Global streams of David Bowie’s songs on Spotify soar 2,822% after his death

Global streams of David Bowie’s songs on Spotify soar 2,822% after his death

David Bowie

Tributes from fans at a David Bowie mural in Brixton, south London. Data shows that more than 6.1m tweets about the singer have been sent since his death. Photograph: Xinhua / Barcroft Media

It seems fitting that reaction to the death of David Bowie – a digital native in spirit, if not in years – could be measured in spikes and ripples across the internet.

When Bowie’s death was announced on his verified Facebook and Twitteraccounts on Sunday, the impact was first felt on social media.

Data from the social analytics company Max Kelsen showed that more than 6.1m tweets about Bowie had been sent since 10 January. In comparison, about 154,500 tweets were sent about him on his birthday, 8 January, and about 555,100 between 20 November and 14 December before the release of his new album Blackstar and single of the same name.

The analysis showed that most of those tweeting about Bowie were 35 or older; 57% were male. Per capita, Irish users were the most active, followed by those from the UK.

Global streams of Bowie on Spotify increased by 2,822% following news of his death. That was a smaller percentage increase than for BB King’s music when he died in May (9,800%), for the Everly Brothers on Phil Everly’s death in January 2014 (4,275%) and for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground after Reed died in October 2013 (3,000%).

The difference can perhaps be explained by Bowie’s huge back catalogue and relative popularity in recent years that kept the number of streams consistently high even before his death.

Bowie had 4m monthly listeners on Spotify, which rose by 62.5% after news of his death – meaning 2.5m people listened to him on Spotify who had not done so in the previous month.

Heroes, from the 1977 album of the same name, was the most popular of Bowie’s songs on the platform in the 24 hours since the news of his death, with streams up 3,630%, in comparison with the daily average.

Let’s Dance (1983) was second-most popular with an increase of 3,942%, ahead of Blackstar (up 1,120%) and Lazarus (up 1,084%) – both tracks off his 26th album, Blackstar, released just two days before his death.

Life on Mars, from 1971’s Hunky Dory, experienced the biggest increase of the top five, with streams up 4,238%.

Bowie occupies all but three of the top 10 spots in iTunes’ UK album chart (Adele, Justin Bieber, and the indomitable Various Artists are hard to shake), and all of the top 10 videos.

Zane Lowe began his show on Apple’s global Beats 1 radio station on Monday with the title track from Blackstar, before digging into his favourites from Bowie’s back catalogue, which he remembered discovering in his brother’s record collection.

Bowie himself predicted the rise of streaming services – or something like them – more than a decade ago. “Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity,” he told the New York Times in 2003.

“The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen.”

A spike in searches for the word “androgynous” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary was also attributed to the announcement of Bowie’s death. The word – used to describe Bowie as long back as 1972, and again in his obituary in the New York Times – was continuing to trend on the site on Wednesday, days after his death.

Source: The Guardian