Week Ending Feb. 17, 2013. Songs: “Harlem Shake” Debuts At #1
“Harlem Shake,” the viral smash by Brooklyn producer Baauer, enters the Hot 100 at #1 this week. It’s the 21st song to debut at #1 since 1995, but the first by an artist who was unknown prior to charting. Three early American Idol contestants (Clay Aiken, Fantasia and Carrie Underwood) debuted at #1 with their first chart singles, but they were, by that point, household names. Likewise, Lauryn Hill debuted at #1 with her first solo chart hit, but she had reached #2 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart as the featured singer on Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly.”
By contrast, Baauer (real name: Harry Rodrigues) was unknown to the general public just a couple of weeks ago. Last week, “Harlem Shake” entered Hot Digital Songs at #123, with sales of 18K. This week, it vaults to #3 on that chart, with sales of 262K.
Baauer is the beneficiary of a major shakeup in Hot 100 methodology. You Tube streaming data is being counted for the first time. Nielsen will count all official videos on YouTube, including Vevo on YouTube, as well as user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio. That information joins these other factors that are already part of the chart mix: digital download track sales (and physical singles sales, where applicable), terrestrial radio airplay, on-demand audio streaming and online radio streaming.
The move appears to be a reaction to the fact that PSY’s “Gangnam Style” stalled at #2 on the Hot 100 last fall, even though it created more of a stir than the song that kept it out of the #1 spot for seven straight weeks—Maroon 5’s “One More Night.” (Thanks to the change in methodology, “Gangnam Style” rebounds from #48 to #26 in its 24th week. Meanwhile, “One More Night” drops from #21 to#34 in its 35th week.)
“Harlem Shake” would have ranked in the top 15 on the Hot 100 just based on its strong digital sales tally, according to Billboard, but its tremendous YouTube success pushed it to #1. The video amassed 103 million views, according to YouTube.