Does Gwen Stefani (Finally) Have Another Hit?

Gwen Stefani hasn’t had a top 40 single as a soloist since “The Sweet Escape” peaked at #2 in 2006, nine years ago. “Baby Don’t Lie” came close in 2014, and No Doubt pulled “Settle Down” to #34 in 2012, but other than those two and her featured role on Eminem’s “Kings Never Die” (which debuted and peaked at #80 earlier this year), Gwen Stefani hasn’t even touched the Hot 100 since 2007. Why? Mostly because she hasn’t been releasing music. Gwen Stefani hasn’t released an official studio album since The Sweet Escape, unless you count No Doubt’s Push and Shove in 2012.

Well, Gwen Stefani is releasing music now, and it is charting. Specifically, her new single, “Used to Love You,” is currently sitting pretty at #2 on US iTunes, the day after its release. Meanwhile, its Youtube video has already racked up almost one million views. Considering that her last music video, for “Spark the Fire” only got about six million views total, in almost a year of release, that is a pretty good sign. Of course, this could be the “viral effect” of doing something unexpected (she just released a video of her doing nothing but crying and looking sadly at the camera). It remains to be seen whether her strong early numbers will ultimately translate into the sustained radio airplay and sales that really make a song a hit. But, the early numbers ARE there.

Speaking of early numbers, Gwen’s single isn’t just charting on US iTunes. It is also charting on the iTunes charts of 39 other countries. Take a look:

Used to Love You

(#22 on Kworb’s lazily weighted overall WW chart)

Early Estimates

First Day Youtube Views: 650,000-750,000. In my experience, the total viewcount has about a 12 hour delay, such that if you look at it at noon, then you have an estimate for the prior day’s views.

iTunes Sales Estimates [I compared kworb iTunes sales figures for “Used To Love You” with Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” (because it is an established single with fairly constant, predictable sales).]

First day US iTunes sales: 10,000-15,000.

First week US iTunes sales: 40,000-55,000

First Week debut on Billboard Hot 100? TBD. I am waiting to see how the sales and youtube streaming figures hold up, and to see whether she debuts on any radio airplay charts. Based on sales alone, however, Gwen should debut on the Hot 100, possibly in the 35-60 range. Without radio airplay, or sustained streams, however, the single will flop, and the only question is when.

Watch “I Used to Love You” on Youtube HERE.


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Peter Daines is a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. His interests include studying foreign languages, watching and predicting events in politics and the music industry, and searching fruitlessly for the meaning of life.

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