olivia rodrigo sets a record

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“drivers license” by @Olivia_Rodrigo breaks the record for the biggest single-day streams in US Spotify history, with over 6.145 MILLION. pic.twitter.com/P4ntbJJbJz

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 13, 2021

this song is also #1 globally

does this mark a shift in the industry or is it a random hit? it's not an OBVIOUS on-trend 'biggest ever' song, anyway. she's 17 yo and a likeable star on high school musical the musical the series and this is her debut single although she wrote a song for the show before.

silly analysis: verses: phoebe bridgers, chorus: taylor swift, bridge: lorde

it's pretty good

will spotify start getting dominated by young female angst-pop songwriters? who do they replace?


abcfsk, Wednesday, 13 January 2021 17:13 (three months ago) link

Pretty food song, I like its twists & turns. (I don’t really go for that style of singing, but I know many do.)

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 17:31 (three months ago) link

*good, not food

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 17:31 (three months ago) link

Half the interest in this track from the media seems to be the 'who is she singing about' schtick since it's probably her co-star Joshua Bassett, who's set to release HIS single today, which doesn't seem like it'll be very good - I'm expecting a girls aloud vs one true voice type battle for billboard #1 that launches one career but not the other

abcfsk, Thursday, 14 January 2021 07:43 (three months ago) link

Was she big in the US as a tv/movie star prior to this single? I might be too old now, but I’m not hearing why this song would be so wildly popular without some star power behind it. It sounds so bland to me. The only thing that made my ears perk up is the bridge and it sounds lifted from a Lorde song.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:44 (three months ago) link

Oh I see abcfsk also compared the bridge to Lorde, I’m not hearing Phoebe Bridgers or Taylor Swift in there, but I’m not a fan of the latter so maybe that could explain why this is a blindspot for me.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:54 (three months ago) link

she's the star of high school musical the musical the series so she's a disney teen star certainly, but this does seem to be a bigger debut than usual for one of them. unlike the previous few generations of disney teen stars though she's not on disney's label for her music, which is very likely to her benefit.

ufo, Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:58 (three months ago) link

I see it shares writing credits with the producer, Dan Nigro, who also co-wrote and produced “so hot you’re hurting my feelings” and “the door” with Caroline Polachek and “When I’m with him” by Empress Of. I thought those were great singles, so I might need to give this another chance, because I didn’t hear anything special in my first couple of listens.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:00 (three months ago) link

Xpost: I see. Maybe it made a bigger impact based on viewings of High School Musical via streams on Disney+ during quarantine? Idk it’s not that I hate popular things is that I’m struggling to hear the “thunder” in here. When songs like say Lorde “Royals” or Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” made it to #1 I could clearly hear why they were so popular despite not being a huge fan of the latter.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:11 (three months ago) link

Idk I’ll give it another try tomorrow with fresh ears... see if something finally clicks and I get the “why?”

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:13 (three months ago) link

it hasn't charted at #1 yet on billboard it's just at #1 on all the streaming charts i think. seems like it has a good chance though. i don't really have any idea exactly how popular hsm: the musical the musical the series is, but surely it's big with teens if it can propel her to stardom like this. my guess is the 'who is she singing about' schtick abcfsk mentioned is a big driver of its success too

definitely feels like a version of phoebe bridgers polished for maximum pop appeal, or last year's taylor albums except blander. not really surprising that something like this could be such a hit, between lana/billie/taylor etc. in the last few years. hardly an exciting debut single though yeah, it's a pleasant ballad but i don't see myself coming back to it ever.

ufo, Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:17 (three months ago) link

I’m seeing compilations of tiktoks and I can say empirically that the actual hook of the song is the bridge since it’s the one people used the most.

I’m also kind of hearing the Phoebe and Taylor thing now, the chorus is annoying me after hearing it 20+ times in a row in a compilation.

I think I’m getting the popularity of it now. Gen Z hit songs for the past couple of years have been very rhythmically catchy - I assume because you can make tiktoks dancing to them- and this is more of a ballad for Gen Z to make tiktoks uglycrying to the song. I guess in that context the song does feel refreshing and it’s likely we wont see a musical trend here. I don’t know how to express this in an interesting form but it did feel like most of the dancing in 2020 was done via tiktok and it’s getting stale and this song is a cathartic breakup from that.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:52 (three months ago) link

i think pop has been trending this way for a while actually so it's probably a sign of more to come

ufo, Thursday, 14 January 2021 11:19 (three months ago) link

With no clubs or concerts, it would have made sense for all pop in 2020 to be more introspective. I guess the trend will continue for another while but hope the 20’s get back to dancing soon, because I have no patience for this sort of ballads.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 14 January 2021 15:12 (three months ago) link

The bridge is really good (I guess it is Lorde-y).

