Weekly Recap 3/11: Meghan Trainor v. Ariana Grande

Meghan Trainor‘s new song “No” has been blasting up the radio airplay chart about as quickly as is humanly possible. It gains another 8.391 million audience impressions today for a weekly running total of 62.299 million in its first week (#22).

Meanwhile, “No” has just been overtaken atop iTunes by Ariana Grande‘s new single, “Dangerous Woman,” which is reputedly far more appreciated by fans than was her recent pseudo-hit “Focus” (pseudo because strong early radio airplay reversed sharply when the first Callout reports revealed its deep unpopularity, but the song’s high budget and pristine music video–notice the extraordinary star contact lenses in this post’s featured image–still pulled out nearly 1/2 billion views and adds millions of new views/day, long after the song faded off of radio airplay charts).

Dangerous Woman” is currently selling at nearly twice the rate of the #2 song on iTunes (and still rising), leading to the possibility of a top five debut on the Hot 100, depending on how streaming and radio airplay shape up.

What I’m watching: 1) Will “Dangerous Woman” or “No” ultimately be the bigger hit? 2) Just how much early radio airplay will “Dangerous Woman” ultimately get? 3) Will Who Is Fancy‘s “Boys Like You,” which features BOTH Ariana AND Meghan Trainor, be this year’s Song of the Summer once they start promoting it to radio?

Kelly Clarkson‘s “Piece by Piece,” after debuting at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 after an emotional performance on the final season of American Idol, is starting to take off during a second run at radio. The track pulled in 8.149 million audience impressions from Adult Pop and Adult Contemporary radio stations during the running week (+418,000 today), as it nears Pop radio’s top 40. Second week sales are dropping about 50% to 98,000 for the week ending 3/10.

Adam Lambert Speaking of American Idol, the greatest-earning alumnus of 2015 will be performing next week for “a very special final performance.” “Ghost Town,” the lead single from Adam’s latest album, The Original High, actually has more Youtube views than the lead singles from the latest albums of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and on Spotify it has done even better, at 118 million streams. Adam Lambert is in the middle of his The Original High Tour.

What I’m Watching: Is Adam about to unveil title track “The Original High” as the set’s next single (as I have argued he should)? If so, will it go over a fraction as well as just did Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece By Piece?”

Sia‘s “Cheap Thrills” debuts on Pop radio today with 1.463 million running weekly audience impressions. Week over week (US) sales are steady at 7,000/week, as are Spotify streams at about 416,000/day. The lyric video continues to post steady gains.

Rihanna reaches a new peak of #3 on radio with “Work” (145.73 million running weekly audience impressions, +1.858 million today). With substantial leads, at 181.358 million and 201.788 million, respectively, it is unclear that Rihanna’s song will maintain sufficient steam to continue rising past Twenty One Pilot’s “Stressed Out” or Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” It depends on how high Rihanna’s song is going to rise before peaking, and on how fast the former two songs fall.

Rihanna concurrently extends a record stay of non-American artists atop the Hot 100 (Rihanna is from Barbados; featured artist, Drake, is from Canada).

Work“‘s music video crosses 100 million views today, after just over two weeks, as it continues to pull in over 4 million views/day.

Selena Gomez‘s “Hands to Myself” slides #11 to #15 on the Hot 100 this week, with an overall points decline featuring a 6% sales slide from 41,000 to 38,000, despite continued steady gains at radio. The song rises #10 – #9 this week with 98.385 million running weekly audience impressions (+1.056 million today). It is also expected to overtake two more songs within about one week, if current trends hold. It seems doubtful, however, that “Hands to Myself” will continue rising long enough to match the #3 and #4 radio peaks of earlier Revival singles “Same Old Love” and “Good for You,” respectively. I forecast a peak of either #6 or #7 for “Hands to Myself,” with the edge to #7.

