“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

 

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Weekly Recap: The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots, Hot 100 #1 Battle, Justin Bieber, Haley Reinhart, Adam Lambert, Adele, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Rihanna

As Rebecca Black once “sang,” to all of our entertainment, IT’S FRIDAY. Because, I mean, yesterday I think it WAS Thursday. And tomorrow is Saturday. And Sunday comes… afterward… If I can keep my days straight, I believe that Monday is the next one, right? Or was it Tuesday? Oh the travails of very-early-onset Alzheimers.

Obviously, it’s time for a weekly recap of what to watch in the music industry.

10) The Weeknd

In the Night” appears to have peaked at #5 on radio songs, as it is now clearly shedding airplay. After taking home a 4th place trophy for pulling off 45 consecutive weeks of having a single in the top 10 of the Hot 100, the question was whether The Weeknd‘s “In the Night” could continue the trend with the buzz of its music video release. It missed the top 10, peaking at #12 (Youtube streams were pretty wimpy… relatively, of course), and the question became whether it could reach the top ten at all on the strength of gradually building airplay. Now that its airplay has peaked, that finally appears impossible.

Except… he has been nominated for six Grammys this year (including Record and Album of the year) and he is slated to perform. We should probably expect a pretty big Grammy bump, at least in terms of sales. Will it be enough to vault The Weeknd back into the top 10? Maybe… Probably. We’ll just have to wait and see.

9) Twenty One Pilots

“Stressed Out” is actually not that far behind Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” in terms of radio airplay, and it is now growing at a substantially faster pace. “Stressed Out” could reach #1 on the Hot 100.

What am I watching? Global Youtube streams for “Stressed Out” are only at 1 million/day. Compare that to “Love Yourself”‘s 4 million/day. In terms of actual US streams and from all services, “Love Yourself” has more like a 40% lead on “Stressed Out” (still seriously problematic, since streaming is the most heavily-weighted component of Billboard’s charts).

8) Drake v. Zayn Malik v. Rihanna v. Justin Bieber

There is literally a four-way battle brewing for the top of the next Hot 100. Drake, Zayn Malik, and Rihanna all released massive new singles; meanwhile, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” maintains massive streaming, and decent streaming as it nears the top slot on Radio Songs.

Estimated figures:

Drake – “Summer Sixteen” – 215K sales, 9.5m radio, 2m (?) (Drake’s song is only available for streaming via Apple, and it is not yet charting on any radio airplay charts; however, Billboard reported 3.4 million radio audience impressions in the first three days of the tracking week.)

Rihanna (feat. Drake) – “Work” – 163K sales, 48m radio, 10m streams (?) (Rihanna’s single is not available on YouTube or Spotify, and Tidal has not released streaming figures. However, Billboard reported 2.2 million first-day streams.).

Zayn – “Pillowtalk” – 250K sales, 14m radio, 17m streams

Bieber – “Love Yourself” – 105K sales, 140m radio, 15.8m streams

My bet? Zayn appears to have the edge with “Pillowtalk.” This guess is partly because the chart-formula was just rebalanced to give more weight towards sales, but leaving streaming as the biggest component.

7) Justin Bieber

Replaced himself atop the Hot 100. 5th week atop Artist 100.

 

6) Haley Reinhart

She’s reversing course on AC and finally starting to fall off with “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Slow growth on HAC, where she has now reached #34.

5) Adam Lambert

Adam finally dropped off of Pop songs altogether, and he has seemingly reversed course on HAC after peaking at #23. He is currently at #24 on the chart, with no daily spin gain or loss. Essentially, Adam’s single is done with its regular chart run. It is time to either A) pull a fabulous stunt and turn “Another Lonely Night” into the new official ballad of SINGLES AWARENESS DAY 2016; or B) start promoting “The Original High” so that it can have a legit chance to conquer the summer!

NOTE: Several years after Adam rooted for Haley on her season of American Idol, their paths are about to cross in terms of radio airplay. Adam is stalled/dropping from just over 4 million weekly audience impressions, while Haley’s song is just approaching the 4 million mark. Both artists are producing great music and proving that they will have staying power in the music industry (Adam was recently named the top-earning American Idol alum of 2015 with an estimated $10m income from various projects; Haley has now been the subject of multiple viral Youtube sensations over the course of 2015 and just made her TV debut as the voiceover of an animated young boy on the Netflix original, “F is For Family.”

