Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Sales spike for Toots - Six albums in iTunes reggae chart

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2020 | 12:06 AM
Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert.

An astronomic spike in sales has seen albums and singles by reggae legend Toots Hibbert, frontman of the group Toots and the Maytals, topping both the iTunes Top 100 reggae albums and singles charts simultaneously while making huge inroads in the overall iTunes Top 100.

Toots has six of the top 10 albums on iTunes reggae album charts, controlling positions one to four and also eight and nine. His most recent album, Got to Be Tough, his first in a decade, sits at number two.

In a release, Joe Esposito, senior director of Digital Sales and the record label BMG, pointed to figures that showed a 6,700 per cent increase in album sales and an astronomical equivalent boosts in track downloads and online streaming. Additionally, The Very Best of Toots & The Maytals is currently the number 14 album overall on iTunes while Got to Be Tough is at number 43. Five of Toots’ albums are in the Top 100 overall.

The reggae icon has officially joined that stately club reserved for deceased artistes whose music has made an impact on generations. Over on the iTunes reggae singles chart, Pressure Drop soared to number one, with Toots currently holding six of the top 10 positions on that chart. His cover of Otis Redding’s (I’ve Got) Dreams to Remember is at number four while his cover of the classic T ake Me Home, Country Roads powers to five. Toots rounds out the chart with the eight, ninth and 10th positions – 54-46, Funky Kingston, and Do the Reggay, respectively.

Immediate uptick

Toots’ death was announced on Friday night, and by Saturday, he was making records, but this time, not in the studio. “On Saturday, his albums increased over 6,700 per cent and his tracks over 3,600 per cent on iTunes. His latest album, Got to Be Tough, jumped over 2,500 per cent. His catalogue on Apple Music increased by over 1,000 per cent on Saturday,” Esposito is quoted in the release.

The cover of Three Little Birds, featuring Ziggy Marley from Hibbert’s most recent album, was added to the Essentials playlist, which is driving 80 per cent of playlist plays, Esposito also revealed.

United States-based music insider and consultant David Spero, who has managed acts such as Toots Hibbert, Joe Walsh from the Eagles, Cat Stephens, and Bad Company in the past decades, noted that “Toots’ death is as big as John Lennon’s death (in the US) . In some areas, his tracks are up almost 3,500 per cent. That’s crazy. It certainly shows the world the influence that Toots has on the music to the point that people are scrambling to hear his music right now.”

Toots Hibbert died in the Intensive Care Unit at The University Hospital of the West Indies last Friday after developing respiratory complications.