Lady Gaga‘s “Til It Happens to You” has finally debuted at #95 on the Hot 100, based largely on the strength of a sales bump after her emotional Oscars performance. “Til It Happens to You” sold about 26,000 copies after peaking at #8 on iTunes (higher than Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall,” which won the award for which “Til It Happens to You” was nominated).

Taylor Swift‘s “New Romantics” appears to be slowing down WAY EARLY, before even reaching the top 40 on radio songs. Basically all of Taylor Swift’s singles peaked with 170+ million audience impressions until “Out of the Woods” peaked early at #18 with only 68.848 million audience impressions, never even passing immediately preceding single “Wildest Dreams.”

“New Romantics” has only 36.144 million audience impressions at #62, and it’s daily gain has already dropped below 1 million. In fact, “Wildest Dreams” (now two singles ago) is still getting almost 70 million audience impressions at #17 after peaking with just over 180 million.

Interestingly enough, “Style,” which is the only song prior to “Wildest Dreams” to have a lower radio peak, actually retains the highest continuing radio airplay of the album’s first four singles, by a good margin.

Current running weekly radio airplay of Taylor Swift 1989 singles:

  1. (5th, #5 Hot 100 peak) “Wildest Dreams,” #17, 68.098m, -572,000 today, peak: 180.290m.
  2. (7th, #71) “New Romantics,” #62, 36.577m, +778,000 today, peak: 36.577m.
  3. (3rd, #7) “Style,” #86, 25.567m, +47,000 today, peak: 178.862m.
  4. (2nd, #1) “Blank Space,” #104, 20.181m, +98,000 today, peak 198.131m.
  5. (1st, #1) “Shake It Off,”#109, 17.950m, -195,000 today, peak: 195.501m.
  6. (4th, #1) “Bad Blood,” #125, 14.879m, +56,000 today, peak: 195.179m.
  7. (6th, #18*) “Out of the Woods,” #297, 5.305m, -284,000 today, peak: 68.848m.

*”Out of the Woods” peaked at #18 based on sales when it was released as a promotional single prior to the release of 1989. It never surpassed this rank when it was released as a radio single.

What I’m Watching: What happens when TS releases a music video for “New Romantics?” Does she even bother?

 

Weekly Recap: Madonna’s Touring $Ms and $Bs; Kelly Clarkson & Lady Gaga Sales Bounces

Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece by Piece” is approximately still #1 on iTunes one week after a touching American Idol performance. 

After you combine sales of the album version of the song with sales of the American Idol performance recording, “Piece by Piece” sales have just barely started to fall below those of Rihanna’s current #1 hit, “Work.” Kworb.net now projects 202,000 total sales for “Piece by Piece” over the tracking week ending March 3rd, 2016, compared to aggregate sales of 160,000 for “Work.”

With its massive radio airplay and streaming factored in, Rihanna’s “Work” will still easily retain the #1 position on the Hot 100, but don’t be surprised to see Kelly Clarkson in the top 5 when the new chart is revealed early next week.

In other news, “Piece by Piece” leaps onto the 50-song rolling Adult Pop radio airplay chart at #46 today with 286 weekly spins, representing 2.459 million audience impressions. After the strong reaction to her American Idol performance, it appears that Kelly’s label is once again promoting the song to radio. Watch for a debut on Pop songs too, plus a slow scaling of both charts over the coming weeks and months.

What I’m watching: Where is this song going to be in a month? How quickly does it gain radio airplay, and to what extent does radio airplay drive continued sales? Does this song get a little bit of token radio airplay, and then peter off once people get over her American Idol performance, or does it slowly build to a substantial radio hit? If this song does become a real radio hit, then what are the implications for Kelly Clarkson’s career, which until recently seemed to be fading?

Madonna Grosses $107.3M From Rebel Heart Tour & $1.24B for a 3rd place in all-time touring revenue, after only U2 ($1.6B) and The Rolling Stones ($1.8B). 