4) Adele

“When We Were Young” is reversing track on radio airplay. It has basically stalled at #11. It needs a music video or Grammy performance with a little bit of Adele sparkle dust to give it a stimulus, or Adele needs to release a new single. Why? 25 sales are lagging behind projections. Basically, 25 is falling into Taylor Swift’s 1989 pattern, after spending its first five weeks steadily 3X 1989. I think we would all like to see Adele keep selling massive numbers of records and keep breaking records. So, WAKE UP, Adele. Snap your fingers and make the magic happen! ;P

3) Selena Gomez

VAULTS into Top 10 with new single “Hands to Myself” (with both the biggest gains in streams and digital sales for the week). “Hands to Myself” is the third single off of Revival, but Selena doesn’t seem to be slowing down. She previously reached #6 with two prior singles: “Come & Get It” and “The Heart Wants What it Wants” (and, including her work as Selena Gomez & the Scene, the Top 40 (none higher than #20) with 6 singles). With Revival, Selena has reached the ranks of #5-#7 with all three singles to-date, basically making her prior albums look amateurish. BTW, I’m digging the new music.

What am I watching? Will “Hands to Myself” hit the same radio peak as prior singles, or is it just popping into the top ten for a superficial visit? I’ve also noticed that “Hands to Myself” has a remarkable initial Youtube bump (topping 4 million/day for a few days), but that it has since fallen to (what appears to be a sustainable) 1m/day. It will be interesting to see whether it keeps deflating, and it will be interesting to see if the strong views are an indication of relative strength, or whether they are simply due to the steamy content.

2) Lady Gaga 

Gaga is about to set a new record: She will be the first person EVER, within a single calendar year, to sing at: 1) the Super Bowl; 2) the Grammys; and 3) the Oscars. Meanwhile, she just WON a Golden Globe for her performance as the star of American Horror Story: Hotel (to which she is presumably returning for another season), and she is NOMINATED for BOTH a Grammy AND an Oscar. To top it off, her passion project, “Til It Happens to You” (which is responsible for her Oscar and Grammy nominations) is legitimately scaling an airplay chart, as she rises 26-23 today on Adult Contemporary (the third-greatest gainer by spins).

What am I watching for? LG5. Gaga is reportedly planning on dropping an album this year. Gaga’s last (pop) album, 2013’s Artpop, was lampooned as a flop (relative to her prior albums), but it was still the 9th best-selling album of 2013, and its debut sales week (258,000) was comparable to those of contemporaneous albums by Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Katy Perry. Plus, Lady Gaga is hot right now. She feels confident. And, quite honestly, Lady Gaga can really throw a punch in the music industry when she is feeling it. I can feel a storm brewing, and I will be fascinated to see what Lady Gaga drops next.

1) Rihanna

One of the biggest stories on the internet right now is how Rihanna’s new album was just certified platinum (representing 1 million sales) after about 14 HOURS of sales (Tidal claims to have moved over 1.4 million units, with 484,833 of them actual sales); and yet Neilson Soundscan officially reported first-week sales of only 460 copies. It’s not ACTUALLY a mystery: 1) Samsung bought and gave away 1 million copies for free, which Billboard and Neilson didn’t count but RIAA did. 2) Tidal was apparently reporting worldwide sales. And, 3) the sales started on the last day of the tracking week.

But, then, the question is whether Rihanna’s album is a “success.” I can report unequivocally that this is probably Rihanna’s single MOST successful album (as ALBUM, not necessarily as compilation of singles) to date. 1) Despite an insane number of massive singles (she already has the same number of #1 hits as Michael Jackson) Rihanna has only moved more than 2 million units (in the USA) of ONE of her seven prior albums, and neither of her two most recent releases has sold more than about 1.2 million copies TOTAL (in the USA). Free giveaway or not, Rihanna basically just brought her album to a par level of distribution in 14 hours–that’s impressive. Tack on the fact that it is still actually going through a legitimate sales run (it is slated to easily top the Billboard 200 in its second week [first full week] with about 125,000 incontrovertible pure album sales, plus massive streams and sales of lead single, “Work”), and the massive success of lead single, “Work” (which already debuted at #9 on the Hot 100 after a fraction of a week, and should challenge for a spot at or near the top of the chart after its first full week of sales, airplay, and streaming are factored in).