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Thursday, 14 January 2021 17:49 (three months ago) link

Many opinions from tsj https://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=29752

abcfsk, Friday, 15 January 2021 17:35 (three months ago) link

[5]s OTM

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 15 January 2021 22:40 (three months ago) link

it's fairly plain imo

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 04:42 (two months ago) link

as for the significance of its somewhat eye-popping charting achievements, this is basically on par w/ ariana grande debuting in the top 10 w/ "the way" the greater part of a decade ago. the hot 100 is pretty weak currently and streaming/sales are so consistently misaligned w/ airplay these days that debuting at/near the top is quite a bit easier now than it used to be

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 04:46 (two months ago) link

dan nigro did quite a few songs w/ sky ferreira also

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 04:48 (two months ago) link

xp I don’t follow how this comment relates to the song’s massive streaming performance(?)

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Saturday, 16 January 2021 04:56 (two months ago) link

(fwiw, the track impacts the Hot 100 next week)

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Saturday, 16 January 2021 04:58 (two months ago) link

yeah it won't be on the hot 100 until next week but it will obviously be #1

idk i guess i am unfairly downplaying the song's performance somewhat. it just seems weird to me that a bunch of millennials' and gen-xers' ears are apparently perking up at a not-very-remarkable song by someone they'd never heard of just b/c it's getting streamed en masse by tiktok zoomers partly due to some e-drama. this isn't to say the song won't have lasting/broader appeal or that the machinations setting her up for success are inherently illegitimate, but, like... the number of ppl who felt the need to weigh in w/ a blurb on that tsj link is dumbfounding

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 05:53 (two months ago) link

completely unrelated to the actual topic at hand but the way that popcrave account always writes MILLION and BILLION (along w/ PLATINUM and even GOLD) in all caps is always so funny to me. like, some of the numbers they post are legitimately not remarkable at all but the emphasis always makes it seem so dramatic and earth-shattering. i want them to start writing THOUSAND like that

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 05:57 (two months ago) link

i guess part of why i felt compelled to compare it to "the way" was just b/c of grande's stature at the time (i had never heard of her before i saw that song high up on the itunes charts)

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:03 (two months ago) link

its the most interesting thing happening in pop at the moment i guess since its a quiet time of year and people are bored

ufo, Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:06 (two months ago) link

Who knows if it's a harbinger of anything, but I think it's still worth noting its success as a story, because streaming has been so dominated by specific male-heavy genres, even as a few female mega stars have been the exception.


And yeah, it's a quieter period on spotify, but the song has also peaked higher than any other song on spotify before.

It's also fun to see where someone who loves phoebe bridgers ends up as a pop idol.

abcfsk, Saturday, 16 January 2021 12:26 (two months ago) link

There are a lot of familiar things in this that call to mind everything from the aforementioned influences to Florence + the Machine to Mumford & Sons. I'll have to ask my kids what they think, because I am sure they have opinions.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 16 January 2021 12:57 (two months ago) link

“driver’s license” is fine, but the important thing is that it’s five million times better than gen z’s other favorite ballad “without you” by the kid laroi

boz conspiracy by toby hus (voodoo chili), Saturday, 16 January 2021 13:16 (two months ago) link

Xxpost: that’s the chart for most streamed artists, not most streamed singles. I don’t think Olivia Rodrigo will be or even is right now in the top 10 streamed artists of 2021 despite being a #1 streamed song.

I don’t know if there’s a chart of most streamed songs of 2020 but I’d bet Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, Tones & I, Megan & Cardi and maybe the Lady Gaga & Ariana collab are in there

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 16 January 2021 14:32 (two months ago) link

I mean for comparison: the Olivia Rodrigo song is near 100M streams right now which is very impressive considering the amount of time but “Dance Monkey” has 2B streams and even with that massive amount of streams you don’t see Tones & I on the top 10 most streamed artists.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 16 January 2021 14:39 (two months ago) link

I’m not saying “Driver’s License” doesn’t have a chance to get to 2B streams, I’m saying is not enough to be a top 10 most streamed artist of the year.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 16 January 2021 14:54 (two months ago) link


top 5 songs on spotify last year:
“Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd
“Dance Monkey” by Tones And I
“The Box” by Roddy Ricch
“Roses – Imanbek Remix” by Imanbek and SAINt JHN
“Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

top 5 artists on spotify last year:
Bad Bunny
J Balvin
Juice WRLD
The Weeknd

ufo, Saturday, 16 January 2021 15:16 (two months ago) link

across all platforms including video, the top 10 streaming songs last year were (via nielsen):

1. Roddy Ricch, “The Box” (1.32 billion)
2. Future featuring Drake, “Life Is Good” (1.035 billion)
3. DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar” (863.95 million)
4. The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights” (821.12 million)
5. Jack Harlow, “Whats Poppin” (788.74 million)
6. Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP” (732.7 million)
7. Megan Thee Stallion, “Savage” (612.03 million)
8. Lil Mosey, “Blueberry Faygo” (593.01 million)
9. Tones and I, “Dance Monkey” (570.48 million)
10. Doja Cat, “Say So” (562.38 million)

for comparison to more traditional metrics, here's the top 10 radio and digital download titles via the same source

