Winning an Academy Award is a good thing for many reasons. It means your peers appreciate and respect you. It means more career opportunities. It means you get a shiny gold statue to put on your mantelpiece.
And on the business side, it also means more money. But while Oscar-nominated movies typically enjoy a massive box office boost, that’s less true for Oscar-nominated songs.
In that category, it’s closer to a winner-takes-all scenario: A best original song nomination doesn’t hurt, but the winning songs really reap the benefits.
We went through the last five years of best original song Oscar winners to see how winning the Academy Award affected that song’s digital sales. In the graphic above, we’re looking at three weeks of sales for each Oscar winner. We look at a full week of pre-Oscar sales, sales for the week of the ceremony (each period ends on Sunday) and the first full week of post-Oscar sales.
While Frozen‘s “Let It Go” sold the most digital downloads of any best original song winner in the last five years (no surprise there), it didn’t enjoy the best boost percentage-wise. Comparing the sales hike that takes place between Oscar week and the first full week of sales post-Oscars, Adele‘s “Skyfall” actually enjoyed an 87.5 percent sales increase — much better than the 42 percent increase “Let It Go” experienced.
The smallest sales increase from Oscar week to post-Oscar week was for The Muppets song “Man or Muppet,” which only went up 4 percent. But that tune enjoyed a massive digital sales increase if you compare pre-Oscar sales week to post-Oscar sales week — then it enjoyed a whopping 387 percent increase.
Another children’s film theme song with a comparatively low total of digital song sales, Toy Story 3‘s “We Belong Together,” enjoyed the best overall Oscar boost for its song. The Randy Newman tune experienced a 784 percent digital sales increase from its pre-Oscar week to its first full post-Oscar week.
In short: An Oscar win is a boon for digital sales any way you cut it, but songs that start out with a low number of weekly sales typically experience the most significant increase. Even if they don’t sell the most digital copies overall, an Oscar win can mean more for a comparatively under-the-radar song.
We’ll have to wait until next week to see how the 2015 Oscars affect sales for this year’s winner.