International Artists Spark the US Charts: BTS and Maluma

As this summer comes to a close, artists and labels in the United States remain extremely reluctant to release new music. The pandemic, the economic crisis, and the struggles over race and justice have all discouraged artists and labels from releasing albums since the beginning of the summer. This trend has continued to now. It has given international musicians an unusual, if not entirely unexpected, opportunity to appeal to listeners in the US and change the US music charts, typically, and still mostly dominated by US artists.

According to Music Maven’s proprietary technology — which provides the most current and accurate data on the performance of all artists and songs in daily music charts — the most important change this weekend is the rise of artists like BTS and Maluma on the charts.

BTS, the South Korean boy band, released its English-language single “Dynamite” this weekend, and it quickly lit up the US charts, raising BTS to the sixth Most Streamed Artist rank. “Dynamite” is now the third Most Streamed Song with 3.1M streams. The video has done far better, with 141M views in only two days, and has helped the song trend on US song charts.

Maluma, the Colombian Latin pop and trap singer, kept his latest release, “Hawái” (Spanish for Hawaii) in Spanish. “Hawái” nonetheless broke into the top ranks of the US song charts, composed almost exclusively of English-language songs. The song, about giving an ex second thoughts about her marriage to someone else during a wedding in Hawaii, joined with BTS’s “Dynamite” to blow up the song-streaming charts. “Hawái” is now the fourth Most Streamed Song with 2.9M streams, and it gave Maluma the ninth position on the Most Streamed Artist chart.

Part of the explanation for the rise of BTS and Maluma on the US charts is that US artists have released very few major albums this summer. Only three major artists, or their estates, have released albums that have significantly altered the music charts this season.

Those three were: the late Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon on the July 4 weekend, the late Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die the following weekend, and Taylor Swift’s folklore, on July 24. Because there have been no major album releases this month, those three artists remain the Most Streamed Artists at the end of August. Juice WRLD is still the Most Streamed with 13.6M daily streams, followed by Pop Smoke with 6.9M, and Taylor Swift with 6.8M.


Juice WRLD’s posthumous release was by far the biggest release this summer, if not the year, with an astonishing 77.7M-stream debut on July 10. The fact that Juice WRLD died last December 2019 has not prevented listeners from keeping him at number one for most of the time since his last album appeared. If anything, interest in his music has only increased since his death. The reticence of living artists to release music has only kept Juice WRLD at the top of the charts.


The song charts tell a slightly different story because, instead of releasing long plays or even extended plays, most major artists have only released singles this summer. For example, Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture,” released June 12, dominated the song charts early in the summer because it spoke directly to the struggles over race and justice. More recently, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Cardi B, and Megan Thee Stallion have fueled the song charts with their singles.


Of those songs, Cardi B’s “WAP,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion has done the best, and it has gotten more popular over time. “WAP,” accompanied by its sensual music video, has been at the top, as the Most Streamed Song, since its release on August 7. After debuting with 3.4M streams, it passed 4M a week later, and now has 4.5M daily streams. In less than a month, the song has been streamed 60M times. The video has now been viewed 126M times on YouTube. On the strength of that one single, Cardi B is now the fifth Most Streamed Artist. Drake has similarly risen from singles alone. 


His single “Laugh Now Cry Later,” featuring Lil Durk, released last weekend, is still the second Most Streamed Song with 3.2M streams. Along with the release of two other songs with DJ Khaled at the end of last month, Drake’s singles have propelled him to the fourth Most Streamed Artist rank, even with no new album. For now, international acts like BTS and Maluma have made their mark on the charts with singles too. This proves their appeal to listeners in the US and their potential to rise even higher with full-length studio albums.


By Vince, August 23, 2020