Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ Announcement & Rumored Relationship With Matty Healy Inspire Streaming Bumps
This week's Trending Up also looks at Florence + The Machine's Guardians gains and newly viral hits from Kali and Lil Mabu.
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: Taylor Swift spurs streaming gains via her recently announced new set of re-recordings and her rumored new relationship, the salad days have re-commenced for a ’10s alt-pop classic thanks to one of the year’s biggest movies, and plenty more.
Stream Now: Taylor Swift Spurs Gains for Original Recording of Her Next Taylor’s Version (And for The 1975)
Do fans of Taylor Swift – who currently has a whopping six of the top 25 on this week’s Billboard 200 albums chart as she takes over America with her Eras Tour – really need another reason to run through her catalog on DSPs this spring? Maybe not, but they’ve got one: With Swift’s live announcement at Friday night’s (May 5) Eras show in Nashville that her pivotal third album Speak Now would be the next up to receive her Taylor’s Version treatment of re-recordings and deluxe reissues, fans promptly flocked to the original album on streaming.
According to Luminate, the 17 tracks on Speak Now (including the three deluxe edition bonus cuts) combined for a whopping 6.7 million official on-demand U.S. streams last Saturday (May 6) – up from 2.8 million the day of the announcement, a 137% gain. Some of the tracks that more than doubled in streams included the top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit singles “Mine” (up 175% to to 567,000) and “Back to December” (up 124% to 598,000), as well as fan favorites “Mean” (up 107% to 481,000) and “Better Than Revenge” (up 141% to 411,000). “Enchanted,” the one track from Speak Now Swift has been playing at every Eras date, was only up 38% – but to 955,000, the biggest daily total for any song on the album.
And it wasn’t just her own catalog Swift was spurring consumption for the past week. Alt-pop provocateur Matty Healy also saw gains for his band, The 1975, following reports that began last Wednesday of his and Swift’s romantic involvement. (Healy also appeared on-stage during Phoebe Bridgers’ opening set at Swift’s Friday show, playing guitar on her “Motion Sickness.”) Streams for the band’s catalog were up 14% to 1.6 million for the following Thursday, as Swifties presumably worked out their feelings about their favorite artist’s (rumored) first publicized relationship following her split with long-time partner Joe Alwyn. – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Florence + the Machine’s ‘Dog Days’ Blasts Off Thanks to ‘Guardians Vol. 3’
“The superhero obsessed little girl in me can’t believe it happened,” Florence Welch posted on Monday (May 8), in a caption to a TikTok clip in which the Florence + The Machine leader tears up while watching the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – which happens to be soundtracked by her song, “Dog Days Are Over.” The rousing indie-rock anthem became a crossover hit for Welch and her U.K. outfit upon its 2008 release, pushing to No. 21 on the Hot 100 – and a decade and a half later, the Guardians synch is quickly returning “Dog Days Are Over” to the public consciousness.
Much like Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” exploded in streams after being used as a dramatic device in Stranger Things last year, “Dog Days Are Over” is gaining momentum thanks to a needle drop in Guardians, placed via Universal Music Publishing Group, in which several characters dance to the song in the climactic scene. The Marvel Studios film, which serves as the final installment in the Guardians trilogy, is already a box office juggernaut, already grossing over $300 million worldwide since its release last Friday (May 5).
“Dog Days Are Over” was pulling in around 250,000 daily U.S. on-demand streams prior to the film’s release, and that total increased over 40% from Thursday to Friday, when the song earned 363,000 streams, according to Luminate. The song kept growing across the film’s opening weekend at the box office, earning 467,000 streams on Sunday.
The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has been one of Marvel’s most successful with music releases, thanks to the role that a mixtape of throwback hits plays in the narrative arc of the hero Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1, which featured songs ranging from Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” to The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” topped the Billboard 200 in 2014 and became the fifth biggest-selling album of that year; the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 peaked at No. 4 in 2017.
Florence + the Machine released its fifth album, Dance Fever, last year, and a world tour in support of the project continues later this month in Brazil. Until then, Welch can enjoy the “Dog Days” revival, and consider a repeat viewing of the latest Guardians. “So I cried all the way through this movie but when the The Guardians of the Galaxy started dancing to Dog Days I really lost it,” she wrote. “Thank you so much for all the love for this moment.” – JASON LIPSHUTZ
Kali’s “Area Codes” Goes Nationwide
In 2001, Ludacris and the late great Nate Dogg had the entire country memorizing countless three-digit numerals with their unforgettable map-traversing collab “Area Codes.” Two decades later, the song’s title and spirit have been revived – with a gender-flip twist – courtesy of the Atlantic-signed Georgia rapper Kali, who lays her freaky tales (and a matter-of-fact version of the original’s classic “I got hos/ In different area codes” hook) over the track’s knocking, stripped down beat.
Helped by a fun, high school-set music video and – of course – explosive popularity as a sound for TikTok lip syncs, Kali’s “Area Codes” has begun to take off on streaming. The track has climbed steadily over the past four weeks, swelling from just over 2 million official on-demand U.S. streams for the tracking week ending April 13 to over 3.7 million the week ending May 4, an 81% gain, according to Luminate. It’s got a while to go before threatening the No. 24 peak of the original “Area Codes,” but if it keeps growing like this, it’ll be in the same district soon enough. – AU
Lil Mabu’s ‘Mathematical’ Streams are Adding Up to a Hit
Matthew Deluca, better known as the teenage drill rapper Lil Mabu, ends his latest punchline-heavy single with the declaration, “I can’t take a break ‘til Mabu is a household name.” “Mathematical Disrespect” is helping him reach that high bar: the sub-two-minute freestyle has been taking off in streams over the past few days, thanks in part to an effects-laden music video posted to his YouTube page and its 824,000 subscribers last Thursday (May 4).
