Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what’s on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.
This week, Atlantic Records senior vp pop and rhythmic promotion John McMann returns to discuss the label’s fast start in 2018, picking up where it left off in 2017 when, most notably, Atlantic reigned as the No. 1 label; Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars finished as the year’s top two artists, respectively; and, Sheeran’s “Shape of You” wrapped as the top Billboard Hot 100 song.
Less than a month into the new year, Atlantic’s fortunes remain robust, as, this week, Sheeran’s “Perfect” tops the Hot 100 for a sixth week and Mars and surging labelmate Cardi B blast 35-3 with their newly-remixed “Finesse,” originally a Mars solo song on his 2016 album 24K Magic.
As for how the collaboration came about, “He had talked about ‘Finesse’ from early on, and as singles got released [from 24K Magic], he always thought, ‘Maybe I can get to ‘Finesse’ as a single,” McMann says. To kick off 2018, “We wanted another Bruno single out there, he wanted to be continuing the reign of 24K Magic and he was really starting to fall in love with this phenom, Cardi B.
“He came up with the idea of, ‘She’s on fire and she’s a great complement to who I am as an artist with this song. Let’s see if it could work.’ He went in the studio with her and they just happened to nail it.”
McMann also muses about the potential arrival of Cardi B’s debut album and reveals that the next single from Sheeran’s album ÷ (Divide) is likely to be ballad “Happier,” potentially in early spring.
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