• Internet Money: Ranking the Revenue of the Highest Earning Songs

    There may be a thousand different ways to get paid with a phrase, but which phrase most pays? In a way, this is the fundamental question in the music industry: what songs make money? That is literally the million-dollar question that drives the industry. If everyone knew the answer, everyone would be doing it, or everyone in music would be at least a millionaire.

    Of course this is not the case.

    That doesn’t stop anyone from trying. Every artist, producer, and label is listening closely to what fans like, what people actually listen to, constantly trying to find the perfect beat, the rhyme to get paid in full. And what fans like is not necessarily what artists like or produce. Some songs also seemed destined for fame, but even the trendiest, or realest, song with all the right ingredients, from name recognition and production to promotion, may not sell. Meanwhile, SoundCloud tracks with no prior name recognition or promotion can ignite the charts on voice and production alone.

    The worst is when artists and other music industry insiders simply do not know what fans are listening to, or what is actually selling. Raw assumption is simply not a good enough gauge, and many sources, even those that seem the most reliable, turn out to be misleading. That is unfortunate for artists because it can sometimes be hard to obtain the accurate, reliable, and trusted data that they need. With that data, artists can correctly discern what is most likely to find an ear, based on comprehensive rankings of what people in fact listen to on a daily basis. Luckily artists now have Music Maven.

    Music Maven’s proprietary technology provides the most current and accurate data on the performance of all artists and songs in daily music charts, which allows them to make the best decisions about what to record and release, based a proven track record of what listeners in fact listen to.

    According to Music Maven’s charts, Cardi B’s “WAP,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion is still the Highest Earning Song, and it continues to make at least $10K each day. Powered by its music video, “WAP” reached $10K the second day after its release on August 7. Except for its third and fourth day out, it has made over $10K every single day this month. It peaked at $12.6K on Saturday, August 15, and made $11.3K on Saturday, August 29. It is also still the Most Streamed Song in the country, with 4.2M streams.

    In most cases, the Most Streamed Songs are also the Highest Earning Songs, but Music Maven’s Revenue Rank accounts for streams as well as digital downloads, so the ranks are not identical, and streams are not always the most accurate measure of revenue. Sometimes it is best to only consider revenue, as this article does, to know what sells.

    The second Highest Earning Song is Drake’s “Laugh Now Cry Later,” featuring Lil Durk. It made almost $11K on its first day out, August 14, and is now at $7.3K a day.

    This is followed by songs that by artists might not be immediately known to industry insiders, like 24kGoldn, who has risen through SoundCloud. His latest hit, “Mood,” featuring Iann Dior, released in July, is now third in Revenue Rank, with $6.1K per day. The song was not in the top 200 until August 8, when it hit 198th, and only made $956 that day. By August 11, the song had broken the top 100, at 59th in revenue, with $1.6K that day. It entered the top 20 on August 13, doubled its daily revenue to $2.4K, and kept picking up momentum. It entered the top 10 on August 18, with $3.7K, and the top 5 the next day, with $4K. The song has only gotten more popular toward the end of the summer, and has been the third Highest Earning Song since most of last week. This is the best example today of a song with very little initial name recognition or promotion, that has unexpectedly soared anyway, thanks to SoundCloud, TikTok, and finally Spotify.

    Fourth is Calvin Harris’s “Over Now,” featuring The Weeknd, which debuted at fourth Highest Earning, with $4.8K, on the strength of $1.8M streams and digital downloads. Fifth is the late Pop Smoke’s “For The Night,” featuring Lil Baby and DaBaby with $4.7K.

    This all looks different than the Highest Earning Artists, the late Juice WRLD, whose estate is now taking in $30.7K a day; Pop Smoke, whose estate is now taking in a daily $17.5K; Cardi B, third at $11.3K, almost purely from “WAP”; Drake, at fourth with $11.2K, mostly from his recent singles; and Taylor Swift at fifth with $10.2K.

    Sixth at $9.2K is the collective artist whose name most fits this article’s theme: Internet Money. Internet Money is an international collective co-founded by producers Taz Taylor and Nick Mira that has also risen through platforms like SoundCloud. Their members have produced sensations like Juice WRLD’s smash hit “Lucid Dreams,” which has now been streamed $1.3 billion times on Spotify, making it one of the most streamed on the platform. Internet Money released an album, B4 The Storm, on August 28.

    That album is responsible for bringing Internet Money toward the top of the charts, with 3.5M streams. Internet Money has made most internet money on two songs, “Lemonade,” featuring Gunna, Don Toliver, and NAV, twelfth with $3.5K, and “Blastoff,” featuring Juice WRLD and Trippie Redd, with $3.3K.

    Internet Money is the only artist at the top named after its purpose, making money on the internet with music. Music Maven proves that other artists make more internet money, in both song and artist ranks, but Internet Money provides theme to consider the industry’s fundamental question: what music makes money on the internet?

    By Vince, August 30, 2020

  • 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

  • Miley Cyrus Lights Up The Midnight Sky

    Miley Cyrus has returned this weekend with a hit, “Midnight Sky,” the lead single of She Is Miley Cyrus, her latest album scheduled for release this year. The star of stage and screen, famous for her role in the Hannah Montana series and franchise, is one of the greatest living pop music artists. Miley has had her share of personal controversy and relationship drama, which has dominated the media more than her musical production of late. For example, her acrimonious marriage to the Australian actor Liam Hemsworth, which formally ended this year, was followed by her relationship with another Australian, the singer Cody Simpson, which just ended, as announced in her latest single, “Midnight Sky.” While “Midnight Sky” addresses her personal life, including relationships with Hemsworth, Simpson, and the fashionista influencer Kaitlynn Carter, the song proves that the drama can fuel her musical success rather than only detract from it.

    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 — “Midnight Sky” is now the third Most Streamed Song, with 3.9M streams. While the music video for the song on YouTube has done much better, with 27M views over the weekend, the video has strengthened the song’s presence on streaming platforms. The single brought Miley back into the top ten Most Streamed Artist rank, now at seventh. This is an important return to the charts because Miley has not released a full-length studio album since Younger Now in 2017, just an extended play, which announced that SHE IS COMING last year, but has only been followed by a couple of singles.

    By lighting up the “Midnight Sky” with her latest, Miley has accomplished the difficult task of changing the charts during this summer pandemic, in which most major artists have withheld their music. Apart from Miley’s single, Drake’s new “Laugh Now Cry Later,” featuring Lil Durk, now second Most Streamed at 4M streams, has been the only major song to affect the charts this weekend. “Laugh Now Cry Later” is the lead single for Drake’s next album, Certified Lover Boy, which is scheduled for release soon. Neither lead single has challenged Cardi B’s “WAP,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion, released last weekend. “WAP” remains number one Most Streamed, at 4.5M streams.

