Bowie On Spotify: The Surprising Stats About What You Listened To The Day He Died

Streaming service Spotify have released details of the David Bowie songs its global audience listened to on the day he died.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is the inclusion of brand new tracks ‘Blackstar’ and ‘Lazarus’ in the overall Top Five tracks of Bowie streams. That means many of you chose to remember Bowie not as he was in the past, but how he was just before he died.

‘”Heroes”‘ won it, which is a given, but the others joining that epic song make for an interesting bunch:

1. ‘”Heroes”‘ (+ 3630% increase)
2. ‘Let’s Dance (+ 3942%)
3. ‘Blackstar’ (+ 1120%)
4. ‘Lazarus’ (+ 1084%)
5. ‘Life On Mars’ (+ 4238%)

More people listened to those two new songs – quite bleak, obscure, difficult and antagonistic pieces of music that serve to rival even Bowie’s most out-there moments – than ‘Life On Mars’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘Changes’, ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Five Years’ and ‘Fame’.

There’s an interesting culture clash here, because if you watched the rolling news coverage on BBC and Sky yesterday, the schmaltzy and easy parts of his back catalogue won out, with barely any room for the more leftfield moments from pop’s most leftfield trailblazer. Which is pretty odd.

Impressively, though, people power tells a broader story: one-fifth of Spotify’s Global chart is currently made up of Bowie songs, ‘Blackstar’, ‘Lazarus’ and fellow recent track ‘’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore’ among them. Half of the entire UK Top 10, meanwhile, is Bowie tunes.

As Quartz explains, just ten minutes after Bowie’s death was announced – 6:40am GMT – Spotify was seeing streaming at levels up of 2,700% from what would be considered normal. From 7-8am GMT, the app’s previous day’s totals were beaten, which is all the more impressive seeing as much of America would have been fast asleep when the news was made public. Overall, over five times as many streams of Bowie music were played on Spotify between 7am and 4pm GMT yesterday than in the two preceding days.

A Spotify spokesperson added to NME that that prior to the news of his death, Bowie had 4m monthly listeners on Spotify, which rose to 6.5m monthly listeners after the news broke – so 2.5m new people listened to his music on Spotify who had not done so in the previous month.

One other thing about the Top Five: Just how cool is it that ‘Let’s Dance’, one of the most overtly joyous-sounding songs of Bowie’s career, is holding fort in second place? Take a bow, fans, you did good…

Here’s a playlist of some of the Thin White Duke’s greatest to carry things on: