PSY in Close Race for Hot 100 No. 1

Although the video was posted on July 15, 2012, PSY's "Gangnam Style" didn't go viral until August, when celebrities and the media started commenting on the hilarious video. It was his first return after 2010's "PSY Five," and now boasts almost 300 million views on YouTube. See The 10 Best 'Gangnam Style' Parodies.

One Direction, Taylor Swift and Adele Also Aiming High

The race for No. 1 is on. . . Again! While PSY's "Gangnam Style" almost claimed the No. 1 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week -- in the closest race for the top since February -- Maroon 5 remained at No. 1 with "One More Night."


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But, PSY is still in the hunt for No. 1, while Maroon 5 is looking to defend its title. Can PSY take the crown next week?

Presently, industry sources suggest that "Gangnam Style" might sell between 270,000 to 290,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Oct. 7 (the track sold 299,000 last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan). Maroon 5, however, may shift 155,000 to 175,000 (down from 181,000 last week). So the unit gap between both songs is projecting to be on par this week with what it was over the prior seven days, thought that is always subject to change this early in the tracking week.

Maroon 5's deficiency in sales was overcome on the most recent Hot 100 by its great lead in airplay. Last week, it ranked as the No. 2 title on the all-format Radio Songs airplay chart with 116.3 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS (up 14.7 million), while "Gangnam Style" jumped 34-23 with 45.9 million impressions (up 12.3 million). After slightly more than a day and a half (the Radio Songs tracking week runs from Wednesday to Tuesday), Maroon 5's audience impressions stand at 27.8 million (up 1.8 million from the similar period a week ago). PSY, however is at 11.1 million impression though its week-to-date gain comparison of 2.7 million impressions (to Maroon 5's 1.8 million) bodes well for its possible Hot 100 No. 1 ascension.

Not in the running for No. 1, but targeting a top 10 debut, are One Direction's "Live While We're Young" and Taylor Swift's "Red." The former hit digital retailers on Monday, Oct. 1 while Swift's track went on sale the following day. One Direction might sell around 300,000 downloads, while Swift should move more than 300,000. The airplay for "Live While We're Young" is still building, so it's not a contender for the No. 1 slot on the Hot 100. The same goes for Swift's "Red," which is another pre-release single from the same-titled album, due out Oct. 22.

The real wild card in the mix this week is Adele's "Skyfall." It's the title theme song from the upcoming James Bond film and the first new recording from Adele since her blockbuster "21" album. The track debuts globally this evening (Oct. 4) -- at 7:07 PM EST (or, at 0:07 local time in Bond's home of London, on Oct. 5).

"Skyfall" is the latest single supported by hourly radio plays from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment's chain of stations. For 24 hours beginning at 6 AM local time on Friday, Oct. 5, all of Clear Channel's mainstream top 40, adult top 40 and adult contemporary stations will play "Skyfall" hourly. Similar promotion from Clear Channel have supported the launches of Rihanna's "Diamonds" and Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," in addition to earlier singles from Jason Aldean, Madonna and Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw.

How much "Skyfall" will sell is anyone's guess at this point. But don't rule out a big number. It's the diva's first new studio recording in over 18 months and comes after the overwhelming success of her "21" album and its five Grammy Award wins.

The SoundScan tracking week ends at the close of business on Sunday, Oct. 7, so "Skyfall" will have a little over three days worth of sales in its first charting week. The song has been available to pre-order in the U.S. iTunes Store since Monday.