Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up column, 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: Taylor Swift’s blockbuster Midnights bow comes with sparkling cross-platform numbers for its lead single and big gains for her back catalog, while Billie Holiday spawns an unlikely new TikTok trend and Halloween perennials begin to perk back up.
‘Anti-Hero’ Already Saving the Day at Radio
A new Taylor Swift album yielding a huge song debut on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week after its release shouldn’t be a surprise by now. After all, three of her previous four full-lengths — Folklore, Evermore, and the Taylor’s Version re-recording of Red — arrived with concurrent No. 1 bows on the Hot 100: “Cardigan,” “Willow” and “All Too Well (10-Minute Version)” each reached the top of the chart in their respective debut weeks. “Anti-Hero,” the lead single from latest Republic LP Midnights, has a great shot to both join those songs as another chart-topper for Swift – and surpass them all as her biggest chart hit in years.
That’s in large part because the slick, sardonic pop standout is off to an enormous start at radio, even compared to Swift’s last three No. 1 singles. “Anti-Hero” debuts on three radio charts — Pop Airplay (No. 23), Adult Pop Airplay (No. 19) and Adult Contemporary (No. 14) — after just three days of activity, from its Oct. 21 release through Sunday, Oct. 23. In those three days, “Anti-Hero” earned 16.1 million audience impressions from over 275 reporters to Billboard’s all-format Radio Songs chart, according to Luminate. Compare that to the 5.8 million impressions for “Willow” or the 4.7 million for “Cardigan” over their respective first three days — or the 286,000 of “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” across its full first week — and it’s clear that radio is very on board with Swift’s return to a more traditional pop sound.
Of course, the quick radio start for “Anti-Hero” comes in addition to blockbuster streaming numbers — over 30 million U.S. on-demands in its first three days, according to Luminate. Add up all of the harbingers of its big commercial debut and “Anti-Hero” very comfortably can announce: It’s me, hi, it’s the smash single, it’s me. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
Taylor Swift’s Back Catalog Soars, Before and After ‘Midnights’
Speaking of Swift’s streaming gains, the Oct. 21 release of Midnights was both preceded and followed by the superstar’s catalog earning renewed interest from fans eager to prepare themselves for the new album, then compare her latest opus to her others. After earning 56.9 million U.S. on-demand streams in the three days from Friday, Oct. 14, through Sunday, Oct. 16, according to Luminate, Swift’s catalog earned 64.6 million streams over the following three days – a 14% gain as Swifties celebrated the Midnights release week.
On Thursday, Oct. 20, the catalog jumped to 27.2 million daily streams — a 21% gain for Midnights Eve. And while Swift’s new album was the streaming focus for fans on the following day, they still clocked in nearly 23 million streams for her non-Midnights music last Friday, a 10% jump from the previous Friday. Swift turned the release of Midnights into a global event for fans, and they responded in kind by returning to their favorite older tracks in the days surrounding its unveiling. – JL
Odd TikTok Trend Brings Billie Holiday’s “Solitude” to the Masses
“Solitude” has a long history of re-popularizing itself. First, it was a popular recording by Duke Ellington in the 1930s; next, it reached its zenith with Billie Holiday’s rendition of the tune in 1952. More recently the tune was sung by Andra Day for the film the United States vs. Billie Holiday, and now it’s… become a meme on TikTok? While some users are still going back to the original Holiday audio, using the song to soundtrack cozy nights at home and baking videos, more videos come from a joke that the song has somehow inspired: users will go up to their friend, zooming in on old fashion-looking shoes they are wearing, saying, “oh s–t, they got the god d–n ‘in my solituuuude” (the “in my solitude” part sung in a mocking rendition of Holiday).
Regardless of whether or not it’s disrespectful to the jazz standard or just plain un-funny to you, the meme has given the Verve-reissued Holiday version of the song a major boost on streaming. “Solitude” posted nearly 649,000 official on-demand U.S. streams for the week ending Oct. 20 – a gain of over 85% from the previous week, according to Luminate. – KRISTIN ROBINSON
“Another” Bump for Tom Odell
British singer-songwriter Tom Odell’s heartbreak ballad “Another Love” was a major hit throughout Europe upon its release on Columbia a decade ago, making it to the top 10 of the U.K.’s Official Charts in early 2013, even as it mostly missed the charts stateside. But the song has been steadily growing once again over the past year thanks largely to its popularity on TikTok, and now it’s nearly as big a hit once more as it ever was: The song hits No. 10 on Billboard’s Global Excl. US chart this week in its 81st week, breezing past Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” for the longest-ever climb to the listing’s top 10.
The song is making waves over here this time, too: After climbing steadily in consumption for most of the past month, this week the song gets a more pronounced spike, gaining 19% to nearly 4 million in official on-demand U.S. streams for the week ending Oct. 20. The streaming activity sends the song to a new No. 19 peak on Billboard’s Hot Rock & Alternative Songs tally this week (chart dated Oct. 29), and even to No. 15 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Q&A: Alex Tear, VP Pop Programming SiriusXM + Pandora, on What’s Trending Up in His World
With 2022 nearly in the books, what do you think we’ll consider as the biggest story in pop music this year by the time it ends?
One of the biggest stories for us this year is Harry’s House. From “As It Was” to “Late Night Talking” and “Music For A Sushi Restaurant,” our HITS 1 listeners continue to rank Harry at the top. Lizzo & Doja Cat’s pop presence also needs to be respected, from Lizzo’s No. 1 “About Damn Time” and “2 Be Loved” to Doja’s collab with Post Malone, “I Like You (A Happier Song),” and recent hit with “Vegas.”
Which songs could you foresee dominating the final few months of the year and pushing into the new year?
We’re so excited for Sam Smith and Kim Petras: “Unholy” has shook year-end according to our HITS 1 listeners. Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” will close 2022 with a bang! Queen Bey’s “Cuff It” will also continue to do well and sounds great on SiriusXM.
Who’s one artist who made noise in 2022 that you think could have an even bigger 2023?
Sam Smith and Beyoncé, while giving honorable mention to Lil Nas X for 2023. Rihanna will also roll into the new year with a commanding presence!
Fill in the blank: in 2023, more programmers should be paying attention to __________.
Keeping the art and science present. The available resources to predict and measure music are abundant, it’s more important than ever to continue early human discovery to help shape, elevate, own and differentiate our brands with the next emerging artists. – J.L.
Season’s Gainings: Halloween Listening Starts Early
We hear a lot about how the Christmas season starts earlier every year – but before Mariah & Co. officially begin their takeover, we’re also seeing Spooky Season expanded well beyond the final week of October. Perennial Halloween favorites have been seeing huge gains since the end of September: Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash” has gained from 654,000 official on-demand U.S. streams and 700 digital sales for the week ending Sept. 22 to over 2.4 million streams and 2,000 sales four weeks later (gains of 270% and 197%, respectively), according to Luminate, while Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” raised from just over one million streams and 300 sales to just over three million streams and 1,200 sales (up 188% and 247%, respectively).
And then of course, there’s the daddy of them all: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which has re-entered the Hot 100 in eight of the past nine Halloween seasons – making it all the way back to No. 19 last year. We’ll see if it has enough juice to beat that position this year (or even threaten its original No. 4 peak, set back in 1984), but it’s already up to 3.6 million in streams and 1,700 in sales, gains of 129% and 181% from four weeks earlier. – AU