Beginning at 7 a.m. EST yesterday, "#Beautiful" played at the top of each hour until 11 p.m. on approximately 230 pop, rhythmic, adult contemporary, adult pop and R&B/hip-hop Clear Channel stations. "Mariah Carey is a music icon. Using the power of our radio stations to launch her new single is a unique opportunity to display our collective strength to the record community around the country," Tom Poleman, Clear Channel president of national programming platforms, said in a statement.
While stations in other chains have played "#Beautiful" since its arrival, including CBS Radio-owned Pop Songs panelists WDZH Detroit (17 plays yesterday), WBBM Chicago (10) and WODS Boston (seven), the majority of the song's airplay has stemmed from Clear Channel's promotion.
How are the song's Billboard Hot 100 fortunes shaping up? "#Beautiful" looks likely to debut in the Radio Songs chart's top 50 when the chart is compiled tomorrow. While it also was released for digital purchase yesterday (at 8 a.m. EST) and to streaming services today, only its airplay yesterday and today will count toward this week's Hot 100 (as the airplay tracking week ends on Tuesday each week; the sales tracking week ends each Sunday). The two-day audience sum might be enough for it to debut on the lower half of the Hot 100 when highlights of the chart are revealed on Billboard.com tomorrow.
Based on early indications from industry sources, Billboard projects that "#Beautiful" could sell more than 100,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Sunday (12). That number could, however, change dramatically in the coming days. But, such a sum would likely spur a lofty jump (or debut) on next week's Hot 100. Next week's chart would, however, cover airplay from Wednesday May 8 through Tuesday (14), so the song's first day of Clear Channel promotional airplay would not contribute to next week's Hot 100.
Also aiding the song's first-week profile, its video will premiere tomorrow night on Fox's "American Idol," on which Carey serves as a judge. The clip will be available on Vevo and YouTube immediately following the premiere.
Once the song debuts, Carey will expand her illustrious Hot 100 history. She boasts 18 No. 1s, the most among solo artists and second overall only to the Beatles' 20. She's tallied 44 Hot 100 entries, 27 of which have reached the top 10. She last reached the top 10 with the No. 7 hit "Obsessed" in 2009 and last led the list with "Touch My Body" in 2008.
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield