Last week, Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s noughties pop classic ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ reclaimed its original no.2 peak on the UK Official Singles Chart. 

But what’s behind the comeback? And what can catalogues learn about resurfacing their legacy tracks?

Surprising music supervision in Saltburn 

The story starts with Saltburn, Emerald Fennell’s dark comedy.

Released in cinemas in November 2023, Saltburn features Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ synced to a prominent scene in which a main character dances around a grand, country mansion. This scene follows dramatic sequences which would otherwise leave the film’s audience in a sombre mood.

However, the contrast of combining such a bleak scene with Ellis-Bextor’s dancey, playful, and positive pop song (according to Musiio Tag data) creates a cathartic impact, shocking the audience and turning the atmosphere completely on its head.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s path to virality

Such striking music supervision began to resonate with Saltburn’s audience on social media after its streaming release in December 2023.

Viewers began to recreate the scene in a ‘Saltburn trend’ on TikTok, copying the memorable scene  by dancing around their own homes with ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ playing in the background.

To date, #muderonthedancefloor has over 425.8M views on the platform, and #saltburn has 5B.

As a result, ‘Murder’ went roaring back into the UK Official Singles Top 10 for the first time in 22 years in early January 2024. It also gave Sophie Ellis-Bextor her US Billboard Hot 100 debut, at no.98. The song had 293k streams before “Saltburn”, over 2.2M after.

Propelled by the viral reception to the sync, ‘Murder’ went on to reclaim its original no.2 peak on the UK Official Singles Chart in mid-January, and it also vaulted up 40 places, to no.58 on Billboard Hot 100.

The power of creative sync

The ‘Murder’ sync resonated with viewers because its use in Saltburn was both true to the original song and easy for viewers to recreate and reshare.

So what sync lessons can catalogue owners take away from this case study?

  1. Sync can create mass appeal for old tracks, giving them a new lease of life by exposing the music to a global audience.
  1. By considering a track’s mood data, sync agents and music supervisors can judge the impact of the music in supporting or contrasting with a scene’s content.
  1. The more memorable or imitable the film scene and sync, the easier it is for viewers to take action, recreate the moment, and reshare the song on UGC platforms like TikTok.
  1. The easier it is for viewers to recreate and reshare on UGC platforms, the higher the likelihood of a track going viral and re-entering public consciousness (and importantly the charts).

One thing’s for sure, nothing’s killing Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s groove any time soon.

To read more about sync impacting chart performance, check out our case study on how the viral reception to "Running Up That Hill" in Stranger Things 4 gave Kate Bush’s first no.1 since 1978.

‍To learn how descriptive AI can supercharge your music catalogue, email

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