Why Ariana Grande’s “Focus” is Dropping Like a Rock at Radio, Even as YouTube Streams Remain Impressive

Do you think “Focus” is, should be, or should have been a hit?

With just over 30 million weekly audience impressions (30.482m, -4.056 m), Ariana Grande’s “Focus” is the fastest-falling song in terms of overall audience impressions today, beating out Dan + Shay’s “Nothin’ Like You,” which shed 3.849 million audience impressions. In fact, it is the fastest-moving song altogether, as Justin Bieber’s current smash, “Sorry,” only gained 3.644 million audience impressions today.

Why is “Focus” falling so quickly? 

According to Mediabase Callout Research, pop audiences just don’t like the song. In the most recent survey, “Focus” was rated positively by only 43.5% of listeners, as compared to 38.4% who disliked it. Her net positive score of +5.1% was the worst of all songs surveyed (which included all 32 currently charting pop songs that had audience familiarity of at least 60%). In fact, every other song had a net positive score of at least +17%. Also, “Focus” was listed as a favorite by only 9.5% of listeners, also the worst showing.

So, if Ariana’s song is so terrible, then why is it weird that it is falling so fast?

1) Callout numbers are improving.

Interestingly, the callout figures are actually an improvement over earlier callout reports, in which Ariana’s net positive score was approximately +0%. Why would Ariana’s callout numbers be improving just as radio starts abandoning her song?

2) Ariana’s performance of “Focus” at the AMA’s was EXTREMELY well-received.

Exhibit A, B, C, D, E, F, G

3) The “Focus” music video is getting tons of streams.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 12.14.42 PM

If everyone hates this song and wants it to die, then why are 4 million people streaming it on YouTube ever day? This is a seriously impressive view-curve, competitive with recent massive hits by Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Drake, and The Weeknd.

Last summer’s smash “Problem,” which is arguably Ariana’s biggest hit to-date, was only getting about 2 million views/day at its peak, and it never went over 3 million views, even as it became one of the ten fastest-selling singles in digital history in its first week.

This song has been out long enough that if it were a complete flop, its YouTube views would be dropping by now. They should have fallen faster, and they shouldn’t be popping back up (except on Saturdays).

4) The song is perfectly structured to be a smash pop hit.

Yes, to some extent, I am expressing my subjective impression of the song. But, I am not alone. When this song was released, radio programmers across the country were dead certain that it was a hit. It was rocketing up the radio charts at a seriously fast pace. Only Adele’s “Hello” was rising faster (for a while). Then, when callout finally issued its first report, and it turned out audiences weren’t entirely thrilled by the song, its progression stopped dead, after rocketing halfway up the chart. Radio programmers were confused, so they did nothing. The song was an obvious hit, but it was disliked by a huge number of people. So, they left the song at current levels, and slowly decided to start dropping it off their playlists.

Listen to last summer’s “Problem,” and then listen to “Focus.” Then tell me exactly why one song is beloved by audiences, and the other passionately hated. You can’t. The only salient difference between them is that one came out in 2014, before Ariana Grande’s last album became a massive success.

5) The music video for “Focus” is seriously emaculate.

Exhibit A: Ariana, wearing freaking amazing contact lenses in “Focus!”

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.39.30 PM

Exhibit B: This is what she looks like when nobody is watching…

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Exhibit C: “Who me?”

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.41.16 PM

Exhibit D: Selfie time!

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.40.27 PM

Exhibit E: Sleek profile shot.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.35.12 PM

Exhibit F: You’re totes jelly of mah nails bi-otch.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.34.35 PM

Exhibit G: Test tube baby.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.35.58 PM

Exhibit H: Wink!

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.42.28 PM

Exhibit I: Just kicking it with mah tube friends (sisters?).

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.36.36 PM

Conclusion

Maybe the problem is simply a combination of simple and non-simple factors. Audiences loved “Problem,” because it was fresh and new. If it sounds like “Problem: Part 2,” then it is probably not going to excite people.