What am I watching for? How many albums will Anti sell? How will sales hold up over time? Will Rihanna find success with other singles on the album, or will it go the way of Beyonce (pitiful singles sales after everyone already bought the album)? It has become clear that “Work” will be a legitimate Top 5 hit for Rihanna, but can it make it to #1, either now or later? It is radio’s greatest gainer today, so it might reach number one after a few weeks of strong radio growth, even if it doesn’t make it based on initial sales.

Trivia Question

Every week, the first reader to post a correct answer in the comments section will get a point. I will keep a running scoreboard and post the answers with the next week’s trivia question.

  1. Adele’s “Hello” recently set a record for being the only song to ever sell more then 1,000,000 DOWNLOADS in a single week. What song holds the record for the largest weekly singles tally OVERALL, including both digital AND physical single sales?

 

“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?”

“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

Gwen Stefani has a Hit

I hate to say “I told you so,” but… Who am I kidding? I LOVE saying that!

One month ago, on October 21st, I predicted after a single day of release that Gwen Stefani had a hit on her hands. At that point in time, I was looking at stronger than expected iTunes sales and YouTube streams (along with some gut instinct based on the song). I left a caveat, at the time, that more data would be needed to confirm a trajectory for Gwen’s single. Today, I announce that it has become clear in the data that Gwen Stefani does indeed have another hit on her hands.

Predicted peak on the Billboard Hot 100: #6-#22. Peak-to-date: #84.

Radio

The most important statistic is radio airplay over time. Gwen has experienced accelerating radio airplay over time, and her song is now the fifth fastest growing on U.S. radio. It is the fourth fastest-growing single on Pop radio, and the third fastest grower on Adult Pop.

“Used to Love You” leapt 14 positions on the big radio chart today #135-#121, with a weekly audience impression gain of 2.341 million audience impressions, for a total of 15.203 million audience impressions over the past week.

Sales

“Used to Love You” popped back onto the (100-position) U.S. iTunes chart in the past 24 hours, and currently sits at #84. The rapidly increasing radio airplay is starting to drive increased sales.

After its initial sales bump, “Used to Love You” had a weak start at radio and had been sloughing off sales like a snake shedding skin. For the week ending 11/12, it only sold about 11,000 copies. Expect sales to reverse course and accelerate starting this week.

Streaming

“Used to Love You” is not charting on Spotify yet. International YouTube streams are stable at around 100,000/day. At the rate of its increase at radio, however, expect both of these stats to change for the better in coming weeks.

Why is this song going to be a hit?

I think the #1 reason that Gwen is finding success with her comeback right now is because she is caught in a positive media spiral. The media is reporting on her new relationship with Blake Shelton, and her new single/music video came across as genuine. People may not want to see new music that sounds like Gwen Stefani circa 1998 or 2003, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in anything Gwen Stefani creates. She took an excellent approach by opening up her emotions and searching for something real. She stripped away the pomp and circumstance that typically accompanies a Gwen Stefani music video, and left the spotlight exactly where it should have been: on a pretty decent song.

The song itself has an aura of uniqueness, addressing an emotional issue in a way that is different from what we are used to. It doesn’t sound like some song from the 80s dusted off and pulled into a new setting of background music.

Finally, I just wouldn’t underestimate Gwen Stefani as a general rule. She is one of the rarified handful of artists that has managed to generate numerous hits over a substantial period of time (through the 1990s and the early 2000s). The primary reason she hasn’t had a hit since 2007 is that she hasn’t been releasing singles really since then. The fact that her last top 40 hit was a #2 hit implies that she dropped out of the music industry at HER peak, rather than at a time when she was already on a downward trajectory.

Should Gwen turn “Used to Love You” into a new series of legitimate hits in the coming years, then she will truly have reached rarified music industry air, because she will have been a real force in three separate decades. Very few artists remain capable of generating serious hits decades after they first make it big.

So, kudos to Gwen Stefani, and we’ll just have to keep staring at the numbers to ensure a solid prediction of her future performance.

Watch “Used to Love You” here, and take a peak at its (admittedly still weak) global iTunes chart positions below:

Used to Love You

Hollaback Girl

Baby Don’t Lie

iTunes:

Spark the Fire

iTunes: