Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up newsletter, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.
This week: A Lady Gaga deep cut goes viral thanks to Netflix’s Wednesday — despite not being featured in the show — while a star trio’s ’00s R&B cover gets a big bump for the original, and Snoop Dogg does it for the kids.
Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary” Soars Over 400% in Streams Thanks to ‘Wednesday’
The streaming gains of The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck,” as covered in Trending Up last week, make perfect sense: the spooky-punk classic was used in a school dance sequence in Netflix’s smash new Addams Family revival Wednesday. With millions binging the show following its Nov. 23 premiere, “Goo Goo Muck” naturally received a healthy streaming bump by viewers eager to listen to the song that soundtracked Jenna Ortega’s limb-throwing dance moves.
Yet that school dance sequence is also helping Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary” make major moves… and Gaga’s Born This Way track (released on Interscope in 2011) isn’t even featured in Wednesday. Instead, TikTok users have figured out that speeding up “Bloody Mary” makes the electro-pop track synch perfectly with Wednesday’s off-kilter choreography, and are producing and liking hundreds of “Bloody Mary”/Wednesday clips as a result.
“Bloody Mary,” which was never released as a single from Born This Way, is up 415% in weekly U.S. on-demand streams for the week ending Dec. 1, cracking 2 million plays in that time frame, according to Luminate. “Slay Wednesday!” Mother Monster wrote on Twitter last Thursday (Dec. 1) to acknowledge the trend. “You’re welcome at Haus of Gaga anytime (and bring Thing with you, we love paws around here).” At the end of a year where TV and movie soundtrack hits were louder than ever on TikTok, it’s only fitting that we get a soundtrack hit fully born on the platform. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
The Weeknd & Metro Boomin Fans Can’t Keep Their “I Don’t Wanna Know” Listening on the Low
It might’ve been re-titled “Creepin’,” but any fan of ‘00s pop or R&B knew what the deal was by the end of The Weeknd’s first line. The song, taken from star producer Metro Boomin’s new Boominati Worldwide/Republic set Heroes & Villains, is a cover in all but name of Mario Winans’ cheated-on classic “I Don’t Wanna Know” (from his 2004 album Hurt No More on Bad Boy/Universal) with rap’s late-year-MVP 21 Savage handling the guest verse duties that belonged to Diddy on the original. Featured as the lead track on Spotify’s most recent New Music Friday playlist, “Creepin’” was one of the best-performing tracks on streaming over the weekend, and is currently leading the daily charts for both Spotify and Apple Music.
We’ll see next week what kind of early chances “Creepin’” has of matching or exceeding the chart heights of “I Don’t Wanna Know,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2004. But in the meantime, some of its streaming success has also spilled over to the song’s predecessor: Its daily official on-demand U.S. stream count rose from just under 50,000 on Dec. 1 (the day before “Creepin’”) to over 157,000 on Dec. 3 – a gain of 215%, according to Luminate. – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Raye Resets, Scores a Fast-Moving Viral Hit
“A little context, if you care to listen/ I find myself in a s–t position,” Raye sings early in her new single “Escapism,” featuring 070 Shake; the British pop artist is singing about an unexpected breakup and the drowning-of-sorrows that will follow, but Raye also found herself in a sticky situation last year when she publicly claimed that her label, Polydor Records, was refusing to release her long-completed debut album.
Now, Raye has a new deal with Human Re Sources/The Orchard, and a viral hit with “Escapism,” which has gotten the sped-up TikTok treatment and taken off as the soundtrack to various lip-syncs and rap-alongs following its Nov. 11 release. “Escapism” earned nearly 2 million U.S. on-demand streams in the week ending Dec. 1, according to Luminate – a 300% gain from the previous week. Raye has been featured on dance hits by David Guetta, Jax Jones and Major Lazer, but she may be entering 2023 with a fresh start and a hit as a lead artist – the opposite of a s–t situation, really. – JL
“Affirmation”s With Snoop Becomes a Surprise TikTok Trend
If you’ve ever felt like you needed some motivational pep talk from Tha Doggfather, it’s been quite the last couple weeks for you on TikTok, where the Snoop Dogg-fronted kids’ music project Doggyland has been taking off lately. “Affirmation Song” has been the biggest breakout track from its independently released Kids Hits, Vol. 1 project, with thousands of videos – most from adults, clearly still in need of a little positive reinforcement – being soundtracked by Snoop leading a chorus of kids in a series of the titular chants (“There is no one better to be but myself! Today is gonna be an amazing day!”) The song’s streaming performance has gotten an accompanying self-esteem boost, spiking 272% in official on-demand U.S. streams to 269,000 for the week ending Dec. 1, according to Luminate, and undoubtedly raising some label eyebrows about what other artists might be able to get into the viral kids’ music game. – AU
Q&A: Stephen Brower, Global Co-Lead of Artist Relations at Amazon Music, on What’s Trending Up in His World
What was the process for programming this year’s lineup of Amazon Original and cover holiday songs?
