In its first full week of airplay, Katy Perry's "Roar" rockets up Billboard's Nielsen BDS-based Pop Songs chart, while Lady Gaga's "Applause," released last Monday (Aug. 12), blasts in as the chart's highest debut by a woman this year.
The airplay, meanwhile, bodes well for the songs' fortunes on the Billboard Hot 100, highlights of which will be revealed on Wednesday (Aug. 21) on Billboard.com.
RADIO GAGA (AND PERRY)
"Roar" debuted at No. 34 on Pop Songs last week after less than two days of airplay. This week (reflecting the Aug. 12-18 tracking period), it flies to No. 15 with Greatest Gainer honors (up 4,248 plays, to 5,910). Meanwhile, "Applause" arrives at No. 20, representing the best bow by a solo female since Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" began at No. 18 the week of Sept. 1, 2012. "Applause" starts with 3,566 first-week plays; it received hourly spins on participating Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned radio stations on Aug. 12 (as "Roar" did the previous day; the airplay contributed to last week's chart).
Impressively for each song, of the Pop Songs panel's 164 stations, 162 played "Roar" in the past seven days, while 158 spun "Applause."
"Applause" returns Lady Gaga to Pop Songs for the first time since 2011, when "Marry the Night" became the fifth top 15 hit from her last studio album, "Born This Way."
"Applause" introduces "ARTPOP," due Nov. 11. "Roar" previews Perry's "Prism" (Oct. 22).
"Roar" rises 38-16 on Adult Pop Songs and enters at No. 36 on Rhythmic, while "Applause" starts on the former tally at No. 35.
HOT (100) FORECAST
As reported yesterday, sources suggest that "Roar" could sell between 525,000 and 550,000 downloads when its first-week sales are tabulated. "Applause" is projected to sell between 200,000 and 225,000 in its opening frame.
With the Hot 100 to be released on Wednesday marking the first encompassing each song's first full week of airplay, sales and streaming (the three metrics that feed the Hot 100's data pool), what ranks could be expected for "Roar" and "Applause"?
"Roar" is currently at No. 14 on the building Radio Songs chart with 47 million all-format audience impressions. "Applause" is set to start perhaps just outside the airplay chart's top 40, currently boasting 23 million in audience.
Partial-week streaming figures show "Roar" at 3.2 million U.S. streams and "Applause" at 2.5 million, according to BDS. Both figures represent audio streams and YouTube plays for lyric videos and user-generated content. Gaga's official video for "Applause" premiered earlier today and will affect next week's chart. (Streaming data for this week's chart covers the week ending Aug. 18.)
Based on the rough numbers above, Perry could challenge for the Hot 100's summit (vaulting from its airplay-only-fueled No. 85 debut last week), while Lady Gaga is likely to debut in the top 10.
Can Perry soar to No. 1? Key are sales of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (featuring T.I. and Pharrell), which has led the Hot 100 for 10 weeks. The song will easily maintain its command on Radio Songs, which last week was fueled by a record-extending 227 million impressions. With such an expected large lead in airplay again for "Lines," the battle for No. 1 on the Hot 100 will seemingly come down to the download sales of "Lines." (In a potential roadblock, Perry simply has the misfortune of running up against the track with the biggest weekly radio audience dating to the Radio Songs chart's launch in 1990.)
Last week, "Lines" sold a hefty 346,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, although the sum marked a 14% decline. This week’s sales projections for "Lines," according to industry sources, are for between 260,000 and 280,000. Overall streams for "Lines" should be near 7 million, down slightly from its sum last week (7.6 million).
So where does our prediction stand? Too close to call, with two days of radio airplay remaining, sales to be finalized and streaming data for the entire week yet to be compiled. (Sorry! But it simply appears that close a race …)
Again, visit Billboard.com on Wednesday (Aug. 21) to find out how all three songs fare … and who'll be No. 1 on the Hot 100.