    The singles by Miley Cyrus, Drake featuring Lil Durk, and Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion have altered the song charts, but the artist charts remain roughly the same as they have been over the last weeks. The top three positions are exactly the same, with the late Juice WRLD, still the Most Streamed Artist with 14.4M streams, Taylor Swift, at second with 6.6M, and the late Pop Smoke, third with 6.4M. All released full-length studio albums last month, which allowed these top artists to dominate even when others released singles.

    On the strength of several singles, Drake is now the fourth Most Streamed Artist, with 5.6M streams, but will need to release his next album to compete with the late Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke, or the living Taylor Swift. Same for Miley Cyrus, who now has the potential to dominate the charts as soon as she releases her long awaited and delayed studio project, She Is Miley Cyrus.

    By Vince, August 17, 2020

  • Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion Mop the Competition with WAP

    It’s hurricane season. At least according to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. If you don’t know what WAP means, look it up. That is, unless you’re easily offended. In that case, it may be best not to watch Cardi and Megan’s music video for their summer smash hit, “WAP.” Not that the video tells you what WAP means. Cardi and Megan just show you, as they pour torrential rain on listeners and viewers with wet and gushy verses and frames. Also, it’s probably not a great idea to watch the video with kids around. Nor without protective gear as your device and screen might break and shatter a few seconds into the video. All that said, if you’re not one of the 44 million who have already seen the video in the last two days, you’re probably not ready for it. Just see.

    After Cardi B released “WAP,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion, on Friday, August 7, it quickly became the Number One Trending video on YouTube, with 24M views on its first day, and 20M the next. “WAP” is the best example of a song that does exponentially better on video than on music streaming platforms. Apart from the 44M views for the music video after two days on YouTube, and 5.5. views for the audio-only video on YouTube, listeners streamed the song on all music streaming platforms 3.4M times on its first day. That is of course eight times lower than its video views on day one, but the video certainly helped lift the song above all others on streaming platforms this weekend.

    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 — “WAP” is now the Most Streamed and Highest Earning Song, with its 3.4M streams, and $9.5K. It did better than the late Juice WRLD’s “Smile,” featuring The Weeknd, a recent addition to Juice’s posthumous Legends Never Die. “Smile” is now second Most Streamed with 2.9M streams since its release this Friday. “WAP” and “Smile” quickly displaced this summer’s reigning hit, DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, which is now third Most Streamed with 1.8M streams. “WAP” in particular mopped the top tracks by Juice WRLD and Taylor Swift, the most dominant artists of late because of their release of full-length studio albums. “WAP” whopped them down several notches on the charts.

    However, because Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion only released one single this time around, not a full-length LP, or EP, they did not take the crown for the Most Streamed Artist from Juice WRLD, now number one with 16.8M streams. Nor did they change the chart positions of the next Most Streamed Artists, Taylor Swift, at second with 11.6M, the late Pop Smoke, at third with 6.8M, or DaBaby, fourth with 4.3M. Those artists remain at the top because they, or their estates, have recently released full-length studio albums, which always give listeners more music to listen to, and far greater chances to claim chart supremacy.

    Music Maven demonstrates that Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion nonetheless rose in the ranks on the strength of that single, “WAP.” Megan has been a fixture atop the charts of late, with her album from earlier this past March, Suga, and top songs like “Girls in the Hood,” “Savage,” as well as the “Savage” remix with Beyoncé. A month ago, Megan was in the top five Most Streamed Artists, so her rise is no surprise. Her collaboration with Cardi this weekend brought Megan up to thirteenth Most Streamed, with fans awaiting another full album.

    Cardi’s return to chart prominence has been more meteoric. Other than her viral Instagram home video about “CO-RO-NA-VI-RUS!” earlier this spring, and its millions of memes, she has not been on the music charts because she has been focusing on mothering Kulture, her child with Offset, a member of the Atlanta super group, Migos. Since her award-winning album, Invasion of Privacy in 2018, and its hit “I Like It,” now at 1B streams on Spotify, Cardi has been off the charts, without much new music, much less a full album.

    No one has forgotten about Cardi though. With “WAP,” she jumped 121 positions, a 95% increase to reach the sixth Most Streamed Artist, purely on the basis of that single. Remember, that is just from one song, and that the music video has done far better than the streamed song, with the video surely increasing streams. If Cardi and Megan co-release a collaboration album, or if Cardi releases another solo album soon, she is sure to mop the competition even more thoroughly than this weekend.

    By Vince, August 9, 2020

  • Billie Eilish Revives Music Charts With My Future

    The music charts are now dominated by artists who have released major albums over the last month, almost in the exact order of their release. Last Friday, July 24, Taylor Swift released folklore, which won her with 66.7M streams on day one. That was a very high streaming debut, but was not as high as that of the late Juice WRLD, whose posthumous Legends Never Die, brought the deceased artist 77.7M streams upon its release, July 10. The late Pop Smoke, whose estate released his posthumous Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon on July 3, was number one with 24.8M streams a day after that album release.

    Now, at the beginning of August, Taylor Swift is still the Most Streamed Artist with 19.9M streams, Juice WRLD is second with 16.6M streams, and Pop Smoke is third with 7.27M streams. The most important change at the top is Billie Eilish, who released her latest single, “my future,” late on Thursday, July 30. Apart from her revival, no other artist has made a significant change to the charts.

    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 — Billie Eilish is now the fourth Most Streamed Artist, with 6.3M streams. That is double the count for “my future,” which has reached the top of the song charts with 3.13M streams.

    This suggests that the single encouraged fans to listen to her other music, something that does not always happen with new releases. For example, almost all of Taylor Swift’s streams from last week were for folklore, not her earlier music. The songs on folklore took up all but two of the top twenty most streamed songs last week. Same for Juice WRLD for the weekend of his latest album release. The songs on Legends Never Die occupied all but two of the top twenty-two most streams songs when it was released. Fans listened almost exclusively to those albums, not other songs by the same artists.

    In other words, the release of an artist’s new music does not necessarily encourage fans to listen to their old music. Fans may be more than satisfied with the new music. On the contrary, a few artists like Billie Eilish, by releasing only one song, not nearly enough to satisfy fan demand, can entice fans to seek out more.

    Billie Eilish has released only one full-length studio album, her debut When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, from March of last year, but tracks on that album, plus three EP’s and 24 singles, mostly in the last few years, have given this 18-year old artist a powerful portfolio with copious hits for fans to recollect.

    Besides her only major release this year, the theme song, “No Time To Die” for the latest James Bond film this past February before the pandemic, fans continually listen to tracks like “lovely,” featuring Khalid, and “bad guy,” both of which are in the rare billion-stream territory on Spotify. Since her release of “bad guy” last March, it has been streamed 1.47B times.

