Week Ending March 25, 2012. Songs: For fun. And Profit
"We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae this week surpasses Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" as the best-selling song so far in 2012. "We Are Young" has sold 2,389,000 copies so far this year, compared to 2,246,000 for "Stronger." "We Are Young" also surpasses "Stronger" as the year's longest-running #1 hit on the Hot 100. This is the fourth week on top for "We Are Young," compared to three weeks for "Stronger."
This is also the fourth week in a row that "We Are Young" has sold 300K or more digital copies. Only four other songs in digital history have topped 300K in weekly sales four or more times. "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna leads the pack, having topped 300K five times. Flo Rida's "Right Round," "California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg and "E.T." by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West each topped that lofty plateau four times.
"We Are Young" sold 387K copies this week, which is its highest tally to date. This is the fifth straight week in which its sales have increased over the previous week. That's remarkable, because its sales were at a very healthy 291K when it began this streak.
This marks the 24th time that a song has sold as many as 387K digital copies in one week. But, as Billboard's Keith Caulfield points out, such massive sales are almost invariably triggered by one of three events: the song's initial release; Christmas, when fans with gift cards are on the hunt for songs to download; and the Grammys. How many songs have songs sold 387K without one of those three sales triggers? Just two: "We Are Young" and Flo Rida's "Right Round," which sold 460K copies in its second week in the week ending Feb. 22, 2009.
P.S. American Top 40 bleeps the word "higher" in the line "My friends are in the bathroom/Getting higher than the Empire State." That wouldn't have struck me as an objectionable line, especially in this day and age. I guess the show has a zero-tolerance policy on drug references. (It's easier to understand why show host Ryan Seacrest always refers to "Ni**as In Paris" as simply "Paris.")
Kelly Clarkson's former #1 hit "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" logs its fourth straight week at #2. In addition, it moves up to #1 on Billboard's the all-format Hot 100 Airplay chart (which is different than the Hot 100, which combines digital sales, radio airplay and on-demand streaming data). This is Clarkson's first #1 hit on the Airplay chart, which is remarkable because she is her 10th year as a hit-maker. She had previously climbed as high as #4 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, with "Since U Been Gone," "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Because Of You," all from 2005. American Idol was very fortunate to have had such a talented, versatile and likeable performer as its inaugural winner. It put the show on the right footing.
Katy Perry's "Part Of Me" enters the U.K. chart at #1 this week, five weeks after it debuted at #1 in the U.S. (It rebounds to #8 on this week's Hot 100.) It's Perry's third song to top the chart in both countries, following "I Kissed A Girl" and "California Gurls" (featuring Snoop Dogg). Only three other female solo artists have amassed three or more "transatlantic #1 hits." Madonna leads with five, followed by Rihanna with four and the late Whitney Houston, also with three. All of these women were born in the U.S., except Rihanna, who was born in Barbados.
"Part Of Me" is one of two songs in this week's top 10 to top the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. The other is Nicki Minaj's "Starships," which jumps to #5. It's Minaj's second top five hit as a lead artist. She hit #3 in August with "Super Bass."