“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

 

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 2/12: Grammys, The Weeknd, Adele, Rihanna, Adam Lambert, Jordan Smith, Selena Gomez, Who Is Fancy, Lady Gaga, Haley Reinhart, Taylor Swift, Twenty One Pilots, Ariana Grande, Coldplay, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Songs of the Summer 2016!

What I’m watching —

Grammys

This year’s Grammy awards are coming up Monday, February 15th at 5:00PM, right in the middle of a tracking week. The Grammys being the Grammys, they should spur large sales bumps for artists that perform or are nominated for (or win) awards. I am watching the numbers on two artists in particular: The Weeknd and Adele.

The Weeknd – After a string of massive hits, The Weeknd’s current single, “In the Night” just missed the top 10 on the Hot 100, peaking for two weeks at #12. However, the song is currently just starting to decline from peak radio airplay (#5 on radio songs; #3 on pop). It peaked with 135.352 million weekly audience impressions several days ago, and has fallen to 127.857 million weekly audience impressions as of yesterday. Given its continued strong radio airplay, The Weeknd will be in a strong position to leap into the top ten on the Hot 100 with its Grammy’s boost.

The Weeknd is currently selling about 20k copies/week of “In the Night.” It is getting about 2,586,206 weekly Spotify streams. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that it is getting 5 million total weekly streams (that Spotify streams make up about half of the total.

Since the Weeknd is both nominated for a lot of awards (Best Pop Solo Performance; Best R&B Performance; Best R&B Song; Best Urban Contemporary Album; Best Song Written for Visual Media; as well as two of the big three: Record of the Year; and Album of the Year) AND slated to perform “In the Night” at the Grammys, we should expect a fairly large sales boost for “In the Night.” I would be shocked if weekly sales didn’t AT LEAST double, and I would be unsurprised if they jumped up to the 80k-100k range.

Streams should see a smaller boost. I would expect a +50% boost to perhaps 7.5 million streams in the Grammys tracking week.

I would note that in past years, the first few hours after the Grammys (when a substantial chunk of the bump tends to occur) have been in a different tracking week from the rest of the week following the Grammys. With essentially the entire post-Grammys bump crammed into a single tracking week, we should expect to see a larger post-Grammys bump than in years past.

The takeaway: Don’t be surprised if The Weeknd adds a fifth US top 10 hit to his resume thanks to to the fortuitous timing of the Grammys.

Adele – Adele’s “When We Were Young” is also a strong bet to surge into the top ten following what is sure to be a stirring performance on the Grammys.

After she finally released the song to streaming services and released cover art, it started picking up steam again on radio (where it had stalled at #10). Adele added 1.406 million audience impressions per week today, for a current total of 92.749 million audience impressions over the past week, about half that of the #1 song (Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” which grew by 1.193 million weekly audience impressions today, for a total of 173.683 million over the past seven days). That is up from only 906,000 in weekly audience growth yesterday, and an actual 169,000 decline four days ago.

In sharp contrast to “Hello,” which is still raging away at 6 million global youtube views/day, “When We Were Young” has declined to under 500,000/day. “Hello” is at 1.15 billion total views; “When We Were Young” is only at 79 million. I mean, that’s almost embarrassing. This is Adele. ZAYN’s new video got that many views in two weeks. Now that Adele has released the song for streaming and single artwork, is she finally ready to drop a real music video for the song and sprinkle a little bit of that Adele dust to make it light up the charts?

If Adele were to drop a music video in connection with a stunning Grammys performance, then it would be difficult to see how she could avoid shooting into the top ten on the Hot 100. Even absent a new music video, however, it is entirely conceivable that “When We Were Young” could more than double its current weekly sales total of 40,000, and shoot into the top ten anyways. We’ll just have to sit tight and see what happens.

