Many artists have also seen their music sales boom after embracing the sweet hereafter. CNBC took a look at a few whose unexpected demise was followed by a surge in sales.
Michael Jackson set to be number one in charts following his death
In January , David Bowie died of cancer, just days after his most current album, "Blackstar," had been released. The week after, it debuted at No. Despite a distinguished career that started in the s, Bowie's "Blackstar" was the very first time he had a No.
He also became the highest-selling artist on the resurgent vinyl format in , according to The Telegraph. In the wake of Kurt Cobain's April suicide, all three of Nirvana's original studio albums made significant gains on the charts. According to Billboard, the group's then-current album, "In Utero," jumped from the No.
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The band's breakthrough album, 's "Nevermind," experienced a sales increase of almost percent. When the King of Pop died of a drug overdose in June at the age of 50, his death was accompanied by the massive increase in sales.
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It also caused Billboard magazine to change its own rules regarding older catalog albums like 's "Thriller," still the best-selling album in the world. Originally, Billboard's policy was to remove any album more than 2 years old from its top album chart, no matter how it was selling. When Jackson died, "Thriller" and the compilation "Number Ones" became the two top-selling albums in the country, prompting Billboard to allow those albums to take their rightful places on its chart.
The irony was that the album was much less warmly received when it was released only three weeks earlier, greeted as it was by tepid sales and reviews. It recalled the lyrics from Lennon's song, "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out ," in which he lamented: "Everybody loves you when you're six foot underground.
The purple-clad rocker known as Prince saw five of his albums — including his seminal works "" and "Purple Rain" — enter the Billboard Top 10 simultaneously, making him the first artist to do so in the chart's year history. The sales run didn't stop there: Billboard noted Prince outsold every other artist, living or dead, with a total of 7.
Earlier this month, a newly reissued deluxe version of "Purple Rain" took the No. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox.
Michael Jackson Scream: Who benefits from the album sales? - Verdict
It made him the biggest superstar in the world and catapulted him to near-mythic status. Jackson is a year-old cultural movement that remains perpetually in motion. Jackson has been gone for nearly a decade, and in some ways, his impact remains undimmed. No black musician, living or dead, has impacted black and white culture more than Michael Jackson.
If he had never entered our lives, black music — black history — would not be the same. No matter what becomes of his reputation, his artistic contributions are untouchable. Neither scandal nor time can diminish them. The multiple anonymous sources who spoke with [ See some of [ You will be redirected back to your article in seconds. By Jeremy Helligar.
How Many Albums Did Michael Jackson Sell?
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