Music appears to be helping provide some measure of comfort to mourners in Boston and other regions following the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 that killed three and injured approximately 180.
Neil Diamond made an impromptu visit to Boston's Fenway Park on April 20 to sing his 1969 No. 4 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)" during the Red Sox' first home game following the bombings. Normally, the original version is played during each home game; on that day, Diamond sang along to the recording. The rousing appearance spurs the song's No. 33 debut on Pop Digital Songs with 19,000 sold during the week ending April 21, a 597% increase, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The bulk of "Sweet Caroline's" sales last week came from the Boston designated marketing area (DMA), where 8.7% of its sales for the week were registered. It was the No. 28-selling song in the city last week. Comparatively, on the national level, "Sweet Caroline" was the 103rd-biggest tune.
While music can help heal, Boston area consumers were obviously preoccupied with bigger issues last week. Boston experienced a sizable decline in downloading, as digital song sales fell by 18% to 612,000. That's the week's largest decrease among the top 100 DMAs, as measured by SoundScan, and lower than the overall 7% erosion experienced by the entire marketplace.