    Like most artists, Billie Eilish has been silent through this pandemic, so “my future,” brightened the eyes of fans who first listened to Billie’s first hit, “ocean eyes.” Like a wink at fans reminding them to remember, “my future” predicts the future of the artist and the fans alike: fans listening to songs by an artist they know they like.

    By Vince, August 2, 2020

  • Taylor Swift Swiftly Tailors The Charts With Folklore

    Taylor Swift swiftly tailored the music charts to her liking with her latest album, folklore. Released on Friday, July 24, 2020, folklore is Swift’s eighth studio album. She recorded it while on lockdown during the pandemic, and announced its release less than a day before it appeared. The surprise album went in decidedly alternative, indie, and folk directions, displaying her sonic versatility, known from her country roots, hip-hop influences, and pop success. The album cover, a black-and-white in the woods, signals a back-to-nature aesthetic, something to listen to on a road trip, on the way to camp.

    It worked. On its first day, Swift’s folklore was one of the biggest releases this year, with 66.7M streams. In recent memory, that is second only to the late Juice WRLD’s 77.7M streams on day one of the posthumous release of Legends Never Die on July 10. Taylor Swift’s folklore is by that count the most successful debut by a living artist this summer, if not of this year. The closest comparisons were by Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, and the Weeknd, whose album debuts each raised them to 34-40M steams on the days of their respective releases in March-May.

    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 — folklore makes Taylor Swift The Most Streamed Artist, The Highest Earning Artist, and the Most Influential Artist. The Most Influential Artist — which encompasses not only streams and revenue, but social media presence, digital downloads, and concert ticket sales — is Music Maven’s highest measure of musical excellence online. Swift’s sweep of all three categories is an overwhelming confirmation of fan approval for her music.

    The song charts say the same. All of the 16 tracks on folklore are now on the top 20 Most Streamed and Highest Earning songs, led by “cardigan,” with 6.1M streams, “exile,” featuring Bon Iver, with 5.95M, and “the 1,” with 5.1M. Taylor Swift’s latest caused a decline in the chart position of almost every other song in music in only one day.

    Taylor Swift finally ended the reticence of artists and records labels to release full-length albums by living artists during the pandemic and response to protests over race and justice. So far, the summer has been dominated by artists who are no longer living, as echoed in the posthumous releases of albums by Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke. DJ Khaled’s release of a couple tracks featuring Drake last week began to change this trend, and Taylor Swift’s fans confirmed it.

    A series of other living artists who have not been high on the music charts lately also released music that brought them into real competition with those no longer living. Besides Taylor Swift at number one with her 66.7M streams, Juice WRLD at number two with 19M, and Pop Smoke at number five with 8.7M, Logic rose to number three, with 15.4M streams, because of the release of his final album, No Pressure. Since Logic announced his early retirement to focus on fatherhood, his finale closed the circle with his debut from six years ago, Under Pressure. After seven albums, and his recent multi-million dollar deal with Twitch, the live-streaming platform for gamers, Logic is definitely under no pressure to produce any more music. Still, his lyrical dexterity knocked most other artists off the charts for his last hurrah.

    Fan demand for music is extremely high, maybe higher than ever, and it is being driven and satisfied by only a few artists, or their estates, willing to release music this summer. Only those who supply that voracious demand can hope to make any change to the music charts.

    By Vince, July 26, 2020

  • Another One: DJ Khaled & Drake Top Charts With Popstar

    As was seen most clearly last month, if artists and labels do not release new music, the music charts stay about the same as they were before. This most applies to full-length studio albums that are usually released on Friday. This rule remains true this week because no major artist released a major album that significantly changed the charts. The exception this weekend was DJ Khaled, who released two songs in collaboration with Drake.

    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 late Juice WRLD remains The Most Streamed Artist a week after the release of his posthumous album, Legends Never Die. Fans have listened to Juice WRLD’s music far more than any other release this year.

    Juice WRLD’s stunning 77.7M streams on the first day of his latest release was no fluke. It won another 51M streams the next day, and between 30-40M streams every day since. Those nearly 80M streams on day one were much higher than any other major debut this year, and were double the total streams of all the other top ten Most Streamed Artists. That high performance has been followed by strong numbers on each day after. His almost 30M streams are still three times higher than his next competitor, the late Pop Smoke at 8M streams, since his estate released a posthumous album the work before Juice WRLD’s latest.

    Juice WRLD also continues to dominate the song charts. 18 of the 21 songs on Legends Never Die are still in the top 40 Most Streamed Songs. 4 of those are in the top 10 and 8 are in the top 20. For example, “Come & Go,” featuring Marshmello, is still his most streamed, at 2.7M, followed by “Wishing Well” at 2.5M. In short, Juice WRLD continues to haunt the charts, and his music still does not allow much competition. With Pop Smoke still at number two Most Streamed, by far the most listened to music at midsummer and midyear is posthumous.

    The only contradiction to this trend, with living artists rising against artists no longer living, is another one by DJ Khaled, or rather another two, both featuring Drake. The New Orleans-born DJ, raised by Palestinian parents as Khaled Mohamed Khaled, may be the most sought-after producer in music today. DJ Khaled’s name and talent are so powerful that he can release tracks he has produced under his name with perhaps the most sought-after artist, Drake, on lyrics, and still far outperform that artist in total streams. Drake as Drake is only thirteenth Most Streamed with 2.2M streams, despite his May Day release, Dark Lane Demo Tapes.

    DJ Khaled hit number four with a bullet, at almost 5M streams, on the strength of his production and name recognition for only two preview singles off his future album, Khaled Khaled. The first of those songs, “POPSTAR,” featuring Drake — not to be confused with DaBaby’s “POP STAR,” featuring Kevin Gates from last year, or DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, a hit since this past April — quickly rose to prominence on the Most Streamed Song chart with 3.2M streams. DJ Khaled’s “GREECE,” also featuring Drake, also made it to the top 10 most streamed with 1.7M streams.

    DJ Khaled’s latest release with Drake this weekend is a signal that living artists are gaining on those no longer, and that artists and labels are returning to earlier release patterns after withholding music for the first half of the summer due to the struggles over race and justice.

    By Vince, July 19, 2020

  • Juice WRLD Haunts The Music World From Beyond

    On Friday, July 10, 2020, the estate of the late Juice WRLD, through Grade A Productions and Interscope Records, released his first posthumous studio album, Legends Never Die. This album is easily the biggest debut of any album this year or in recent memory. It immediately placed the deceased artist far above any other artist on the music charts.

    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 — Juice WRLD is The Most Streamed Artist with an astonishing, and lucky, 77.7M streams on its first day. This is almost double the most streamed release so far this year, Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake, which brought him 40M streams on its first day in early March. That is double the amount of streams for Drake’s latest album on its first day on May Day, 35.5M, and The Weeknd’s 34M for his latest album in late March.

