Chris Brown's 'Loyal': The Strategy Behind Its Several Versions and Chart Success
Chris Brown's legal fate will remain unknown until June, when the incarcerated star stands trial on misdemeanor assault charges stemming from an altercation outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. But that doesn't seem to bother his fans too much. Brown has just notched his 13th top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 with an unusual singles strategy -- releasing three distinct versions of the same hit song, "Loyal."
Artists often jump onboard to boost a song's popularity after its release. But with "Loyal," Brown brought the stars in before putting the tracks out. He launched an East Coast version featuring Lil Wayne and French Montana; the West Coast version features Lil Wayne and Too Short. In the video version, released March 24, Tyga joins Lil Wayne. The three combined have racked up more than 500,000 units in download sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Chris just knows what works for him," says RCA senior vp marketing Lisa Cambridge-Mitchell.
The single is performing so well that no one seems too worried that the May 5 release date for X, his sixth studio album, has been pushed back. Brown posted that date - his 25th birthday - on Twitter and Instagram, although Cambridge-Mitchell notes RCA never settled on that date with him. The delay may even work to his advantage. He's one of the few acts in the urban world whose audience buys up the commercial cuts and still waits patiently for the full album.
In April, Brown's team put out a video teasing his duet with Ariana Grande, "Don't Be Gone Too Long." Which means his sales could climb still higher before Brown, now being shuttled between Los Angeles and D.C., heads to court. Last October, according to reports, Brown and his bodyguard allegedly struck a 20-year-old who tried to photobomb a picture Brown was taking with two females. (Brown denied the charge.)