What else to watch for: How do Adele’s album sales hold up as “Hello” drops off radio charts? Does she keep releasing singles and promoting them with killer music videos? Do pure album sales stay over the 100,000/week mark for the 19 weeks that it would now take 25 to sell 10 million pure album sales? Does 25 ultimately end up selling as many or more copies than did 2121 sold another 10,766 pure album sales in the most recent tracking week. Is that going to be the norm over the coming year, or will its sales slide faster than those of 25? If they hold up like that, 21 would sell another half-million copies this year.

Performers:

  • Taylor Swift
  • Adele (performing her new single “When We Were Young)
  • The Weeknd
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, John Legend and Luke Bryan (Lionel Richie Tribute)
  • Little Big Town
  • Pitbull, Robin Thicke and Travis Barker
  • Justin Bieber, Diplo and Skrillex
  • Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood
  • Ellie Goulding and Andra Day
  • Lady Gaga (Tribute to David Bowi)
  • Tori Kelly and James Bay
  • Rihanna
  • Eagles, Bernie Leadon and Jackson Browne (Tribute to Glenn Frey)
  • Miguel and Greg Phillinganes
  • The Hollywood Vampires (Tribute to Lemmy of Motorhead)
  • Gary Clark Jr., Bonnie Raitt and Chris Stapleton (Tribute to B.B. King)
  • Alabama Shakes
  • The Cast of “Hamilton”

Presenters:

  • Common
  • Ice Cube and O’Shea Jackson Jr.
  • Anna Kendrick
  • Ryan Seacrest
  • James Corden
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Kaley Cuoco
  • Ariana Grande
  • Selena Gomez
  • Anna Kendrick
  • Seth MacFarlane
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Sam Smith

Other Stuff to Watch

Rihanna – “Work” is continuing to rage up radio charts (to #15 overall), up 1.877 million weekly audience impressions today to a total of 73.633 million over the past week. Still, that is a dropoff from the 3 million weekly audience impressions/week increase that was the norm over the second week of release.

Daily increase in weekly audience impressions for “Work” in reverse chronological order (dating back to the 9th day of release): 1.877m, 2.1m, 2.7m, 3.1m, 3.2m, 3.9m, 3.2m, 2.6m.

Driven by  a strong response at radio, “Work” is back to #2 on iTunes, with estimated sales of 99,000 for the week ending yesterday. That is behind only Flo Rida’s “My House” which sold about 127,000 copies. Strong sales and increasing radio airplay put Rihanna in a good position to remain in the top ten of the Hot 100 for the foreseeable future.

Will she make it to #1? Perhaps, but not this week. 160k sales were only sufficient to propel her to #7 last week, and her increasing radio airplay and streaming isn’t likely to make up for a 61k drop in sales. Perhaps she can squeeze into the #1 slot if she has a strong Grammys bump, or she can maintain strong enough sales as radio airplay builds in coming weeks to capitalize on the eventual decline of the current hits. Alternately, she might amass sufficient streaming if/when she debuts a music video for “Work” to propel it to #1.

REMEMBER: Streaming is currently the biggest of the three components (streaming, sales, and radio impressions) of Billboard’s Hot 100. 

Parent album Anti is less of a success story. After one million albums were given away, it managed to rise to #1 on the Billboard 200 (and Hot Album Sales) after one full week of sales (166,000 album equivalents including 124,000 pure album sales). This week, the album is set to drop to #4 and #7 on the Billboard 200 and Album Sales charts respectively, with 92,553 equivalent units including only 47,644 pure album sales. For comparison, Adele’s 25, which has already sold 8 million copies in the United States, is reported to have sold another 105,852 pure albums in its 12th tracking week (126,077 total equivalent units).

What to watch for: Does “Work” keep declining in radio audience impression growth, or does it stabilize and/or reverse course?

Adam Lambert – With a solo tour underway this Spring, Adam Lambert obviously has a lot on his plate. But, he has also planned a separate tour for this Summer as Queen + Adam Lambert. Add in an Oreo commercial and a presumptive appearance in some capacity on the final season of the show which gave birth to his star, and you aren’t looking at a slacker.

