The Mayans' Dec. 21 doomsday forecast fizzled, but one of R.E.M.'s most beloved hits benefited, registering jumps in sales and airplay.
UPDATED Dec. 28
While the stroke of midnight last Saturday disproved the Mayans' doomsday prediction for Dec. 21, consumers and radio nevertheless had fun with the prophecy, as the dire forecast's signature song, R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," registered a hefty surge in sales and airplay last week.
The track, a college radio hit that reached No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988, improved from 3,000 to 19,000 sold (up 612%), according to Nielsen SoundScan, during the Dec. 17-23 sales tracking week. It re-enters the Rock Digital Songs chart at No. 18 and Alternative Digital Songs at No. 14.
Airplay for "End" likewise increased last week. The song logged 135 plays in the U.S. on Dec. 21 among the more than 1,200 stations monitored by Nielsen BDS for the Hot 100. That's up from 50 on Dec. 20 and just 18 the day before.
Alternative KENZ Salt Lake City led the way with eight spins for "End" on Dec. 21 after not having aired the song at all earlier in the week. (The plays shouldn't come as a surprise: KENZ uses the moniker "101.9 The End.")
Outside the U.S., stations also played up the potential apocalypse by playing "End." Notably, Calgary, Alberta, Canada's alternative CFEX (X92.9) spun "End" "156 times in a row by our count" last week, according to the station's Twitter account.