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: The Queen’s death spurs a flurry of related gains on streaming, The Weeknd returns to top 40 with an unexpected hit and both Tyler Childers and Omar Apollo ride TikTok virality to — possibly — their first crossover hits.
Her Majesty Trends From Day to Day
Queen Elizabeth II’s death last week was global news, prompting millions to go into deep mourning, while many others pointed to the monarch’s checkered cultural legacy. But whether they were grieving her or thumbing their nose at her memory, many headed to streaming services to play related rock songs, resulting in huge bumps for a number of Queenly tracks.
The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead,” a commonly cited track on social media the past week, saw one of the biggest gains, jumping from over 6,000 official on-demand U.S. streams on Wednesday (Sept. 7) to over 114,000 on Thursday, the day of the Queen’s passing – a 1,687% jump, according to Luminate. Also spiking day-to-day were the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” (under 11,000 to over 81,000, a 650% gain) The Beatles’ “Her Majesty” (under 1,000 to nearly 3,000, 269%) and The Stone Roses’ “Elizabeth My Dear” (under 500 to nearly 1,500, 224%).
Less profound, however, was the impact on streaming consumption for the band Queen, whose catalog only saw a small uptick, from just under 3.3 million on-demand U.S. audio streams on Sept. 7 to just over 3.4 million on Sept. 8 – about a 4% gain. – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
The Weeknd’s New (Old) Radio Hit
A couple months ago, we wrote about how two TikTok-boosted album cuts from The Weeknd’s 2016 LP Starboy were actually generating the most online interest for the superstar this summer – even though he’d released his new Dawn FM full-length just a half-year earlier. While “Die for You” and the Lana Del Rey-assisted “Stargirl Interlude” were both enjoying healthy streaming bumps by July, “Die for You” has officially crossed over as something of a new hit for the Republic artist, with radio fully catching on to the online activity of the synth-drenched torch song.
“Die for You” is up two spots to No. 31 on this week’s Pop Airplay chart, with a 32% gain in plays in the week ending Sept. 11, according to Luminate. Among all stations that report to Billboard’s Radio Songs chart, the track surged by 44% to 3.1 million audience impressions in that span. Meanwhile, its streaming numbers continue to grow — it’s up 7 percent this week, to just shy of 8 million weekly U.S. on-demand streams — and by jumping up 17 spots to No. 52 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100, “Die for You” is threatening to overtake its original peak of No. 43, when Starboy was released in 2016.
Dawn FM, which was released in January, did produce a radio hit in lead single “Take My Breath,” which peaked at No. 8 on Pop Airplay and No. 6 on the Hot 100. But right now, The Weeknd’s biggest hit on either chart is a song that’s six years old — a revival even Kate Bush would likely be impressed with. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
Tyler Childers Soundtracks ‘All’ the Ways His Fans Want to Be Loved
Americana artist Tyler Childers is experiencing a new bump in streams after a pitched-up version of his heartfelt song “All Your’n” (from 2019’s Country Squire album on Hickman Holler/RCA) caught fire on TikTok recently. Users, mostly young women, are using the tune to soundtrack clips that start with the caption “you’re so hard to please” in quotation marks. After, the user will share images and videos of simple ways they want to be loved by a romantic partner or friend. Flowers are the most common want from the video makers – along with love notes, movie nights, FaceTime calls, and more.
But not all the posts are so serious. One user, for example, followed the same trend, but shared a photo of herself with a twelve pack of Michelob Ultras. Another jokingly shared photos of designer bags, yachts, mansions and other luxury items. Other posts include hiking and nature videos and romantic couples videos made to “All Your’n.” All this has led up to the track steadily gaining in U.S. on-demand streaming over the past month – most recently hiking 19.9% in official on-demand U.S. streams from the chart week ending Sept. 1 (2.5 million) to the week ending Sept. 8 (3 million), according to Luminate. – KRISTIN ROBINSON
Has Omar Apollo Found His Crossover Single?
Alt-R&B singer-songwriter Omar Apollo has become a critical darling this year thanks to debut album Ivory, which earned raves upon its release on Warner in April. With its powerhouse vocals, funk-adjacent grooves and impressive list of collaborators (The Neptunes, Kali Uchis, Daniel Caesar), Ivory has helped Apollo land late-night TV performances and headline a tour across North America. Soon, he might have a breakthrough hit, too.
“Evergreen,” the swaying soul highlight in Ivory’s back half, has been lifted up on TikTok, thanks to a trend built around the song’s emotional climax in the bridge (“You know you really made me hate myself / Had to stop before I break myself / Shoulda broke it off to date myself / You didn’t deserve me… at all, at all, at all”). With users lip-synching to Apollo’s angst, “Evergreen” is up a whopping 356% week-over-week at streaming, with 1.29 million U.S. on-demand streams during the week ending Sept. 8, according to Luminate. Although Ivory debuted at No. 152 on the Billboard 200 earlier this year, Apollo has yet to have a solo song bow on a Billboard chart — that may change if this trend keeps growing. – JL
Q&A: Charlie Cook, VP Country Format at Cumulus, on What’s Trending Up in His World
As we enter the home stretch of 2022, what country radio trend has helped define the year for you?
While the labels have been frustrated with the length of time it takes for a song to get daytime airplay and find its way up the chart, we have found that the longer the better for audience acceptance.
Are there any artists you’re keeping an eye on that you think will be in greater rotation in the near future?
Lainey Wilson is the next superstar for the format. Bailey Zimmerman, Nate Smith – Mitchell Tenpenny is back in the discussion, and I think Jackson Dean has some juice. I have heard some of his next material.
Which song that’s been bubbling up over the past few months do you think is ready for a breakthrough?
“Pick Me Up” by Gabby Barrett, “Everything She Ain’t” by Hailey Witters and “Man Made” by Matt Stell.
Fill in the blank: before the end of 2022, country fans will be surprised by ________.
The new crop of artists moving into the mainstream and taking over their favorite radio station playlists. – JL
Trending Back Then: The MTV Generation Was on the Rise in ‘82, But ‘70s Rockers Still Ruled the Hot 100
Conventional wisdom might have you believe that MTV rendered the dinosaur rockers of the 1970s extinct essentially on impact in Aug. 1981 – but even a year later, the upper stretches of the Hot 100 was still littered with Me Decade survivors. The chart dated Sept. 11, 1982 was led by ‘70s hitmakers Chicago (“Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” their second of three No. 1s) and also included Steve Miller Band (“Abracadabra,” No. 3), Fleetwood Mac (“Hold Me,” No. 7), Crosby, Stills & Nash (“Wasted on the Way,” No. 9) and even Boomer Rock GOAT Paul McCartney (“Take It Away,” No. 10) in the top 10. Even the newer acts in that week’s top tier 40 years ago – Survivor, Air Supply, two John Cougar appearances – hardly spoke to the rise of the visually minded new wave and megapop artists breaking out contemporaneously on the MTV airwaves.
Those artists were there, though. They were a little lower in the rankings, but slowly rising: including Men at Work (“Who Can It Be Now,” No. 15), Billy Idol (“Hot in the City,” No. 23), Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (“Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” No. 29) and possibly the most paradigmatic artist of the period, A Flock of Seagulls (“I Ran (So Far Way),” No. 30). – AU