No red lights or stop signs are slowing down Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” which reaches the top 10 of Billboard‘s Pop Airplay chart in record-setting fashion.
Rodrigo’s first hit on any Billboard airplay chart surges from No. 20 to No. 10 in its third week on Pop Airplay (dated Feb. 6). It’s the first song by a woman with no prior history on a radio-based ranking to enter the Pop Airplay top 10 in three weeks or fewer in the survey’s 28-year history.
Just two other debut airplay chart entries have hit the Pop Airplay top 10 in as few as three weeks, both by groups in the 1990s: Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants,” in 1993, and Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping,” in 1997. The classics went on to dominate the chart for nine weeks each.
As previously reported, “License” has spent its first three weeks on the all-genre, airplay-, sales- and streaming-based Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 1. (Pop Airplay reflects weekly plays on over 160 mainstream top 40 radio stations.)
The smash by the 17-year-old singer-songwriter and actress, initially known for her roles in Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark and Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, has drawn 178.4 million U.S. streams and 64.9 million in airplay audience and sold 82,000 downloads since its Jan. 8 release on Geffen/Interscope Records, according to MRC Data.
“The Olivia Rodrigo train left the station so fast and furious, we had to jump on board,” says R Dub, director of programming for Pop Airplay reporter XHTZ San Diego. The station played “License” 49 times in the week ending Jan. 31.
Says Jeremy Rice, WBLI Nassau, N.Y., program director, “I noticed the consumption on day one and added it immediately. It’s probably the song of the year, and just a great pop song.”
“License” was the most-played title (104) on WBLI in the tracking week, making the station the only Pop Airplay panelist to rank the song at No. 1 in plays in that span.
In the Pop Airplay chart’s history, “License” is one of only 56 songs overall to hit the top 10 in just two or three weeks. (Of those, 43 have needed three weeks and a lucky 13 have reached the tier in just two, most recently Taylor Swift’s “Me!,” featuring Brendon Urie, in May 2019.)
With 1,410 total Pop Airplay top 10s to date, an elite 4% of all top 10s, a club that now includes “License,” have roared to the region in three weeks or fewer.
Says Rice, “You need to be aggressive with the right records, and this is a no-brainer.”