We always look to work with artists we know our Amazon Music customers love. Lizzo and Kane Brown have had massive success on Amazon Music, both throughout their careers and certainly with their 2022 album releases. Lauren Spencer-Smith is likewise an emerging artist that Amazon Music customers have been loving all year long. Working with each of them to find a holiday song that we thought holiday listeners on Amazon Music would discover and love was a fun process, and one we think will delight their fans on Amazon Music.
We also look to work with artists across different genres and styles of holiday music. If you’re an R&B fan, there’s an amazing Giveon Amazon Original for you to discover. If you love classical holiday music, Alexis Ffrench has delivered a beautiful song for you.
What have you noticed in terms of how Amazon Music users are interacting with holiday music in 2022 as opposed to previous years?
Our customers have found these new holiday Amazon Originals early this year, and certainly seem to be responding to these songs. We’re already seeing Originals on the Holiday 100, with Lauren Spencer-Smith at No. 51, Lizzo at No. 54 and Kane Brown at No. 58 on the chart. Both Lizzo and Lauren Spencer-Smith debuted on the Hot 100 this week, and Lizzo’s track is currently at No. 52 on the Official Charts (UK) Top 100 this week. That these songs are only available on Amazon Music — and are doing so well so early in December — shows how excited our customers are about holiday music and about these new Amazon Originals.
Every year, several artists try to launch new holiday songs as well as covers of classics, with only a few cutting through the clutter. What do you think is the biggest key to a successful new holiday song?
The beauty of holiday music, but also one of its challenges, is that having a holiday hit is really a long-term proposition. These songs only have a brief window of time to catch the public’s ear, but they have that window every year. Our 2018 Amazon Original from Katy Perry, “Cozy Little Christmas,” was certified platinum earlier this year, and now feels like one of those songs listeners are going to look for every year. I think something similar is happening with Carrie Underwood’s Amazon Original song “Favorite Time of Year” from 2020. Those songs have that magic quality of being both nostalgic and contemporary at the same time, which I think will be key to their timelessness.
With artists with whom we work to create new cover versions of classic tracks, I think a key is having something distinctive so that their new version can sit alongside an original or iconic version and not compete with it. Last year, Camila Cabello’s Amazon Original version of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” featured mariachi flourishes that felt totally authentic to her, and also gave her version something listeners would seek out alongside other versions of that song. This year, Lauren Spencer-Smith’s take on “Last Christmas” is as an emotional ballad, which gives a totally different feel than Wham!’s iconic version.
Fill in the blank: the biggest new trend in holiday music over the next few years will be _______.
Holiday versions of songs that aren’t otherwise tied to the season. In the U.K., Stormzy has released an Amazon Original holiday version of his current single “Firebabe” that customers are loving. We did something similar last year with the Amazon Original holiday version of Coi Leray’s viral smash “Twinnem.” I love both of those and think they really offer something unique to fans alongside songs that are more explicitly “holiday,” thematically. – JL
Seasons Gainings: Happy “Heather” Day
In between cleaning up from Thanksgiving and starting to hang your holiday decorations, did you make time to celebrate “Heather” Day? Maybe not, but plenty of Conan Gray fans surely did, with “Heather Day” trending all across social media on Dec. 3 – thanks to the date being mentioned in the 2020 hit ballad’s opening lyrics, “I still remember, the third of December, me in your sweater…” Plenty of commemorating took place across streaming services as well, with “Heather” (from Gray’s Republic-released Kid Krow album) rising 92% in daily official on-demand U.S. streams to over 914,000 on Dec. 3, according to Luminate – enough for the song to re-enter the Spotify Daily Top Songs USA chart at No. 62. – AU