Oscars boost Adele's 'Skyfall,' Shirley Bassey's fame
Posted February 27, 2013
The Academy Awards show, known for delivering big returns at the box office, is also goosing record sales after this year's music-centric production.
Adele, whose Skyfall won the Oscar for best original song, sold 56,000 downloads, up 56% from a week earlier, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Adele had a moment despite audio difficulties that had the band drowning her out through most of the song," says Keith Caulfield, Billboard's associate director of charts/retail.
Skyfall is the first James Bond theme to win the prize and the first Billboard top 10 hit to win since Eminem's Lose Yourself in 2003. Her victory "has a lot to do with the fact that it's Adele and the rule change loosening the reins on how nominees are determined (implemented) after last year's debacle." In 2012, only two songs competed in the category.
Spikes this week are modest since the tally count ended Sunday, the night of the Oscars and the last day of SoundScan's tracking week. Greater gains may be reflected after a full week of sales in next week's data, but huge boosts are unlikely.
"Even though this was a music-focused production in some ways, the Academy Awards are about promoting films," Caulfield says. "This might be it."
The surprise return of Shirley Bassey, who reprised the title track from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, boosted sales of the song to 1,000 copies, up 310%. While her sales pale against Adele's, the Welsh singer, 76, stirred a bigger buzz.
It's better to measure her impact in social statistics," says Caulfield, noting that Topsy analytics reported 36,000 Bassey mentions on Twitter Sunday night versus 150 the day before.
"Who knows how many of those comments were 'Who is this broad?' but she got a lot of positive comments," Caulfield says. "She really kicked the pants off that song. She was the one performer that the vast majority of viewers hadn't seen in a long time or weren't familiar with to start with."
Barbra Streisand's 1974 hit The Way We Were, sung in a tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch, sold 2,000 downloads.
The toast to recent musicals "didn't move the needle very much," Caulfield says. "You have to wonder why they did it. It's the second-most watched TV event of the year and you can't sell more than a handful of copies?"
Anne Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream sold 8,000 copies, up 70%, a jump that may owe more to her film clip than the ensemble performance. Sales of the Les Miserables soundtrack fell. Jennifer Hudson's And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going, from Dreamgirls, sold 1,000. Catherine Zeta-Jones' lip-synced All that Jazz from Chicago registered "negligible" sales, meaning fewer than 500.
The Oscar-winning Life of Pi score had its best week to date, selling 1,000 copies, up 230%. Film scores are notoriously poor sellers.
Latest in Entertainment