In other news: “Ghost Town” was recently certified gold in the United States, for shipments of 500,000 units (I have previously estimated a global total of easily 1 million units), Adam was named (by Forbes) the top-earning American Idol alum of 2015 ($10 million), he was invited to star in Fox’s remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His tour is really selling tickets. He also finally officially fessed up to having had his voice insured for $48 million. He has been nominated for the GLAAD award for Outstanding Music Artist (full list of nominees). Oh yeah, and he is currently in the lead to win, once more, the title of “Most Eligible Bachelor” from Out Magazine (feel free to increase his vote total here).

Ghost Town” (with 58,602,994) still has more than twice as many YouTube views as The Weeknd’s current hit, “In the Night,” (25,917,537) which, as mentioned above, is slated to smash into the top ten on Billboard (“Ghost Town” peaked at #64). “Ghost Town” also maintains a strong lead in terms of global spotify streams (113,861,560 v. 73,351,971). This is, of course, just one more sign that “Ghost Town” ultimately achieved a very legitimate degree of success on the international stage, despite its slow ascent and mediocre peak in the US.

It is also fascinating that both songs ultimately have many more Spotify streams than Youtube, counter to the ordinary trend. Adele, for example, has only 394,659,764 Spotify streams for “Hello,” despite having racked up well over 1 billion via Youtube.

With all of this success, what exactly is it that we should be watching for in Adam Lambert World? Well, since current single, “Another Lonely Night” has started dropping off radio airplay charts, it is time to start looking towards the next single. As I have previously argued in detail, “The Original High” is a clear choice for Adam’s next single, and his label should start promoting it to radio soon if they want to give it a real chance to take off during the summer. At the same time, they should wait to release the music video after the song has built up to a critical threshold of radio airplay, then they should drop a music video designed to reinvigorate the song’s chart-life just in time for the summer months. Adam should especially consider using the sold-out concerts of his tours as an effective advertising medium for his song while he has the chance. I personally LOVE “The Original High.” It is the heart of his album, and it would be a shame if it weren’t given a chance to be a smash.

 

Jordan Smith – has announced the debut of his first album March 18th. Jordan Smith recently won The Voice after becoming the first contestant to ever send a song to the iTunes top 10 every single week of the Live Rounds. In fact, he managed three times to hit #1, including stealing the honor with “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” of being the first person to unseat Adele’s “Hello” from the top spot during its initial run while it was still selling like hotcakes (it was selling around 400,000/week at the time that it was momentarily unseated by “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”). As opposed to now (60k/week, #8), when “Hello” is just selling like… luke-warm cakes…?

Lead track “Stand in the Light” is currently at #87 on iTunes and rising. Check out his past chart performance below:

Title Album details Peak chart positions Debut Week Sales
US Billboard 200 CAN
The Voice: Jordan Smith: The Complete Season 9 Collection 11 48 US: 48,000[23]
Title Year Peak Chart Positions Debut week Sales
US Billboard Hot 100 US Hot Christian Songs
Halo 2015 88
Great Is Thy Faithfulness 30 1
Hallelujah 61 1
Somebody to Love 21
Mary Did You Know 24 1
Climb Every Mountain 72
God Only Knows
(with Adam Levine)
90

Selena Gomez – “Hands To Myself” rises #33-#29 today on weekly radio audience impressions (57.476 million; +1.518 million). At its current rate of increase, it should reach the top 10 on radio songs within the next month. Sales are down 61k – 47k for the week ending 2/11. Daily Spotify streams are at 609,632 (#10 in the US).

What to watch: Is radio airplay increasing fast enough to continue driving sales, or will sales continue to deflate?

Who Is Fancy – “Boys Like You” (feat. Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande) is apparently being planned as this summer’s big breakout hit.

With two huge-name featured artist billings and a clear pop sound, it is not conceivable that this song is being promoted to radio without debuting on a single chart. The only logical explanation is that it is not being promoted yet. Why? Probably because the song has an obvious summer vibe. The labels want to break out a new star, and summer is the best time to do it.

More evidence? Both Meghan Trainor AND Ariana Grande had breakout moments in the summer. To be fair, Ariana Grande was already quite famous before “Problem” became the #2 song of Summer 2014, but that song is easily her biggest hit to date, and was the beginning of her current reign as a true A-list pop star. Meghan Trainor, of course, rode the tidal wave of her infectious hit “All About that Base” in 2015.

Other artists that have broken out with a massive summer smash?

2014 Iggy Azalea “Fancy” feat. Charli XCX

2014 MAGIC! “Rude

2013 Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines

2012 Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe

2012 Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know

2011 Adele “Rolling in the Deep

2008 Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl

Remember this in six months: I predicted this song would be a summer smash long before it ever debuted on an airplay chart.

Lady Gaga – After her extremely well-received Super Bowl performance, everybody is once again amazed  to discover that Gaga has pipes.

Her passion project, “Til It Happens to You,” after acquiring an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song and a Grammy nomination for Best Song Written for Visual Media, has finally officially debuted on a Billboard airplay chart (although it previously topped Dance Club Songs), and its music video now has over 25 million views. Gaga is also nominated for a Grammy and she just WON a Golden Globe (for her role as The Countess in American Horror Story).

By the way, in case you haven’t heard, by performing at 1) the Super Bowl, 2) the Grammys, and 3) the Oscars all in the same year, Gaga is setting a new record.

So, after all of the toned down performances over the past year that have shown off Gaga’s vocal chops, is that what we should expect from her album out later this year? I don’t think so. I think we should expect pure pop. We should expect Lady Gaga in all of her manipulative glory, fighting to stay relevant in the music industry by setting new trends. We should expect killer hooks and solid beats. We should expect a mix of styles and sounds, but carefully crafted together into a cohesive whole. Gaga has a long history of producing killer radio fodder, and we should expect her to do it again. She went wrong when she got stuck in her head. Now, she is back to the killer Gaga who tore her way to fame in 2008 simply by acting like somebody famous and pushing the media into a frenzy.

Haley Reinhart – She’s returning as a guest judge to American Idol and she is supposedly releasing a new album soon.

Taylor Swift – Current single, “Out of the Woods” is slipping at radio far earlier than any of the prior singles. Now that everyone has bought 1989, and now that the singles aren’t selling well no matter how much radio airplay they get, does TS continue releasing them and promoting them to radio? Or does she hold off until the next album, when there will be something for her to sell?

For most artists, it would be a no brainer — you keep releasing singles as long as they are still getting mass airplay, especially since she is planning on going on hiatus after this album. But, what does she have to gain from more radio airplay exposure? She keeps selling a few more singles and albums, but not that many. And, it isn’t like it is going to make the shows on her tour any more sold out, or the anticipation for her next album any more pronounced. Quite simple, Taylor has reached the ceiling. She is basically the second biggest pop star in the world, and she has virtually no room for further growth.

Twenty One Pilots – With “Stressed Out” (167.419 million weekly audience impressions; +1.427 million weekly audience impressions today) rising faster at radio than Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”(173.683 million weekly audience impressions; +1.193 million weekly audience impressions today), and with a fairly small gap between them to begin with (6.264 million), it is not inconceivable that “Stressed Out” should eventually take the radio crown from “Love Yourself.” With radio airplay driving sales and streams, it is only a short step to the overall crown on the Hot 100. At their current rates, “Stressed Out” would overtake “Love Yourself” in about 21 days, or 3 weeks. Will another song push in before “Stressed Out” has a chance to take the crown? Will Bieber fend off the challenger after all?

What to watch for? See if the gap between “Stressed Out” and “Love Yourself”‘s rate of increase at radio tends to widen or narrow over the coming days.

By the way, does Twenty One Pilots remind you of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis? Or am I just being racist against all white rappers?

Ariana Grande – When is the new album coming out? Is she scrapping stuff and reworking her album after “Focus” got a lukewarm welcome? Keep in mind that, radio flop or not, “Focus” is still easily Grande’s biggest Youtube hit to date in terms of daily views.

