Will Taylor Swift Block “Despacito” From Setting an All-Time Charts Record?
The remix of “Despacito,” Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Justin Bieber-featuring, radio-dominating summer smash, has logged 15 weeks straight at #1 on the Hot 100 chart. It’s now just one week from the all-time record: 16 weeks, currently held by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s 1995 hit “One Sweet Day.” But look out, Fonsi/Yankee/Bieber: Here comes Taylor Swift.
For a moment, we feared that Bieber’s own new single with BloodPop might block “Despacito” from achieving the honors. But the Biebs whiffed it with the pleasant but predictable “Friends,” which no longer seems like much of a challenger. (In part, that’s because “Friends” was released at a sub-optimal time: noon on a Thursday.)
Swift isn’t playing around with reasonable daylight hours. As she announced on Instagram today, the first single from her new album Reputation will arrive Thursday night. If you’re trying to own the charts, the single best time to drop a track is midnight on a Friday morning. Assuming Swift’s new song releases widely at midnight this Friday, its first full tracking week will post to Billboard on Tuesday, September 5, after Labor Day (in the chart dated September 16).
That week is also the potential record-breaking 17th week for “Despacito”—unless Swift’s song crushes it. And there’s a good chance that could happen: As Billboard points out, both of Swift’s previous lead singles—1989’s “Shake It Off” in 2014 and Red’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” in 2012—immediately shot to the top of the chart. (Technically, the new song could do what “Together” did: Debut the week prior based on radio airplay, which has a slightly different tracking window, then hit #1 on its first full week.)
So: If Taylor Swift’s new song debuts at #1, “Despacito” will lose its shot at an unprecedented 17-week run. First, though, Fonsi and company must score a 16th week to tie with Mariah and Boyz II Men. We’ll find out if that happens this coming Monday, August 28 (chart dated September 9).
Whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll all be hearing “Despacito” plenty more. If you need to go even deeper on this subject, read Billboard’s full breakdown here.