The first Verzuz battle of 2021 continued the series’ streak of providing considerable streaming gains for its participants, as Ashanti and Keyshia Cole’s catalog streams swelled after their showdown on Jan. 21.
According to MRC Data, the two R&B superstars combined for 11.3 million U.S. on-demand streams on the day of the contest and the following day, which typically also sees high streaming totals as fans relive the highlights for the late-night contests that usually end around 11 PM. ET. The swell was up 178% from their shared 4.1 million on the two days before the event, Jan. 19 and 20.
Of the 11.3 million streams, Cole’s songs accounted for 6 million of that sum, while Ashanti’s material made up the remaining 5.3 million.
“Foolish” was Ashanti’s highest-streamed song from the Jan. 21-22 period. The former No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, which spent 11 weeks on top, registered 542,000 U.S. on-demand streams for Jan. 21-22, up 119% from 248,000 on Jan. 19-20.
Here’s the rest of her top five previously released tracks:
Song Title, Artist (if other than Ashanti) – Streaming Total
“Foolish” – 542,000
“Baby” – 407,000
“Rock Wit U (Aww Baby)” – 349,000
“What’s Luv?,” Fat Joe featuring Ashanti – 347,000
“Rain on Me” – 308,000
In addition, the singer premiered a new single, “235 (2:35 I Want You),” during the proceedings. The release scored 536,000 U.S. streams in its first two days.
For Keyshia Cole, “Love” emerged as her strongest performer. The single, her first top 20 Hot 100 hit in 2006, generated 716,000 U.S. on-demand clicks, up 80% from 397,000 plays in the lead-up period.
Song Title, Artist (if other than Keyshia Cole) – Streaming Total
“Love” – 716,000
“Let It Go,” featuring Missy Elliott & Lil Kim – 525,000
“I Should Have Cheated” – 431,000
“Heaven Sent” – 376,000
“I Remember” – 366,000
Attendance for the popular Instagram series, which pits two performers or producers in a 20-round battle of their songs, cracked the seven-digit mark again. Instagram audience reached 6 million in total, the highest mark of the series yet, according to the platform’s posts on social media, with a high of 1.2 million concurrent viewers. 1.6 million attendees tuned in via Apple Music.
The viewership reveals fans’ dedication to seeing the showdown through after two previous postponements. Ashanti and Cole were first set to compete on Dec. 12, but the contest was canceled that evening when Ashanti revealed she had tested positive for COVID-19. The rescheduled session, for Jan. 9, was again pushed back due to COVID-19 concerns around having both artists in the same location. The Jan. 21 event had each singer and her team host from separate spaces.