Also? Freaking amazing star eyes:

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 6.39.30 PM

I have to say, it was probably one of if not THE best-produced music videos of the year.

Coldplay – After a Super Bowl performance that was largely derided and overshadowed by the sideshows of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars, some people have been wondering whether Coldplay had the requisite stature and popularity to be chosen to headline the half-time show in the first place. As it turns out, Coldplay has more cred than I would have guessed. Coldplay has sold about 59 million albums worldwide (they are on their 7th release). Four of their past five albums have reached #1 on the Billboard 200; the last made a very respectable debut at #2 (195,000 pure album sales, 210,000 equivalent units) behind Adele’s third week of blockbuster 25 sales (695,000 in pure album sales; 728,000 album equivalents). For comparison, this upcoming week’s #1 album, Future’s EVOL, should only have about 139,106 equivalent units (108,403 pure album sales).

Oh. Oops.  I’m so sorry, Coldplay. It appears that up above, for the words “Super Bowl,” I accidentally linked to the most viewed Youtube video (12 million views) for this year’s super bowl half-time performance… you know… the one featuring “Bruno Mars & Beyonce ONLY.” Here is a link to the full half-time show (500,000 views), including Coldplay…

Back to stats: Coldplay has sold 18.2 million albums and 33.6 million single downloads in the United States. How many hit singles has Coldplay had in the United States?

#1s: 1

Top tens: 3

Top 20s: 7

Top 40s: 13

Top 100s: 21

Coldplay is a UK band. How much better do they perform “across the pond?”

#1s: 2

Top tens: 16

Top 20s: 18

Top 40s: 22

Top 100s: 30

So, Coldplay is more of an international artist than a US artist, but they still make a respectable showing here.

Compare Beyonce’s US hits:

#1s: 5 (+4 more with Destiny’s Child)

Top tens: 15 (+10)

Top 20s: 23 (+11)

Top 40s: 27 (+13)

Top 100s: 42 (+14)

And Bruno Mars’s US hits:

#1s: 6

Top tens: 12

Top 20s: 13

Top 40s: 15

Top 100s: 18

And Lady Gaga’s US hits:

#1s: 3

Top tens: 13

Top 20s: 15

Top 40s: 17

Top 100s: 21

It’s not hard to see how Coldplay was upstaged…

Still, A Head Full of Dreams makes a 300% leap to almost 100,000 album equivalent units, good for a #16-#3 projected jump on the Billboard 200. In terms of pure album sales, the leap is 389% (#12-#3; 89,819 pure albums).

Beyonce – She released a hot new track just as she showed up Coldplay at the Super Bowl. “Formation” already has 23 million views in 6 days, despite being available only to those with a direct link to the video. On radio, the track rises #133-#108 today with a 3.932 million weekly audience increase to 17.688 million.

What to watch for? So far, the song hasn’t debuted on Pop Songs or Adult Pop. If it stays largely confined to genre charts, then its ascent at radio will have a ceiling.

Michael Jackson – After Spike Lee released a documentary, and Beyoncé paid tribute in a well-received Super Bowl performance, the King of Pop’s songs saw a miniature sales resurgence, lead by “The Way You Make Me Feel,” which sold 3,000 copies in the last tracking week.

What to watch for: With singer, Miguel slated to pay tribute on Monday’s Grammys with a cover of “She’s Out of My Life,” I for one will be watching the sales bounce.

TRIVIA QUESTION

Answer to last week’s question: Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind/Something About the Way You Look Tonight” sold 3,446,000 physical copies in its first week in 1997. It also sold 1,212,000 in its second week. Those are the only two sales frames in which a physical single sold more than 1 million copies in a week. Adele’s first week with “Hello” (1.1 million) is the only sales frame in which a digital single has sold more than 1 million copies. The previous record-holder on the digital side? Flo Rida’s “Right Round” sold 636,000 in a week in 2009.