    Juice WRLD now also dominates all the song charts. 20 of the 21 songs on the album, including the intro, the outro, and an interlude, are in the top 22, led by “Conversations,” at 5.3M streams, “Come & Go,” featuring Marshmello, at 4.7M, and “Life’s A Mess,” featuring Halsey, at 4.6M. The songs on Legends Never Die knocked down the reigning summer song, DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, to nineteenth on the Most Streamed Song chart with 2.5M streams. It also kept the newly released collaboration between Kid Cudi and Eminem, “The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady,” low on the charts, even with a high 2M streams. The songs on Juice WRLD’s latest are also by far the highest earning. As on the streaming charts, 20 of its 21 songs are in the top 22 in revenue rank.

    Despite his demise, Juice WRLD’s rise is no surprise.

    The Chicago rapper first known as Jarad Anthony Higgins, known for his heartfelt lyrics and emotional tone, died at age 21 from an overdose half a year ago on December 8, 2019. That did not stop his fans from listening. In fact, it appears that they have only listened to his music more since his death. His most popular song, “Lucid Dreams,” from 2018, now has 1.2 billion streams on Spotify. He has consistently been in the top five Most Streamed Artists over the last month — he was fifth last week — even with no posthumous release until now.

    Since no major living artist has released any album this summer — because of the pandemic, the economic downturn, and protests over race and justice — the only significant chart movement over the last seven weeks has been due to posthumous releases by deceased artists. Strange as it is, only artists who have recently died tragic deaths have had any real influence over the music charts. This has added a haunted, truly morbid tone to the music charts this summer, with dead rappers and their ghostly presences shadowboxing each other for supremacy. The living have been no match for the dead, as deceased artists have buried alive their competition for chart dominance.

    Last week’s posthumous release of Pop Smoke’s first album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, finally brought the music charts back to life. In the prior six weeks, no major release had changed the charts much. The release of Pop Smoke’s album after his death in February altered the pop charts by raising him to number one most streamed, with almost 25M streams.

    Juice WRLD’s nearly 80M afterlife debut more than tripled that trend in one day.

    However disturbing this may be, the fact that the current first and second Most Streamed Artists have died before their current rise proves that listeners and music charts do not care whether artists are dead or alive. What matters is the quality of the music, and how it speaks to listeners, even if from beyond the grave. From a purely music chart perspective, the title of Juice WRLD’s album, Legends Never Die, is true.

    By Vince, July 12, 2020

  • Pop Smoke Smokes Pop Charts For Moon And Stars

    Finally, a real change to the music charts. Unfortunately, the artist who made the change is no longer alive to see it. 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 — demonstrates that on the July 4 weekend, the late Pop Smoke smoked the pop charts with his posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon.

    Following the extremely rapid rise, and equally tragic demise of other artists, including XXXTentacion in 2018 and Nipsey Hussle in 2019, Pop Smoke was shot and killed during a home invasion early this year in Hollywood Hills. The February 19, 2020 murder remains unsolved. He had been renting a home of one of the members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the address of which appeared on social media, making the address of his growing opulence known to those lying in wait.

    The Brooklyn-born son of Jamaican and Panamanian parents literally shot for the stars and aimed for the moon. As part of a style that has become known as Brooklyn Drill, based in Chicago Drill, exported to London and imported to Brooklyn, Pop Smoke was one of the fastest rising starts in music. He also promised to bring New York back to prominence or dominance in hip-hop. Like XXXTentacion, he was only 20 years old when he was shot and killed, and his posthumous chart performance has also been significant, as proven by this weekend’s charts.

    Music Maven’s data shows that Pop Smoke is The Most Streamed Artist, with 24.8M streams on the first day of his estate’s release of Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon on Friday. That is four times higher than his next competitor, Lil Baby with 6.2M streams, the number one artist for most of last month, June 13-28, since his release of “The Bigger Picture” on June 12. Keep in mind that no artist garnered more than 6 or so million streams on any day last June because no major artist released any major album last month.

    The only major artist to release a major album since the death of George Floyd on May 25, was Lady Gaga, whose Chromatica won her 17M streams on its first day. This means that Pop Smoke did better than Gaga and the other most recent major releases, Future’s High Off Life, with almost 20M streams on May 15, and Gunna’s Wunna, with 13.5M streams on May 22. This means that Pop Smoke’s latest is the highest streaming debut since Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes won him 35.5M streams on May 1. Because of the pandemic, lockdowns, the economic downturn, and the protests over race and justice, artists and labels have not released albums with any impact to the charts for over a month. It may be a sign of the times that a living artist has still not dared to do so, and that the only artist with such an impact is no longer alive.

    So far Pop Smoke’s posthumous success has been overwhelming. Eighteen songs from his album — his first full-length since the prior albums from this and last year, Meet The Woo and its sequel, were EP’s — are on the top fifty of Music Maven’s Most Streamed Songs chart. Those include “For the Night,” featuring Lil Baby and DaBaby, two artists that have been in the top three most streamed over the last month, at 2.2M streams, “Got It On Me,” at 1.8M, and “The Woo,” featuring 50 Cent and Roddy Ricch, at 1.4M. It will take time for these to compete with his dominant single, “Dior,” at 126M streams on Spotify now.

    The fate of the music created by subsequently deceased artists is a mystery. Compare Juice WRLD, still consistently far more listened to than most other musicians. He is still in the top five Most Streamed Artists now, and has been for the last month despite his death last year and no posthumous album since before then. Or take XXXTentacion, gone for two years now, with two posthumous albums out, but none this year. XXXTentacion’s posthumous performance has been much more erratic than Juice WRLD’s, but he unexpectedly won the number one Most Streamed Artist rank twice in April and twice in June, despite typically rollercoaster-like chart fluctuations. For now, Pop Smoke’s success is a tidal wave, and it finally turns last month’s music chart downturn to a promising upturn.

    By Vince, July 5, 2020

  • Music Charts Recognize The Rise Of Megan Thee Stallion

    Since no major artist or label has released any major album this June, the music charts remain almost exactly the same as they were at the end of May. 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 — has confirmed this trend at month’s end. One of the few changes at the top has been the rise of Megan Thee Stallion.

    Megan Thee Stallion is now the fifth Most Streamed Artist at 2.9M streams. The Houston artist now has three songs in the top 50, including “Savage.” The remix featuring Beyoncé is at 15th with a million streams and it has been in the top 15 for most streams for most of June. Megan’s mixtape from last year, Fever, and her EP from this May 6, Suga, has kept her in the top 15 Most Streamed Artists for most of June. Her release of “Girls in the Hood,” her answer to the late Eazy-E’s “Boyz-n-the-Hood” this past Friday, June 26, raised Megan to the top five Most Streamed Artists. On Sunday, June 28, 2020, Megan won the BET Award for The Best Female Hip-Hop Artist in recognition of her success. Her desert-landscape virtual performance for the BET Awards was a hit. Other than Megan Thee Stallion’s rise this weekend, the charts have not changed much.

