Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” is Charting at Pop Radio

Cheap Thrills,” the second single off of Sia’s This is Acting, has finally reached #50 on Pop radio airplay. The track debuts with 465 running weekly spins (+158 over the past week) representing 1.416 million weekly audience impressions.

The song concurrently charts at #225 on iTunes (about 7,000 sales in the week ending 3/10); #24 on US Spotify (daily) (+1 today; 392,813 streams, -1,358 today); #31 on US Spotify (weekly) (+16 for the week ending 3/3; 2,469,035 streams, +434,468 for the week); #14 on Global Spotify (daily) (+1 today; 1,672,557 streams, +53,648 today); and #24 on Global Spotify (weekly) (+9 for the week ending 3/3; 9,448,660 streams, +2,212,701 for the week).

The lyric video for “Cheap Thrills” has 12,557,686 views since its February 10th, 2016 release. It set a new high on Saturday, 3/5/16, when it earned 660,625 daily views. So far, it has averaged 444,168 views/day.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.43.39 AM

The official audio for “Cheap Thrills” has 11,973,257 views since 12/16/15.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.43.20 AM

In it’s fourth charting week, “Cheap Thrills” is at #91 (+6 this week) on the US Billboard Hot 100 (which ranks songs’ overall success in terms of weekly sales, streaming, and radio airplay), closing in on its initial sales-driven debut at #81. The song dropped off the Hot 100 in its second week of availability.

Analysis

Cheap Thrills“‘s lyric video has a strong Youtube view-curve, with consistently increasing views and no visible deterioration. Frequently a Youtube release will feature a local high on the day of or in the days immediately following its release, followed by a consistent downward pressure as public interest in the spectacle of the music video deteriorates. A song that gets substantial radio airplay tends to at least slow in its descent for a time, and may reverse course if radio airplay is sufficient. “Cheap Thrills” features essentially NO initial interest bump, and instantaneously began rising, driven by radio airplay.

There are three reasons for this that immediately stand out to me. 1) The lyric video is not “exciting” to the audience, except insofar as it is the thing that pops up when they want to stream the song. This would preclude the existence of an initial interest bump, and would forecast a view-curve entirely or almost entirely by radio airplay. 2) Although US radio is just starting to play Sia’s song, Youtube views are agglomerated on an international basis. Clearly, “Cheap Thrills” is getting a substantial amount of attention overseas. 3) Sia did not substantially promote the release of her “Cheap Thrills” lyric video beyond merely posting it on her Youtube page. In the absence of controversy or substantial media buzz, the video is left to stand on its own two feet as a carrier for the song itself.

Overall, the song has a robust view-curve with a clear positive trajectory, representing substantial and increasing international attention. Since radio airplay for the single is increasing in the United States, we should expect continued growth for the foreseeable future. At this time, there is insufficient data on US radio airplay over time to predict the song’s long-term trajectory.

However, unless the song begins to accelerate substantially, I would hesitate to forecast a much stronger long-term performance than for Sia’s recent David Guetta collaboration, “Bang My Head,” which peaked at #76 on the Hot 100.

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pdaines

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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