Link back to all articles
back to All
January 4, 2024

Why old music isn’t always old - and how you can turn your back catalogue into new money

The UK album charts from 2023 have been released - and they make for fascinating and, at first glance, worrying reading. 

The top spot went to The Weeknd’s two-year-old greatest hits compilation The Highlights, while the rest of the Top 10 included various Best Of compilations and 2022 albums from SZA, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift. There was just one ‘new’ album in the UK Top 10 - but even that was Taylor Swift’s re-recording of her own 2014 album 1989. 

Taken in conjunction with the news no 2023 album went Platinum (or sold more than 300,000 copies), the obvious takeaway is that new albums aren’t the creative and financial powerhouses they used to be and that ultimately, the album format is dying. 

But the more interesting take - and the one that’s more productive for artists looking to make headway (and money!) in the modern music industry - is that there’s success to be had by repackaging and re-using old content for new audiences. 

What the Top 10 albums chart for 2023 tells us is that there’s no such thing as old music: we’re living in an age of continuous discovery. 

The Weeknd revival 

Take The Weeknd for example. His No.1 album was first released in 2021 to coincide with his Super Bowl halftime show. But when a relatively unknown 2016 track ‘Die For You’ was re-released as part of that album, it was picked up as a TikTok soundtrack and quickly went viral across 147,000 videos. The result was the 17th biggest single of 2023, 7 years after it was first released. 

That shows the power of TikTok and the ability to bring old music to new life. And it’s not just social media that can brilliantly repurpose music. 

Saltburn soundtracks 

Saltburn has been the most talked-about film of the last few months - and not just because of that ending.

Set in the mid-noughties, the film’s soundtrack cleverly uses hits of the time to illustrate its key moments - and for our client Mason, that meant using his ‘Perfect (Exceeder)’ collaboration with Princess Superstar. Since the film recently dropped on Amazon Prime, the track has entered the UK Spotify and TikTok charts and hit the global Beatport and Shazam charts. At one point, the track hit half a million streams a day, bringing the release back into focus for a new generation.

And that knock-on effect can be seen in the UK singles charts, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ returning to the Top 40 for the first time in 22 years thanks to its inclusion as part of that ending. 

Organic growth is great, but you can help keep that momentum going by being proactive, says Chris I’Anson, One Nine Nine’s Head of Digital. ‘If you have old tracks that are getting picked up in films or social media, artists should capitalise and speak to their digital distributor about repitching old tracks. That can help keep the momentum going and maximise your music.’ 

Touchdown trance 

That cunning retrospective can be seen at work with another of our clients, Darude. Upon hearing his trance classic ‘Sandstorm’ had been played before every American Football game at the University of South Carolina since 2008, he made a guest appearance at one of their November games. 

It was clever timing and marketing as his University show took place just a couple of weeks after the release of his new ‘Together’ album, ensuring there was plenty of social media presence around his new album launch. It also kick-started a trend of other sports teams using the uplifting track as part of their game ritual. 


The real winners from the death of the album chart, says music writer Patrick Clifton in an incisive The Record Label Crisis essay, are those who can cultivate a "two-way" relationship with fans on social media, and "don't mind revisiting songs from their repertoire if those songs blow up".

The message is clear: artists can breathe new life into their catalogue by repurposing their past hits, exploring avenues beyond traditional album sales and actively engaging with their audience. Just as we have with our clients Mason and Darude. 

Get in Touch

At One Nine Nine, we work with global music and entertainment names, creating and delivering effective digital, marketing and creative strategies to support your ongoing commercial and critical success.

To find out how we can impact your marketing, please get in touch with our team at 01138444111 or email us at

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.


One Nine Nine
The Leeming Building
Vicar Lane, LS2 7JF