The other acts with $1B+ in touring revenue? Elton John $1.05B and Bon Jovi $1.03B.

Per Billboard, Madonna raked in another $19.3 million in touring revenue in January, bringing her Rebel Heart Tour total to $107.3 million. Suppose Madonna gets to pocket 30% of that total => her total cut is $32.19 million.

Suppose your name is Adele, and you sell more albums than any man has ever sold before: 8 million albums at $10.99/each => $87.92 million gross revenue. Suppose Adele gets 10% of that revenue => her total cut = $8.792 million.

This is why Madonna, whose songs are no longer played on the radio, and whose most recent album didn’t produce a single top 40 hit on the Hot 100, makes more money than Adele. Adele hasn’t been touring, and that is where the money is at.

Adele will, of course “remedy” that situation shortly.

What I’m watching: With two months of touring revenue still to be counted, could the Queen of Pop break $150M?

Lady Gaga Reaches Top 10 on iTunes

Kelly Clarkson isn’t the only one heating up iTunes sales. After an emotional Oscars performance surrounded by other survivors of sexual assault, Gaga saw the biggest iTunes sales bump, reaching #8 with her passion-project “Til it Happens to You” (featured on The Hunting Ground).

Gaga sold an estimated 27,000 copies during the tracking week, good for a debut somewhere in the bottom half of next week’s Hot 100, considering that it is paired with modest streaming and radio airplay.

Bottom line? Gaga has pulled off one more non-controversial and highly public performance, helping her worm her way back into the public’s good graces and maintaining a sky-high visibility. This places her in an extremely good position for her next album drop.

What I’m watching for: LG5, of course.

Trivia Question

Last Week: Lady Gaga has been drafted to sing at the Super Bowl and the Grammys. Last year, when Katy Perry performed the Super Bowl Half Time Show, she brought out a surprise guest. Do you remember who that guest was? Bonus point if you know the name and peak position on the Hot 100 of the only single she has since released.

Missy Elliott; “WTF;” #22 Hot 100 peak.

This Week: How much did Madonna’s MDNA Tour gross?

 

 

 

Weekly Recap: What Should Kesha Do Now? Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Adele, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, 20 Billion-View Youtube Videos, and Trivia Question

Kesha – Kesha was denied a preliminary injunction. That means that the judge isn’t going to give her relief until at least the end of the lawsuit. That means she can’t just go out and record music. To get an injunction, you have to prove that you would be 1) irreparably harmed without the injunction, and 2) that you will probably ultimately win the lawsuit. Kesha (and her lawyer) are going about this the wrong way. She should settle the lawsuit immediately and here is why:

What does Kesha want? Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she wants two things: 1) to not have to work under the shadow of Dr. Luke; and 2) to make a substantial amount of money off of her hit music. There is a way that she can do both.

1) Dr. Luke’s Shadow

Both Sony AND Dr. Luke have expressed an interest in setting up Kesha to record music without Dr. Luke’s direct involvement. Now, you might wonder if maybe she wouldn’t REALLY be free of Dr. Luke, that maybe he would still play mind games with her and try to use their contractual ties to screw with her. But, Kesha can negotiate a new contract with Dr. Luke and Sony as part of a settlement agreement. Kesha can agree that Dr. Luke still gets an exorbitant share of the direct proceeds from sales and streams of her songs, and that he would hold the copyright in the sound recordings and any mechanicals for her song-writing. Dr. Luke will be happy because he is still allowed to take Kesha to the cleaners. Meanwhile, Kesha can truly be free of Dr. Luke. All she has to do is send the royalty checks his way, and she would have no other contractual obligations.

And that, of course brings us to the big Q:

2) Money

How can Kesha make a substantial amount of money off of her music if Dr. Luke gets it all? Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Dr. Luke owns the copyrights in both the mechanicals (songwriting) AND actual sound recording for all of Kesha’s work, and that he is not contractually obligated to give her a dime from sales, streaming, radio airplay, or from licensing deals with ad companies and video game manufacturers (for example).

First, copyright law reserves 45% of the royalties for licensing of sound recordings for the ACTUAL ARTIST, regardless of whether the artist has assigned the copyright to someone else. This is applicable to things like streaming and radio royalties. So, that ensures Kesha a small minimum chunk of the pie.

Second, artists don’t actually make very much money from streaming and sales. They make their money from touring. This is how Adele, who is arguably the most successful artist since 2010 by actual album sales (but who didn’t go on tour), had a net worth of just $50m prior to the release of 25 (which has since climbed to about $75m), while artists like Lady Gaga and Madonna have been known to pull in more cash in a single year (like 2013, when the two made $80m and $125, respectively) while they are on tour.

Let’s put this in perspective: Thanks to a high-profile court case, we happen to know that “Blurred Lines” (the biggest hit of 2013) pulled in $16,675,690 in total direct profits, of which, $5,658,214 went to the primary artist, Robin Thicke. Another $5,153,457 went to Pharrell Williams, $707,774 went to T.I., and the rest went to various record companies. So, $11m (adjusted from 2013 dollars) is basically the ceiling amount that an artist can make from a single song.

From sales alone, a hit single that sells 3m copies at $1.29/each would likely net a recording artist about $400,000. A hit album that sells 1m copies at $10/each would net a recording artist about $1m. A similar chunk goes to the songwriters, who may be the same or different people. For every person who buys an album or a single, the artist recoups just $1 or $0.10, respectively (about 10%). Streaming is even less lucrative

Concert tickets can sell for $50 or $100, and artists are likely to pocket a much larger percentage of the proceeds (perhaps 30% or more). Madonna’s MDNA tour grossed $305m, which spurred the bulk of Madonna’s estimated $125m salary that year.

Suppose that Kesha gets back to work and records a few more albums to close out her concert. By creating hit singles now, she is generating a touring audience in the future. Some of the top touring acts of 2015 are bands that haven’t released new hits in years or even decades. The Eagles made $73.5m in 2014, for example. 

Conclusion: Kesha can still make tons of money off of touring, even if Dr. Luke gets everything else. She needs to get back in the studio to keep recording hits ASAP, if she wants to be a massive touring force in decades to come. Further, the judge is probably not going to ever grant relief. She should cut her losses, and negotiate the best deal that she can with Dr. Luke. Then, she should focus on getting through the rest of her contractual albums as quickly as she can.

BTW – Apparently Dr. Luke’s contract with Sony is about to expire. If people really believe he is an abusive rapist, maybe they should be pressuring Sony to #FreeDrLuke instead.

Kelly Clarkson – 15 years after giving birth to a storied music career, American Idol has once more given life to Kelly Clarkson. After bursting into tears while performing “Piece by Piece” on the show (presumably partly because the song is very personal to her, and partly because she is “very pregnant,” as she put it), Kelly Clarkson’s current single shot to the top of the iTunes chart. The video of her Idol performance has accumulated over 5 million views over the course of about a day.

This is all the more meaningful when you consider that “Piece by Piece,” the last single off of Kelly Clarkson’s least-commercially-successful album to date, never even charted on the Hot 100 during its initial run. Its music video only had about 2.8 million total views prior to the American Idol performance (it has added about another million views since). Compare the lead single, “Heartbeat Song,” which has 46,289,484 million views (after peaking at #21 on the Hot 100, and 2012 #1 hit “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” which has 183,766,707 views.

So, how many copies should we expect “Piece by Piece” to sell, and where should we expect to see it on the Hot 100? 

In the few hours of the tracking week that remained after the performance on Thursday, Clarkson sold about 9,000 copies of her song. That may not be enough for a debut near the bottom of the Hot 100. For comparison: Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” debuted at #82 in January based on 1.7 million streams and 30,000 sales (and negligible radio airplay); the same week, Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” debuted at #96 on the basis of minimal airplay and 15,000 sales.

