CMA Awards 2018
Chart Beat Podcast: Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa & More Are Winning for Warner Bros.
"Meant to Be" has made history on Hot Country Songs, while "New Rules" completed a six-month cross-Atlantic chart journey.
Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what's on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.
This week, our industry insider interview guest is Mike Sherwood, Warner Bros. Records vp of commercial revenue and accounts. ("I have a not-so-sexy title. I like to dumb it down and say I oversee the day-to-day of sales and streaming," Sherwood explains.)
On the Billboard Hot 100 dated Feb. 24, Rexha's "Meant to Be," with Florida Georgia Line, Lipa's "New Rules" and BlocBoy JB's "Look Alive," featuring Drake, all ranked in the top 10 simultaneously, marking Warner Bros.' first such triple since 2014.
"We implemented a strategy in the beginning of last year," Sherwood says, "where we realized that this is a great, historic label, and we weren't exactly positioned to take advantage of the current streaming boom. That required an investment in A&R, and it's really reinvigorated the label. That's being evidenced on the charts."
With "Meant to Be," at No. 8 on the March 3-dated Hot 100, Rexha has made history atop the Hot Country Songs chart as the longest-leading No. 1 for a solo female; it has also tied for the most time at No. 1 for a song featuring lead female vocals.
"She's been able to cut across multiple genres and find great levels of success," Sherwood says of Rexha, who co-wrote Eminem's 2013-14 Hot 100 No. 1 "The Monster," featuring Rihanna, and earned two prior top 10s prior to her latest, with David Guetta ("Hey Mama," in 2015) and G-Eazy "Me, Myself & I," 2016).
As for Lipa, "New Rules" recently topped Billboard's Pop Songs radio airplay chart for four weeks, nearly six months after crowning the Official UK Singles chart. "What separated 'New Rules' was, we made a very good video," Sherwood says. "It really helped bring the song and the lyrics to life."
Now, the hit has made Lipa, 22, the youngest female artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube with a song, Sherwood notes. The empowering song's clip became "the catalyst that helped drive its success, and then radio came in."
Gary and Trevor wrap the podcast with a magic carpet ride (over, sideways and under) back to the Hot 100's top song 25 years ago this week, one that helped begin a new golden era of beloved, and hit, Disney songs.
Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!