Following the United States Supreme Court rulings on two separate gay marriage issues (June 26), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' gay equality anthem "Same Love" jumps into the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart this week.
The latest single from the duo's The Heist album scored its best sales week yet last week. In the seven days ending June 30, "Same Love" sold 110,000 downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan -- a gain of 33% compared to its sales in the week previous. In turn, the song -- which features vocalist Mary Lambert -- rockets from No. 23 to No. 8 on the Digital Songs chart, and also climbs 28-16 on the overall Billboard Hot 100 chart. To date, the song has sold 938,000 downloads.
"Same Love" follows The Heist's two earlier singles: the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz) and "Can't Hold Us" (featuring Ray Dalton).
"Same Love" was written in support of Macklemore's two gay uncles and gay godfather -- with lyrics about how Macklemore himself thought he might be gay when he was younger -- the song's release preceded the October 2012 release of The Heist by three months. It only became an official single in June of this year. Its music video, released last October, has amassed 54 million views on YouTube.
In the week ending June 30, "Same Love" scored its biggest streaming week yet. It collected 1.1 million U.S. streams (up 20%) to continue its double-digit percentage growth in activity for a second week. The song just misses debuting on the Streaming Songs chart this week, though it bows at No. 21 on R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs. (The tallies include data from such services as YouTube, Spotify, Rdio and MOG.)
In terms of airplay this week, "Same Love" vaults from No. 32 to No. 21 on the Radio Songs chart, with 48.6 million in audience (according to Nielsen BDS) through the week ending July 2. That's up 28% compared to a week ago. On the Pop Songs airplay chart, which monitors spins at the mainstream top 40 format, it jumps 24-22 with 3,344 spins (up 33%, through June 30).
Like on the Hot 100, both "Thrift" and "Can't" reached No. 1 on the Pop Songs tally.
"With their coming off two No. 1 songs, we feel confident that this will be their third," predicts Sharon Dastur, program director of mainstream pop WHTZ (Z100) New York. "We just started playing it [87 plays dating to its first on June 19, according to Nielsen BDS], so it's too early for a true read from our audience. But, if the dramatic sales increases are any indication, this looks like another home run."
David Orleans, president of Alternative Distribution Alliance — which distributes The Heist -- says "the Supreme Court ruling was a confluence of art and real life that gave a hit song added resonance and further momentum," noting how the cut was already gaining in popularity on YouTube and the airwaves. "This is a really powerful song which has great relevance today, but it moves people in a way that means it will continue to have a life of its own for a long time."
Alternative station KXTE (X107.5) Las Vegas played the song 83 times last week (up by 44 spins), including eight times on its "Dave, Mahoney and DK Morning Show" on June 27 -- the only song the wake-up crew played that day. Under the direction of PD Charese Fruge, the morning team explained its thinking ahead of the marathon on its Facebook page: "Yesterday, the Supreme Court passed two landmark decisions by ruling 'The Defense of Marriage Act' unconstitutional and refusing to hear Prop 8, which ends the California ban on gay marriage.
"We don't believe this is a political issue. We believe in human rights, civil rights, and equal rights for all. We believe that no song says it better than 'Same Love,' which champions equal rights for all.
"(The) lyrics say it best: 'We might not be the same, but that's not important / No freedom till we're equal, damn right, I support it.'"
Last month, Lambert told Billboard magazine (June 8) that "When (Macklemore) and Ryan approached me with 'Same Love,' I knew it was revolutionary." The lesbian singer/songwriter, who wrote and sings the chorus of the tune, said, "I get to sing a song about gay rights and how much I love my girlfriend -- and 15-year-old boys are singing the song at the top of their lungs at our shows. I think we're changing the world. Maybe it's egotistical to say that, but music has done that before."
Additional reporting by Matt Diehl and William Gruger