What's Behind Post Breakup/Death Music Appreciation?
Why is it that bands -- and people in general -- seem to be appreciated so much more once they're gone?
After they're out of reach, suddenly a person somehow becomes even more important than before. You've seen it when someone dies, of course, and also when a band like The White Stripes breaks up.
Before the rock duo broke up last week they weren't exactly buzzing -- they hadn't made an album in years and weren't expected to. They were still steadily selling records but not in any major way. Then they post a missive explaining they're kaput. All of a sudden they're one of the biggest and most important bands in the world again.
Since the Stripes breakup earlier this week, record sales for their albums have unsurprisingly skyrocketed to incredible levels. In fact, sales for Under Great White Northern Lights, which is a live album as well as a rock doc, saw a boost in sales by 2,644 percent on Amazon.co.uk alone.
The albums White Blood Cells and Elephant are also in Amazon.co.uk's top 10 music sales chart, respectively having seen 612 percent boost and a 402 percent boost in sales since the band's breakup announcement.
Michael Jackson's death did the same thing to his flat-lined record sales.
The buzz is palpable off the charts, too. Everyone is fondly remembering the Stripes now. Questlove of the Roots crew has even expressed how distraught he is about the musical separation of Jack and Meg White.
So it's now new -- and it's also hard to tell how long the warm feelings might last news of the White Stripes might last. Most bands get a little bump -- The Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, etc. -- followed by a long tail-off. Other times, a band can cruise on re-issues for generations, though. Look at The Sex Pistols, the Supremes, Elvis and The Beatles. Those acts have all lived on in our hearts, and their music has long been passed down to new generations since they made the decision to split up.
Aside from the fact that many years have gone by since his death, Elvis Presely has accrued a ton of money. In fact, he is the top earning dead celebrity of all time, according to Forbes. Between October 2007 and October 2008 alone, Elvis made $52 million from the grave. Not a bad bit of coin!
Perhaps we need to show these musicians more love while they're still doing what they do best rather than after they close up shop and they're not involved in the music scene so much anymore.
Then again, collectible items from the White Stripes are very likely to suddenly increase in value. It will be interesting to see what comes of the legacy of the White Stripes. Here's to hoping they'll pull a Cher move and go on reunion tour after reunion tour someday.