Filmed in front of the Manhattan bridge, the clip finds Mabu accentuating his similes with colorful graphics and ultra-animated facial expressions; the video has reached a No. 2 peak on YouTube’s U.S. Trending Videos chart, and garnered 3.6 million views to date. Meanwhile, “Mathematical Disrespect” is quickly gaining in daily plays – from 80,000 U.S. on-demand streams upon its release last Thursday to over 900,000 streams on Sunday, according to Luminate.
As a Manhattan prep school student, Lil Mabu doesn’t boast the type of street cred that has helped define this wave of drill – but if his numbers keep ticking up, he’s going to make rap fans take “Disrespect” seriously. – JL
Q&A: Julie Rene Tran, Co-Founder of Marketing Company ĐẶC BIỆT, on What’s Trending Up in Her World
ĐẶC BIỆT has had a notable history of AAPI Heritage Month Initiatives. How did the company approach 2023?
As a Vietnamese-American, first generation owned marketing company, it is ingrained in our ethos and identity to root for underrepresented artists. ĐẶC BIỆT pushes the boundaries and advocates for Asian artists every day. We see Asian American Heritage Month in May as an important time of the year to stand with our community and highlight the amazing AAPI artists we work with, as well as create more challenging, thoughtful dialogues around Asian American representation. AAPIHM is also a good time to assess the cultural climate and question, is there an abundance of opportunities? How receptive is the industry? It’s a meter to see how far we are progressing and how much further we need to go.
One aspect we were especially adamant about this year was making sure that there is diversity in representation even within our own community. While Asian representation as a whole helps open doors overall, there are specific nuances around the Asian American experience. We want to make sure that there is an understanding of that and that we are educating the media, the industry, our communities, that there is a difference. We are also making sure that we’re championing a plethora of narratives, hearing from Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders, queer voices and more, and celebrating how incredible, special and diverse our community is.
We’ve had a hand in impactful AAPIHM initiatives in the past, such as NPR’s first AAPI Heritage Month Tiny Desk Concert last year. We’re continuing to set the stage for our artists, but accountability is also important in our approach, as we want to ensure that the partnership’s support is fruitful beyond the month of May and that this is something that can be built upon for the rest of the year. We also want to make sure the main reason why someone wants to support our artists is because they’re talented, because they’re making an impact within their own community, because they have incredible music, something incredible to say, and not simply because they’re Asian, or that they fit into the agenda of whatever that needed to be done for May.
Why are these AAPIHM initiatives still critical within the music industry?
It wasn’t long ago that Asians were seen as marketable to the American public and that has severely plagued many industries, especially music. I believe the percentage of Asian American artists signed to a major label is in the single digits. ĐẶC BIỆT has had great privilege to be part of many firsts, from working with Jay Park, who was the first Asian American signed to a major label, to 88rising, who is the first of their kind. We are now supporting keshi as he challenges the status quo and breaks even more new grounds. In the last five years, we have seen a lot of firsts, in music, Hollywood, literature, and while it’s wonderful to celebrate milestones, I do look forward to Asians not as outliers in these spaces. The hard reality is, all of this is new and there’s still a lot of convincing on why we matter. The general public is just starting to see and hear us outside of what they’ve been used to and some may have never seen us at all. These AAPIHM initiatives are integral to the larger, year-round efforts in generating more opportunities for Asian Americans.
The representation of Asian artists within U.S. popular music has greatly expanded over the past half-decade. How have you experienced that shift, and what needs to be done in the coming years?
When I was a publicity intern a decade ago, I assisted on the press campaign for L’arc-En-Ciel, who at the time, made history as the first Japanese act to headline Madison Square Garden. This moment showed me how important representation is, because until then, I didn’t even think working with Asian artists was possible. It would take another five years before I got to work with Asian artists again, and a few more to start a company that’s rooted in Asian representation. There has never been a point of reference, no blueprint, for our work, just a lot of figuring it out and a lot of convincing as to why Asian artists are worthy and why anyone should “take a risk” on us.
We are now seeing the world more receptive to Asian artists, because the world has greatly changed in the last five years. Black Lives Matter happened, we experienced a pandemic. It’s led people to become more open-minded, listening to music outside of their native languages and cultural backgrounds. The work itself has not gotten easier, it is still an incredible challenge to push Asian American artists, but to work with an artist like keshi, who is also Vietnamese-American, is something I never fathomed would happen, ever. To watch him perform on late night TV, sell out two nights at Radio City Music Hall and the Greek Theater, is surreal. It is proof that we are here and we have to keep at it.
Fill in the blank: through the end of 2023, the ĐẶC BIỆT team is excited to focus on _______.
Our community. We are dedicated to creating new avenues for our artists and sharing our experience and resources, particularly around diversity and inclusion, not just within the music industry but to anyone who needs our expertise. We have over a decade of experience of breaking down doors and we are here to continue helping others cut through the noise. – J.L.
Season’s Gainings: May the Streams Be With You
As any nerd worth their midi-chlorians can tell you, May 4th is now officially recognized as Star Wars Day, thanks to the date’s homophonous connection to the series’ signature phrase. Thousands of fans commemorated the occasion by streaming the franchise’s greatest musical hits, including John Williams’ original theme (up 917% to 19,000 daily official on-demand U.S. streams) and Meco’s chart-topping discofied medley “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” (up 512% to 8,000), and even “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Phantom Menace-themed “American Pie” parody “The Saga Begins” (up 76% to 27,000). Trekkies will have to wait until Sept. 8 for their chance to respond with Alexander Courage and Jerry Goldsmith streams of their own. — AU