Pharrell Williams Tops Hot 100, Ed Sheeran Blasts In At No. 15

Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” leads the Billboard Hot 100 for an eighth week. Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran storms onto the chart at No. 15 with “Sing,” which Williams co-wrote and co-produced. Upon its bow, Sheeran scores his highest Hot 100 rank yet.

Pharrell Williams Cries While Watching ‘Happy’ Fan Videos on ‘Oprah Prime’

It’s Wednesday, so time for our weekly look into the numbers behind the top 10 and more.

“Happy” continues its Hot 100 reign powered by its stronghold atop the Radio Songs and Digital Songs charts. It tops Radio Songs for a seventh week, although it logs a 3 percent drop to 217.5 million all-format audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS. The song appears to have peaked with 225.9 million two weeks ago, just short of the record for the biggest weekly audience in the Radio Songs chart’s 23-year history: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring Williams and T.I., drew 228.9 million (Aug. 31, 2013). “Happy” leads the Digital Songs chart for a ninth week, down by 9 percent to 257,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

On Streaming Songs, “Happy” holds at No. 4 (7.2 million U.S. streams, down 2 percent, according to BDS), having peaked at No. 2. It keeps at No. 2 on the subscription services-based On-Demand Songs list (2.4 million U.S. streams, down 3 percent), which it led for two weeks.

“Happy” spends a 10th week at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, marking Williams’ second reign of double-digit weeks; “Blurred Lines” led for 16 weeks last year, the longest command since the chart adopted Nielsen data in 1992.

“Happy” again finishes ahead of John Legend’s “All of Me” on the Hot 100, as the latter logs a fourth week at its No. 2 peak. Still, the race was a bit closer than last week, with “Happy” down by 7 percent in overall chart points and “Me” down by 3 percent. “Happy” controls the Hot 100 with 12 percent more points than “Me” after it won by 17 percent last week.

“Me” leads On-Demand Songs for a second week with a 4 percent rise to 2.7 million and rebounds to its No. 2 highpoint (3-2) on Streaming Songs (7.9 million, down 1 percent). The piano ballad posts a third week at No. 2 on Radio Songs (190 million, up 7 percent), claiming the Hot 100′s top Airplay Gainer award for a fourth week in a row. It tallies a sixth week at its No. 2 peak on Digital Songs (197,000, down 14 percent).

If it seems like there’s little movement in the Hot 100′s upper ranks, you’re right. And, if you thought it might be a record standstill, congratulate yourself on being an extra-observant chart-watcher: Not only are the Hot 100′s top two songs in place from last week, but the entire top seven has now been stationary for three consecutive weeks, a first in the chart’s 55-year archives. Previously, the top seven repeated for as many as two weeks just once, when the charts dated Aug. 21 and 28, 1982, brought no changes to the top seven. (Can you name any of those seven 1982 hits? Keep your eye on the end of this story for the oh-so-good list.)

Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring Juicy J, spends a fourth week at No. 3 on the Hot 100, having led for four weeks before “Happy” began its rule. “Horse” leads Streaming Songs for a ninth week (8.2 million, down 3 percent). Meanwhile, Perry’s follow-up, “Birthday,” debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 91. After the new single’s official lyric video premiered on April 10, the track nears the Streaming Songs chart with a whopping 971 percent surge to 1.5 million total streams.

Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” featuring 2 Chainz, ranks at No. 4 on the Hot 100 for a sixth week. As previously reported, the No. 3 Hot 100 hit takes over atop the Mainstream Top 40 (aka, Pop Songs on Billboard.com) radio airplay chart.

As the soundtrack to Disney’s “Frozen” racks a 10th week atop the Billboard 200 (tying fellow Disney fave “The Lion King” for the longest reign ever for a soundtrack to an animated film), the album’s “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel holds at its No. 5 Hot 100 peak.

Rounding out the Hot 100′s again-static top seven, Bastille’s “Pompeii” repeats at No. 6 (and tops Hot Rock Songs for a ninth week) and Lorde’s “Team” stays at No. 7. The songs have risen to Nos. 5 and 6 on the Hot 100, respectively.

DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What” rises to a new Hot 100 peak (10-8). It holds at No. 7 on Streaming Songs (4.2 million, up less than 1 percent); slips 7-8 on Digital Songs (95,000, down less than 1 percent); and climbs 44-38 on Radio Songs (34 million, up 15 percent). “Turn” tops the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart for a third week.

Aloe Blacc’s No. 8-peaking “The Man” remains at No. 9 on the Hot 100, while OneRepublic’s No. 2 hit “Counting Stars” drops 8-10.

Just outside the top 10, Ed Sheeran rockets in with “Sing,” which debuts at No. 15. The song, co-written and -produced with Williams, and which Sheeran performed on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on April 12, starts on Digital Songs at No. 5 with 123,000. It’s his second-best sales week, following the post-Christmas sum of his breakout hit “The A Team” (181,000 in the week ending Dec. 30, 2012). “Sing” opens on Radio Songs at No. 48 (28 million) and adds 536,000 first-week streams.