Clarkson’s song is currently selling about 60% more copies/hour than the #2 song on iTunes (at peak, it was nearly double), Rihanna’s “Work,” which is itself in the middle of its Youtube bounce (from releasing a new video). Clarkson’s song is selling 2.5 times as many copies/hour as Flo Rida’s “My House,” which has maintained stable sales and was, until recently, the #1 song on iTunes. “My House” sold 126,000 copies in the tracking week ending 2/25. So, if Kelly’s song kept up its current pace all week (which it obviously won’t do), we would expect it to sell 315,000 copies (possibly enough for a #1 debut on the Hot 100). By that estimate, we should assume that Kelly has already sold approximately 90,000 copies over the course of 2/26 and 2/27. I expect her sales to fall to about 1/3 of their current level by the end of the tracking week, yielding a reasonable estimate of about 200,000 sales over the course of the week.

Prediction: 200,000 sales; top 5 debut on the Hot 100.

Since several other hits in the top 5 of the Hot 100 are selling around 100,000/week, their massive streaming and radio airplay make it difficult to predict where Kelly Clarkson’s song will end up between #s 2 and 5.

Taylor Swift – released a new single, “New Romantics,” literally days after I predicted the end of her single run. #fail

Luckily, I still have a pretty decent track record with predictions overall. Examples?

1) About 1 year ago, I predicted that the Presidential race would come down to Rubio v. Clinton. Clinton is very likely to win the democratic nomination (she just has to hold out past Super Tuesday– next Tuesday). Meanwhile Rubio is the second-most-likely Republican nominee.

On the other hand, #whichhillary is apparently now trending on twitter, and I wouldn’t put it past Trump to ruin everything just to spite me.

On the other other hand, Hillary is up 24.1% in RCP’s polling average in South Carolina. It is virtually inconceivable that Bernie could close that gap, short of a major sex scandal. Hah. A victory in South Carolina tomorrow precludes the twitter hashtag from blowing up enough to seriously damage Clinton prior to next Tuesday, when she is slated to win almost every state and pick up a veritable slew of delegates. Add that to the 434 delegate lead that she has already amassed (largely due to pledged superdelegates), and it becomes difficult to see a path for Sanders to stop Hillary from reaching the 2,383 needed to win the nomination.

2) While the stock market has had a rough half-year, starting with the whole China fiasco last August, my personal portfolio has managed a 3.6% overall return. [Aside: How does a law student have a stock portfolio? I reinvest my student loans until I need them. Wealthfront allows free computer-algorithm-based investing on up to $5000–or $10,000 if you sign up using my referral code, by following this short-link: http://wlth.fr/1Xfyole].

Rihanna – “Work” rises to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Rihanna her 14th leader on the list — passing Michael Jackson (not counting the Jackson 5’s 4 #1s) to have the 3rd most #1s of all time, after only the Beatles and Mariah Carey with 20 and 18 respectively.

NOTE: Elvis had several huge hits before the Hot 100’s inception. If we include #1s by groups that included a given artist, then Paul McCartney takes a clear lead with 29 total #1s.

Impressively, “Work” rose to #1 without the benefit of its music video, which was released this Monday. With continued strong radio airplay (#6 radio songs; 107.079m/week, +2.498m today), exploding sales (>174K, +>46%), and the streaming boom inherent in a new music video, Rihanna should solidify her position for a possibly lengthy stay atop the Hot 100. Note particularly that Rihanna’s US Spotify streams have actually increased since the release of her Youtube music video. They now stand at 1.723m/day, much higher than runner-up Zayn’s “Pillowtalk” at 1.050m/day, and more than double Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” which was #1 on last week’s Hot 100.