    Apart from Lady Gaga’s Chromatica on May 29, no artist has released any album that has significantly altered the music charts since the death of George Floyd on May 25, and the subsequent struggles over race and justice through June. What this means, in terms of streams, is that Lil Baby is still The Most Streamed Artist for the third week in a row, now at 5.6M streams. Lil Baby remains at the top because no major artist has released any album this month. Lil Baby is also number one because his song “The Bigger Picture,” released on June 12, spoke to the current movement and struggles, and reinforced the strength of his latest album, My Turn, which he released on February 28. Lil Baby is still followed by the late Juice WRLD at 4.1M streams, and DaBaby at 4M streams. Those two artists have been in the top three Most Streamed this entire month.

    Juice WRLD’s Goodbye & Good Riddance, released in May 2018, contained the song, “Lucid Dreams,” which has since reached 1.2B streams on Spotify, making him one of the few artists to reach the billion-stream measure. That song, and others, especially posthumously-released collaborations with Polo G and Kid LAROI, remain within Music Maven’s top 50 Most Streamed Songs.

    DaBaby has been high on the charts since he released his album BLAME IT ON BABY on April 17, and that album’s third single, “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch. This month, DaBaby was The Most Streamed Artist from June 8-12, number two from June 13-21, and number three from June 22-28. “ROCKSTAR,” now at 2.2M streams, has been The Most Streamed Song almost every single day of June.

    Post Malone, Travis Scott, and Drake have been in the top 10 Most Streamed for all of June. Post Malone has not released an album this year, but has been the fourth most streamed artist for most of this month, including now, with 3.2M streams. With no single song close to the top — just “Circles” from last year’s Hollywood’s Bleeding at 44th most streamed, and approaching a billion streams on Spotify — his overall catalogue keeps his total listenership high.

    Travis Scott has not released any solo album this year either, but his collaboration with Kid Cudi — THE SCOTTS, as the group and single song title, released on April 24 — has kept Travis in the top 10. So has the steady popularity of Travis’s previously-released tracks like “HIGHEST IN THE ROOM,” “SICKO MODE,” and “goosebumps,” all in the top 30. The latter two have surpassed one billion streams on Spotify.

    Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes, released on May 1, has also kept him high on the charts. For example, Drake was the fifth most streamed artist from June 8-17.

    Since the highest ranking artists were the same in June as they were in May, a top artist will have to release a strong album in July for the music charts to change this summer. Megan Thee Stallion could be that artist. Now that Megan has won recognition as BET’s Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, and Music Maven’s confirmation as a top-five Most Streamed Artist, she will likely crash the charts when she releases a full-length studio album.

    By Vince, June 29, 2020

  • Beyoncé And The Struggle To Change The Music Charts

    This Summer Solstice and Father’s Day weekend, the music charts remained remarkably unchanged compared to last week, or even the week before. In fact, 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 charts changed even less this weekend than last. The only exception was Beyoncé’s release of her single “BLACK PARADE” on Juneteenth.

    As reported by Music Maven over the last weeks, in response to the protests since the police killing of George Floyd in late May, labels like Sony and Warner have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in support of “social justice and campaigns against violence and racism.” They have done so following pledges by their artists, and similar to many corporations in other industries. At the same time, many artists and labels have explicitly withheld albums in response the protests. Others have simply refused to release new albums.

    Since no major artist has released any major album that has substantially changed the charts over the last three weeks, the top five Most Streamed Artists this weekend — Lil Baby, DaBaby, the late Juice WRLD, Post Malone, and Travis Scott — are the same and in the same order as last weekend. The exception was Drake at fifth last weekend in Travis’s current position. The top five last weekend were the same as those the previous weekend, though in a slightly different order. The number of streams per artist in the top five has declined each weekend though, from 6-9M to 3.3-6.9M to 2.5-5.8M over the last three benchmark weekends. Compare that to earlier highs in recent times, like The Weeknd, whose After Hours debuted on March 20 with 34M streams, and Drake, whose Dark Lane Demo Tapes won him 35.5M streams on May Day.

    The decline in supply in the form of new music is apparently driving down demand in the form of listenership at the top. As the music industry copes with the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and responds the struggles over race and justice, individual artists have sought to change the music charts on their own.

    Last weekend, Lil Baby succeeded at this challenge when he released “The Bigger Picture,” a major song that speaks to the current moment and movement. Lil Baby was already in the top five, but the song raised him even higher, to the very top. With Lil Baby still number one as Music Maven’s Most Streamed Artist, and the other most streamed artists practically the same as before, the song charts also remain the same. The top five The Most Streamed Songs are now: DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, at 2.2M streams, followed by Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture,” with 1.57M, StaySolidRocky’s “Party Girl” at 1.5, SAINt JHN’s “Roses — Imanbek Remix,” at 1.39M, and Lil Mosey’s “Blueberry Faygo,” at 1.35M streams.

    The only new song that has make any difference to the top fifty Most Streamed Songs chart this weekend is Beyoncé’s “BLACK PARADE,” which she released on Friday in commemoration of Juneteenth. Juneteenth celebrates the final abolition of slavery in the United States, after the end of the Civil War. Juneteenth derives from the order to emancipate the remaining slaves in Beyoncé’s home state, Texas. The order was released from Galveston Island, near Beyoncé’s home town, Houston. According to her website, “‘Black Parade’ benefits BeyGOOD’s Black Business Impact Fund, administered by the National Urban League, to support Black-owned small businesses in need.”

    The audio and cover-art only version of “BLACK PARADE” is now the sixth highest trending video on YouTube with 1.8M views, even without a filmed music video. However, it only debuted as the thirtieth most streamed song with 776K streams, and raised Beyoncé just into the top fifty most streamed artists. The song has much potential, but so far has not competed with another song she is featured on, Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix,” at number eleven on the stream charts with 1.1M streams. Megan, also from Houston, is now the ninth Most Streamed Artist with 2M streams. Beyoncé’s release of “BLACK PARADE” on Juneteenth was a surprise. If the star of HΘMΣCΘMING from last year releases a full-length studio album this year, as a surprise or otherwise, she will likely reclaim her queen’s throne at the top of the charts.

    By Vince, June 22, 2020

  • Lil Baby’s Bigger Picture Empowers The Music Charts

    In normal times, labels and artists release albums on Friday and the most popular albums can totally change the music charts. But these are not normal times. Since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and the subsequent protests, almost no major artist has dared to release a new album in the midst of the struggles on the streets over race and justice.

