Why Are Young Artist's Death's So Popular?
As most of us have seen recently, Father, Husband, Grammy nominated Rapper, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in front of his locally owned business in Los Angeles, CA. After his death was reported, a vast majority of news outlets and social media accounts were left with nothing less than shock. Close friends of Hussle were quick to post messages showing their support, others were left speechless and in tears. How? Why? Questions flew, conspiracy theorists drummed up different stories, literally the entire world for a few days were locked in on this death. Something else stood out amongst all of this though, a very awesome, yet shocking report was shared. Nipsey's music catalog increased immensely. His latest release Victory Lap shot up to #1 on the iTunes Music Chart. Crenshaw, a mixtape he released in 2013, jumped to #5. Individual song sales jumped from 1,000 copies sold to 14,000+. By the end of Wednesday, 10 of the top 50 songs on the Apple Charts belonged to Hussle. A very encouraging thing to see from the world, as they gather around someone who meant so much to so many people. It leaves me personally asking, why does his death have to equal the success he so rightfully deserved?
Much like Nipsey, many artists in the past have died suddenly, only to see their music catalog shoot up in sold units. June 18th, 2018. Rapper XXXTentacion was gunned down in his vehicle while leaving a car dealership. As many mourned his music sales shot up an astonishing 1,603%. His hit song SAD! shot up the billboard charts and landed at #7. In my opinion, XXX was a kind, conflicted soul; using his platform to express his own personal issues through his music which resulted in helping others cope with their own mental health issues.
The list is very long of those young artists, not just hip-hop, who have seen a surge in sales. Amy Winehouse's album prior to her death sold 102,000 copies of her album. After she died, it surged to a total of 855,000 albums sold worldwide. David Bowie released an album two days prior to his death. Post-death, his album shot up to the top position of the iTunes Music Charts. He saw a 2,700+% increase in Spotify streams on top of that. That's just naming a few artists, trust me, the list is very much so longer.
In 2014, a music survey done, ("Death-related Publicity as Informational Advertising: Evidence from the Music Industry) reported that, on average, when a musician dies, their profits from all outlets increase about 54% in total. To this day, I’m left with asking myself.... Why? Why can't we appreciate the artist now. Call me crazy but being recognized for doing something good isn't a bad thing. It is amazing to see people who have never picked up a single song, album, video, etc. from an artist, only to become a fan post-death, but it's also a curse. It feels trendy, it feels like some are using this artist's death only to benefit themselves, make themselves look good. I myself was once an artist, spending countless nights inside a studio, countless nights constructing music that I felt would help not only me but someone else. I knew what it meant to hear someone say my music made a difference to them.
When I see someone pass, and the sales/inspiration from their music surge, I know how frustrating that can be because they did EVERYTHING in their power to do that while alive. The time spent away from family, the time spent away from seeing children grow up, that time is something they would NEVER get back. It is amazing to label some of these people legends. They are. Very much so, but they were Legends while alive too. The only point in this entire article I want to make is, Appreciate your favorite artist now. Share their music. Push them to your friends. Local and Global artists. They deserve to see the numbers they would see if they were to sadly pass away. I don't know about you, but I would have loved to see 2pac and Biggie grow throughout the 2000's.