Halloween may just have passed but did you know that today, November 2nd, is often referred to as Día de los Muertos or "Day of the Dead"? Although it sounds a little morbid, it’s a festive and colourful holiday in Mexico and Latin America, where people gather to remember friends and family members who have passed away. So today, UKOM remembers some of the prominent musicians who have left us in the past year by asking ‘What impact did their death have on views of their music videos online?’

By looking at UKOM approved* data from Comscore Video Metrix Multi-Platform (VMX MP), UKOM can analyse music video viewing from YouTube and partner channels e.g. Vevo. Video Metrix Trend data clearly shows that interest in an artist spikes during the month of their death. 

The chart above shows the number of videos viewed for two solo artists who left us in 2016 – Leonard Cohen who passed away on 7th November 2016 and George Michael who died on Christmas Day 2016 and two band members who died this year – Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden and Chester Bennington, the front man for Linkin Park, who both committed suicide, in May 2017 and July 2017 respectively. In all cases, the number of videos viewed and audiences surged once people heard the news.

The number of videos viewed for Linkin Park on YouTube rose from 2 million to over 11 million and the audience increased from 320K to 1.6million in the month of Chester Bennington’s passing.

Although Linkin Park had by far the biggest number of videos viewed on YouTube of the four artists, interestingly, viewing still increased for musicians which had a different fan base/profile of users. 45% of George Michael’s Vevo YouTube audience in December 2016 was aged 35-54 compared to only 33% of Linkin Park’s in July 2017. Despite having a much older audience, viewers still flocked to the internet following The Careless Whisper singer’s death with the audience increasing six-fold from 182,000 to over 1.1 million between November and December 2016. Although smaller numbers, both Soundgarden and Leonard Cohen also witnessed huge uplifts in both video viewing and audiences in the month after their tragic loss – both increasing more than 7 times pre-death levels.

The last 18 months has been one of the worst ever when it comes saying goodbye to musical talent as icons Prince and David Bowie also left us. Although Comscore’s Video Metrix Multi-Platform measurement has only recently launched so cannot look back to their passing, what is clear is audiences of all ages and demographics are now accessing music content across multiple devices online, ensuring their music and memory lives on. 

Notes on Data:

All data is based on UKOM industry standard and development level approved Comscore Video Metrix (VMX) Multi-Platform data based on September 2017-Septermber 2017. Comscore VMX Multi-Platform includes video streams across desktop, tablets and smartphones. 

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