After a long string of hits from Ariana, radio programmers saw a song that preserved the best qualities of the biggest of the hits, and they immediately started putting it on heavy rotation. But audiences almost never love a song instantly. Audiences like songs that they know. That is why songs almost never debut in the top ten on radio songs. Even the biggest hits by the biggest artists in history take several weeks before they are allowed to reach #1 at radio. Radio programmers took a song that audiences were naturally inclined to be disenchanted with, and they committed the most grievous sin of all: they overplayed it too soon.

The song is still a solid one. The music video is captivating, and Ariana has a massive fan base. 40% of people can strongly dislike the song, and it will still get massive YouTube streams if 40% of people want to watch it on YouTube.

But, radio programmers thrive on not offending people. Radio doesn’t like risks. Radio programmers try to play music that is least objectionable, so that everyone can passively listen to it on their way to work. 40% dislike of a song is a big problem for radio, and that is why it is currently collapsing at such a rapid clip.

Do you think “Focus” is, should be, or should have been a hit?

— More —

The iTunes and Spotify Chart Positions of Every Ariana Grande Song in Every Country in the World 12/15/15 11:04AM Eastern. 

Focus

Santa Tell Me

One Last Time

Boys Like You

Break Free

Love Me Harder

Bang Bang

Problem

Almost Is Never Enough

Last Christmas

All My Love

E più ti penso

The Way

iTunes:


Baby I

Santa Baby

My Everything

iTunes:

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“Ghost Town” Crosses 100 Million Views on Spotify

On October 11th, I argued that “Ghost Town” was a legitimate hit. I compared global sales, streams, and airplay to Taylor Swift’s undeniable smash “Bad Blood,” and, while it was clear that “Bad Blood” was a bigger hit, it was also clear that “Ghost Town” had legitimately achieved a substantial degree of international success. In short, I argued that Adam Lambert’s latest single is competitive with the releases of current major pop stars, and that it should therefore be given some of the credit that Adam’s fans have long craved.

Now, “Ghost Town” has amassed over 100 million Spotify streams worldwide. 100,939,106 streams to be exact.

Spotify numbers in perspective: 

  1. The most streamed track on Spotify in 2015 was Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” with 567,796,039 streams, as of this writing (12/10/15).
  2. Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” is unfortunately not available for comparison, since Taylor Swift’s catalogue is not available on Spotify.
  3. Adele’s record-shattering lead single “Hello” — which became the first song to sell over 1 million copies in 1 week six weeks ago — has been streamed 238,381,009 times on Spotify.
  4. Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband,” which was released in March (one month before “Ghost Town” was released in April) peaked at #14 on the US Hot 100 and #20 on the UK Singles Chart (“Ghost Town” peaked at #64 in the US and #71 in the UK) has a remarkably narrow margin of victory over “Ghost Town” in terms of global Spotify streams at 112,559,696.
  5. Meghan Trainor’s followup, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” which was released in June, and which is currently at #8 on the US Hot 100 (in other words, a current, huge hit from one of the biggest names in the US music scene right now) has only been streamed 83,326,552 times.
  6. Adam Lambert’s only top ten hit on the Hot 100, “Whataya Want From Me,” which was released in the afterglow of American Idol, has only been streamed 27,580,387 times globally on Spotify.
  7. Demi Lovato’s current singles, “Cool for the Summer,” and “Confident,” which have peaked at #s 11 and 21 (so far) on the US Hot 100, have been streamed 117,598,617 and 49,799,836 times, respectively.
  8. Selena Gomez’s current singles “Good for You,” and “Same Old Love,” which have reached #s 5 and 10 on the US Hot 100 (so far), have been streamed 207,819,818 and 89,110,709 times on Spotify respectively.
  9. Drake’s much hyped US Hot 100 #2 hit, “Hotline Bling,” has been streamed 229,772,237 times globally.
  10. Fallout Boy’s “Uma Thurman,” which peaked at #22 in the US, has been streamed 62,360,888 times on Spotify.

