No puppet strings were necessary to send Metallica fans — and newbies — to their favorite streaming destinations to hear more of “Master of Puppets,” following the song’s use for a climactic moment in the season finale of “Stranger Things.”
In the week since the episode premiered, on-demand streams for the 1986 metal classic were up 650.3%, according to Luminate, which collates data for the Billboard charts.
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That’s comparing the six-day period of July 1-6 with the comparable six-day frame from the week before. The “Stranger Things” capper premiered on Netflix in the early hours of July 1.
In the previous week’s first six days, “Master of Puppets” had collected 1,020,333 on-demand audio and video streams. In the first six days the show was available for streaming, that number grew to 7,655,536.
The percentage increase was even greater for digital track sales, although those are a minimal force in the music industry these days, with a 999% increase during the same time period.
Interest in the song seems to be growing, rather than having peaked immediately, as daily numbers show the streaming activity having steadily increased every day from Friday, the day the episode premiered, through Wednesday, the last day that data from Luminate was available.
What was the increase in radio play like? Not nearly so substantial, which may prevent “Master of Puppets” from having the same kind of comeback on the next Billboard Hot 100 chart that Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” has enjoyed as a result of its exposure on “Stranger Things” this season. That’s to be expected, with such a hardcore metal song having less potential appeal to pop or alternative formats than the Bush oldie did.
Total spins for the song went up just 25.5% at radio during those six days, from 188 in the week before to 236 since the episode premiered. Audience impressions increased 14.7%, from 508,000 hearing the song on radio before the show to 583,400 afterward — indicating that a lot of the rock stations that might be inclined to play “Master of Puppets” as an oldie were probably already programming it anyway.
Looking at the stats for programmed streaming services, percentage increases were impressive there as well, although not nearly as much so as for on-demand streams. The numbers for programmed streams went up 96.8%, from 100,904 to 198,538.
Interest in “Master of Puppets” may continue to be substantial, with many potential viewers still catching up with the season finale, and Metallica itself stoking the flames of the song’s popularity with favorable social media mentions. Friday, a week after the episode premiered, Metallica even posted a TikTok video that showed the group engaged in a split-screen “duet” with the show’s valiant metalhead character, Eddie Munson, who saves his friends and fends off demons by distracting them with his own shredding take on “Master.”
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