I saw Mike Biggane from Spotify post about the success superstars have been having releasing two songs at the same time.
A lot of release strategies work for big artists that may not be as successful for artists at other levels. However, the tremendous success these artists have had with this strategy is worth noting.
The first time I saw two songs come out at the same time was when Ed Sheeran released “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”. I thought releasing two songs would be distracting for the fans and make it challenging for the label to focus all attention on the single, but I was completely wrong. Both songs turned out to be huge successes, and “Shape of You” is now the most streamed song of all time.
Other artists who have had success with this strategy include the Weeknd, Camila Cabello (she did it twice!), and Drake, who potentially originated the phenomenon.
There is demand for different types of songs from different audiences. Releasing two songs is a way to feed both the artist’s core and the larger audience at the same time.
What is most interesting is how for the following artists both songs being released performed as if they were singles. Here are the Spotify streaming #’s on the songs they released together on the same day –
Shape of You – 1.55B
Castle on the Hill – 518MM
“Perfect”, the current #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, just eclipsed “Castle on the Hill”. Other than “Perfect”, “Galway Girl” is the only other track from Ed’s best-selling album within 100MM streams of it with 486MM. Not even the best streaming song of all-time being released on the same day could inhibit the success of “Castle on the Hill” – Neither song had any issue getting highlighted as evidenced by the above numbers.
Party Monster – 233MM
I Feel It Coming – 572MM
Similar to Ed, both of these songs have significantly more streams than every other track from the Weeknd’s Starboy album, except for the standout title track itself.
Havana – 538MM
OMG – 86MM
Real Friends – 25MM
Never Be the Same – 42MM
For reference, the latter two came out just over one month ago.
One Dance – 1.38B
Pop Style – 241MM
Other than “One Dance”, only “Hotline Bling” (which was released and heavily marketed prior to the two), “Controlla”, and “Too Good”, which features Rihanna, have streamed more than “Pop Style” on Drake’s 20 track album. “One Dance” is Drake’s biggest song to date.
Drake also released the Meek Mill diss tracks “Back to Back” and “Charged Up”, as well as “Hotline Bling”, within one week of each other. “Back to Back” may have been the intended single. However, “Hotline Bling” took off and gave birth to one of Drake’s biggest hits and second most streamed song to date.
My prediction is you will see two songs continue to be released together more frequently. You will see EP’s less frequently. The album format isn’t going anywhere though as it still serves as a cornerstone format to market an artist across all aspects of their career.
Releasing two songs has merit as a release strategy. Even more special is the streaming world has no rules – new formats and release strategies are being born every day!