 

Refresher on Some Other “Ghost Town” Stats:

  1. “Ghost Town” has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
  2. “Ghost Town” has been streamed over 47 million times on YouTube. It is still getting about 200,000 streams/day, only down 33% from its radio peak of about 300,000 streams/day.
  3. “Ghost Town” peaked at #17 on Adult Pop on US radio.
  4. “Ghost Town” peaked at #20 on US Pop Songs (radio airplay).
  5. “Ghost Town” remains at #84 on the Global Shazam Chart, having been shazammed 3,823,041. Adele’s “Hello,” at #1 on the chart, has only been shazammed 3,769,055 times. The all-time record is held by Avicii’s “Wake me Up” with 20,921,403 shazams. 118 songs have earned the 5 million shazams requisite for entry into the Shazam Hall of Fame.
  6. “Ghost Town” peaked at #s 11 and 2 in the 1st world markets of Germany and Australia, respectively.
  7. “Ghost Town” is still charting on the iTunes charts of 29 countries, approximately 8 months after its release, and long after it fell off of the US iTunes chart. Its highest rank is currently in Kyrgyzstan, where it ranks at #3. Notably, it still ranks at #22 in Poland and #72 in Germany.
  8. Notably, while Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” only ranks higher than #27 in one country (#18 in Peru), “Ghost Town” continues to post such numbers in 5 countries. “Bad Blood” is ranked above #60 in 6 countries; “Ghost Town” in 9. “Bad Blood” ranks in the top 100 in 12 countries; “Ghost Town” in 15.
  9. In fact, Taylor Swift’s current single “Wildest Dreams,” is only charting in the top 5 on the iTunes charts of Namibia and the Cayman Islands. Its highest rank in a first-world country is #22 in Denmark. It is only charting at #137 in Germany–lower than “Ghost Town.” It’s not even charting at all in Poland.
  10. “Ghost Town” became a Top 5 hit in Russia, in the midst of all of the debates about whether its okay to criminalize homosexual advocacy, etc. It is still charting on Russian iTunes at #139.

The Takeaway

Adam Lambert’s current songs perform better on Spotify than on YouTube. This trend is not representative of all artists (Adele’s “Hello,” for example, has about 33% more streams on YouTube than on Spotify), and it would be interesting in future articles to delve into the significance of which artists have better YouTube v. Spotify performance.

Also, Adam Lambert is maintaining a critical level of presence in the music industry such that he is likely to be a permanent presence at least. He isn’t fading away, in the manner of numerous American Idol alumni before him. He can tour and fill chairs. He will have plenty of money to buy $2000 shoes (since most artist money in the modern music industry comes from touring). And, he will always retain the potential to break out into mainstream US success if he sings the right song.

— More — 

How is followup single, “Another Lonely Night,” doing so far?

It has peaked at #29 on Adult Pop so far, as it continues to post modest weekly gains. Unofficially (since Billboard only publishes the top 40), it has reached #49 on Pop Songs after almost one month of radio promotion.

“Another Lonely Night” may be getting a slow start at US radio, but (granted, with an early release) it took off like a rocket in Poland, where it has already pushed into the Top 5. However, it doesn’t seem to have had much of a global impact yet otherwise. It may be that other countries will pick up on the song after it slowly builds support on US radio. Or, it could be that other country’s lack of support for the song is a significant indicator of its fundamental weakness (which would translate into weak future performance in the US). After all, “Ghost Town” was in a substantially stronger position at this time in May.

I personally have long felt that “Another Lonely Night” was a stronger single choice than “Ghost Town,” but my perspective could be wrong. Only time will tell. For now, the early numbers from “Another Lonely Night” are less than stunning. On the other hand, numbers from “Ghost Town” look pretty good in perspective. Additionally, I would point out that pop radio stations don’t yet have access to callout media research on audience reactions to “Another Lonely Night.” When Ariana Grande’s “Focus” came out, it was immediately embraced by radio, and it skyrocketed up the charts. Then, when the first callout reports (in which it had amassed a critical ratio of audience familiarity) came out, it turned out that 40% of people disliked the song–slightly more than the number of people who liked it. Almost immediately, spins went from skyrocketing to stagnant, and then they slowly started dropping off, after the song had already ascended to #13 on pop radio and #23 overall. So, it is entirely possible that “Another Lonely Night” will ultimately be well-received by pop listeners after it slowly ascends to a critical mass of familiarity.

