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Lou Reed album sales, downloads soar

Fri., Nov. 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES – The music of rock pioneer Lou Reed, the anchor for the legendary band the Velvet Underground, has seen a big sales boost since he died Sunday at age 71.

For the week ended Oct. 27, total sales of Reed’s albums were 3,000, up 607 percent from the previous week’s sales, which clocked in at less than 1,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

That time period includes less than a day after Reed’s passing became public, so the tally will probably grow for the next week, especially considering that many people probably didn’t learn about the news of the singer-songwriter’s passing until Monday morning.

While Reed was never a big seller, he was a huge influence on the musicians who followed him. Music producer Brian Eno famously said that the Velvet Underground sold only 30,000 copies of its debut album in five years, but everyone who bought it started a band.

Reed’s best-known solo album, “Transformer” (featuring “Walk on the Wild Side,” probably his best-known single), sold 1,400 copies for the week, up 527 percent, and digital download sales of “Walk on the Wild Side” jumped more than 700 percent. On the streaming service Spotify, plays of the track increased by 3,000 percent in the 12 hours after news of Reed’s death broke.

Digital sales of Reed’s songs have increased 590 percent to 17,000.

The Velvet Underground’s catalog also saw a significant uptick, with album sales up 236 percent to about 3,000, while the best-selling record, unsurprisingly, was the debut “Velvet Underground & Nico,” up 146 percent. The band’s song sales quintupled to 5,000.

“Sweet Jane,” from the 1970 album “Loaded,” grew 521 percent to 1,000 downloads.


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