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Tony Award Takeover: How Music Is Celebrated Before and Beyond Broadway’s Big Night
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Tony Award Takeover: How Music Is Celebrated Before and Beyond Broadway’s Big Night

From an extravagant and colorful performance of Disney’s Aladdin to the simple yet soul-touching beauty of songwriting-legend Carole King’s music, this year’s Tony Awards had something for everyone. Music met theater on the stage Sunday night and an average of seven million people watched as Broadway’s best gathered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City to celebrate, give awards and perform everyone’s favorites well into the night.

But taking home a trophy isn’t the only way to win at the Tony Awards. Music legend and Tonys guest performer Carole King saw sales from across her catalog of work jump in the week before the awards. Sales of her most popular album Tapestry experienced a significant lift of over 34 percent during the week leading up to the awards, and on-demand streams of her song “It’s Too Late” increased by a massive 168 percent the week leading up to the awards and could continue to grow following her performance during the event. And she wasn’t alone. Many of the nominees also saw sales increases in soundtracks, albums and other entertainment before and after Sunday night’s awards were doled out.

Broadway’s Long-Standing Claim to Fame

If you’ve ever been caught singing along to show tunes in your car, you’re not alone! Last year alone, 1.2 million units of Broadway albums were sold. And the Tony Awards show, a night dedicated to Broadway, consistently boosts music sales from the genre. The week leading up to the 2013 Tony Awards saw a 38 percent increase in weekly overall Broadway albums sales. 2013’s Best Musical winner Pippin’s soundtrack release also benefitted from some Tonys magic—it sold almost 7.5 thousand copies in the week leading up to the broadcast!

And the magic of the theater lives on. The 2012 awards also affected winners’ album sales—Once, which took home the Tony for Best Musical that year, experienced a 75 percent increase in soundtrack sales the week leading up the awards show, and its popularity remains strong. Two full years after the show’s Tony win, the soundtrack has sold over 19 thousand copies in 2014 alone!

This Year’s Winners Won Big Before the Tonys Started

This year’s Tony Awards celebrated a wide swath of genre-defying artists and shows. In the race for one of the biggest awards of the night, After Midnight, Aladdin and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical gave way to Best Musical winner A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. In the week leading up to the Tonys, the show’s soundtrack had sold 5.3 thousand units total, and saw a huge 166 percent increase in sales the same week. Although it didn’t win the Tony, Beautiful also saw a respectable increase in soundtrack album sales as well, with a 39 percent rise in the week leading up to the awards.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch took home the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, edging out Les Misérables and Violet. The song “Sugar Daddy,” unforgettably performed during the awards by the show’s star Neil Patrick Harris (who also won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical), was streamed almost 4 thousand times on Sunday alone!

Jessie Mueller, who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, also saw a lift in sales. Sales of the soundtrack for the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, starring Mueller, increased almost fivefold during the week leading up to the Tonys.

The Performers Also Took Center Stage Before the Show

Winning a Tony award is surely incredibly gratifying and fulfilling, but performing at the Tony Awards can create its own magic. While Sunday’s show had an all-star lineup of performers including Neil Patrick Harris, Sutton Foster, Alan Cumming, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Fantastia, and Sting, Idina Menzel, who currently stars in If/Then, was clearly the crowd favorite leading up to the big night. Sales of the show’s soundtrack, released the week before the awards, reached 15 thousand units during the week leading up to the Tonys. Her solo album I Stand and the Wicked soundtrack (in which she originated the role of Elphaba) both saw sales lifts the same week, increasing 67 and 25 percent, respectively. In addition, “Let It Go,” Menzel’s major song performance from the film Frozen, was streamed on-demand over 11.1 million times in the week leading up to the awards!

Menzel wasn’t the only crowd favorite though. “The Last Ship,” performed by Sting in anticipation of the upcoming musical of the same title for which he wrote the music, saw a 200 percent increase in on-demand streams in the week leading up to the show. And one of the biggest gainers of the night was “Friend Like Me,” from Aladdin, performed on stage during the awards by James Monroe Iglehart. The song’s on-demand streams increased a whopping 17,300 percent during the week leading up to the show!

With Sunday night bursting with incomparable stars and incredible performances, it’s no wonder the audience wanted to prolong the experience by purchasing all forms of entertainment before and after the show. The Tony Awards reach far and wide, and capturing a slice of the show’s audience could reveal a dedicated and invested consumer segment that is hungry for more. By tapping into the theater market, especially utilizing cross-over artists, marketers can easily reach a wealth of consumers eager for more theater favorites and new music.