film saw up to eight songs in the chart. Which is why I was very surprised at the results for the Yesterday film seen below.

Beatle's songs in the Spotify top 200

That’s right the release of the Yesterday film (28th of June) coincided with only one song from the fab four going back into the chart. For those who are wondering that song was Here Comes The Sun written and sung by George Harrison. It is surprising to see such a poor performance of The Beatles’ music after the release of the film seen as the band are the most successful act ever and still garner nearly 20 million monthly listeners on Spotify already, which is impressive for a band which has been broken up since 1970.

However, I think there could be two potential reasons for Queen and Elton John’s films having a bigger effect on their music than Yesterday has had on The Beatles’ music. One is their superior budget, the Bohemian Rhapsody film had a budget of $50 million and Rocketman had one of $40 million whereas Yesterday had a smaller budget of $26 million. Apart from the financial issue there is also the fact that Yesterday is a slightly different type of film to the other two.

Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman are biopics of the real life story of Queen and Elton John and play the music from those bands the exact way they are played in the careers of those artists whereas Yesterday is a concept film where a struggling musician has an accident and when he wakes up from it he is the only person in the world that knows about The Beatles and their music. He subsequently attempts to remember their songs and pass them off as his own and becomes very successful.

So it could be the case that the film doesn’t do a great job at carrying over the songs the way the other films did because they are not performed the way they are by the bands originally. Any reader who has any of their own thoughts on this please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment as I have not seen the film yet myself.

By Daragh O’Leary

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