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ARIZONA HEAT (UPDATE)

A week ago, Arizona Zervas was a relatively unknown independent artist. Today, he’s #1 at Spotify U.S. and #2 at Apple Music (and Top 5 and Top 10 at Apple and Spotify Global, respectively), while being courted by every power player in the biz. As of this writing, two East Coast labels and one West Coast company were said to be in it, with the price of the deal skyrocketing.

Although going viral is nothing new in the social-media landscape, Zervas’ rapid climb is significantly different and dramatically more fast-moving than has been the case with others who’ve landed quick, fat major-label deals.

Dominating one specific platform has been key in recent fast-rising acts landing big record deals. Juice WRLD and Lil Tecca owned SoundCloud; for NLE Choppa, it was YouTube. Lil Nas X crossed over to DSPs after achieving virality via TikTok.

The closest comparison to Zervas is Lil Nas X, who first debuted on Spotify’s top 200 on 3/2/19 at #190. The day before it was announced that he’d signed with Ron Perry’s Columbia, “Old Town Road” hit #8 on Spotify U.S. (3/21/19).  Zervas debuted on Spotify’s Top 200 with “ROXANNE” on 10/26. In just four days, it reached the Top 25 and had been added to Spotify’s star-studded Today’s Top Hits.

In less than a week, “ROXANNE” was added to Apple Music’s Today’s Hits playlist and started gaining steam on that platform as well. By 11/1, it cracked the Top 20 on both DSPs. The trajectory of this track puts it in a league of its own. The cut has also started to sell at iTunes, another indicator of its potential magnitude.

Among the recent artists who landed big deals after high-profile bidding wars (Lil Pump, Dominic Fike, Lil Tecca, NLE Choppa), each has his own unique story of hype, talent and performance. Some had immediate impact, while others developed devoted fanbases. As is the case in sports and business, not all free agents turn out to be worth the investment.

But Arizona Zervas is already impacting the market—and sharing chart position with Travis Scott, Post Malone and Selena Gomez. The price of his deal is getting higher by the day, with insiders saying offers are approaching eight figures. The number might cause some players to fold, as they question whether it will get big enough to pay off such a costly bet. But there’s no hype here, just proven metrics. And whoever inks this one-listen smash will come away looking like a winner, having snagged one of the hottest records of the year.

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