Do you think “Another Lonely Night” will have a breakout moment? Do you think it is a stronger single than was “Ghost Town?”

Adele Beat NSYNC’s One-Week Record in Less than Half a Week

Update: With just over one day of tracking remaining, sales are over 3 million. Hits Daily Double is now projecting 3.5 million sales. I don’t know how they arrive at that number, but my guess is that it has something to do with Black Friday, a divergence in Billboard and Hits methodology, and physical retailers possibly under-reporting current sales. Either way, I think 3.2m+ is a safe bet.  

Update: With just over two days of tracking week remaining, sales are at 2.8 million. Billboard has finally increased its estimate to 3 million for the week. It is clearly going to sell at least 3.1 million, possibly even 3.2 million or 3.3 million, given that it sold 500,000 copies in the past two days. Billboard purposively underestimates sales so that it can generate more traffic to easy stories when Adele “outperforms” expectations. 

Update: Billboard has now confirmed that Adele’s 25 broke NSYNC’s record with 2.433 million copies in just over three days of sales. Billboard is predicting 2.9 million total sales for the week; I think the total will be well over 3 million.

Update: HitsDailyDouble projects 5.05 million copies sold by December 31st, for a whopping 45% of all 2015 album sales (that is triple the 15% that NSYNC ended up with in 2000, when they made the 2.416 million weekly sales record). 

In the year 2000, at the height of the CD and boy band fever and before piracy and streaming, 88 albums sold more than one million copies, and six accomplished the feat in a single week. It was then that NSYNC set a record that no other artist since has come close to touching–No Strings Attached sold 2.415 million copies in a single week. The runner up, in fact, was another NSYNC album that sold 1.880 million copies the next year. Although 20 albums have sold more than 1 million copies in a single week since the beginning of Soundscan sales tracking in the early 1990s, a Backstreet Boys album and Britney Spears’ Oops I Did it Again are the only others to have sold more than 1.3 million in a tracking week.

Now, three of the past four albums to sell one million copies in a week have been by artists named Taylor Swift (the fourth was Lady Gaga’s Born This Way in 2011, which was famously discounted in the Amazon store for $1 during its debut week, accounting for perhaps 400,000 of its 1.1 million sales total). Taylor Swift is the only artist to ever sell more than one million copies in a week with three separate albums, and it was once thought that she might be the last artist to ever do so.

Then Adele happened. 

Here is a list of albums selling more than one million copies in a week: Artist; Title; Sales; Sales Week Ending

Adele; 25; TBD*; Nov. 26, 2015 (*sales for debut week to be determined; estimates between 2.9 and 3.4 million)
Taylor Swift; 1989; 1,287,000; Nov. 2, 2014
Taylor Swift; Red; 1,208,000; Oct. 28, 2012
Lady Gaga; Born This Way; 1,108,000; May 29, 2011
Taylor Swift; Speak Now; 1,047,000; Oct. 31, 2010
Lil Wayne; Tha Carter III; 1,006,000; June 15, 2008
50 Cent; The Massacre; 1,141,000; March 6, 2005
Usher; Confessions; 1,096,000; March 28, 2004
Norah Jones; Feels Like Home; 1,022,000; Feb. 15, 2004
Eminem; The Eminem Show; 1,322,000; June 2, 2002
NSYNC; Celebrity; 1,879,955; July 29, 2001
The Beatles; 1; 1,259,000; Dec. 24, 2000
Backstreet Boys; Black & Blue; 1,591,000; Nov. 26, 2000
Limp Bizkit; Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water; 1,055,000; Oct. 22, 2000
Eminem; The Marshall Mathers LP; 1,760,049; May 28, 2000
Britney Spears; Oops!…I Did It Again; 1,319,000; May 21, 2000
NSYNC; No Strings Attached; 2,415,859; March 26, 2000
Backstreet Boys; Millennium; 1,134,000; May 23, 1999
Garth Brooks; Double Live; 1,085,000; Nov. 22, 1998
Whitney Houston/Soundtrack; The Bodyguard; 1,061,000; Jan. 3, 1993

