What gives? Digital sales are just one component of the Hot 100, which also measures radio airplay and, as of the past few weeks, on-demand streaming data. "We Are Young" was ahead in airplay points (it jumps to #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart, while "Boyfriend" debuts at #24.) Also, "We Are Young" was way ahead in terms of streaming points (it remains at #1 on a separate On-Demand Songs chart, whereas "Boyfriend" wasn't available on most streaming services during the tracking week).
Even though "Boyfriend" didn't grab the coveted #1 spot, it's Bieber's highest-charting hit to date. It surpasses "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which debuted and peaked at #5 in February 2010.
"Boyfriend" is Bieber's third top 10 hit and his first without a guest star. His other top 10 hit is "Never Say Never" (featuring Jaden Smith), which hit #8 in March 2011.
With Bieber's high profile (he has a whopping 19 million Twitter followers) and strong album sales (more than 8 million albums sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan), you might expect that he would have more than just three top 10 hits. Pop radio hasn't fully embraced him, not wanting to chase off older fans. But with the current acceptance of The Wanted and One Direction, as well as such other acts as Big Time Rush and Selena Gomez & the Scene, it seems clear that youth-targeted pop is on the rise.
In addition to its strong showing in the U.S., "Boyfriend" enters the Canadian Hot 100 at #1. It's Bieber's first #1 in his home country.
In non-teen pop news, two of the week's top three hits on the Hot 100, "We Are Young" and "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra, are both big hits at alternative radio. The latter song is #1 on Billboard's Alternative chart for the seventh week.
The Fine Print: Two other songs (besides "Right Round" and "Boyfriend") have sold 520K or more copies in one week, but neither was in its first week of release at the time. Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" sold 610K copies in December 2009, when it was in its 14th week. Bruno Mars' "Grenade" sold 559K copies in December 2010, when it was in its 13th week. (Sales of both of these songs swelled because fans were itching to use gift-cards they had received for the holidays.)
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.
1. fun. featuring Janelle Monae, "We Are Young." The song holds at #1 for the fifth straight week in its 15th week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (364K).
2. Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend." This new entry is Bieber's third top 10 hit; his highest-charting hit to date. Digital sales rank: #1 (521K).
3. Gotye featuring Kimbra, "Somebody That I Used To Know." The song jumps from #4 to #3 in its 13th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. The song spent five weeks at #1 in the U.K. in February and March, which is the longest run so far this year. Digital sales rank: #3 (244K).
4. The Wanted, "Glad You Came." The song dips from #3 to #4 in 12th week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. The song was #1 in the U.K. for two weeks in July. Digital sales rank: #8 (169K).
5. Kelly Clarkson, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)." The former #1 song drops from #2 to #5 in its 15th week on the chart. This is its 11th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #9 (137K).
6. Nicki Minaj, "Starships." The song dips from #5 to #6 in its seventh week on the chart. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #4 (204K).
7. Flo Rida featuring Sia, "Wild Ones." The song holds at #7 for the second week in its 13th week on the chart. This is its third week in the top 10. The song tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. Digital sales rank: #6 (184K).
8. Katy Perry, "Part Of Me." The former #1 song holds at #8 for the second week in its seventh week on the chart. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #10 (122K).
9. One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful." The song jumps from #11 to #9 in its seventh week on the chart. This is the boy band's first top 10 hit. The song hit #1 in the U.K. in September. Digital sales rank: #5 (199K).
10. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe." The song jumps from #18 to #10 in its sixth week on the chart. This is Jepsen's first top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #7 (182K).
Three songs drop out of the top 10 this week. Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" drops from #6 to #12, "Take Care" by Drake featuring Rihanna drops from #9 to #11 and "Turn Me On" by David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj drops from #10 to #13.
This is only the fourth time in the past year that Adele hasn't had a hit in the top 10. The three previous weeks occurred in August when there was a brief lull between "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You." It was one year ago this week that "Rolling In The Deep" broke into the top 10.
Usher's "Climax" leaps from #40 to #29 in its sixth week…"Birthday Cake," Rihanna's reunion hit with Chris Brown, jumps from #34 to #30 in its sixth week on the Hot 100…Karmin's "Brokenhearted" leaps from #52 to #33 in its fourth week.
Jake Owen's "Alone With You" dips from #41 to #42 in its 17th week. It holds at #1 on Top Country Songs for the second week...Two country crossover hits jump into the top 40 in the wake of the Academy of Country Music Awards show. Eric Church's "Springsteen" jumps from #46 to #38 in its fifth week. Luke Bryan's "Drunk On You" leaps from #60 to #39 in its fifth week.
Beyonce's "Love On Top" drops from #54 to #58 in its 20th week. It holds at #1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the sixth straight week. R&B (and country) artists have a huge advantage over pop artists: They have a home format to give them support at times when pop support is lacking.
Eli Young Band's "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" jumps from #82 to #73 in its third week…"Leave You Alone" by Young Jeezy featuring Ne-Yo jumps from #88 to #76 in its third week…Sean Paul's "She Doesn't Mind" opens at #78. The song is vying to become Paul's ninth top 10 hit. It's from Paul's upcoming fifth studio album, Tomahawk Technique.
"The Way I Are," the 2007 smash by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson, tops the 3 million mark in digital sales this week. It's Timbaland's second biggest digital hit, following "Apologize" (featuring OneRepublic), which has sold 5,331,000 copies. Hilson's subsequent solo hit, "Knock You Down" (featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo) has sold 2,243,000 copies.
- Justin Bieber