Selena Gomez Breaks The Rules With “Lose You To Love Me” Release
Ten years, five albums, seven Top 10 hits and BILLIONS of streams later, global superstar Selena Gomez has finally earned her first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – and she did it all on her own terms.
On Monday, November 4th, Gomez fans across the world celebrated alongside the singer when “Lose You To Love Me” jumped from #15 to #1 on the Hot 100 in its second week of charting. The move marks one of the biggest jumps to the summit in recent memory, a feat due in large part to Gomez‘s decision to drop on a Wednesday rather than the industry standard Friday release (the #15 debut accounted for only two days of activity). The risky mid-week release strategy proved to pay off big time despite major skepticism from chart-watchers online:
It’s become common practice for high-profile artists with major releases to drop music on a Friday thanks to Billboard’s tracking week (Friday – Thursday). By dropping at the very beginning of a tracking week, artists with releases that are expected to have a huge opening day are in a good position to chart near or at the summit of the Hot 100. It’s especially important for opening day figures to be factored in if a song happens to be met with negative reactions and a subsequent decline in activity in the following days.
In an effort to show just how rare Gomez‘s mid-week release for “Lose You To Love Me” truly is, Pop Crave combed through the most buzz-worthy launches over the past few years since Billboard changed the beginning of its tracking week to Friday:
HIGHEST IN THE ROOM – Friday, October 4
Senorita – Friday, June 21
You Need To Calm Down – Friday, June 14th
I Don’t Care – Friday, May 10th
If I Can’t Have You – Friday, May 3rd
ME! – Friday, April 26th
Sucker – Friday, March 1
7 rings – Friday, January 18
God’s Plan – Friday, January 19th
Nice for What – Friday, April 6th
SICKO MODE – Friday, August 3rd
Hello – Friday, October 23rd
Can’t Stop The Feeling – Friday, January 6th
Chained to the Rhythm – Friday, February 10
PILLOWTALK – Friday, January 29th
What Do You Mean? – Friday, August 28th
Dropping on a day other than Friday is by no means a new strategy. As the list above shows, though, a mid-week release like Gomez‘s is especially rare for any type of “comeback” release where fan expectations create added chart pressure. Exceptions to the rule include Childish Gambino (“This Is America”) and Ariana Grande (“thank u, next”), two artists who dropped their #1 singles on a Saturday night. These situations are a little different than Gomez‘s, though, considering Gambino has never been one to chase chart figures while Grande‘s single was a direct response to ex Pete Davidson and his appearance on SNL that very same night (Grande was also already in the thick of promoting ‘Sweetener’). Additionally, both songs saw their first-day figures counted toward the #1 debut.
Other exceptions to the rule include “Work” by Rihanna (Wednesday) and “Sorry” by Justin Bieber (Thursday), two songs that were only pushed up due to heavy competition that same week on Friday (Zayn‘s “PILLOWTALK” and Adele‘s “Hello”). Camila Cabello also recently bucked trends by releasing the first two singles from ‘Romance’ on a Thursday. Context is key, though, as Cabello was already seeing huge success with “Senorita” at the time and clearly wasn’t out to dethrone herself. A similar situation to Cabello‘s happened with Drake in 2016 when he dropped “One Dance” and “Pop Style” in the middle of the week while “Work” was currently at the summit of the Hot 100.
Kendrick Lamar also dropped his highly anticipated lead single, “HUMBLE” on a Thursday, though like Gambino, his music up until that point didn’t have a history of big debuts on the Hot 100.
So why exactly is Gomez‘s moment so important? For one, it shows that the singer has more chart power than many initially thought (her highest Hot 100 peak up until this point was at #5 with “Good For You” and “Same Old Love”). Despite heavy rumors online, Gomez and her team dropped the single mid-week on their own accord rather than as a way to avoid being overshadowed by Adele on Friday. As of publication, no information regarding Adele‘s new album or possible release date has been confirmed.