And here is a list of some huge artists that have released huge albums in recent years that have NOT sold one million copies in a week:

Katy Perry (Prism only sold 286,000 in its first week, and that is KP’s best figure to date, following Teenage Dream, which matched MJ’s Bad record of 5 #1 singles off a single album).
Miley Cyrus (Bangers sold 270,000 copies first-week)
Nicki Minaj (The Pinkprint sold 198,000 in pure album sales, first-week)
Lady Gaga (I know people are calling Artpop a flop, with only 258,000 copies first-week, but it was still one of the ten best-selling albums of 2013. Cheek-to-Cheek (with Tony Bennet) debuted at #1 with about 130,000 first-week sales)
One Direction (Their biggest opening weeks have been around 400,000)
Justin Bieber (With all of the hubbub surrounding the Bieber v. One Direction album battle last week, Justin Bieber more than doubled initial sales forecasts by selling over 600,000 copies of his album–IF you count album-equivalent track sales and streams. If you don’t, then it sold 522,000 copies first week)
Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience came close to a million with 968,000 when it was released on March 15th, 2013, but no cigar)
Eminem (The Marshal Mathers EP 2 sold over 700,000 in 2013)
Beyonce (Remember the surprise album drop right before Christmas? It didn’t quite sell 1 million in a week, even if you ignore the fact that it was released in the middle of a tracking week.).
Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp a Butterfly 324,000)
Drake (If You’re Reading this, It’s too Late 495,000 pure album sales)
Dr. Dre (Compton 295,000)
Sam Smith (In the Lonely Hour has been a slow burn, without selling a ton in any given week. 166,000)
Maroon 5 (V 165,000)
Ed Sheeran (210,000 — also a slow burn driven by singles)
Various Artists (Fifty Shades of Grey 258,000)
Meghan Trainor (Title 238,000 — slow burn driven by singles)
Fall Out Boy (American Beauty/American Psycho 218,000)
Josh Groban (Stages about 500,000 copies all year; 180,000 in its first week if you count album equivalent streams and track sales)
Various Artists (Furious 7 Soundtrack)
Susan Boyle (I Dreamed a Dream sold 701,000 copies in its debut week in 2009. That was the biggest debut frame of the year, and the album was the second-biggest seller of the year with 3.1 million, after Taylor Swift’s Fearless (3.2 million). The album impressively continued to sell over 500,000 copies/week until after Christmas.)

Adele’s 25 is Blowing Past Sky-High Expectations

Update 11/23/15 – 25 sold 2.3 million copies in its first three days. Billboard’s new estimate: 2.9 million. I still expect over 3.3 million. 

Update 11/23/15 – 25 sold 1.902 million copies in its first two days, including 1.18 million digital copies and 722,000 physical copies. Thus, it is already the best-selling album of the year. Taylor Swift’s 1989 comes in second with 1.7 million.

There was a time not too long ago when the music industry questioned whether anyone not named Taylor Swift would ever sell a million copies of an album in a single week again. Taylor herself had accomplished the feat three times (in a row), more than any other artist in the SoundScan era. In fact, when 1989 was released last year, it was the first album to sell 1 million in a week since Taylor Swift’s 2012 album, Red.

Then Adele happened. 

After nearly doubling the previous sales record for a digital single with the debut of “Hello,” Adele went on to even more completely destroy the digital pre-order record (which was around 200,000) with about 550,000 preorders (200,000 in the first three days!). By that time, it was clear that Adele would indeed sell 1 million copies of 25 in its first week. The question turned to whether Adele could sell 2 million. Fairly early on, I predicted that 25 would sell at least 2 million copies, and I even posited that it would not be at all inconceivable that the album might sell more than 3 million in its first week. Billboard and other industry insiders were more conservative, with early estimates ranging from 1.3 million to 1.8 million. Billboard’s estimate rose to 2-2.5 million just before release. Now, the estimate has shifted up to 2.5-3 million copies.

