Neither Katy Perry nor Lady Gaga reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week. That honor once again went to Robin Thicke, whose song “Blurred Lines” has held the top spot for 11 weeks. The battle between pop’s leading ladies, however, is just getting started, and their fans–rather than radio–are right at the center of the war.
Within the first few days of their songs being released–both earlier than expected, thanks to online leaks–Perry and Gaga broke records.
Perry’s song “Roar” landed at No. 2 this week–its first full week of sales–with 557,024 downloads, marking the highest digital song sales week of 2013. It also marked the “Teenage Dream” singer’s personal best first week digital sales ever, beating her 2010 song “Firework” by nearly 50,000 downloads.
Jumping all the way from 87 to the runner-up slot, the first song off her album, Prism (out October 22) makes the Hot 100’s biggest leap ever, beating previous record holder Drake, whose song “Make Me Proud” featuring Nicki Minaj went from 97 to 9 back in 2011.
Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” which debuted at No. 6, also after its first week of sales, stormed the radio chart last Monday (August 12), being played 3,566 times from August 12 to 18, according to Billboard. The song from Gaga’s upcoming album, ARTPOP (out Nov. 11) landed at No. 20 on the radio airplay chart its first week, making it the best radio premiere by a solo female this year. It also nearly beat out last year’s highest radio debut, which belonged to Taylor Swift. Her song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” debuted at No. 18 the week of Sept. 1, 2012.
Now that YouTube views count in Billboard chart rankings, it’s just another way for the two artists, known for their clever videos, to reach the top spot.
Perry’s Emoji lyric video might have been seen nearly 17 million times since premiering on August 12, but her Katy Cats were no match for Gaga’s Little Monsters, who had two videos to watch this week: the drag queen-filled lyric video and the singer’s very theatrical official clip. Both of which locked in a combined total of over 22 million views.
Some question whether Gaga was playing fair though after she tweeted a YouTube link to her nearly 40 million followers that featured a playlist consisting of 150 videos of “Applause.” The tweet, which she later deleted, asked fans to click play and if they did actually watch all the way through would lock in 150 views. Bill Werde, Editorial Director of Billboard, later tweeted his opinion on Gaga’s strategy, saying it was not “in the spirit of what we chart.”