SELENA RELEASING NEXT WEDNESDAY WHICH MEANS ADELE IS COMING NEXT FRIDAY pic.twitter.com/PtktYRXTBx
— andrew (@AFADlSBORN) October 18, 2019
It’s also common for #1 debuts to descend on the chart the following week thanks to the fact that a large share of activity is seen during a single’s first few days, proving that “Lose You To Love Me” has staying power outside of her core legion of fans. Lastly, it’s just a plain clever move from her and her team considering the optics of the situation. From an outsider’s perspective, a softer launch on the Hot 100 could’ve been chalked up to the fact that Gomez doesn’t care about charts, while a jump to #1 is considered by all accounts a huge victory. Basically, it was win-win situation for PR.
The decision to drop “LYTLM” Wednesday appeared to be heavily prompted by an Apple Music deal coinciding with the launch of Zane Lowe‘s new Beats 1 show, “New Music Daily,” and the playlist of the same name. As a replacement of “New Music Weekly,” NMD looks to engage audiences on a more regular basis with a brand new playlist that’s updated, well, daily. Apple details the motivation behind the innovation as follows:
“Music moves fast. To keep up with hungry fans and tireless creators, Apple Music launched New Music Daily, our playlist for the latest and greatest must-hear songs from pop, hip-hop, Latin, and beyond. This show, broadcasting live on Apple Music every Friday, is the playlist brought to life: Hosted by Zane Lowe, it features interviews with today’s most important artists, sharp commentary, and, of course, all the new songs you need to hear right now.”
Selena Gomez on the cover of Apple Music’s “New Music Daily” playlist
Gomez‘s Wednesday release may just be the start of this new release shift on the platform. From the business side of things, it makes perfect sense why Apple wants to move away from Friday releases with NMD – more music drops throughout the week creates more engagement, more promotion opportunities, more artist partnerships and ultimately more subscriptions. What was once a weekly promo playlist now allows for the possibility of a new cover star every day of the week representative of genres across the board. New music on the daily can also help the platform better gauge audience listening habits, especially when artists have a moment to shine on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday as opposed to being lumped in with a massive music dump on Friday. Perhaps Apple Music was able to convince Gomez to risk a mid-week release with the promise of added promotion on the platform.
It’s no secret that Apple Music has had a “Pop Problem” for years as hip-hop and rap artists have largely dominated the platform. Apple partnering with Gomez on the iPhone 11-shot music videos for “LYTLM” & “Look at Her Now” and booking her as the headlining guest on the inaugural “New Music Daily” episode shows that the company is trying to diversify their audience in a big way.
In an effort to attract a broader spectrum of genres to its charts, it would make sense on Apple Music’s part to encourage Gomez to drop “LYTLM” in the middle of the week. A Wednesday drop helps Gomez avoid the noisy Friday releases that so often sees rap and hip-hop artists flooding the charts. Artists like J. Cole, Post Malone, Young Thug, Migos and more have easily commanded the entire Top 10 or even 20 songs, sometimes for days at a time. Less competition on Wednesday meant higher positioning on key playlists along and featured banner ads among other things for Gomez.
.@PostMalone continues to dominate the entire Top 10 on Apple Music four days following the release of ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding.’
Which song do you think deserves to be the next single? ? pic.twitter.com/B3Lkwqdw3y
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) September 10, 2019
Pop music is so rare on the Apple Music chart (especially from solo females) that it’s now become something of a barometer for crossover hits. Gomez became just the first solo pop female since Ariana Grande (“7 rings”) to top the Apple Music Songs chart last week after she dethroned streaming king Travis Scott (“HIGHEST IN THE ROOM”).
Apple Music has much to gain from Gomez‘s huge success this week. Reaching #1 on the rap-dominated chart as a pop act may serve as encouragement to other artists to team up with the company on mid-week releases that ultimately pushes the industry as a whole to ditch the standard Friday release. Furthermore, releases throughout the week makes for a much better NMD show scheduled every Friday. Zane Lowe and his team have more time to react to songs, feel out the public response, craft interesting narratives and much more if music is steadily dropped over a longer period of time.
Gomez‘s massive win off a Wednesday release is just another example of Apple’s ability to shape the culture rather than just respond to it. It remains to be seen if “LYTLM” and the “New Music Daily” playlist will have ripple effects in the industry at large, but then again, this is Apple we’re talking about. Perhaps one day we’ll be checking our Apple Music app for new content just as frequently as our social media feeds.
Do you see the industry ditching the standard Friday release in the years to come? Share your thoughts with us over at @PopCrave on Twitter!