But Billboard’s estimate is still conservative. 

Billboard’s estimate is based on first-day iTunes sales of 900,000 copies. That presumably includes about 450,000 preorders and 450,000 new orders of the album. Billboard has previously estimated that 25 sold 100,000 non-iTunes preorders, so, if we assume that it also sold 100,000 non-iTunes, non-preorder downloads, then 25 sold approximately 1.1 million digital copies in its first day.

When Billboard and Adele’s label predicted 2.5 million total sales, they were assuming 1 million digital downloads and 1.5 million physical sales. But, if the album has already sold 1.1 million downloads just in its first day, then these estimates are way off.

We don’t yet have any sales data for physical copies of 25 that I am aware of, but if we keep assuming 1.5 million, then the album would sell 2.6 million over the week even without any additional digital sales. The album is going to keep selling digitally. In real terms, the album sold 550,000 copies in its first day. If we assume that it will sell twice that again over the following six days, then we should expect 2.2 million total digital sales. That implies 3.7 million total sales. But, if digital copies of 25 are flying off of digital shelves, then who is to say that physical copies aren’t also flying off of real shelves even faster than expected? Could 25 sell 2 million physical copies? 3.7 million copies were shipped, so there is definitely the potential for more than 1.5 million to be sold in the first week.

At this point, it is not inconceivable that Adele could sell more than 4 million copies of 25 in its first week. 

But, maybe 25 won’t sell another 1.1 million digital copies this week. Maybe it will only sell another 550,000 digitally. Maybe it really will only sell 1.5 million physical copies in its first week. That still leaves us expecting 3.15 million copies sold in the first week, well above Billboard’s current estimate, and well above the current 2.415 million record.

Conclusion

Adele’s album is going to sell a lot of copies. How many?

I am now predicting 3.4675 million.

Why? When I made my initial predictions, I extrapolated data from Taylor Swift’s 1989. I looked at pre-order data, first-week sales of the lead single, and total album sales for the immediately preceding album. Interestingly, total album sales for the immediately preceding album and pre-order data both predicted between 3.3 and 3.6 million first week copies, which is what it now looks like Adele will end up selling. The first-week sales of the first single predicted around 2.6 million copies. It looks like an outlier, and intuitively it seems that it would have less predictive value than the other two stats. Preorder data has an obvious correlation to first-week album sales, and the long-term success of the immediately preceding album has long been known to be one of the best predictors of the magnitude of the initial sales debut bump, since most buyers at that point are basing their decision to purchase on their preconceptions of the kind of music that they will get from the artist. So, I took the flat average of the two data-driven estimates, and noted that it looked eminently reasonable based on my current preconceptions of Adele’s current album sales, and adopted it.

The data don’t lie. They paint a picture of a portion of reality, and the only question is to what extent the portion that you can’t see correlates well with what you can see. I guess I should have put more trust in the data in the first place, then my initial estimate would have been even more accurate relative to Billboard’s than it already is. ;P

“Another Lonely Night” Accelerates at Hot AC

Adam Lambert’s latest single off of The Original High has been accelerating modestly on Hot AC/Adult Pop. In other words, the rate at which it is increasing in audience impressions and spins has itself been increasing. For Adam Lambert fans, this is good news, as it implies that the song will be a bigger hit sooner.

“Another Lonely Night” has risen at least one position each day on the 50-position Hot AC radio airplay chart since it debuted on 11/14/15, and it currently sits at #33, with 416 spins representing 1,376,000 audience impressions over the past week.

Over the past week, it is the 16th fastest-growing song on the HAC chart by spins. Over the day yesterday (Saturday) relative to the prior day (Friday), it was the 8th fastest-growing song by spins and the 10th fastest-growing by audience impressions.

