Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up column, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.
This week: All things Barbie, as the blockbuster film sends several of its soundtrack hits into the streaming stratosphere, while also boosting some 20th century classics it features (and one it doesn’t — at least not in its original form). Also, some less-predictable gains for decade-old non-hits by a pop icon and a dream-rock cult favorite.
It’s A “Barbie World,” We’re All Just Living In It
The cinematic phenomenon of Barbenheimer has monopolized the cultural zeitgeist for the past few weeks/months/years now, resulting in eye-popping opening weekend box office numbers for both Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Not only did Gerwig’s acclaimed film earn a historic $155 million opening weekend and inspire tens of thousands of fans to dress up in their best Barbie and Ken-inspired outfits, the fantasy-comedy also showcased a soundtrack stacked with A-list star power, in addition to several other memorable music moments.
Helmed by Grammy and Oscar winner Mark Ronson, the Barbie soundtrack features a collection of today’s most prominent pop artists, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Lizzo. Three of the album’s pre-release singles — Lipa’s “Dance the Night,” Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice & AQUA’s “Barbie World,” and Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” — have seen sizable streaming gains before and after the movie’s July 21 release.
“Dance the Night,” the lead single from the Barbie soundtrack, earned just over 960,000 official on-demand U.S. streams on July 17, the Monday preceding Barbie’s theatrical release, according to Luminate. The following Monday (July 23), Dua Lipa’s nu-disco banger earned 1.82 million streams, a 90.1% increase. “Barbie World,” the second collaboration between New York rappers Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, earned 1.58 million official on-demand U.S. streams on July 17. By July 23, that number rose by a whopping 94.3% to 3.07 million streams. As for “What Was I Made For,” the gut-wrenching ballad pulled 1.47 million official on-demand U.S. streams on July 17. On July 24, Billie’s latest Oscar contender earned 2.45 million streams, a 66.3% increase.
Outside of the soundtrack’s major singles, a slew of other songs also experienced post-release streaming gains. Charli XCX’s “Speed Drive,” another pre-release single, earned 177,000 official on-demand U.S. streams on July 17, a tally that grew by 379% by July 24 for a total of 852,000. Indigo Girls’ 1989 alt-folk perennial “Closer to Fine,” which appears three times in the film, pulled 32,000 official on-demand U.S. streams on July 17. By July 24, the duo’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit collected just under 100,000 streams, marking a 203.5% increase. Matchbox Twenty’s 1997 pop/rock smash “Push,” which earned the band their first Grammy nomination, also has a prominent placement in Barbie. On July 17, the song earned 235,000 official on-demand U.S. streams, and by July 24, the track experienced a 43.3% increase to 337,000. There’s also Lizzo’s “Pink,” — another song that plays in the film — a funky pop track that had a strong streaming debut on July 21 (566,000 streams) and rose another 7% by July 24 (606,000).
Of course, there is no discussing Barbie without mentioning AQUA’s “Barbie Girl.” The seminal pop song, which is sampled on Minaj & Ice’s “Barbie World,” received 307,000 official on-demand U.S. streams. On July 24, the unofficial Barbie anthem earned 619,000 streams, a 101.7% increase. But, what about Ken? Ryan Gosling’s hilarious “I’m Just Ken” pulled 812,000 official on-demand U.S. streams on July 24, a 103.2% increase from the 400,000 it collected on July 21. Barbiemania is clearly taking over both the box office and music streaming platforms. — KYLE DENIS
Superheaven’s on Fire
Doylestown, PA grunge-gaze quartet Superheaven had been broken up for most of the past half-decade, before reuniting in 2023 for a tour to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed 2013 Run for Cover debut album Jar. That album has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving for Superheaven, as highlight “Youngest Daughter” has gone viral, with 19,000 TikTok videos using the sound of its crunching guitars and dreamy vocals — the most popular of which places it as the soundtrack to a user’s first-row Oppenheimer-watching experience.
The song has taken off on streaming as it’s gradually become a social media sensation, with its streams growing steadily over the past seven weeks — from 231,000 on the chart tracking week ending June 1 to over 1.9 million the week ending July 20, a 743% gain, according to Luminate. The song even debuts at No. 22 this week on Billboard‘s Hot Rock Songs chart, and No. 4 on this week’s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart. If the song keeps up this pace, Superheaven might have pretty good reason not to let its upcoming run of Jar anniversary dates this October be the last time it lets fans through its pearly gates. — ANDREW UNTERBEGER
Bieber’s “Billie Jean” Moment Experiences Streaming Resurgence
11 years ago, Justin Bieber tucked away a little song titled “Maria” at the very end of the deluxe edition of Believe, his Billboard 200-topping sophomore non-holiday studio album. Co-written and produced by Darkchild, “Maria” functioned as Bieber’s very own “Billie Jean”: Just as Michael Jackson retaliated against what he said were outlandish claims from delusional groupies, Bieber used “Maria” to respond to Mariah Yeater’s allegations that he fathered her child.
In typical TikTok fashion, the song has experienced a small resurgence on the app for reasons that have nothing do with the original controversy that birthed it. Bieber’s track has become the latest soundtrack for thirst traps on the social media app. While a healthy chunk of the “Maria” videos — there are two unofficial “Maria” sounds with over 13,5000 TikToks each — there are also myriad videos explaining the song’s lore and reflecting on what it was like to be a Belieber ten years ago and live through the whole ordeal in real time. Between the tracking week ending July 6 and the week ending July 20, streams of “Maria” exploded from just over 73,000 to over 613,000 — a gain of 738.5%, according to Luminate. – KD