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Death-Related Publicity as Informational Advertising: Evidence from the Music Industry

Forthcoming: Marketing Letters

29 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 12 Aug 2014

Leif Brandes

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Egon P. Franck

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Stephan Nüesch

University of Muenster

Date Written: July 21, 2014

Abstract

The sales of books, DVDs and music albums frequently increase substantially after the death of an artist. Yet, the mechanism behind this stylized fact remains unclear. In this paper, we extend previous work on death-related effects, and examine after-death sales increases both as an affective reaction of existing customers and as a reaction of previously uninformed new customers. In our main study, we use official weekly U.S. sales data for 446 music albums of 77 artists who died in the years 1992 – 2010. A series of regression models show that an artist’s album sales increase on average by 54.1% after death, and that the relative increase in sales after death is higher for the better albums of the artist even when controlling for differences in weekly album-level publicity. This suggests that death-related publicity serves primarily as informational advertising that attracts new customers who buy the artist’s best albums after death. Complementary evidence from a survey study with more than 2,000 participants confirms this interpretation and shows that information-based motives are relatively more important for after-death consumption than affect-based motives. Overall, our analysis provides novel evidence on the longevity of imperfect customer information in cultural markets, and informs strategic retailer behavior after artist deaths

Keywords: death-related effects; advertising; context effect; publicity; cultural markets

JEL Classification: L82

Suggested Citation

Brandes, Leif and Franck, Egon P. and Nüesch, Stephan, Death-Related Publicity as Informational Advertising: Evidence from the Music Industry (July 21, 2014). Forthcoming: Marketing Letters . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1760033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1760033

Leif Brandes (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Egon Franck

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich 8032
Switzerland
+41 1 634 28 45 (Phone)

Stephan Nüesch

University of Muenster ( email )

Schlossplatz 2
Muenster, D-48149
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.uni-muenster.de/uf

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