Adele’s “Hello” Will Probably Debut Atop the Hot 100

Update 10/24/15

The first day’s radio figures have come in. The verdict? Adele may break a record.

Depending on the methodology you use to count it, she managed to pull in either 1736 spins equating to 17.5 million audience impressions, or 2602 spins equating to almost 24 million audience impressions, making it  the 4th or 3rd most heard song on U.S. radio. That may not sound particularly impressive (since it isn’t #1), but songs don’t debut at #1 on radio. It just doesn’t happen. At the height of Lady Gaga fever (when her Born This Way album debuted with over 1 million first-week copies), her single “Born This Way” debuted at #1 on the Hot 100 partly on the strength of a #6 debut on radio songs (78.5 million audience impressions), becoming one of just six songs to ever debut in the top ten of Billboard’s Radio Songs chart (or its “Hot 100 Airplay” predecessor). Only three songs have opened in the radio songs top five: Madonna’s “Erotica” (#2), Mariah Carey’s “I’ll Be There” (#4), and Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” (#4). So, an opening at #3 or #4 on radio songs would be a pretty big deal for Adele.

The first day of Spotify numbers have come in, and “Hello” is already #12 on the global Spotify chart (I think that is on a weekly basis). It is also #1 on the iTunes charts of 93 countries now. 19 is now #19 on US iTunes, while 21 is at #8. 25 is, of course, #1 merely on the strength of pre-orders.


Have you heard of Drake’s “Hotline Bling?” It has been heating up the airwaves, and climbing iTunes. It reached the top of iTunes, and its sales are still growing. According to Kworb, its sales increased from 120,000 copies/week to 152,000 copies, for the week ending yesterday. “Hotline Bling” was the presumed next single to rule the Hot 100. All of its stats are strong. But, as is their custom, One Direction stole the iTunes chart’s peak spot with the release of their new song, “Home.” Yet, after only hours in the sunlight, One Direction was knocked out of the park by Justin Bieber’s new song, “Sorry.” I am not going to crack a joke about that.

“Sorry”‘s sales are currently 2 and 1/2 times those of “Home” and “Hotline Bling.” Yet, Justin Bieber never made it to #1 on the iTunes chart. In exactly the (two-hour) frame that he would have taken over, Adele’s new single, “Hello” conquered the chart. Now, it is selling more than FOUR times as many copies as Justin Bieber, and NINE times as many copies as “Hotline Bling” (which, remember, was slated to take over at the top of the overall singles chart and stay there for a while, with strong AND GROWING metrics).

“Hello” is also at #1 on the iTunes charts of 88 other countries. In case you were wondering, it isn’t #1 in Japan (yet).

So, how many copies is “Hello” actually selling?

Over the past two hours, “Hello” has been selling approximately 1.35 million copies per week. That is 192,857 copies/day, or 8,035 copies/hour.

“Hello” wasn’t released at midnight, and it took a few hours to hit #1, and more hours to reach current levels of sales. I estimate approximately 102,800 copies sold by midnight tonight. Tomorrow, with a full day of sales tracking (on a Saturday, no less), she might easily sell more, even with a modest-to-moderate hourly sales dropoff. Overall, I would not be surprised if Adele sells over 500,000 copies this week. Coupled with strong initial radio play and massive streams (Youtube has already recognized 12 million global streams on her music video, which means that it could easily have over 20 million total first-day views), that should easily get her to #1 on the Hot 100.

Watch the first music video to be screened on IMAX cameras here, and check out some current Adele rankings below.



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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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