Week Ending March 3, 2013. Songs: Is The Right Song #1?
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz this week becomes the first song in digital history to top 300K in weekly sales eight times. The old record was held by “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monae, which topped 300K in weekly sales seven times.
In addition, “Thrift Shop” tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week. It has sold more than 3 million copies since the beginning of the year. This marks the first time in the digital era that a song has sold 3 million copies this early in a calendar year. The previous record was set last year when “We Are Young” topped 3 million in the week ending April 8.
“Thrift Shop” was also the first song to sell 1 million copies in 2013 and the first to sell 2 million copies.
Given all these facts, you might expect that “Thrift Shop” is also #1 on the Hot 100, but that distinction goes, for the third week in row, to Baauer’s viral phenomenon “Harlem Shake.” “Harlem Shake” is the first song to capitalize on Billboard’s decision to add You Tube streaming data to the Hot 100 formula. If this policy had been in place two years ago, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” might have had a shot at #1 (it peaked at #58 in April 2011). And if it had been in place last summer, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” would undoubtedly have hit #1 (it spent seven weeks at #2).
Even so, it seems to me that the You Tube element is being given too much weight. “Thrift Shop” has been #1 on Hot Digital Songs for eight straight weeks. “Harlem Shake” spent one week (last week) at #2 on that chart. (It has sold 816K copies to date.) “Thrift Shop” is #2 on the all-format Radio Songs chart for the second week (just behind Taylor Swift’s mass-appeal smash “I Knew You Were Trouble.”) “Harlem Shake” doesn’t yet appear on the 75-position Radio Songs chart.
And yet “Harlem Shake” comes out on top on the Hot 100. In fact, Billboard’s Gary Trust reports that it wasn’t even close. “Harlem Shake” has more than twice as many total Hot 100 points this week as “Thrift Shop.”
So, how did “Harlem Shake” do it? It’s #1 on the Streaming Songs chart with 54 million streams. That’s down 45% from last week’s total of 98 million streams, but still far ahead of the #2-ranked “Thrift Shop,” which had 9.7 million streams this week.