While highlights of this week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart will be revealed tomorrow (April 30), details are already emerging about next week’s chart, on which Ariana Grande appears headed for a haughty top 10 debut with her new single, “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea.
Industry sources suggest that the song, which previews Grande’s second album, due this summer, could sell more than 300,000 downloads in the tracking week ending Sunday, May 2, following its digital release yesterday (28). Such a start, regardless of any added airplay or streaming points, would likely translate to a top 10 debut on the sales/airplay/streaming-based Hot 100. We’ll know where the song starts on the chart a week from tomorrow (May 7).
(The April 28-May 2 Nielsen SoundScan sales tracking week will feed next week’s chart data, encompassing the song’s full opening retail week, thus, explaining why the track will likely make its heralded Hot 100 start then, not this week.)
How notable is a debut sales frame of at least 300,000? Just 22 songs have arrived with that sum or better since SoundScan began tracking digital sales more than a decade ago. The last two such songs launched on the Nov. 16, 2013 Digital Songs chart: Eminem’s “The Monster,” featuring Rihanna (373,000) and One Direction’s “Story of My Life” (305,000). (Flo Rida’s “Right Round” holds the record with 636,000 first-week downloads sold [Feb. 28, 2009]).
In addition to its sales, which would likely account for the majority of its Hot 100 chart points next week, “Problem” is already receiving early radio support. The song drew 293 first-day plays on 87 stations yesterday, according to Nielsen BDS. Pop Songs reporter KIIS Los Angeles led all stations with 17 first-day plays. Among all stations, “Problem” garnered 3.8 million in opening-day radio audience.
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“Problem” was produced by and co-written with Max Martin (Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Backstreet Boys, among many others). Grande debuted the track live at the Radio Disney Music Awards, which aired on Disney Channel on Sunday (27).
Grande soared onto the Billboard 200 at No. 1 in September with her debut album “Yours Truly.” The set has sold 421,000 in the U.S. to date. Her introductory single, “The Way,” featuring Mac Miller, reached No. 9 on the Hot 100 and has sold 2 million downloads. Azalea, meanwhile, blasted 37-18 on last week’s Hot 100 with her breakthrough hit “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX. Azalea’s album “The New Classic” is set to debut, possibly at No. 2, on this week’s Billboard 200, details of which will be revealed on Billboard.com tomorrow.
As we wait for Grande’s grand Hot 100 entrance, also check Billboard.com tomorrow for highlights of this week’s chart, where Pharrell Williams will seek a 10th week at No. 1 with “Happy.”
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield