These days, the music economy moves so fast that sometimes a song can start to become a hit before it’s even a fully-formed song at all.
That’s what happened with the latest single from David Guetta and Bebe Rexha, “I’m Good (Blue),” which started to bubble up on TikTok after a snippet of the song went viral even before a final version of it existed. But once the song began to gain traction, the Warner Music Group — to whom Guetta is signed through Big Beat/Atlantic Records & Parlophone U.K.; and Rexha through Warner Records — jumped into action, with its global marketing team pushing it in key markets and helping the song leap into the top 10 of both of Billboard’s global charts in just its second week, rising to No. 6 on the Global 200 and No. 5 on the Global Excl. U.S. charts. And that success so far helps earn Warner Recorded Music president/CMO Eric Wong the title of Billboard’s Executive of the Week.
The song’s global success is heralding its growth on the U.S.-based Hot 100, where the song currently sits at No. 46, while its global streams ballooned by 59% in its second week, to 36.9 million, earning both artists their first top 10 on the Global charts. Here, Wong explains the global strategy the label used to push the track in key markets and what they have in store moving forward. “This song is a great example of how we can leverage the power of our global network to take a social moment and turn it into a smash hit,” he says. “It’s really amazing what we can accomplish and deliver for our artists when we’re in sync as one Warner team.”
David Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Good (Blue)” reached the top 10 on both of Billboard’s global charts this week, hitting No. 6 on the Global 200 and No. 5 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart. What key decision did you make to help make that happen?
It was a truly global effort involving many teams across Warner’s offices and labels. My main role here was acting quickly to mobilize those teams and maximize the moment. The song is a banger, so fans picked up on it and it was an organic beginning. But, as both are Warner Music artists, it is our job as their label to make sure that that beginning doesn’t lose steam. We strategically helped promote the song in key dance-heavy territories to drum up excitement and anticipation ahead of the release of the full track. I have to credit Bart Cools (executive vp of global A&R and marketing, dance music, Warner Recorded Music) over in Europe for being in lockstep with David, as his A&R and champion for decades. He flagged that the song was bubbling very early, and the rest is history.
How has the track picked up globally so quickly, rising to the top 10 in just its second week on each chart?
It was no accident. When we saw the song buzzing on TikTok, we immediately jumped into action, first promoting it in territories where we saw the most organic traction. When David and Bebe posted to their own channels, our central global marketing team and the Parlophone U.K. team worked to get visibility around those moments across Europe and the U.S. This was before we even had a final version of the track complete, but we were paying close attention and we knew it was something special.
At the same time, Karen Kwak (Warner Records’ executive vp/head of A&R) worked closely with Bebe and her team to get the record finished quickly. We knew fans were eager to hear the full track and we had great global momentum leading into the official release. Once we had the track, it was all about being thoughtful in where we amplified it — which was a mix of markets where the data showed it was resonating and markets where dance music generally does well.
The song first hit No. 1 in consumption in Norway and Finland, followed by Sweden, then Canada, the U.K., Denmark, Belgium and Ireland – and it’s now No. 3 on Spotify’s global chart with no signs of slowing down. Both artists are also heavily leaning into the moment and we’re seeing short-form video content creations steadily rising.
The song’s interpolation of Eiffel 65’s “Blue” makes it the latest song with a distinctive interpolation to make big waves on the charts and at streaming. How does something like that help a song find an audience?
The interpolation of a familiar sound can definitely help fast-track some listeners, especially if they have a memory associated with the song. But it’s still a totally new and exciting song in its own right. For this track, I think the anthemic lyrics are really what’s resonating with fans.
How does this song’s success fit into Warner’s global strategy?
This song is a great example of how we can leverage the power of our global network to take a social moment and turn it into a smash hit. It’s really amazing what we can accomplish and deliver for our artists when we’re in sync as one Warner team. We’ve seen similar success recently with the likes of Anitta (“Envolver”), Lizzo (“About Damn Time”), Ckay (“Love Nwantiti”) and Gayle (“ABCDEFU”), to name a few.
What have you taken away from the song’s global success that you can use in future campaigns moving forward?
Time is of the essence. Being able to move fast when we saw the initial reaction to the song was crucial. I talked about the global piece, but I don’t want to understate the importance of being agile, being nimble and adapting quickly with the moment.
How else can you continue to push the song from here?
Right now we’re focusing on growing the song in Latin America and Asia, and with the official music video set to release we’ll have another injection on top of more short-form content. It’s a great moment for David and Bebe as they both have new music lined up.