Week Ending July 28, 2013. Songs: Radio Hesitates On One Direction
One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” enters the Hot 100 at #2, but that stat doesn’t tell you the whole story. The song is off to a fast start in terms of digital sales and streaming, but it has yet to catch fire at pop radio. The song enters Hot Digital Songs at #1 this week (and Streaming Songs at #2), but it has yet to crack the top 30 on the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart, which measures airplay at Top 40 stations around the U.S. (It jumps from #40 to #32 on that chart, which is also known as Pop Songs.)
Even though the boy band has avid fans, pop radio doesn’t seem to be convinced that they have broad-based or lasting appeal. Billboard’s Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust wrote this past week that, “Despite the group's high profile, top 40 radio has so far been hesitant to fully embrace One Direction. Their debut smash ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ rose to #3 on Pop Songs, but the act's next four chart entries prior to (the new single) peaked between #15 and #19. ‘Live While We're Young,’ for instance, reached #16 on Pop Songs…”
“Best Song Ever” is the first song to enter Hot Digital Songs at #1 since Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” which bowed at #1 in October 2012 with first-week sales of 416K. “Best Song Ever” sold 322K digital copies in its first week, which is a shade less than “Live While We’re Young,” which sold 341K copies in its first week (which was also in October 2012). That song also entered Hot Digital Songs at #1. One Direction is one of just four acts to top the Hot Digital Songs chart in both 2012 and 2013. The others? Swift, Bruno Mars and Nate Ruess of fun.
“Best Song Ever” samples The Who’s 1971 rock classic “Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland)” which never cracked (or even “bubbled under”) the Hot 100. (“Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Behind Blue Eyes” were the top 40 hits from the band’s Who’s Next album.)
“Best Song Ever” is One Direction’s third top five hit on the Hot 100, following “What Makes You Beautiful” (#4) and “Live While We’re Young” (#3). 1D is the first boy band to amass three top five hits since *NSYNC piled up five top five hits from 1999 to 2002.