How the Push for a ‘Longer Story’ Launched PinkPantheress & Ice Spice Into the Hot 100’s Top 5
"Timing and cultural appetite will always dictate the impact of a record," says 300 Entertainment vp of marketing Lallie Jones.
Rising British singer PinkPantheress has been gaining recognition with a set of mixtapes and EPs that have caught the attention of fans, and the U.K. charts, over the past few years. And while she had been bubbling under in the United States, she had yet to crack the Hot 100 until this month, when her single with Ice Spice, “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2,” went viral and debuted at No. 14 on the Hot 100 before rocketing to No. 4 this week. The track is the first Hot 100 Top 10 for both artists, as well as the first duet by two acts who are each making their first Hot 100 Top 10 appearance to reach that mark in only two weeks since February 2021.
The story of “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” started in November, when PinkPantheress’ original, solo version of the song was released and started gaining traction — where else? — on TikTok. A few months later, rising Bronx MC Ice Spice jumped on the remix and the two shot a video in New York City. Released Feb. 3, the “Pt. 2” remix exploded out of the gate, making waves not just in the United States but also globally; this week, it concurrently shot up to No. 4 on the Billboard Global 200. And that earns 300 Entertainment vp of marketing Lallie Jones the title of Billboard’s Executive of the Week.
Here, Jones discusses the viral spark that 300 — along with its Warner Records U.K. and global partners at Warner Music Group — managed to turn into a Top 5 hit, the differences between the U.S. and global marketing campaigns and the impact of radio jumping on the song, which led U.S. spins to increase 258% week over week. “One can embark on a release with what you think will and should happen, but timing and cultural appetite will always dictate the impact of a record,” she says. “The collision of PinkPantheress’ underground notoriety and mystique, mixed with Ice Spice’s ubiquity and virality, led to a pop culture explosion.”
This week, PinkPantheress and Ice Spice’s “Boy’s a liar, Pt. 2” surged to No. 4 on both the Hot 100 and the Billboard Global 200 charts. What key decisions did you make to help make that happen?
So much about this project has been a collaborative effort amongst PinkPantheress, her management and the global team across WMG. Our goal at 300 was to utilize the remix to broaden her already growing profile and further develop her reach Stateside. PinkPantheress’ music transcends genre, but it was important in the U.S. market to establish her as a Black artist creating on her own terms. As such, we strategically secured support from social accounts that could help accelerate the cultural conversation. We also targeted influential livestreamers and enlisted creators whose reaction videos propelled the track’s consumption. The official video also played a key role in setting this release on fire as the No. 1 trending video on YouTube for 11 straight days. PinkPantheress really wanted to step into Ice Spice’s world and film in NYC with the rising directors George and Fred Buford. Zak Boumlaki, her incredible marketing lead at Warner Records U.K., and I ensured the cast reflected youth and diversity that truly resonated.
The original “Boy’s a liar” was released in November. Why did you guys want to put out this remix, and how did it come together?
The original “Boy’s a liar” sound started to go crazy on TikTok in November, and once released, the track continued its viral trajectory throughout the holidays. The U.S. and U.K. teams pushed for an additional version, believing that the song deserved a longer story. It was PinkPantheress’ decision to enlist Ice Spice for the remix. Coincidentally, Ice Spice had posted the song on her IG stories, and PinkPantheress responded to it by asking if she’d like to team up.
The song has been a smash out of the gate, becoming the first duet by two acts each making their first Top 10 appearance on the Hot 100 to reach that mark in only two weeks since February 2021. What was the marketing plan behind it?
Leading up to release, the main marketing anchor was releasing a vibrant visual that placed the two artists in the same world. Initially, we wanted to keep the collaboration a surprise, with the intention of slowly teasing the partnership on both artists’ TikTok accounts. [But] snippets of them shooting together fueled a frenzy, and, even before the partnership was revealed, there was a bubbling conversation amongst their fans fantasizing about what would happen if the two actually came together. One can embark on a release with what you think will and should happen, but timing and cultural appetite will always dictate the impact of a record. The collision of PinkPantheress’ underground notoriety and mystique, mixed with Ice Spice’s ubiquity and virality, led to a pop culture explosion.
The song is not just No. 4 in the U.S., but also globally. How did the worldwide rollout plan differ from the U.S. plan?
In [the U.S.] market, we face the common challenge of tying the artist themselves to their music, especially when they’re not from here. While other markets might have impacted radio at launch, our plan was to first focus on setting the table culturally before pursuing a commercial radio push. We had the fortune of PinkPantheress being Stateside on release weekend and were able to capture her moving around with different artists, including her linking with Ice Spice throughout the weekend. Seeing her outside in the States is all part of her establishing a true U.S. presence.
The song has grown significantly in streams (up 54%) and radio airplay (up 258%) in just its second week out. How do you plan to keep the momentum going?
There’s no ceiling for this song or PinkPantheress as a writer, producer and artist. Despite its online ascension, the radio story is only beginning and the track will see a multi-format impact in March. Radio airplay will take the song’s consumption and visibility to the next level, positioning the track as one of the most popular anthems of the year. Alongside radio, the track will sustain momentum through thoughtful digital strategy, out-of-home campaigns, and her upcoming appearances at U.S. festivals this year. Following her gut and internal compass has resulted in PinkPantheress developing into one of the most intriguing artists of this time. Our North Star is protecting her brand and supporting her vision by pursuing only the right opportunities that will take her to new heights.