    For example, 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, no artist released any new album that significantly altered the charts last week. This meant that despite all the conflicts and changes in the nation and the world, the same artists and songs that dominated the charts before the protests still dominated weeks later.

    Those conflicts and changes intensely involved the music industry. While music industry insiders began the campaign that made Blackout Tuesday, June 2, a digital force of millions, artists like Lil Nas X, Drake, and The Weeknd pressured the industry to donate millions. On June 3, Warner Music created a $100 million fund “to support charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism,” and Sony Music matched those funds for similar purposes on June 5.

    At the time, this had zero impact on the music charts, partly because many labels also publicly refused to release new albums because of the protests. Whether or not they deliberately withheld their albums, no label or artist released any album that made any substantial difference to the charts. This week was the same in that no major artist released any album that changed the charts much.

    The difference was that one of the artists already at the top released a song that finally addressed the protests and represented them with a real message. That artist was Lil Baby, and his song, “The Bigger Picture.”

    Lil Baby began this week with 7.3M streams, at number four on Music Maven’s Most Streamed Artist chart. The others then were DaBaby at number one with 9M streams, the late Juice WRLD at number two with 8.8M, Post Malone at number three with 7.8M, and Drake at number five with 6.2M. Those are still the top five Most Streamed Artists, and in that exact same order, except that Lil Baby is now number one. Partly because of the absence of any new major album release, which tends to reduce listenership at the top over time, these same five have also declined in total streams, for example, with Drake still at fifth place, though now with only 3.2M.

    Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture,” released on Friday, June 12, quickly became the Most Streamed Song with 2M streams, and made Lil Baby the Most Streamed Artist at 6.1M. The fact that Lil Baby was already in the top five, because of the success of his album, My Turn, released on February 28, facilitated this rise. What made the difference was the quality and message of the song in response to the protests. For example, DaBaby just released a remix of his reigning number one “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch called “BLM Remix,” also in response to the protests, but that song only debuted at number 30 Most Streamed, with 895K streams, and did not compete with the song’s original, now at number two with 2M streams.

    Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture” debuted at number one, with 30K more streams than DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR — BLM Remix.” With lyrics like these in the chorus, Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture” empowered the music charts:

    It’s bigger than black and white

    It’s a problem with the whole way of life

    It can’t change overnight

    But we gotta start somewhere

    The music video for the song displays recent footage of the protests already viewed by millions on news media outlets and social media platforms, but is overlaid with a meaningful lyrical voice from the protests themselves. The video also represents Lil Baby’s own participation in the Atlanta demonstrations. There he is on a bike, draped in black with his “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt and matching mask with the words of resistance, “No Justice, No Peace.” Now at 3M views on YouTube in only two days, the “The Bigger Picture” video is now the fourth highest trending on the platform.

    In more direct representation of the struggles on the streets than either the music-industry originated Blackout Tuesday online, artist donations as enticements for change within the music industry, or the hundreds of millions pledged by labels, Lil Baby’s authentic image and sound resonated more with listeners. That song’s sound waves vibrated the music charts, but did not change them the way that new album releases usually do.

    By Vince, June 14, 2020

  • Things Change, But The Music Charts Stay The Same

    While so much has changed over the last days, in some ways because so much as changed, the music charts have stayed the same. In addition to the health and economic crises because of the global pandemic, the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 gave rise to days of mass protests against racism and police brutality which have engulfed the nation and the world.

    During this time, some songs from the past that represent the feelings of the people have returned to the charts. For example, last week Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” rose to number two on the Most Streamed Songs chart, even though it came out two years ago. Changes also began to happen within the music industry itself.

    Last week, two music industry insiders, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, launched an industry blackout they called #TheShowMustBePaused. The blackout went far beyond the music industry as #BlackoutTuesday. As many millions replaced their screens on Instagram and other platforms with solid black boxes on Tuesday, June 2, major entertainment and music companies like Apple, Spotify, and some record labels closed operations that day. Republic Records and Interscope Records decided to withhold scheduled album releases, and Universal Music and Sony Music pledged their own changes.

    Artists like Lil Nas X, Drake, and The Weeknd meanwhile pressured the music industry to do more. The Weeknd wrote on Instagram that “no one profits off of black music more than the labels and streaming services,” and he challenged labels to match his donations, totaling half a million dollars, to the National Bail Out fund, the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.

    Last Wednesday, coinciding with its multi-billion dollar Initial Public Offering, Warner Music then created a $100 million fund to “to support charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism.” Sony Music followed suit on Friday by creating its own $100 million fund “to support social justice and anti-racist initiatives around the world.”

    After all of these changes, the charts now look almost exactly as they did before they happened.


    One answer is that some music labels said they deliberately delayed the release of albums, in the case of Republic, “to reflect on the injustices happening to the Black community in America, and discuss how we and our artists can use our voices to impact and create real initiatives for change in our communities.” Whether or not other labels made the same conscious decision to withhold previously recorded work, no label or artist released any album on the normal release day, Friday, that drastically changed the charts.

    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, this means that none of the top ten Most Streamed Artists at the start of this week reached their position by releasing any album this past week. This includes:

    1. DaBaby, at 9M streams, who released his album, BLAME IT ON BABY on April 17, and “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, on April 24, still the Most Streamed Song, at 4.4M streams,

    2. The late Juice WRLD, at 8.8M streams, with no album this year, but whose estate posthumously released his “Tell Me U Luv Me,” featuring Trippie Redd on May 29,

    3. Post Malone, at 7.8M streams, with no album this year, but whose “Circles,” remains strong on the charts,

    4. Lil Baby, at 7.3M streams, who released his album, My Turn on February 28, and

    5. Drake, at 6.2M streams who released his album, Dark Lane Demo Tapes on May 1.

    Of the other artists on the top 10 — Polo G, Lil Uzi Vert, Gunna, Lady Gaga, and The Weeknd — all have released albums this year, but none have released any album since Gaga’s Chromatica last May 29.

    While much has changed in the last days, including in the music industry, the most important thing that has stayed the same is position of most of the top artists on the music charts. In this case, the more some things change, the more other things stay the same.

    By Vince, June 9, 2020

  • Lady Gaga Burns The Music Charts With Chromatica

    The Fame Monster is still a Monster of Fame. On Friday, May 29, 2020, Lady Gaga finally released her long-awaited and sought-after album, Chromatica, her sixth studio album. Like flames burning through cities this weekend as protests over the police killing of George Floyd turned fiery, Lady Gaga’s latest conflagration burned through the music charts.

    The scheduled release date for Chromatica was long ago, April 10, but Lady Gaga continually withheld her album out of concern for the Covid-19 pandemic. So far it is unclear how, or if, the timing of this release in the midst of yet another national crisis will affect its future success, but for now it means Lady Gaga is the dominant force in music.

