October 23, 2015


Will Adele’s “Hello” Prevent Drake’s “Hotline Bling” from Hitting No. 1?

Getty Images
Getty Images

Two unrelated stories in the world of popular music may end up colliding on the charts in the coming weeks: Drake’s desire to see his latest single become his first No. 1 hit as a lead artist, and Adele’s return to ubiquity thanks to her just-released single, “Hello.”

After Drake’s “Hotline Bling” crept to No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart last week, the rapper wrote on Instagram that the song reaching the pinnacle would be “the biggest moment of my career to date.” Drake had previously hit No. 2 with “Best I Ever Had” back in 2009 and guested on Rihanna’s No. 1 single “What’s My Name?,” but (rather amazingly) has yet to lay claim to a No. 1 hit as a lead artist.

On this week’s chart, “Hotline Bling” continues to stare up at the Weeknd’s “The Hills,” which was buoyed by a pair of remixes and spends its fifth week in the top slot. However, an endlessly meme’d new music video for “Bling” released on Monday should help push Drake to No. 1 and keep him there for a while, right?

Well, not so fast: now Adele is back with “Hello,” her first single from her third studio album, 25. The ballad received a worldwide launch on Friday (Oct. 23) by arriving at digital retailers and streaming services, as well as receiving a must-see music video that dropped along with the new track and is already approaching 4 million YouTube views. In August, Justin Bieber’s single “What Do You Mean?” received a similar media blitz, and became the Biebs’ first-ever chart-topper on the Hot 100. By triangulating the reintroduction of one of pop music’s most in-demand artists, Team Adele has given “Hello” a great shot at debuting at No. 1.

Here’s the good news for Drake: he still has one more week to hit No. 1 before the “Hello” tidal wave touches down. By launching on Friday, Adele’s latest track has a full week to pick up chart points—increasing its odds at becoming her fourth career No. 1 single—but won’t debut until the week after next, on the Hot 100 released Nov. 2. The Hot 100 chart to be revealed this Monday (Oct. 26) will have “Hotline Bling” once again vying to overtake No. 1 from “The Hills,” with a brand new video to boot.

Here’s an unfortunate complication for Drake, however, as pointed out by the Fader: by issuing the “Hotline Bling” video on Apple Music, which doesn’t yet report to Billboard’s charts, Drake cost himself a ton of streaming points on the Hot 100. Had he simply posted his new video on YouTube (like Adele did), “Hotline Bling” would have a much easier shot at the No. 1 spot.

So what does all this mean? It means that, if Drake wants to hit No. 1 with “Hotline Bling,” he better do it now, or he might have missed his chance. Preliminary numbers for “Hello’s” chart debut do not yet exist, but underestimate Adele at your own risk.