For the first time in the three-decade history of Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay chart, two soloists in lead roles on a song hit No. 1.
The song marks MGK’s first Alternative Airplay ruler. Having shifted from rap to a rock sound, he previously peaked at a No. 2 best with “Bloody Valentine” in September.
Blackbear, meanwhile, snags his first Alternative Airplay No. 1 as a lead artist, having also reached No. 1 as featured on All Time Low‘s “Monsters” last year. The song dominated for 18 weeks and ranks at No. 3 on the latest list, having placed inside the top five continuously since August.
While solo artists are becoming more prominent on Alternative Airplay after a lengthy period dominated by bands, “Friend” marks the first No. 1 by two soloists billed as lead artists in the history of the chart, which began in 1988. In fact, the song is only the third leader by two soloists at all; Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” featuring Kimbra, ruled for 12 weeks in 2012, after Chad Kroeger’s “Hero,” featuring Josey Scott, led for three weeks in 2002.
“Friend” is the second song by soloists to top Alternative Airplay already in 2021, following Billie Eilish‘s “Therefore I Am” for a week in February. In 2020 and 2019, five songs by solo acts hit No. 1 in each year, tying the record established in 1989 and repeated in 1992.
Concurrently, “Friend” holds at its No. 2 high on the all-rock-format, audience-based Rock & Alternative Airplay chart with 5.3 million audience impressions, up 1%, according to MRC Data. The song continues to earn crossover airplay, reaching the Pop Airplay top 10 (11-10) and lifting 30-29 on Adult Pop Airplay. On the all-format Radio Songs chart, it jumps 20-16 with 33.2 million impressions, a boost of 7%.
The track is the latest single from MGK’s Tickets to My Downfall, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in October. To date, it’s earned 754,000 equivalent album units.