For the third straight year, Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 pop-funk classic “September” had a massive spike in on-demand audio streams and digital download sales on the date of Sept. 21, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
With communal celebration of the Sept. 21st date mentioned in the song’s opening lyrics (“Do you remember/ The 21st night of September”) seemingly growing every year — including an different new viral video posted annually by writer/comedian Demi Adejuyigbe on Twitter, always finding bigger and more ambitious ways to commemorate the date — on-demand audio streams of the song rose from 340,000 on Sept. 20th to 1,187,000 on the 21st, a gain of 249%.
That builds on the rise the song experienced on Sept. 21st in 2019 (383,000 to 1,017,000, a gain of 265%) — though it’s less than the spike the song saw on Sept. 21st in 2018 (292,000 to 1,107,000, a gain of 279%), albeit with the highest on-demand stream total of any of the three years. (Nielsen Music/MRC Data does not have day-to-day stream totals available for the September dates prior to 2018.)
Meanwhile, the song also jumped a whopping 622% in day-to-day sales, from a negligible figure on Sept. 20 to 2,000 on Sept. 21st. That’s a bigger leap than the hikes in sales “September” saw on the 21st in 2019 (up to 3,000, a 473% gain) or 2018 (up to 4,000, a 563% gain) — although the total sales are down, likely due to digital download sales continuing to slide across the board every year.
The full-week sales spike for “September” also results in the song re-entering Billboard‘s Digital Song Sales chart at No. 19 for the chart dated Oct. 3 — a new high for the song, which originally peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1979. It’s the third week on the Digital Song Sales chart for “September,” after it first debuted at No. 26 two years ago on the chart dated Oct. 6, 2018, and then re-entered the following year at No. 25 on the chart dated Oct. 5, 2019. (The song also rises 18-4 on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales this week, another new peak.)
On Billboard‘s multi-metric charts, “September” also makes its first bow on the Billboard Global 200 (based off global streams and downloads), debuting at No. 113. That’s the highest a 20th-century song has ranked thus far on the still extremely new chart; Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” released in 1975, had previously notched a high of No. 131 on the first-ever Billboard Global 200 listing, dated Sept. 19.
This year’s version of Adejuyigbe’s “September”-celebrating video has thusfar racked up a whopping 2.2 million views on Twitter, as well as 665,000 views on Instagram. The video includes a message from its creator at the end that claims he will cease to do the annual Sept. 21 videos after this year (his fifth) unless viewers help raise $50,000 for a combination of causes he championed. Turnout for the charity page was so massive that it crashed the entire Action Network website, and eventually raised over $300,000 for Adejuyigbe’s causes.
— demi adejuyigbe (@electrolemon) September 21, 2020
Sept. 21 isn’t the only annual date that “September” sees a large rise in consumption: The song also sees regular bumps on the 1st of the titular month each year, including a jump in on-demand audio streams from 307,610 to 484,046 this Sept. 1st (up 57.4%) and in sales from 160 to 595 (up 271.9%).