Overall, “Another Lonely Night” rises from #601 to #584 (+17) on radio today. Since the day before its first appearance on the chart (9 days ago), its weekly audience impressions have increased from 895,000 to 1,376,000 (+481,000, or 53.74%), with most of that gain (262,000, or 54.47%) occurring in the past two days. In that same time frame, weekly spins have increased from 235 to 416 (+181, or 77.02%), with the weekly rate of change accelerating from 108 to 141 (+33, or +30.56%).

If the overall audience impressions still seem weak, its because they are. Keep in mind that this is a song that just debuted on its first airplay chart one week ago. Wait until it debuts on Pop (which it will reasonably soon, since it is getting a lot of adds), and give it a month to get established, and then the overall numbers should start to look competitive.

But, for now, we can look for patterns in the data that can be used to predict future performance.

Here is essentially all of the data we currently have on the radio performance of “Another Lonely Night.” This information is available and updated semi-regularly on the data page for “Another Lonely Night.”

Adult Pop (HAC)
11/13 Friday: #NA; 235 weekly spins; +108 week-over-week weekly spins; 895,000 weekly audience impressions.
11/14 Saturday: #50; 252 weekly spins (+17); +109 week-over-week weekly spins (+1); 903,000 weekly audience impressions (+8,000).
11/15 Sunday: #48 (+2); 275 weekly spins (+23); +113 week-over-week weekly spins (+4); 949,000 weekly audience impressions (+46,000).
11/16 Monday: #41 (+7); 297 weekly spins (+22); +119 week-over-week weekly spins (+6); 993,000 weekly audience impressions (+44,000).
11/17 Tuesday: #39 (+2); 314 weekly spins (+17); +121 week-over-week weekly spins (+2); 1,035,000 weekly audience impressions (+42,000).
11/18 Wednesday: #38 (+1); 328 weekly spins (+14); +117 week-over-week weekly spins (-4); 1,023,000 weekly audience impressions (-12,000).
11/19 Thursday: #37 (+1); 350 weekly spins (+22); +128 week-over-week weekly spins (+11); 1,066,000 weekly audience impressions (+43,000).

11/20 Friday: #35 (+2); 372 weekly spins (+22); +137 week-over-week weekly spins (+9); 1,114,000 weekly audience impressions (+48,000).
11/21 Saturday: #34 (+1); 389 weekly spins (+17); +137 week-over-week weekly spins (+0); 1,221,000 weekly audience impressions (+107,000).
11/22 Sunday: #33 (+1); 416 weekly spins (+27); +141 week-over-week weekly spins (+4); 1,376,000 weekly audience impressions (+155,000).

So what can we do with this data?

The easiest thing to do is to extrapolate future chart positions from the current week-over-week spin increase. If we simply assume that spins will continue to increase at their current rate of 141/week, then we can project future chart positions in coming Sundays of: 31 (557 spins), 30 (698 spins), 28 (839 spins), 25 (980 spins), 24 (1121 spins), and 23 (1262 spins).

But, the rate of increase of weekly spins has itself been increasing at a rate of 3 2/3 per day, or 25 2/3 per week. If we assume a constant rate of acceleration of 25 2/3 spins per week, then we can project future chart positions in coming Sundays of: 31 (582.67 spins, or +166.67), 29 (775 spins, or +192.33), 25 (993 spins, or +218), 24 (1226.67 spins, or +233.67), 22 (1486 spins, or +259.33), and 19 (1771 spins, or +285).

So, take from that what you will. It’s by no means inconceivable that Adam Lambert’s song could be a top 20 hit on HAC in 6 weeks, but neither is it guaranteed. The song could slow before then, or it could start picking up steam.

Right now, of course, we are only operating on nine days’ worth of data. Adam hasn’t been performing the song on a lot of television shows, and we don’t have any Callout survey data on song-popularity yet. As more data start to come in, we will be able to generate more firm predictions.

So what can we say?

We can definitively say that the song is not toast yet. There is no real probative evidence that suggests that the song won’t be a hit.