So what songs could challenge “Work?” #s 2-4 on the Hot 100 (“Love Yourself,” “Stressed Out,” and “Sorry“) are all near or past their peaks, so Rihanna’s strong lead should preclude them from being a threat. Flo Rida’s “My House,” G-Easy x Bebe Rexha’s “Me, Myself & I,” and Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” are all on the rise at #s 5, 8, and 11 respectively, but it is unclear that any of them will have sufficient momentum to make a serious challenge. As likely as not, the next #1 song is not even on our radar yet. “Work” might be in for the long haul. 

Adele – 25 has become one of the world’s 100 best-selling albums of all time as it closes in on 17 million. The biggest-selling album of all time is Michael Jackson’s Thriller with over 66 million. At #2 and #3 are Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and the Grease soundtrack with 42 million and 40 million respectively. Adele’s prior album, 21, has sold over 26 million copies worldwide, with 11 million of that in the United States. 25 has already sold 8.257 million copies in the United States.

Lady Gaga – With all of the positive press Gaga has received since late 2015, and with Youtube’s recent methodology change, the daily view-count for “Poker Face” has skyrocketed from just over 100,000/day in early 2015 to nearly 400,000/day in the months surrounding the turn of 2016. “Bad Romance” saw a similar increase over the same time frame, but started and ended a little higher.

By the way, when Gaga performs at the Oscars tomorrow, she will officially become the first person EVER to perform at 1) the Super Bowl, 2) the Oscars, and 3) the Grammys — all in the same calendar year.

Katy Perry – “Dark Horse” has now crossed the 1.3 BILLION view mark on Youtube. Along with “Roar,” it gives Katy Perry claim to 10% of the 20 videos that have passed the billion-view mark. Only Katy Perry and Taylor Swift have more than one video that has a billion views. However, Psy’s “Gentleman,” Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” each have over 850 million views.

Most-Viewed Youtube videos (in billions):

2.526 – “Gangnam Style” – Psy (NOTE: Another official music video for “Gangnam Style” has 0.624B additional views, for a total of 3.149B)

1.498 – “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

1.497 – “Blank Space” Taylor Swift

1.405 – “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

1.354 – “Shake it Off” – Taylor Swift

1.317 – “Baby” – Justin Bieber

1.309 – “Bailando” – Enrique Iglesias (NOTE: English version has an additional 0.175B views, for a total of 1.483B)

1.307 – “Dark Horse” – Katy Perry feat. Juicy J

1.283 – “All About That Base” – Meghan Trainor

1.277 – “Roar” – Katy Perry

1.242 – “Hello” – Adele

1.229 – “Wheels on the Bus” – LittleBabyBum

1.170 – “Lean On” – Major Lazer and DJ Snake feat. MO

1.166 – “Recipe for Disaster” Masha and the Bear (Russian version) (NOT A MUSIC VIDEO)

1.159 – “Chandelier” – Sia

1.158 – “Counting Stars” – OneRepublic

1.093 – “Sugar” – Maroon 5

1.038 – “Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO

1.029 – “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” – Shakira

1.026 – “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem feat. Rihanna

 

Trivia Question

Last Week’s Question: Last summer, Taylor Swift managed the rare feat of debuting at #1 on the Hot 100 with the fourth single off of her album. It was no accident. In fact, it was due to a series of carefully calibrated strategic moves on the part of Swift and/or her label. Name one part of Swift’s ingenious strategy, and explain how it helped.

  1. Adding a featured artist to allow fans to justify repurchase of the single after they had already bought the album.
  2. Releasing an epic music video and running a massive media hype machine in advance.
  3. NOT shooting down Katy Perry feud rumors… but not denying them either.

This Week: Lady Gaga has been drafted to sing at the Super Bowl and the Grammys, both within the next two weeks. Last year, when Katy Perry performed the Super Bowl Half Time Show, she brought out a surprise guest. Do you remember who that guest was?

Bonus point if you know the name and peak position on the Hot 100 of the only single she has since released.