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NEAR TRUTHS: BLOCKBUSTERS

MEGA-SMASH: Geffen’s Olivia Rodrigo is off to a blockbuster start with full-length SOUR, which is on its way to a #1 bow with a first week likely in the neighborhood of 200k. That would give this artist, who wasn’t even on the radar before January, the fourth-biggest debut of 2021.

Rodrigo was already the year’s biggest breakout before she rolled out third single “good 4” and turned in a powerhouse performance on 5/15’s Saturday Night Live. But unlike her prior two hits, “good” showed true ferocity and megastar wattage. The tune, produced and co-written by trusty Rodrigo collaborator Daniel Nigro (Lewis Capaldi, Conan Gray, Carly Rae Jepsen, FINNEAS), is a full-tilt punk-pop rager, launched at a time when rock records are absent from the Top 50 of the DSPs. Rodrigo’s largely female fan base clearly smells what she’s smoking, and the song’s amped-up rage has connected bigtime—flying to #1 U.S. and Global at Spotify and Apple Music. All 11 tracks of Rodrigo’s album are currently crowding the Top 20 of the DSPs. “good” was also #1 Most Added at Pop radio, with Brenda Romano and crew leading the charge; O-Rod's first two cuts remain in the Top 20. Leadoff “drivers license,” of course, was #1 everywhere for much of Q1.

It’s perhaps no accident that the sound and vibe of this stone smash is reminiscent of the spiky, melodic sounds lovingly cultivated by label boss John Janick in his Fueled by Ramen days. And much like Rodrigo’s IGA labelmate and fellow teen phenom Billie Eilish, this sudden supernova is the result of thoughtful, patient and culturally astute artist development. Rodrigo may have first reached a mass audience through the Disney system (as a star of High School Musical), but Janick and team have enabled her to establish a music brand that takes her to an entirely new level.

Meanwhile, Interscope’s got the new J. Cole set—which blew away projections with a 288k #1 bow despite sporting only 12 cuts, most of which are still flying on the streaming platforms—as well as a fresh Eilish album on the way that’s certain to dominate the summer. With these and other biggies, IGA should be gobbling up marketshare for some time to come.

HIS BREAD AND “BUTTER”: Ron Perry’s Columbia is due to continue its impressive run with new cuts from two of its biggest breakouts: BTS’s “Butter” and Lil Nas X’s “Sun Goes Down.” It’s unusual to drop records from two top acts on the same day; we note that these cuts follow #1 debuts by the two artists’ prior hits. “Butter” broke Spotify’s record for global single-day streams with 20.9m plus. Look for a major radio push by Peter Gray and team to expand its reach still further. The new track was co-written and co-produced by Perry himself, who shares writing credit with, among others, “Dynamite” co-author Jenna Andrews.

“Sun Goes Down” comes in the wake of Lil Nas’ revelatory “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” which spent 40 days atop Spotify’s Global chart. With his splashy, provocative 5/22 SNL performance, LNX proved his mettle on live TV and the Twitterverse, turning a wardrobe malfunction into a playful and endearing social moment. Columbia has enjoyed five weeks at #1 with three songs this year: “MONTERO,” 24kGoldn’s “Mood” and, most recently, Polo G’s “Rapstar,” which continues to stream impressively.

 

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE AGENCY SAGA
What do you want from live? (6/11a)
REVENUE CHART: OLIVIA’S ARMY
Looks like she's got staying power. (6/11a)
SIGNS OF HITS LIST
We're reading the tea leaves. (6/11a)
WATCH THE FIRST OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR "FEELING GOOD"
The Black Music Month celebration continues with a classic from a legend, (6/10a)
MUSIC’S HOTTEST FIRMS: HERTZ LICHTENSTEIN YOUNG & POLK LLP
Is there a lawyer in the house? (6/11a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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