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David Bowie Just Broke Adele’s Record

Photo of David BOWIEPhoto of David BOWIE
Bowie performing at Madison Square Gardens during the Low/Heroes tour in 1978.Photograph by Richard E. Aaron — Redferns/Getty Images

The shocking news of David Bowie’s death this week has sent fans scrambling to appreciate the artist’s catalog. As news of the music icon’s passing began to spread globally on Monday, fans first took to social media to express their grief, then began to binge on his music.

Global streams of Bowie’s catalog were up 2,822% on Spotify – with the anthem “Heroes” from the similarly-titled 1977 album the most popular song. (Streams of that song, in particular, were up 3,630%).

And on Vevo, the top music video platform, Bowie set a one day record, with fans watching his videos 51 million times. That shatters the previous same-day record of 36 million, set by Adele on Oct. 23, when “Hello” made its global debut.

Video viewers found themselves drawn to Bowie’s more recent work, with the just-released Lazarus being the most-watched video with 11.1 million views. The song is especially haunting for its open lyrics: ” Look up here / I’m in heaven / I’ve got scars that can’t be seen / I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen / Everybody knows me now”.

Not surprisingly, Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, which was released two days before his death Sunday at the age of 69, was the top selling album on iTunes (and remains so today). The album is quickly climbing the Billboard charts and is expected to top Adele’s 25 this week, says Billboard. This, ironically, would be the first time a Bowie album has topped the Billboard 200.

It wasn’t just Blackstar that saw a rise in popularity. All 25 of Bowie’s albums – from his Ziggy Stardust days to the era of The Thin White Duke – are still among iTunes top 100. iTunes currently lists Bowie albums occupying three of its top 10 spots.

Best of Bowie is currently Apple’s second-best selling album, with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust holding the number five position. (Apple (AAPL) does not generally release specific sales or download numbers.)

Bowie was not only a musical genius, but a business visionary as well. He had the remarkable ability to see into the future and predict shifts in tastes long before others. Even with his own time rapidly coming to an end, he managed to record and complete Blackstar, an album his long-time producer, Tony Visconti, called the album the singer’s “parting gift” on his Facebook page.

“He always did what he wanted to do,” Visconti wrote. “And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.”