Week Ending March 10, 2013. Songs: The Record-Setter That Isn’t #1
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, which last week became the first song in digital history to top 300K in weekly sales eight times, breaks its own record this week, topping 300K for a ninth week. (It sold 306K copies this week.) “Thrift Shop” is #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the ninth straight week. It’s the first song to log that many weeks at #1 since the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” which held on for 10 weeks in 2009. In addition, “Thrift Shop” jumps to #1 on the all-genre Radio Songs chart, dethroning Taylor Swift’s mass-appeal smash “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” which had been #1 for four weeks.
With all that going for it, “Thrift Shop” really should be #1 on the Hot 100 as well. Instead, it holds at #2 for the fourth week behind Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” The reason, of course, is that Billboard altered its chart formula three weeks ago to incorporate YouTube streaming activity. “Harlem Shake” is #1 on Streaming Songs, with 48 million streams this week. That’s a little more than five times as many as second-ranked “Thrift Shop” (9.2 million streams). Still, the streaming tally for “Harlem Shake” is down from its peak. The song amassed 54 million streams last week and 98 million the week before.
Still, it’s hard not to think that the YouTube factor is being over-weighted. Consider these facts:
“Harlem Shake” has yet to crack the 75-position Radio Songs chart. Billboard’s Gary Trust reports that “Harlem Shake” is the first #1 on the Hot 100 that (at least so far) has failed to crack the Radio Songs chart since Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud” in July 2006. Hicks’ song was released on the heels of his coronation as that season’s American Idol champ. (No offense to Hicks, but that’s not a chart comparison that will give encouragement to anyone in Baauer’s camp.)
“Harlem Shake” lost 11% of its overall Hot 100 chart points this week, which was a bigger drop-off than “Thrift Shop,” which lost 4% of its overall points. Still, don’t expect an immediate reversal of their positions. Trust reports that “Harlem Shake” still has a two-to-one lead over “Thrift Shop” in overall points. (The margin had been about 3-1/2 to one in each of the first two weeks that “Harlem Shake” topped the Hot 100.)