“Perfect Illusion” Scores #1 Spin-Growth on US Radio Saturday

After reports surfaced earlier today supposedly confirming that Lady Gaga had been selected to perform at the Super Bowl next year turned out to be false, Little Monsters could use a little bit of good news.

ITunes sales f0r “Perfect Illusion” appeared to have largely stabilized while it was at #4 last weekend, but after about 1 week in the top ten, the song started dropping more quickly again. It currently sits at a dismal #51. This is a bad sign. Silver lining? Sia’s “The Greatest,” which for various reasons is clearly going to end up as another major hit and was only released a few days before “Perfect Illusion,” has shown a very similar dropoff curve, which indicates possible conformity with an unknown non-fatal structural trend.

However, the real good news comes from the radio numbers. Today marks the first day in which we can look at real week-over-week radio growth figures after the first day’s promotional airplay has dropped off the running tally. The trick is to watch growth figures stabilize into a predictable and consistent growth curve from which we can predict a song’s eventual peak.

The worst-case scenario would be essentially what happened to Britney Spears’  single “Make Me…” During its first week of release, it received excellent promotional first-day airplay and consistent and substantial radio airplay thereafter. But radio airplay at the end of the week was pretty much the same as at the beginning of the week, and after the promotional airplay dropped off, and the growth figures started to have a base level of airplay for comparison (the airplay total for the same day of the prior tracking week), it became clear that Britney’s single was barely growing in radio airplay at all. It never settled into a strong rate of radio airplay growth. It largely stagnated, and now, a month later, is well into a consistent decline curve.

The best case scenario is rapid day-over-day growth during the first week of release that lends itself to a still-impressive growth curve after the bump.

During the first week of airplay, I was concerned because “Perfect Illusion” did not appear to be exhibiting a clear pattern of day-over-day growth. At least, however, it did not appear to be losing ground.

So what are the numbers?

1.6M growth on overall US radio audience impressions (7th best). #73 (+8). +539 spins (1st best).

1.1M growth on US Pop radio audience impressions (6th best). #23 (+2). +299 spins (2nd best).

0.5M growth on US Adult Pop radio audience impressions (2nd best). #23 by spins (+0). +157 spins (1st best).

“Perfect Illusion” Update

“Perfect Illusion” was the 8th most-heard song overall on all of US radio during its first day of release, with 17 million Kworb-standard impressions. Radio impressions for subsequent days have been around 3.2M.

Primarily on the strength of first-day promotional airplay, “Perfect Illusion” debuted on the Pop Songs (Top 40) and HAC (Adult Pop Songs) weekly radio airplay charts for the tracking week ending Saturday, September 10th at #s 31 and 32 respectively.

NOTE: Sales and streaming are tracked on a Thursday – Thursday basis, and the two days of radio airplay were not alone enough to spark a debut on the Hot 100 for the tracking week that Billboard just reported on yesterday. This means that the initial promotional radio airplay spike will not count towards Gaga’s Hot 100 debut ranking. 

“Perfect Illusion” currently ranks at #4 on iTunes, and its sales decline appears to have slowed if not completely stabilized. Kworb.net currently estimates 95,000 first-week sales. Although not close to record-shattering, this is a robust figure that is consistent with the recent debuts of other big hits by major artists. It is comparable, for example, to the debut of Sia’s “The Greatest,” which is already clearly another huge hit. Of course, it is also comparable to the debut sales of Britney Spears’ “Make Me Ooh,” which subsequently stalled at radio.

“Perfect Illusion” currently ranks at #68 on the running weekly radio airplay chart. Given current trends, it should peak just inside the top 50 before its first-day promotional airplay drops off of the running tally.

On Spotify, “Perfect Illusion” was streamed 465,095 times in the United States on Monday, down from a peak of 594,798 on Friday, but up from a low of 422,776 on Sunday. It received 500,663 streams on Saturday. It is currently ranked at its low point of #30 on US Spotify. It debuted and peaked at #21. “Perfect Illusion” is currently at #32 on the Global Spotify chart with 1,432,210 streams on Monday.

By comparison, Sia’s “The Greatest” ranks at #11 on Global Spotify with 2,420,304 streams, and #15 on US Spotify with 613,759 streams. The #1 song on US and Global Spotify received 2,216,474 streams and 6,337,912 streams, respectively.

Gaga seems to have the strongest performance in Latin America and Mainland Europe. Here are the iTunes and Spotify positions for “Perfect Illusion” in every country in the world right now:

Perfect Illusion

 

“Perfect Illusion” scores solid 17 million first-day radio impressions

As expected, Lady Gaga’s new single has had a warm reception at pop and adult pop (HAC) radio during its first day of release, opening at #s 33 and 38, respectively, on the formats’ running weekly rankings.