Upon the No. 15 arrival of “Sing,” Sheeran immediately scores his best Hot 100 rank: “The A Team” peaked at No. 16 the week of Jan. 12, 2013, during a 33-week run.

(Quiz answer! The weeks of Aug. 21 and 28, 1982, saw no movement in the Hot 100′s top seven, a record logjam until the past three weeks. Those retro hits? From No. 1 through 7: Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”; John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good”; Steve Miller Band’s “Abracadabra”; Fleetwood Mac’s “Hold Me”; Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”; Air Supply’s “Even the Nights Are Better”; and REO Speedwagon’s “Keep the Fire Burnin’.”)

Visit Billboardbiz tomorrow (April 17), when all rankings, including the Hot 100, Digital Songs, Radio Songs, Streaming Songs and On-Demand Songs will refresh, as they do each Thursday. The latest charts will also appear in the next issue of Billboard magazine (on sale on Friday, April 18).

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Only by owning who and what you are can you step into the fullness of life.”
-Oprah

5:30 Am Yesterday Morning Till 5:40 Am This Morning

#studiolife #nosleep #nyc  with @mariahcarey #igohardinthemuphuckinpaint

Pharrell’s Comments On #NewBlack Strikes Nerves

WHATS YOUR THOUGHTS

On “the new black” The new black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The new black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation, it’s a mentality. It’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you and you’ve got to pick which side you’re gonna be on. You choose to be on. The name of my album is not called race, it’s called G I R L. It’s for the female species. That’s number one. Number two, my mama is black. My mom is a huge part of my business. My wife is black. There are certain people who allow the delusion in the mirror, in their own mirrors, to become issues. You should not find confidence outside of your mirror. Why are you sharing your delusion? Whatever that space is between you and your mirror, what does that have to do with me? This is my work. I recognize that there are issues. We get judged on our skin. I just stated that there hadn’t been an African-American like…so we look at things like that. I don’t allow that to run my life. I don’t live my life trying to be black. What I do is, I nurture my curiosity and use it. I’m proud to be what I am. So my thing is, the new black is a mentality. You don’t do things because you’re black. You do things because you’re genuinely interested in something. Is there a lot of black in equality? Absolutely! But I’m the main one waving the flag. What do you mean? Don’t find your confidence in a cover. Find your confidence in the mirror. -

Killer Shoes – The Connection Between Fashion and Violence

THIS A CRAZY ASS STORY

They found him – Michael Eugene Thomas – on May 2, 1989. He was 15. Strangled. Barefoot. Soon after, David Martin, a “basketball buddy,” would be charged with his murder whose motive was so horrifying that it sent ripples around the world and was brought to further national attention when Sports Illustrated and reporter Rick Telander published a cover story entitled “Your Sneakers Or Your Life” with the lede “sneakers and team jackets are hot, sometimes too hot. Kids are being mugged, even killed, for them. Who’s at fault?” That’s still a question the fashion world and the burgeoning brands with in-demand products face today. Yet, there was no pivotal moment or a collective decision that curbed the violence. Instead, we just came to accept that peoples nefarious activities were better viewed merely as criminal than that of offenses by those who let fashion dictate their motives as if the products themselves were illicit.

 

In the years following the murder of Thomas, a number of other slayings reached the national news for similar grizzly details, the victims ages, and the association with coveted fashion items. Notably, there was Dewayne Williams Jr. who was stabbed to death on December 2, 1992 for his Raiders jacket – and a slew of other Raider-centric murders all related to the piece of outerwear and the adoption of professional sports emblems as a street gang allegiance identifier.

It became such a national epidemic in fact that the NFL’s chief of retail licensing, Frank Vuono, told The New York Times, “We don’t bury our heads in the sand. We are very in tune with it.” Raiders executive assistant Al LoCasale told The Baltimore Sun, “I got a lot of calls from parents, saying they bought their child a Raider hat and the school said they couldn’t wear it because it’s identified with gangs. We share their concern. There’s a need to find an answer to the problem that’s not as simplistic as just taking the hat or jacket off.”

While national attention shifted from that of “fashion-centric” crimes to merely the reporting of youth violence as a whole, many assumed that the violent phenomenon from the ’90s disappeared as if a sartorial fad. Not only has it continued, it’s hardly faded. Society may have grown wiser regarding gangs and their usage of certain logos and colorways, but the “dangerous enthusiasm” circling the growing streetwear sector and the lively resale market suggests that we’re destined for an upswing in violence.

Air Jordans Then vs. Air Jordans Now

Prosecutor Mark Vinson – who handled the case of the 1989 slaying of 16-year-old Johnny Bates who was shot to death in Houston by 17-year-old Demetrick Walker after Johnny refused to turn over his Air Jordan high-tops – said, “It’s bad when we create an image of luxury about athletic gear that it forces people to kill over it.” Michael Jordan responded to the news of the murders by saying “everyone likes to be admired, but when it comes to kids actually killing each other, then you have to reevaluate things.”

