One Direction's new single "Best Song Ever" is red-hot and heading for a huge debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart next week.
Released on Monday (July 22), the cut is on course for a top five start on the chart -- based on early forecasts of its first-week sales, streams and airplay. The top 10 of the new Hot 100 will be revealed on Wednesday, July 31.
Industry sources suggest the song should sell over 300,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, July 28. At the present, it doesn't seem like it will match the opening week of its current record week -- set when last year's "Live While We're Young" started with 341,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Young" debuted and peaked at a career-high No. 3 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.
In terms of streams -- which factor into the Hot 100's methodology, like sales and airplay -- the song is off to a fast start as well. First day U.S. streams for Vevo on YouTube were 825,000, according to Nielsen BDS. How those U.S. streams project over the course of the full week is difficult to predict, but if the first day plays are matched for the remainder of the tracking period, the seven-day total could be near 6 million. On a global scale, the song's official music video is off to a record-setting start, having broken Vevo's one-day worldwide views record.
Radio is also on the "Best Song Ever" bandwagon, although with nowhere near the fervor of music-buying-and-streaming fans so far.
"Song" debuted this week on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart at No. 40 after just less than three days of availability. It drew 783 spins on 106 of the chart's 159 reporters, according to BDS (airplay which translated to 5 million audience impressions in that span). As of this posting, the song has nudged up to No. 35 on the building Mainstream Top 40 chart, which encompasses top 40 airplay from Monday morning to now.
Despite the group's high profile, top 40 radio has so far been hesitant to fully embrace One Direction. Its debut smash "What Makes You Beautiful" rose to No. 3 on Mainstream Top 40 but the act's next four chart entries prior to "Song" peaked between Nos. 15 and 19. "Live While We're Young," for instance, reached No. 16 on Mainstream Top 40, despite that lofty 341,000-download/No. 1 Hot Digital Songs start last year.
Stay tuned to Billboardbiz for updates as we monitor the chart forecast for "Best Song Ever."
Additional reporting by Silvio Pietroluongo, New York