While critics wonder whether Beyoncé's Renaissance signals a reinvention, a revolution, or a remembrance in the creative arc of her career — it's likely all three, no doubt — we wanted to surface some figures that might play into the future success of the album and her continued relevance and reign. In particular, we wanted to examine how Beyoncé's new album is being playlisted by streaming platforms and what effect that might have on her ability to stay atop the charts.
It's important to note that charts tend to represent a packaged and holistic view of a whole series of engagements that consumers have with an artist and their music. Charts are therefore influenced by a number of digital interactions, from a marketing campaign to a Shazam to an editorial playlist add. All of those datapoints ultimately feed into the sales and streams, i.e., dollar signs, of any artist's release.
One of the industry's long-running chart standards is, of course, Billboard. On Sunday, Aug. 7, Billboard reported that Renaissance, which was released on Friday, July 29, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, making Beyoncé the first woman to do so this year. In late 2021, Adele also debuted at No. 1 with 30, holding that crown for six weeks after the album's much-anticipated release.
For both artists, it was really the lead single that lifted them from their lull in Chartmetric Artist Score, a metric that encapsulates dozens of digital cross-platform consumer interactions. While Adele's "Easy on Me" more than doubled her score, Beyoncé's "BREAK MY SOUL" accounted for about a 1.7x increase. Notably, however, Adele's score almost immediately went into decline, continuing to fall even after 30 dropped.
While it's too early to tell whether Beyoncé will follow in Adele's footsteps, there does appear to be the beginning of a second lift in the 10 days following the release of Renaissance (and keep in mind, this is only Volume 1).
That said, drilling down further to one of the metrics that comprises Chartmetric Artist Score, Spotify playlist count, it's a bit surprising how similar the trend lines are. Given all of the anticipatory press surrounding Adele's 30, you might expect to see a bigger spike following the release of her album on Nov. 19, 2021. The same is true of Beyoncé.
If we look at Apple Music playlist count instead, the story the graph tells is a bit different: Adele and Beyoncé saw notable bumps following their lead singles and more minimal bumps following the release of their albums (so far, at least).
That said, the volume of non-editorial playlists on Spotify (more than on any other platform) are likely diluting the count of editorial playlists that each artist may have gained and leveling out any perceivable effect. It's worth, therefore, taking a more granular look at the number of editorial playlists that these artists have been added to since their respective releases.
For Adele, editorial playlist count and editorial playlist reach spiked following the release of her lead single, remaining relatively high for a good nine months before dropping back down to pre-release levels.
For Beyoncé, meanwhile, editorial playlist count and editorial playlist reach also spiked with the release of her lead single. Notably, her editorial playlist reach hit an all-time high of around 340M following the Renaissance album release.
Many of the playlists that new Beyoncé tracks have been removed from are Spotify charts playlists. In fact, many of her tracks only spent 1-2 days on these Top 50 - Global charts playlists, and only her lead single, "BREAK MY SOUL," remains on Spotify's Daily Top 50. So far it's peaked at No. 14 and currently sits at No. 19.
To put it into perspective, Adele's "Easy on Me" was still at No. 1 on the Spotify Daily Top 50 in the two weeks after 30's release, and a number of that album's tracks were also included at various positions.
In effect, even though Beyoncé's new album seems to be reaching more people than ever before on Spotify, Renaissance's Spotify chart performance is somewhat lackluster. It is quite a contrast from Apple Music, where "BREAK MY SOUL" is in the No. 4 spot and practically her whole album is on the Daily Top 100. Her editorial playlist count on Apple Music continues to rise as well.
If the Spotify charts are any indication of the success Beyoncé will have with Renaissance on the Billboard charts, then that No. 1 spot — or any spot, for that matter — likely won't last long. Whether because of curatorial bias or platform userbase bias, it's clear that Apple Music is benefiting Beyoncé more than Spotify at the moment. Luckily for Beyoncé, Spotify playlists and Spotify charts are only a piece of the digital engagement puzzle. Plus, she's got a Bey Hive that will always generate the buzz necessary to keep the crown for their queen.