Beastie Boys’ album sales have skyrocketed in the wake of Adam “MCA” Yauch’s passing. The group has seven albums on the Billboard Hot 200, according to industry rankings website.
Licensed to Ill was the first rap album to top the Billboard charts, and it’s back in the top 20 at No. 18. The 1986 debut LP for Adam “MCA” Yauch, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond moved 18,000 copies this past week.
Other Boys albums on the charts this week: Solid Gold Hits at No. 51, Paul’s Boutique at No. 56, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two at No. 107, Ill Communication at No. 109, Check Your Head at No. 124 and Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science No. 141.
Altogether, 55,000 Beastie Boy albums were sold over the week — a 1,235% increase over the previous week’s 4,000 units.
The band was unfortunately hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit a day before Yauch’s passed away on May 4. If successful, the record label suing the group over samples used on some of the Boys’ albums may stand to benefit from these sales.
Of course, a surge in album sales following an artist’s death is not unheard of. In the week after Whitney Houston’s passing, 101,000 copies of her records and 195,000 digital sales of “I Will Always Love You” were sold. It was also widely reported that Houston’s death would make Dolly Parton a fortune, as Parton wrote the aforementioned superhit.
Billboard estimated that Michael Jackson’s music made $1 billion in the year after his 2009 death. The earnings were divided between his music sales, music publishing rights and film and TV projects.