    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, Chromatica has made Lady Gaga by far the Most Streamed Artist with 17M streams, and the Highest Earning Artist at $47K on the album’s release day.

    In anticipation of her album, Lady Gaga has also lately been high on Music Maven’s most proprietary metric, the Most Influential Artist. The Most Influential Artist rank is based on a combination of measures including social media presence, streaming charts, digital downloads, and other markers of success. That metric has shown Gaga as the Most Influential Artist every other day this past week, now second only to Britney Spears, who reminded fans about her with the new release of an old song and a nostalgic playlist.

    Similar to the other major pop release this year, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica has EDM, dance, and club tunes to make you move. At the same time, Gaga’s dark and wayward styles keep you from conforming to any norm. Messages of inclusivity meanwhile make you feel at home on Chromatica, an alternate planet in Gaga’s mind, where “no one thing is greater than another.”

    When Lady Gaga played in the latest remake of A Star is Born two years ago, her own star had already been born, with extreme hits like “Alejandro,” “Bad Romance,” “Paparazzi,” and “Telephone,” featuring Beyoncé. To give a sense of her fame, Gaga is one of the few artists to reach over one billion streams for her songs on Spotify: “Shallow,” a song from the A Star is Born soundtrack has by now reached a deep 1.1B streams.

    Chromatica’s individual songs have neared the top of the charts, but have not displaced the reigning number one of late, DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch. Chromatica’s second single, “Rain On Me,” featuring Ariana Grande, was the Most Streamed Song when it was released last May 22, but now is number two with 2.4M streams, followed by “Sour Candy,” featuring BLACKPINK, a South Korean girl band, at number three with 2.1M streams. The album’s first single, “Stupid Love,” released last February 28, is at number 20, with 1.1M streams.

    Besides Lady Gaga, Chromatica, and its singles, no other artist, album, or song has significantly altered the rap-dominated music charts this weekend. Among the top ten Most Streamed Artists, apart from Gaga, all others are rappers. In the top five, these include:

    2. The late Juice WRLD, at 5.4M streams, whose estate just posthumously released his “Tell Me U Luv Me,” featuring Trippie Redd, now the sixth most streamed song, at 1.5 streams

    3. DaBaby, at 4.8M streams after his release of BLAME IT ON BABY on April 17

    4. Gunna, at 4.1M streams after his release of WUNNA last week, and

    5. Drake, at 3.6M streams after his release of Dark Lane Demo Tapes on May Day.

    Other artists who have lately made much news, or increased their notoriety on social media, continue to sink in the charts. Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and their antagonist, Tekashi 6ix9ine are all still falling in the 30s, at 32, 35, and 39, respectively among Most Streamed Artists. The Grande-Bieber collaboration, “Stuck with U,” is stuck at number 35 and declining with only 885K streams. Tekashi’s “GOOBA,” is doing better, but still declining from number 29 at only 945K streams.

    While both songs have vied for number one in recent weeks, they have not really competed with DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, with its 2.45M streams, and its track record as the Most Streamed Song every single day since May 12, except on May 23 when it was number two. Nor have any of Lady Gaga’s new songs. In most other respects though, the Fame Monster still devours her competition, with over three times more streams then her next competitors on the charts.

    By Vince, May 30, 2020

  • Gunna Is A Wunna, Gaga And Grande Rain On You

    Gunna just released his latest album, WUNNA, on Friday, May 22, 2020, a New Moon in Gemini, an air sign represented by twins. Astrological connections abound for Gunna, a Gemini, not only because on the music charts he is now the brightest star shining in the sky, but also because his album concept is based on astrology. His twin alter ego, Wunna, has even created an entire website to read your horoscope and guide you to the album. Whether or not you check your chart on Co-Star, Gunna’s creation of Wunna, as an album, alter ego, and astrologer, all contribute to his success on this week’s music charts.

    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, because of WUNNA, Gunna is now by far the Most Streamed Artist, with 13.5M streams, and is the Highest Earning artist at $44K on the album’s release day. Compared to last week, this is lower than that of a fellow Atlanta area rapper, Future, who topped the charts with the release of High Off Life with 19.6M streams, and now is at third place with only 5M streams.

    After Gunna, DaBaby holds second place for Most Streamed Artist with 5.5M streams, even without a new album this week or last. DaBaby’s latest, BLAME IT ON BABY appeared last April 17, and it prepared the way for a hit, “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, the king of this year’s song charts with “The Box.” “ROCKSTAR” has been the Most Streamed Song every single day since May 11, except May 19 and 23 when it went from number 1 to number 2, now at 2.6M daily streams.

    Music Maven’s data and analytics on the success of artists like Gunna, Future, and DaBaby, this week, last week, and last month, proves that despite the global pandemic and all of the economic and technological changes affecting the music industry, the full-length studio album is still the surest path for artists’ success atop the music charts. Even without a number 1 single, a complete album with hot and not-so-hot tracks has the power to generate more total streams and revenue for artists than otherwise.

    Take Gunna’s latest album, with its most popular songs, “COOLER THAN A BITCH,” featuring Roddy Ricch, and “DOLLAZ ON MY HEAD,” featuring Young Thug. Neither of those songs are in the top 5 most streamed, but along with the 18 total tracks on WUNNA, including the album title track single released on April 9, the total streams and revenue from the album have taken Gunna to the top of the artist streaming and revenue charts.

    Compare this to 3 other recent top songs and the overall performance of their artists:

    1. On May 8, the weekend before last, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber released “Stuck With U,” which hit number 1 with most streams on it first 2 days, but which has plunged to number 21 since. Not once did this song bring either artist to the top 5 Most Streamed Artists. Even with a new hit song this weekend with Lady Gaga, Grande is sunk at number 25. “Stuck With U” left Bieber stuck in the 30s and he is now trapped at number 32.

    2. Their main antagonist of late, Tekashi 6ix9ine, has not done much better. His song “GOOBA,” also released on May 8, while at home under federal house arrest, stayed in the top 5 in streams for its first week out. However, in the last days the song has gone out of the top 10 and is now only number 15 for streams. Without more than that one song, Tekashi never broke into the top 10 most Streamed Artists, and is now right below Bieber at number 33.

    3. Lady Gaga’s release of “Rain On Me,” featuring Ariana Grande, on Friday, May 22, quickly became the Most Streamed Song with 3.1M streams. However, that song only brought Gaga to the number 8 position among Most Streamed Artists. Once she releases her long-awaited and long-delayed Chromatica she will likely rise to the top 5 or higher, but so far, her latest hit with Ariana Grande has barely allowed her to break into the top 10.

    This analysis of this weekend’s and recent trends tracked by Music Maven demonstrates that artists still need full-length studio albums to rise and sustain themselves atop the charts for Most Streamed Artists, and that singles are not nearly enough to do so. It also proves that considering single-song performance alone is an insufficient and inaccurate chart metric because it does not reveal the overall performance of artists.