This week’s question: What artist has had the largest CONSECUTIVE run at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 over the past two years (including on different songs)?

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?

 

Adam Lambert Should Start Promoting “The Original High” to Radio in February

Thesis: Adam Lambert’s next single off of The Original High should be “The Original High,” Adam should start promoting the song to pop radio in late February, and should release a clever, catchy music video approximately two months later, in late April.

First of all, let’s all take a moment to bask in the glory of Adam’s first ever gold-certified single in the United States, representing sales (and streaming equivalents after May 2013) of 500,000: “Ghost Town.” What what?

Aside: How is “Ghost Town” the first certified single? Didn’t “Whataya Want From Me,” which was a #10 hit on the overall Hot 100 (“Ghost Town” peaked at #64) sell more copies? The answer is: YES. “Whataya Want From Me” has sold at least 2 million copies in the United States, according to Billboard. Theoretically, then, “Whataya Want From Me” should have double-platinum certification. I have no idea why RCAA has been sitting on its hands. 

Current Status of “Another Lonely Night” 

Adam Lambert’s followup single, “Another Lonely Night,” has had a more meager performance, both in the United States and globally. It peaked on US pop songs at #43, with just under 3 million weekly audience impressions. It has fallen to #49 with 1.299 million weekly audience impressions over the 7 days ending Saturday, January 23rd. On Hot Adult Contemporary (Adult Pop), the song has had stronger fortunes and is currently at its peak measuring by spins (#25; 1205/week), and just below its peak by audience impressions (4.319 million/week, after a slight dip today).

It is possible that “Another Lonely Night” could continue rising on HAC/Adult Pop, or that it could eventually break into a new format (like Adult Contemporary), but I think it would be generous to expect it to peak higher than #15. Assuming that it were to continue rising into the top 20 on Adult Pop, it would need to more than double its current audience impressions (to 10-11 million, 15 million+ to get into the top 15). That would take several months at a minimum. I am a little bit skeptical. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the song eventually doubled its current audience impressions and peaked at, for example, #22 on Adult Pop.

Whatever happens with “Another Lonely Night,” however, its fate at radio is probably already sealed. To the extent that it is still dependent on label promotion, I subjectively hope the label continues to promote it. But, to the extent that it is being ignored, Adam Lambert should focus on making a splash with “The Original High.”

“The Original High” Should be the Next Single

“The Original High” is an obvious single choice after “Another Lonely Night.” Alternatives include “Rumors” (which features Tove Lo, who is hot in pop music right now) and “Underground.” I assume that “The Original High” is eventually going to be a single, and I think there is consensus that it should be promoted with an eye towards summer play. Since it will take several months to build radio airplay, it should be the next single and I would advocate early promotion.

Aside: I’d love to see Adam release a song like “Shame” as a single. It’s extremely catchy and playful. It carries a relatable and distinctive lyrical theme that is emblemized in a single-word title (A single word title is a feature of a disproportionate share of hit songs; I wonder if a clunky title hurt “Another Lonely Night”‘s chances at success.). It would be interesting to see the label release this song as a later single, and give it modest production (unless they have a really good idea for a clever music video, in which case, they could go all in). The simplicity of the song is its strength, and I could see it being a risky, but potentially lucrative bet. 

Proposed Release Date: February 25th

I am advocating an early release. Past experience suggests that Adam’s single is likely to build at a relatively modest rate early on, even if it is likely to catch fire later. I expect that the song will need several months to steadily build airplay before it can reach a critical threshold of 60% pop audience familiarity that qualifies it for the published Callout Research Report, which would theoretically show radio programmers that Americans have a generally favorable reaction to the song (and show the label that the song is worth investing in).

An early radio promotion date of February 25th has the added benefit of allowing Adam to promote the single directly WHILE HE IS ON TOUR in the USA.

February 25th is well after Valentine’s Day. Adam should be thinking about how he can promote “Another Lonely Night” as the holiday ballad of Singles Awareness Day 2016. He should say something publicly about the song being a holiday song or a tribute to marginalized singles on that day (Pun: the song itself is a marginalized single). Holiday singles have a way of coming back year after year, and paying off dividends in the long run.

