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This winter has been tough on rock stars. Since November, music critics have written obituaries for Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey of the Eagles. This series of deaths has, in some cases, increased attention to the artists’ catalogs tenfold and revealed enlightening data related to the ways in which fans choose to honor and remember these recently deceased artists.
One such way is reminiscing over lyrics. Based on web searches tracked by LyricFind, the highest surge in lyric searches happens the day after the artist passes. Fan searches for lyrics of Bowie songs increased 1,044% the day after he died compared to the day prior. Lyric searches for songs by the Eagles jumped 429%, Motörhead lyrics searches increased by 107%, and STP lyrics saw the greatest percentage spike in searches at 1,384%.
More than Adele, Justin Bieber, or Taylor Swift, this week’s Billboard U.S. and Global Lyrics charts (powered by LyricFind) have seen a race among the recently passed, with the Eagles’ “Hotel California” taking the #1 spot on the U.S. Chart, passing a wide array of Bowie hits that had dominated the top lyric searches since Monday.
The Eagles also saw the most immediate surge in lyric searches with 258% more searches taking place on the day of Frey’s death compared to the day before.
Even three weeks after each respective artist’s death, lyric searches remain well above the average search for lyrics before their death. Three weeks after Bowie died, searches remained 234% higher than the average search that occurred before his death. STP lyrics were up 109% three weeks after Weiland died compared to before.
“Lyrics offer an intimate glimpse into emotions and stories behind the hits. And after an artist passes away, experiencing the lyrics to their songs, according to the data, seems to be one of the more popular ways to mark their loss,” says Darryl Ballantyne, Founder and CEO of LyricFind.
LyricFind is the world’s leader in licensed lyrics and has licensing from over 4,000 music publishers, including all the majors: Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell Music Publishing and Kobalt – and has also built a quality-controlled, vetted database of those lyrics available for licensing and synchronized technology. Behind the scenes, LyricFind tracks, reports, and pays royalties to those publishers on a song-by-song and territory-by-territory basis.