Week Ending April 15, 2012. Songs: Gotye Beats Bieber
"Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra sold 542,000 copies last week, which constitutes the biggest one-week sales total in more than a year. It swipes the 2012 sales crown from Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," which sold 521K copies in its first week two weeks ago. This helps the song jump from #2 to #1 on the Hot 100, displacing "We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae.
This marks the first time that rock tracks have been back-to-back #1 hits on the Hot 100 since July 2000, when Matchbox Twenty's "Bent" followed Vertical Horizon's "Everything You Want."
TV exposure triggered the sales surge for "Somebody That I Used To Know." Gotye and Kimbra sang the song on Saturday Night Live on April 14. It was featured on Glee on April 10. The Glee version enters the Hot 100 at #26. Digital sales rank: #10 (152K).
You may recall that TV exposure was also instrumental in breaking "We Are Young," which exploded after it was featured in a commercial which aired during the Super Bowl. (Before that, the song had also been featured on Glee.)
Only three other songs in digital history have ever sold as many copies in one week as "Somebody That I Used To Know" does this week (and none was as deep into its run as Gotye's hit, which is in its 15th week of digital release.) Flo Rida's "Right Round" sold 636K in its first week in February 2009. Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" sold 610K copies in its 14th week in December 2009. Bruno Mars' "Grenade" sold 559K copies in its 13th week in December 2010.
"Somebody…" was #1 in the U.K. for five weeks in February and March. It's the second transatlantic #1 so far this year, following Katy Perry's "Part Of Me."
Gotye (real name: Wouter "Wally" De Backer) was born in Belgium and reared in Australia. Billboard's Gary Trust notes that Gotye is the first artist who was born in Belgium to reach #1 since the Singing Nun, who topped the chart for four weeks in December 1963 with "Dominique," a foreign-language hit that was an out-of-nowhere phenomenon. Kimbra (full name: Kimbra Johnson) is from New Zealand.
"We Are Young" sold 333K copies this week. This is the seventh time that its weekly sales have exceeded 300K. No other song in digital history has sold 300K more than five times.