But have we?

Air Jordans continue to dominate the sneaker world despite Michael Jordan retiring from the NBA in 2003 and is a testament to the shoe transcending mere apparel and representing what a wearer wants to make outwardly known about him/herself. According to ABC, opponents of the marketing strategy (relating to limited quantity releases) suggest that “it has caused 1,200 deaths per year nationwide.” In the last five years alone, Air Jordan-related murders and other bouts of violence include the slaying of Joshua Woodsa stabbing in New Jersey, and a number of high-profile bouts of chaos reminiscent to the events of the Supreme x Nike Air Foamposite One release in New York City. In an article in the Washington Post, Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group, said the shopping frenzy around the shoe is arguably more important than the number of dollars Nike will make selling it. “As a shoe by itself, it’s moderately important,” Cohen said. “But as a marketing concept and a retailing partnership? Genius.”

The biggest change between Jordans then and Jordans now are astounding numbers that suggest Nike has no plans of switching strategies. As of 2009, the Jordan brand had a 10.8 percent share of the overall U.S. shoe market, which made it the second biggest brand in the country and more than twice the size of adidas’ share. Additionally, three out of every four pairs of basketball shoes sold in this country are Jordan, while 86.5 percent of all basketball shoes sold over $100 are Jordan.

Resale as a Career

Since the slaying of Michael Eugene Thomas in 1989, the size of the athletic shoe market has more than doubled to $21 billion USD a year in the United States alone. Nestled amongst that staggering number is an ever-growing pocket of capitalists who seek full-time employment by simply continuing the vicious cycle that is buying and reselling hot commodities. Matt Powell, a retail analyst with SportsOneSource, says Nike actually encourages this by setting prices lower than what the market will bear. I think they always try to keep the supply below demand level,” Powell said. “They want their shoes to sell out in a relatively short period of time, because that creates excitement for the next one around.”

Josh Luber, founder of Philadelphia-based Campless.com – a resell-tracking data company – estimates that in terms of secondary sales on eBay, sneakerheads accounted for approximately $200 million in 2013. “In dollars and cents, sneakerheads make up a tiny portion of the industry,” Powell told the Boston Globe, “but their fervor certainly creates heightened interest in shoes.”

It should be noted that the resale market isn’t merely a product of the rise of the Internet and the social media channels that sprung out of one’s ability to instantly interact with those with a similar interest. As far back as 1998 there’s coverage of a “hot resale market for fetid old sneakers.” The major difference in the coverage is that the resale market was purely for wear as opposed to profit, with Sports Illustrated noting, “The vast majority of the consumers are not the among the legion of sports memorabilia collectors who covet Michael Jordan’s jockstrap but rather are Japanese fashion Brahmins with an eye for camp who actually wear what they purchase.”

Violence and Brand Response

The most notable case of a changing of philosophies as it relates to high-profile releases is undoubtedly the Air Yeezy II “Red October.” While the release had many looking at the strained relationship between Kanye West and Nike as a source of the unexpected drop, perhaps Nike is finally starting to understand that demand will be met no matter how the supply is unleashed. While a move to a more technical strategy seems to eliminate potential person on person confrontations, the “cold” nature of the announcement and subsequent follow-through registers like a fresh slop deposit at a Las Vegas buffet.

Of course, foresight can’t always be achieved. Instances arise that force a brand to act no matter the financial implications. As was the case back in 2008 when Nike was forced to withdraw the Air Stab from the market following an increase in fatal knife attacks in the UK. The running shoes were originally sold in 1988 but a limited edition retro range was relaunched in 2006, carrying the phrase “Runnin’ ‘n’ Gunnin”‘ on one version. A company spokesman said at the time, “Given the current climate we have withdrawn the shoe indefinitely from Nike’s own stores in the UK. While it may be an unfortunate coincidence timing-wise, given current problems regarding knife crime, we completely reject the idea that we are in any way condoning or encouraging the issue of knife usage.”

Michael Eugene Thomas

When you read or hear about his death, it’s still jarring. “Killed for his shoes” sounds like the type of short burst fiction that is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. There’s no refuting the facts that his killer, James David Martin, had made off with his pair of Jordans. But was that the true motive?

James David Martin would be released seven years after killing Michael Eugene Thomas. He would kill three more people – tied to three separate incidents involving the strangulation on women.

In the end, the shoes Martin stole didn’t even fit him.

Alec Banks is a Los Angeles-based writer who can be found @smart_alec_

Image Credits: Sports Illustrated May 1990, In My Blood by Cristiano Siqueira

Future (@1futre) Feat Andre 3000 – Benz Friendz (Whatchutola)

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Future decides to release a preview of his latest single called Benz Friendz (Whatchutola) featuring Andre 3000 one of half of the group Outkast. Future debut this track live at Coachella along with Andre 3000.

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