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During his life, Lou Reed never had a mainstream hit, aside from “Walk on the Wild Side,” even though the Velvet Underground frontman was considered one of the most influential figures in rock history. Since his death on Sunday, though, his music is suddenly selling.
According to Billboard, Nielsen SoundScan records show that his albums sold 3,000 copies, up 607 percent over the previous week. That doesn’t sound like much, but the sales week did end on Sunday night, only hours after his death was reported.
Reed’s best selling solo album was Transformer, which jumped 527 percent to 1,000 copies.
The Velvet Underground’s albums also jumped, selling around 3,000 copies as well, up 236 percent over last week. Their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, sold 1,000 copies, a 146 percent jump.
As for “Walk on the Wild Side,” the song itself reached No. 38 on the Hot Digital Rock chart with 6,000 downloads, a 729 percent jump. The track was his most successful, hitting No. 16 on the Hot 100 chart in 1973. It appears on Transformer.
Reed never really cared for the commercial side of his art, notes The Atlantic Wire. A famous story says that The Velvet Underground & Nico only sold 30,000 copies in its first five years, but all 30,000 buyers went on to create their own band.
Of course, album sale spikes after death is nothing new.