Industry forecasters suggest that "Mean," released Friday, Aug. 28, could sell around 300,000 downloads in the week ending Sept. 3. That hefty sales start, along with building streaming and airplay data, should enable the track to challenge for a No. 1 debut on the Hot 100. Standing in Bieber's way, however, could be current Hot 100 champ The Weeknd, with "Can't Feel My Face." (More on The Weeknd in a moment.)
The Sept. 19-dated Hot 100 chart, where Bieber is expected to debut, will reflect sales and streaming data for the week ending Sept. 3, and airplay data for the week ending Sept. 6.
In addition to the retail launch of "Mean," its official lyric video premiered Aug. 28, while its music video arrived late on Sunday, Aug. 30, the same night that Bieber performed the song on the MTV Video Music Awards.
"Mean" has already debuted on Billboard's Pop Songs airplay chart (dated Sept. 12) after only three days of spins, at No. 28 with 20 million in radio audience, according to Nielsen Music (and aided by hourly first-day plays on participating iHeartMedia-owned stations). It will continue scaling the list following its first full week of play.
Upon its Hot 100 debut, "Mean" should instantly become Bieber's seventh Hot 100 top 10 and second in a row following Skrillex and Diplo's "Where Are U Now," on which he's featured; the track, which he also performed on the VMAs, reached No. 8 in July.
"Mean" is the first single from the 21-year-old's forthcoming studio album, which he described to Ryan Seacrest as "really inspirational. Most of the songs are uplifting and fun. I wanted to use my platform in this point of my life to just reach as many people as I can in a positive way." (The set prominently features Skrillex and Diplo, Bieber says.)
Bieber has collected five No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, between 2010 and 2013. He earned his fifth leader when he was 18, making him the youngest artist to tally five chart-topping sets.
Bieber isn't the only star expected to surge on next week's Hot 100 boosted by exposure at the VMAs. After The Weeknd performed current Hot 100 leader "Face" on the show, the song could soar to 150,000 sold in the week ending Sept. 3.
Taylor Swift premiered the video for new single "Wildest Dreams" to close the VMAs pre-show, and the ballad should re-enter the Hot 100, possibly in the top 40, with sales of around 75,000. (The song spent a week on the Hot 100, as an album cut, at No. 76 in November, the same frame that parent album 1989 debuted atop the Billboard 200.) On the Sept. 12 Pop Songs survey, "Dreams" debuts at No. 30 (13 million in audience).
Also aiming for the top 40 is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' new single "Downtown" (featuring Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz), which the pair performed on the VMAs. It should leap from its No. 94 Hot 100 debut this week, jumping to sales of around 80,000 after its Aug. 27 retail arrival. It also begins on this week's Pop Songs chart at No. 31 (17 million in audience).