Justin Bieber's new single "Boyfriend" is off to a blazing sales and radio start, likely setting up a big debut on next week's Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Released to digital retailers on Monday (March 26), the track, industry sources suggest, may sell around 400,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Sunday (April 1).
That would easily notch Bieber's best sales week for a song, surpassing the 199,000 downloads moved at the height of popularity for his single "Never Say Never" last year. On the Digital Songs chart dated March 5, 2011, "Never" peaked at No. 5 with that sum.
Depending on how the week pans out for Bieber, "Boyfriend" could earn the best sales week of the year for a single, surpassing Katy Perry's arrival with "Part of Me" (411,000) a month ago.
On next week's Hot 100 -- which blends radio airplay, sales and streaming data -- "Boyfriend" could see a top five debut. Among his 21 Hot 100 charted titles to date, "Baby" represents his highest start, having blasted in (and peaked) at No. 5 in February 2010.
Early radio airplay for "Boyfriend" looks just as promising as its sales. On the building Mainstream Top 40 tally, which measures radio airplay on 139 pop-formatted stations, the song is already in the top 20 with more than 800 first-week plays, according to Nielsen BDS.
Bieber appears in line for his first consensus hit at top 40. Despite his track record of sales success (8 million albums sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan) and high social media profile (19 million Twitter followers), top 40 radio has been largely cautious of the teen star. Bieber has yet to reach the Mainstream Top 40 top 10, having charted as high as No. 14 with debut hit "One Time" in 2009. "Baby" reached No. 16 on Mainstream Top 40.
After just two days-plus at radio, however, it appears that "Boyfriend" could be the song that fills in what has been one of the few voids -- a radio smash -- in Bieber's meteoric career rise thus far.