New figures out of the US this week suggest that biggest hits are increasingly becoming smaller, Music Business Worldwide suggests, based on the latest streaming figures. The industry’s biggest streaming hit at the mid-year point of 2021 is significantly smaller than its biggest streaming hit at the mid-year point of 2020, of 2019, and of 2018. The biggest hit of H1 2021 in the US was Olivia Rodrigo’s 'drivers license', which attracted 460 million on-demand audio streams during the six months. In 2020 the biggest hit was Roddy Ricch’s 'The Box' with 728 million streams in the first half of the year, the prior year it was Lil Nas X’s 'Old Town Road' with 596 million streams, whereas in 2018 Drake’s 'God’s Plan' pulled in 655 million audio streams. This is all especially odd, of course, when you consider the massive growth in streaming’s popularity between 2017 and 2021. MBW offers a few explanations - it's a Covid-inspired anomaly, or maybe people are listening more to catalog music (older than year and a half).

GQ started a lovely "Happiness Project" where 12 culture-shapers discuss what makes them happy, including songs. Director and musician David Lynch chose 'Song to the Siren' by This Mortal Coil (a Tim Buckley cover) - "Elizabeth Fraser drives me crazy. So many things. There are so many pieces of music, I just burst into tears it's so beautiful". Phoebe Bridgers says it's 'If It Makes You Happy' by Sheryl Crow - "it's like just enough of a guilty pleasure". Roddy Ricch chose Pharrell's 'Happy' - "the fact that Pharrell could make a song like that was crazy".

Beyonce / Chris Brown / Megan Thee Stallion

Big winners at the 2020 BET Awards included Migos (Best Group), Lizzo (Best Female R&B/Pop Artist), Megan Thee Stallion (Best Female Hip Hop Artist), DaBaby (Best Male Hip-Hop Artist), Roddy Ricch was named Best New Artis while his album 'Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial' won Album of the Year, and Beyonce’s 'Brown Skin Girl' (HER Award). Chris Brown won Best Male R&B/Pop Artist and Best Collaboration ('No Guidance' featuring Drake), and DJ Khaled won Video Of The Year for 'Higher' featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend. Check out the full list of nominees and winners at Deadline. Public Enemy joined forces with Nas, The Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought, YG, and Rapsody for a special performance of 'Fight the Power' to kick off the 2020 BET Award - watch here, and Alicia Keys gave a powerful performance of 'Perfect Way to Die'.

Please Excuse Me for Being Wellsold
February 17, 2020

Roddy Ricch back on No. 1 on Billboard 200 for the fourth week

Roddy Ricch‘s 'Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial' returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a fourth nonconsecutive week, moving up one spot and opening with 79,000 equivalent album units. Other new debuts on this week’s Billboard 200 chart include Green Day‘s 'Father of All Motherfuckers' who enter at No. 4 with 48,000 equivalent album units. Pop Smoke gets his first top 10 with 'Meet the Woo, V.2' debuting at No. 7, gaining 36,000 equivalent album units.

No big new albums were out last week, so "older" albums took a chance to rise to the top of Billboard 200 chart. Roddy Ricch’s 'Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial' returned to No. 1 on the American albums chart for a third nonconsecutive week, after earning a little under 95,000 equivalent album units with vast majority of 92,000 SEA in units (streaming equivalent albums). Billie Eilish climbed to the No. 3 spot with her album 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?' sold in 62,000 equivalent album units, thanks to her big night at the Grammys. Eminem’s 'Music to Be Murdered By' falls to No. 2 with 89,000 equivalent album units in its second week.

Late last year, when Roddy Ricch’s debut album 'Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial' dropped, meme-makers and especially TikTok users keyed into the opening seconds of the song 'The Box' - particularly the squeaky-wheel noise at the start, which, it turns out, is ideal for micro-videos. Three official singles were issued from the album last year, and 'The Box' still doesn't have a video - "When the rapper with the biggest song in America couldn’t foresee what song would take him to the top of the charts, it’s a reminder that nobody in this business ever really knows exactly what might squeak through".