Adam Lambert should tweet something like:

@AdamLambert: “Hereby dedicating my marginalized single, #AnotherLonelyNight to all the marginalized singles on #SinglesAwarenessDay2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT_xnNh5wbE”

I can’t imagine a tweet like that NOT getting coverage from every blog and gossip site on the web. Basically ROFLOL just writing this.

Aside to Adam Lambert’s legal department: I hereby grant a license to Adam Lambert (and his team) to use any of my copywritten words that appear in this blog post (no attribution required), should they so desire. 

Anyways, a radio promotion date of February 25th gives Adam’s team a little bubble to deal with anything that happens on Valentines Day. Of course, if they are planning on doing something big on Valentines day with the intention of reigniting the single, they should plan the radio add date for March.

Don’t Release the Music Video Immediately

The debut of a music video is an EVENT. Especially if the team puts a lot of hard work into making an exceptionally clever music video, the music video event should be carefully timed. Adam Lambert doesn’t need a music video in order to generate a base level of radio interest in his single – he has his celebrity to do that. Therefore, there is no need to release the music video at the same time that the song is initially promoted to radio (or a month in advance, as in the case of “Another Lonely Night”). Instead, Adam should wait until the song has neared a critical threshold of radio airplay, and then he should release a clever music video (capable of going viral) as an event, which ignites the single and causes the acceleration of sales and publicity characteristic of a legitimate hit.

Adam Lambert is going to be on tour, performing “The Original High” at venues across the United States all through March, April, and May. He should use that platform to promote his music.

Adam is a celebrity. Not only that, but he has one of the most ravenous cult core fan groups of any celebrity in the world. Online news sources know that if they can publish something about Adam Lambert, they will get a solid chunk of views. A tweet about Adam Lambert has an essentially guaranteed chunk of retweets. This is extremely valuable, and Adam needs to take advantage of it to promote his singles.

Adam needs to periodically say or do things that blogs and news organizations can write about, and then he can stay in the public’s consciousness. He can boost his celebrity value, and he can draw radio programmers to his single. Specifically, somebody on his team should be thinking of clever ways to capitalize on the online media’s fascination with attracting views from Glamberts. Many Glamberts, themselves, would be more than happy to assist with the brainstorming process for free.

Any Glamberts reading this: please feel free to post your ideas of ways that Adam can better capitalize on the media below.

Conclusion

Adam should carefully calibrate release of The Original High to take maximum advantage of all of the tools that he has at his disposal. He should release the music video only after a certain level of successful promotion to pop radio. He should consider:

  1. his tour — as an advertising platform;
  2. the media’s interest in pursuing Glambert readers — as an advertising platform; and
  3. the generation of “an event,” such as a new theme song for Singles Awareness Day, or the dropping of a clever, viral new music video — as an advertising platform.

 

Do you agree? What do you think Adam Lambert should do to better focus his rise to superstardom?

 

 

 

 

Mary Lambert’s “Ribcage” Review 4 1/2 Stars

A few days ago, Mary Lambert quietly dropped a new music video on her official MaryLambertVevo Youtube account. “Ribcage” appears to be the second official single off of Mary’s latest studio album, Heart on My Sleeve. In it, she sits alone in a dim room drinking shots of whiskey while singing about the feelings of suicidal LGBT youth.

Ribcage is an excellent choice. After the bouncy, self-deprecatory “Secrets,” “Ribcage” perfectly showcases Mary’s capacity to depict heart-wrenching agony. At least for LGBTs who can empathize, Mary Lambert’s new song hits home. Mary’s voice is ironic and casually sad, as it depicts the the horrifyingly graphic act of opening up one’s own ribcage in the ultimate act of passive resistance.

The metaphorical or literal desire to open up one’s ribcage, is, of course, a desire to wrench empathy from an unfeeling audience by any means possible. To any naysayers who think this is hyperbole, you have to keep in mind the situation in which LGBT youth are likely to find (or have found) themselves. They go through the same mishmash of changes and hormones as everyone else, yes. But, their unique drama and constant stressors, fears, etc. which they are UNABLE TO EXPRESS or share with anyone, amplify their pain exponentially. LGBT youth may frequently go through their own personal hell, a period of constant and extraordinary anguish, fear, and other emotions coupled with isolation. To the steady trickle of LGBT youth who actually attempt suicide each year, Mary Lambert’s lyrics are not hyperbole.

Review: 4 1/2 stars

“Ribcage” doesn’t sound like it was produced by the same people who make Taylor Swift and Adele songs. The lyrics could be better written in places, and Mary’s voice sometimes sounds like it was recorded live, rather than in a studio.

Sonically, however, the song does carve out its own space. The rawness of Mary Lambert’s voice is frequently something that her fans praise. She figuratively opens up all of our ribcages and makes us feel her emotions in a way that popstars generally don’t. Personally, I’ve always thought that “Ribcage” was one of the highlights of an extraordinary album.

Especially considering its (I assume) relatively low budget and meager production, Mary’s team did an excellent job of showcasing her voice.

Featured Artists: Angel Haze and K. Flay

Angel Haze is a U.K. rapper, perhaps best known for her 2014 single “Battle Cry” featuring Sia (pre-“Chandelier”), which has been viewed 5.6 million times on Youtube and which peaked at #70 on the U.K. singles chart. She was also featured on “Numb,” an album cut from Nick Jonas’ current album (which includes “Jealous,” “Chains,” and “Levels”). She has also worked with Ludacris and Rudimental.

K. Flay is perhaps best known for her 2014 single, “Make Me Fade.”

I tacitly note that the rapping on the second rap verse is strongly reminiscent of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Who is Mary Lambert?

Mary Lambert came to fame as the guest-star (“She keeps me warm…”) of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s smash hit, “Same Love.” Retroactively, she turned that chorus into a sample of its own song, “She Keeps me Warm.” Mary Lambert is known for her emotional song-writing style and for her gripping poetry. Besides “Secrets” and “Ribcage,” highlights of Heart on my Sleeve include the title track, “When You Sleep,” “So Far Away,” “Jessie’s Girl” (a gripping cover of the classic hit from a lesbian perspective) and “Sum of Our Parts.”

Learn more on Mary Lambert’s official website.

Why is it weird that she just dropped a music video for “Ribcage” now?

I assume that Mary’s label intends to promote the song to radio as an ordinary single. But, it is kindof weird to drop a second single from an album more than one year and a half after the first single. If I had to guess, I would say that the label decided at the last minute to try promoting another single off of Heart on My Sleeve rather than try to promote a new album. It is a smart business decision. Mary has already produced a lot of solid material. The label should siphon off modest funding to produce relatively cheap music videos and thereby continue promoting Mary’s music in a cost-effective way while waiting for something to take off.

I’d love to see this song get serious radio airplay. Mary Lambert deserves the attention. The world would be lucky to contain a more prominent Mary Lambert.

Adele’s New Music Video Out Tomorrow (!); Album 25 Out 11/20/2015

The big question, for me at least is: Will 25 sell over 1 million copies in its first week? Another huge question is: Will 25 outsell 1989 and thereby become the biggest-selling album of the year (in the last 6? weeks)?

As you may know, Adele’s last album was the #1 album of both 2011 and 2012. If she weren’t releasing an album this year, Taylor Swift would likely match the feat, as 1989 narrowly edged out the soundtrack to Frozen last year, and it is still in the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 nearly a year after its release. Current single, “Wildest Dreams” sits at #6 on the Hot 100. All five singles from 1989 peaked in the Top Ten of the Hot 100; only “Style” and “Wildest Dreams” failed to reach #1.

Check out the trailer for Adele’s new single, “Hello,” and the music video for “Wildest Dreams.”