Personally, I always thought “Another Lonely Night” was one of if not the song on the album with the biggest hit potential. “Ghost Town” is a good song, but it sounds like something you would hear in the club or on certain specialized radio stations. It never sounded like a pop hit to me.

“Another Lonely Night” sounds EXACTLY like a pop hit. Honestly, I kindof suspect that Warner Bros. released “Ghost Town” first in order to break the ice. They wanted to put a song out there that would slowly build up radio airplay in a completely organic and non-controversial way, so that radio would get used to the idea that it is safe to play Adam Lambert. Then, they drop the next big thing out of the bag. It isn’t dead on entry because radio has already been warmed up for Adam Lambert. The song gets a critical mass of early spins, and it starts to take root in people’s minds. It does well because its a good song, and then it starts to generate mainstream attention and pull in heavy radio airplay.

Keep in mind that Max Martin and Shellback are responsible for more pop hits than practically anyone else in history. They were at the heart of Adam Lambert’s early success, and they were absent from his commercially unsuccessful second studio effort. Adam Lambert has the capacity to be a permanent force in the music industry. He has a core fanbase that rivals (and frequently bests) those of any female pop diva, on, for example, stacking online votes. His flamboyant sexuality is barely even an issue these days. Coupled with hitmakers like Max Martin and Shellback and firmly backed by a supportive label, there is no reason to think that Adam can’t achieve mainstream success, and if “Another Lonely Night” isn’t the song that is going to get him there, then I’m seriously misreading the music market.

But, it will be interesting to see if the data end up confirming my suspicions. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Another Lonely Night

Spotify:

Adele Could Break the 2.415m NSYNC Record

Dear Billboard,

I told you so.

Love,
Music Industry Sandbox

On November 4th, I ran a few numbers and concluded that Billboard’s estimate of Adele’s opening week sales for 25 (1.3 – 1.8 million) was too conservative. In fact, I predicted that 25 would sell over 2 million in its first week, and that it was not at all inconceivable that it could sell as high as 2.5 million, breaking NSYNC’s 2000 No Strings Attached record (2.415 million first-week sales).

I also noted Billboard’s tendency lately to underestimate the first-week sales of the biggest stars. Billboard correctly cites declining overall album sales. However, Billboard misses one important counter-trend that affects the biggest acts: the population of potential album-buyers is increasing even as the number of regular album-buyers decreases, and that trend creates extraordinary potential for those few superstar acts capable of galvanizing the population.

Here’s how my predictions stack up

Billboard Predictions as of November 4th

1.3 – 1.8 million first-week sales
(200,000 pre-orders in the first three days)

My Predictions as of November 4th

2 – 2.5 million first-week sales
550,000 total pre-orders

Billboard’s Current Projections

2.5 million total first-week sales
550,000 total pre-orders (450,000 from iTunes)

Actual Sales?

What do you think?

Continue reading Adele Could Break the 2.415m NSYNC Record

“Another Lonely Night” is Hot AC’s 2nd Most-Added Song

“Another Lonely Night,” the second single off of Adam Lambert’s The Original High, is finally starting to take off at radio. Yesterday, I reported that the song had reached the top fifty of Adult Pop. Today, I report that the song is the second most-added at the format for the past week, in terms of radio stations.

The song’s spin increase continued to accelerate today. 

Friday: 235 weekly spins; +108 week-over-week weekly spins; 895,000 weekly audience impressions.

Saturday: #50; 252 weekly spins (+17); +109 week-over-week weekly spins (+1); 903,000 weekly audience impressions (+8,000).

Sunday: #48 (+2); 275 weekly spins (+23); +113 week-over-week weekly spins (+4); 949,000 weekly audience impressions (+46,000).

Monday: #41 (+7); 297 weekly spins (+22); +119 week-over-week weekly spins (+6); 993,000 weekly audience impressions (+44,000).

Adam Lambert iTunes positions in every country in the world: 

Ghost Town

Another Lonely Night

Album: The Original High

Album: For Your Entertainment