1. The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights” (3.81 billion)
2. Post Malone, “Circles” (3.51 billion)
3. Dua Lipa, “Don’t Start Now” (3.14 billion)
4. Harry Styles, “Adore You” (3.07 billion)
5. Maren Morris, “The Bones” (2.46 Billion)
6. Maroon 5, “Memories” (2.45 billion)
7. Gabby Barrett, “I Hope” (2.40 billion)
8. Lewis Capaldi, “Someone You Loved” (2.28 billion)
9. Lewis Capaldi, “Before You Go” (2.07 billion)
10. Doja Cat, “Say So” (2.02 billion)

1. BTS, “Dynamite” (1.26 million)
2. The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights” (580,000)
3. Gabby Barrett, “I Hope” (351,000)
4. Tones and I, “Dance Monkey” (339,000)
5. Megan Thee Stallion, “Savage” (336,000)
6. Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP” (300,000)
7. Jawsh 685 x Jason Derulo, “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)” (299,000)
8. Blake Shelton Duet With Gwen Stefani, “Nobody But You” (288,000)
9. Post Malone, “Circles” (281,000)
10. Maroon 5, “Memories” (264,000)

so yeah the top songs are overall still quite male-dominated but not to quite the extent that the top artists lists tend to be

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 18:24 (two months ago) link

(those are us-only stats, not worldwide)

dyl, Saturday, 16 January 2021 18:28 (two months ago) link

Many opinions from tsj https://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=29752

― abcfsk, Friday, January 15, 2021 10:35 AM (four days ago) bookmarkflaglink

i don't recognize any of the writers except Katherine which shows how long it's been since i read TSJ lol sorry contributors who are reading this post

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 20:16 (two months ago) link

I think Alfred was another, no?

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 21:46 (two months ago) link


We had a successful recruitment drive in December.

finally listened to this song, streaming numbers v impressive and beguiling for such a boring song

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Wednesday, 20 January 2021 15:29 (two months ago) link

So now there’s like, an answer song? (I don’t know who any of these ppl are): https://variety.com/2021/music/news/sabrina-carpenter-drivers-license-olivia-rodrigo-skin-1234889998/

one of the only artist who is genuine (morrisp), Saturday, 23 January 2021 04:04 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Big feelings and nowhere to go: how Gen Z reinvented the power ballad

Olivia Rodrigo’s global hit Drivers License is the epitome of new-school pop songwriting, where sexuality is complex, emotions are specific and bombast is traded for intimacy


abcfsk, Friday, 19 February 2021 18:06 (one month ago) link

one month passes...


abcfsk, Thursday, 1 April 2021 18:01 (two weeks ago) link

I like it, but the vocal similarity to Lorde is more distracting on this one... also not feeling the distorted beat so much.

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Thursday, 1 April 2021 18:22 (two weeks ago) link

i actually like it better than "drivers license," which i never really warmed to

'i hate to think that i was just your type' is a good line

dyl, Friday, 2 April 2021 04:51 (one week ago) link

it's like a polished, major label version of like, 00s indie pop, which at least feels a little distinctive but fitting in with broader trends. i like it more than "driver's license" for sure

she's clearly going to continue to be huge

ufo, Friday, 2 April 2021 05:24 (one week ago) link

I still don’t get it and I find her very un-charismatic. I’ve seen her a dozen times already and I can’t remember her face once the music video is over.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 2 April 2021 05:32 (one week ago) link

The beat gives me 2000s Dave Fridmann feels.

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Friday, 2 April 2021 05:35 (one week ago) link

(Wasn’t Billy Joel referenced in another Zoomer anthem recently? Is he having a moment?)

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Friday, 2 April 2021 05:37 (one week ago) link

that's channel purple

voodoo chili, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 21:23 (two days ago) link

i don't really know where else to post this, but my daughter is into American Idol and so i watch it with her (and enjoy it! not trying to pretend otherwise) and i was just gobsmacked at the number of 15-year-olds who walked in and auditioned this season by playing a *good* song they wrote and performing it flawlessly, often on piano but sometimes on guitar. there are a whole army of Olivia Rodrigos on the way, i think.

alpine static, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 21:41 (two days ago) link

good! bring 'em on

Yawnsomely Literal Cover Band (morrisp), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 21:43 (two days ago) link

"(Wasn’t Billy Joel referenced in another Zoomer anthem recently? Is he having a moment?)"

oh maybe, I seem to regularly see him referenced on twitter by people younger than me without the derisiveness he justly deserves, so that would explain that.

akm, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 01:27 (yesterday) link

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