Overall, Gaga’s new song was the #8 most-played song on US radio on Friday, largely based on the strength of promotional hourly airplay from iHeartRadio stations.

On iTunes, “Perfect Illusion” dropped to #2 on Saturday morning, in the face of continued strong sales for The Chainsmokers’ “Closer.” Both songs, however, maintain 2-1 sales leads over the #3 song, Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens.” As previously reported, Gaga’s new single is expected to debut at #2 on digital songs after its first full week of sales, with 100,000 to 150,000 copies sold.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Perfect Illusion” seems likely to debut in the top ten. It may crack the top 5, but is unlikely to contend for the #1 slot in the absence of intervention (i.e. music video drop, new scandal, television appearances, etc.).

Reviews of “Perfect Illusion” have been all over the board, with many commenters praising the song as one of Gaga’s best, but some were “unimpressed.” This review sums up the nuances of the contradictory positions particularly well.

One of the most-liked comments on “Perfect Illusion”‘s official audio on YouYube reads:

Perfect Illusion:
1st listen: What just happened…
2nd: I’ll give it a few more chances
10th: IT WASN’T LOOOVE
30th: Bitch take the grammy

Lady Gaga “Perfect Illusion” Early Sales/Chart Projections

I estimate that “Perfect Illusion” peaked with about 230,000 – 240,000 sales per week, or about 35,000 first-day sales. It has already started declining. I suspect it will decline to around 70,000 sales/week by the end of the first week, or 10,000 sales in its last day. This yields daily sales projections close to the following:

35,000
27,000
20,000
17,000
15,000
13,000
10,000

Total: 137,000 sales

+ 30M radio airplay
+ 8 million streams

Projection: Debut #4 – #12 on Hot 100
Prediction: Debut around #8 on Hot 100

I don’t currently have any actual US streaming or radio airplay numbers. The song may not officially officially impact HAC, AC, and Pop radio formats immediately; but the radio airplay tracking week doesn’t start until Sunday, so Gaga may have done that intentionally in order to stack first-day promotional radio airplay into the first tracking week.

It may be that when the song gets first-day promotional radio airplay, it will spur an immediate resurgence in sales and streams. This, along with possible promotion by Gaga (TV appearances, scandals, release of a music video) would modify our expectations.

As it is, the song looks likely to pull in 7-10 million WW first-day streams for the Youtube clip (not a music video yet) and a few million WW spotify streams. I expect Gaga’s streaming figures to be heavily tilted towards international audiences, and I expect a relatively sharp second and third day decline. WW Youtube views should stabilize around 2 million/day, given a strong reception at radio in the US and abroad, which I think is likely.

An abnormally large number of commenters one Gaga’s youtube video of the official audio for “Perfect Illusion” have noted that the song grew on them rapidly over repeat listens, occasionally causing a complete 180 degree turnaround from opinions of hatred and disappointment to adoration. This trend bodes well for the song’s long-term future at US radio, after a slow period during which the radio audience becomes gradually accustomed to it.

What do you think?

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?

 

 

 

Lady Gaga’s “Til it Happens to You” Climbs Back Onto the iTunes Chart

UPDATE: 2/29/2016 3:45PM – “Til It Happens to You” has reached #8 on iTunes, with 42.13% of the sales/unit time of the #1 song. Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On the Wall” lags behind at #14 with 32.75%. The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” meanwhile, is down at #35. This is major vindication for Gaga, who originally took on this song as a passion project, and who didn’t even promote it to radio as an ordinary pop single.

UPDATE: 2/29/2016 9:43AM – “Til It Happens to You” climbed to #13 during the night, passing “Writing’s on the Wall.” It may continue to climb a few more positions over the morning. It is still to early to early to say that it will hit the top 10, but I think the chances are pretty good.

Watch Lady Gaga’s stirring rendition of “Til it Happens to You” HERE. Or, watch the original music video HERE.

Lady Gaga delivered a forceful performance of her song, “Til it Happens to You” at the Oscars tonight, surrounded by other victims of sexual assault. The song is personal to Gaga; she had been victimized early in her career. Although the Oscar for Best Original Song went to Sam Smith for his James Bond theme, Gaga’s song made an impact. Just hours after the performance, it has already climbed to #35 on the iTunes chart (Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” is at #24). Since songs usually take at least 8 to 10 hours before peaking during a post-televised-performance sales bump, we could expect Gaga’s single to peak in or near the Top 10.

How many sales would that represent? Perhaps 20,000-30,000. While a song that stays at #10 through the tracking week currently sells around 50,000 copies, Gaga missed the first three days, and the sales bump will not hold through the end of the tracking week.

However, don’t be surprised if you see “Til it Happens to You” finally make a debut on the Hot 100.

“Til it Happens to You” is also charting at #15 on Adult Contemporary radio, representing about 538 weekly spins and 1.134 million weekly audience impressions. It is not charting on the US or global spotify charts.