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NEAR TRUTHS: GOALLLLLLLL

QUESTA BANDA È ENORME: Sony is having a moment. Part of this heat emanates from an unlikely giant: Italian rock band Måneskin. The Eurovision-winning troupe has two big smashes, one of which sits atop Spotify’s global chart, and a third cut on the rise. There’s no better current example of the globalization of streaming as the world says “Ciao, Italia” and tenders its congratulations on the country’s big football victory. David Massey’s Arista lands the act for the U.S., giving him his first big hit since JP Saxe’s SOTY-nominated smash, “If the World Was Ending.” The quartet’s biggest current song, “Beggin’,” is a Frankie Valli cover; Larry Mestel’s Primary Wave, which peeled for the Valli catalog last year, thinks this is molto buona. First U.S. impact cut “I Wanna Be Your Slave” is trending Top 10 global at Spotify and Top 50 U.S., while Eurovision winner “Zitti e Buoni” (the only worldwide hit in Italian so far) has entered the global chart. The group, which was off the U.S. radar until a few weeks ago, has amassed 41m monthly followers on Spotify; that’s more than twice the following of the biggest still-touring rock acts and puts them within striking distance of some of pop’s biggest divas in terms of active audience on the platform. It should be noted that they were cultivated under the wing of Sony Music Entertainment Italy boss Andrea Rosi.

That the band has two big hits definitely speaks to its potential as an act; what does it say about the genre? Some biz-watchers fervently believe that this breakout, Olivia Rodrigo’s behemoth “good 4 u” and the persistent action on Machine Gun Kelly are all signs of a nascent rock revival. One obstacle has been the shrunken state of Rock radio, which lost Gen Z by leaning too heavily on oldies and in its current form can’t move the needle. But Top 40 has jumped on Olivia and MGK, and Måneskin—which has the glammy vibe of a '90s classic-rock throwback and significant appeal to females—could flourish at Pop as well.

THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE: Speaking of Sony, amid a flurry of superstar singles, “Stay,” The Kid LAROI’s new cut featuring Justin Bieber (via Columbia), is the week’s #1 streaming song and is perched at #1 on the Spotify and Apple Music U.S. charts. Ron Perry’s wunderkind from Down Under appears on the cusp of a major artist career as Scooter Braun and his organization step to the plate with their copious leverage, with team members Allison Kaye and Jen McDaniels leading the charge. KL, who’s effortlessly grown from SoundCloud rapper to alt-rock phenom to full-blown pop star, has been thrilling crowds by jumping onstage at Bieber shows; he appears more than ready to bathe in the solo limelight. His next project, a proper debut album, should do boffo business.

Yet more Sony action comes from RCA’s Doja Cat, whose very strong second-week performance on our Top 50 chart (she beat the prior week’s #1, Columbia’s Tyler, The Creator, by 20k) makes it abundantly clear that she’s here to stay. Like Warner’s Dua Lipa, Peter Edge’s latest diva has yet to score a #1 album—but how much does that matter? These projects don’t have the typical shelf life of their peers. Dua’s “Levitating” f/DaBaby is giving Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” a run for its money as the year’s biggest song, with about 3.2m in U.S. activity YTD. Ben Mawson-managed Dua’s 2017 debut set has done north of 2.5m in U.S. ATD; Future Nostalgia is over 2m. For her part, Doja has emerged as the Internet’s favorite pop star, dominating TikTok. Her SZA duet, “Kiss Me More,” is Top 5 at Spotify U.S. and still going strong with nearly 2m in U.S. ATD, while a handful of other cuts on new album Planet Her are primed to explode, notably “Ain’t Shit” (Top 10 at Spot U.S.) and “You Right” f/The Weeknd (Top 20 on the same chart and destined for Pop radio glory), as well as TikTok faves “Get Into It (Yuh)” and “Woman.” Expect Planet Her’s run to be similar to that of Dua’s Future Nostalgia. Doja also represents another impressive artist-development story from the shop of manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby (The Weeknd).

SHOWDOWN: At this point it looks as though Big Loud’s Morgan Wallen will have the top album of 2021. But if anyone can overtake him, it’s Rodrigo; both have been forecast to finish the year north of 3m. Can she surge enough to surpass him? If Wallen takes the prize, he’ll have the first country album to be a year’s #1 in all genres since Taylor Swift’s Fearless in 2009.

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