As previously reported, "We Are the World 25: For Haiti" by Artists for Haiti launched at No. 2 last week on the Billboard Hot 100.
This week, the all-star benefit track debuts at No. 40 on the Adult R&B radio airplay survey and bubbles under Pop Songs, Adult Pop Songs and Adult Contemporary.
While 96 percent of the Hot 100 chart points last week for "We Are the World 25: For Haiti" stemmed from digital sales, 246 radio stations sampled the song following its Feb. 12 premiere during the 2010 Winter Olympics' opening ceremonies on NBC.
Chart Beat reached out to stations that have played the update of USA for Africa's 1985 classic. Below are programmers' thoughts on the new recording, which include listeners' reactions, how the 2010 version compares to the original, and their estimates on future airplay.
WKTU (103.5)/New York (Pop/Dance)
Rob Miller, program director
"We Are the World" is such a classic song, and nothing of its magnitude had ever been done before its release in 1985. It seemed so much more inescapable when it was released back then; all radio stations in different formats played it over and over, MTV supported it and there were even "We Are the World" T-shirts. The original was so powerful, and set the bar so high, that it's tough years later to recreate the magic.
I also feel that even though the first version featured a variety of performers from different genres of music, they seemed to blend together a bit better than in the new version. When you have Josh Groban and Barbra Streisand singing on the same song as T.I. and Lil Wayne - all extremely talented in their own rights - it's a bit more of a drastic contrast.
Radio airplay has probably been hindered by the rap portions and the fact that there wasn't a major push by a label to service the single. To play the song, stations have had to do what I did: search for it online after it was played during the Olympics and then put it on your station over the weekend (when most stations don't even have a live staff anymore).
The song is at No. 2 on the Hot 100, it was introduced during the Olympics and it includes some of the biggest artists in music. It's a no-brainer to give it a few spins on KTU and let the audience decide how they feel about it. We may only play it for a few weeks, but at least we've done our part to raise awareness for the song and help the Haitians living in our community and their relatives.
KSCF (Sophie @103.7)/San Diego (Adult Pop)
Charese Fruge, program director
"We Are the World 25" gave me the chills the first few times I heard it. I think everyone was curious to hear the new take with newer artists.
I think the new roster did a great job of recreating the original with enough familiarity to have the right affect on anyone over 30, and yet enough diversity to bring an entirely new generation to the table.