Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up column, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.
This week: The much-anticipated release of blockbuster sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever leads to huge streaming gains for much of its soundtrack, while Aerosmith experiences a bizarrely 2022 revival for one of their signature hits and Patty Loveless enjoys a more old-fashioned sort of comeback.
‘Black Panther’ Box Office Mojo Is Translating Into Streaming Wins
Last weekend, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever blasted into movie theaters with a box office haul of $181 million in North America — good enough for the second-best debut of 2022. The accompanying soundtrack for the Black Panther sequel, released via Roc Nation/Def Jam/Hollywood Records, hasn’t thus far matched the chart success of the predecessor’s soundtrack. The original Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther album topped the Billboard 200 albums chart for three nonconsecutive weeks in 2018, whereas the new album (released on Nov. 4, one week before the movie premiered) debuted at No. 62 on this week’s Billboard 200. Yet the massive bow of the film is already boosting the streaming totals for some of the new set’s standout tracks — including its lead single, Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up.”
Rih’s first new solo single in six years debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 upon its release and slips to No. 22 on the chart this week, but was up 12% in daily U.S. on-demand streams on Friday, the day that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hit theaters, according to Luminate. Meanwhile, soundtrack highlights like Burna Boy’s “Alone,” Foudeqush and Ludwig Göransson’s “Con La Brisa” and ADN Maya Colectivo, Pat Boy, Yaalen K’uj and All Mayan Winik’s “Laayli’ kuxa’ano’one” posted daily gains of 122%, 484% and 347%, respectively, from Thursday to Friday.
Those streaming boosts mostly continued to swell over the weekend as Wakanda Forever played to packed theaters; meanwhile, “Born Again,” a second new Rihanna song from the soundtrack, was released to streaming services on Friday, and may debut on next week’s Billboard Hot 100. The combination of Rihanna’s long-awaited return and the film’s box office success could potentially help the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack gain real momentum after a relatively slow start. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
“Dream”s and Nightmares for Aerosmith on TikTok
Aerosmith’s power ballad “Dream On” has never drifted too far from pop culture’s center since first becoming a signature hit on Columbia for the band in the mid-’70s, enduring in the decades since as one of the classic rock staples of its era. Still, even Steven Tyler and Joe Perry have to be a little surprised by this latest revival: the song has become a fixture on TikTok recently, soundtracking a viral clip of video game character Kratos from the God of War series stepping off a cliff and plummeting dramatically, alongside a headline from an (unverified) news story about a boy who was found dead with his headphones playing “Dream On” on a six-hour loop.
The somewhat perverse tribute to the epic nature of the song’s climactic chorus has helped it once again capture new audiences – rising 55% in official on-demand U.S. streams, from under 2.8 million on the week ending Oct. 13 to nearly 4.3 million four weeks later, according to Luminate – and inspired a number of darkly comedic video imitations. – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
CMA Collab Marks Comeback for Patty Loveless and “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”
Chris Stapleton is certainly no stranger to breakout CMA Awards collaborations – his 2015 team-up with Justin Timberlake is often credited with helping to propel the country singer-songwriter to crossover stardom. At this year’s ceremonies, he returned the favor to an older, oft-underappreciated hitmaker: Patty Loveless, a five-time winner at the CMA Awards in the ‘90s, who has been mostly retired from performing and recording since 2009. But a live appearance alongside Stapleton at the Kentucky Rising benefit was well-received, and the two brought their act to the CMA stage last week for a duet on “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.”
The haunting country-folk ballad, originally written and recorded by Darnell Scott in 1997, was included on Loveless’ 2001 Epic album Mountain Soul, but never released as a single, so many CMA Awards viewers were likely hearing Loveless’ stirring rendition of the song (complemented by Stapleton’s unmistakably chesty vocals) for the first time. The song’s consumption on streaming has since spiked accordingly, with “Harlan” rising from under 22,000 on-demand audio streams for the week ending Nov. 3 to nearly 52,000 for the following week, according to Luminate – after just one day of post-CMAs tracking. More impressively, it also registered over 103,000 video views that week after less than 9,000 the week before – most in unofficial user-generated clips – likely due to viewers flocking to the internet to relive one of the most electric and buzzed-about award show performances of the early decade. – AU