    Nor does social media presence — as measured by Instagram likes, Twitter retweets, YouTube views, or TikTok hashtags — necessarily raise or sustain artists or their singles on streaming or revenue charts unless they have an album to show for it.

    Only a comprehensive perspective — as provided by Music Maven’s charts for the Most Influential, Most Streamed, and Highest Earning Artists, as well as its song stream and revenue charts — provides a true view of artists’ success.

    By Vince, May 24, 2020

  • Back To The Future: Low Life To High Off Life

    On Friday, May 15, 2020, Future released his latest album, High Off Life, which raised him high off the charts. 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, Future is now by far the Most Streamed Artist, with 19.6M streams.

    Future is now arguably the most well-known and successful rapper from Atlanta, if not of the South as a whole, which has led hip-hop, rap, and music as such in innovation for some time now. A member of the Dungeon Family that brought Atlanta to sonic prominence with groups like OutKast, the rapper once known as “The Future” is now the most creative and productive practitioner of trap, a style pioneered by another Atlanta native, T.I.

    As an index of Future’s sheer productivity, High Off Life is his eighth studio album and thirty-second project in under ten years. It follows his sixth number one record in less than four years, which has earned him comparison only to Elton John’s success of half a century ago. At a time when fifteen songs per album remains an industry standard, Future’s, including his most recent, are also much longer, over twenty songs.

    Future’s productive power and success on High Off Life has now won him Music Maven’s top ranking, The Most Influential Artist. This most proprietary metric is based on a combination of measures including social media presence, streaming charts, digital downloads, and other markers of success. Future is also now the Highest Earning Artist, at over $50K today.

    Future’s success this weekend can be best explained through his past performance, star collaborations, and the unique quality of his current sound, best portrayed by hits like “Life Is Good,” featuring Drake. “Life Is Good,” now the third single on High Off Life, has racked up 362M streams on Spotify since its release in January. Now at number 10 on Music Maven’s Most Streamed Songs chart, it was in the top five for most of January and into February.

    All of the artists on the “Life Is Good” Remix, featured as the twenty-first and last song on High Off Life — Future, Drake, DaBaby, and Lil Baby — are now in the top five of Music Maven’s Most Streamed Artist rank. At 19.6M streams, Future himself has more than double the streams of the number two competitor today, the Chicago rapper Polo G, who just released his album, THE GOAT, earning him 9.7M streams on day one.

    The top song on High Off Life however is “Solitaires,” featuring the Houston rapper Travis Scott, which debuted at number five on Music Maven’s Most Streamed Songs chart, at 1.7M streams. “Solitaires” did not displace the number one song, “ROCKSTAR,” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, nor the number two, “THE SCOTTS,” by Travis Scott and Kid Cudi, but it has the potential to rise.

    In addition to these quality song collaborations and associations with other artists at the top of all music charts, Future’s success with High Off Life builds on his powerful track record. While songs like “Low Life,” featuring the Weeknd, with its 505M streams on Spotify since 2016, and “Mask Off,” with 880M streams since 2017, may speak to the current pandemic era or the future more than “Life Is Good,” their past success is what allows Future to be not only High Off Life, but also high off the charts.

    By Vince, May 16, 2020

  • Ariana Grande And Justin Bieber Stuck With U On Lockdown

    On Friday, May 8, 2020 Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber released what is now the anthem of the global pandemic, “Stuck With U.” 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, “Stuck With U” is the Most Streamed and Highest Earning Song, with 3.2M streams and $8.8K on its first day. The music video, released on Thursday, now has 24.8M views on YouTube.

    Because of Ariana Grande’s immense social media power, she has the capacity to increase streams and views almost effortlessly. To give one indicator of this power, she has the third most followers on Instagram, 183M, only after the soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo at number two with 216M, and the Instagram brand itself, at number one with 347M followers. She has another 73M followers on Twitter.

    This means that with one Instagram photo, post, live stream, tweet, like, or emoji, Ariana Grande can instantly rouse her over 200M fans to listen to her latest song. Add that to Justin Bieber’s 134M Instagram followers, only at twelfth in followers, and you have a viral hit. This helps explain why “Stuck With U” is at the top of the music charts now.

    The other reason why “Stuck With U” is so successful is because it is based on a powerful strategy. The strategy is determined by Scooter Braun, the superstar entrepreneur and manager of both Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, as well as Demi Lovato, who all make appearances in the video with their lovers. In the case of Ariana and Demi, they used the video to reveal and confirm their latest romances, to satisfy rumors and invoke more curiosity.

    As part of Braun’s SB Projects, “Stuck With U” is one in a series of philanthropic singles designed to benefit specific charities over the year in response to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. In partnership with the First Responders Children’s Foundation, all proceeds from “Stuck With U” sales and streams will benefit children of first responders who have been impacted by the virus and disease.

    Similar to Post Malone’s live cover of Nirvana hits designed to benefit the World Health Organization, and many similar ventures, Braun’s strategy with “Stuck With U,” and future singles, is apparently to raise awareness and funds to benefit those at the frontlines of the crisis, in ways that directly address the feelings and concerns of fans, and to allow them to be part of the musical experience while they, like the artists themselves, are on lockdown.

    “Stuck With U” deploys the strategy of connecting with fans through relatable lyrics and emotions. The video is best at portraying these connections. Based on requests from the artists through Instagram to send in self-made footage, the video includes grainy and lo-res shots from Ariana Grande herself, as well as Bieber and other stars, and innumerable fans, with the families, pets, and whoever they were stuck with at the outset of this crisis.

    The video blurs the boundary between fans and stars because it shows entertainers at their most vulnerable, with the same technology and similar feelings of confinement, and the attendant strains on relationships, as those of the everyday people who follow them. Anyone watching will look closely for who is a star and who is a person they do not know at home, but they will not be able to easily tell. The resulting ambiguity places star power in the hands of everyday people. The video elevates fans to star status through inclusion in the video, and uplifts viewers to feel as though they are also part of the show, even if they know they are not living in the same mansion as the artist.

    This is the opposite of Drake’s strategy in the video for “Toosie Slide,” the other pandemic anthem, which shows the masked Drake, wandering alone through his dark palace, which communicates the pain of isolation, even in luxury and opulence. The cruel, cringe-worthy scenes of “Toosie Slide” somehow evoke sorrow for the king in solitude and his infinite gaze through ever-expanding walls of glass and mirrors. This even as viewers feel the strain of their own confinement in cramped, walled-in apartments.

    “Stuck With U” instead shows all kinds of friends and company, in bright, homemade, scenes, safe inside and outside in their backyards, as fans and stars alike turn inward and outward to find romance and love for themselves and their companions who they happen to be stuck with.

    By Vince, May 10, 2020