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The Weeknd’s ‘Die for You’ Tops Radio Songs Chart – Billboard

Written by on 06/02/2023

Originally released in late 2016 on The Weeknd’s album Starboy, his track “Die for You” rises to No. 1 at last on Billboard’s all-format Radio Songs chart, as well as the mainstream top 40-based Pop Airplay chart (both dated Feb. 11).

The song, on XO/Republic Records, gained by 5% to 85.2 million airplay audience impressions in the Jan. 27-Feb. 2 tracking week, according to Luminate.

As previously reported, the song rebounds to its No. 6 high on the all-genre, multimetric Billboard Hot 100.

The Weeknd adds his fifth Radio Songs No. 1, following “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (for four weeks), “Can’t Feel My Face” (seven) and “The Hills” (five), all in 2015, and “Blinding Lights,” which dominated for a record 26 weeks in April-October 2020.

On Pop Airplay, The Weeknd likewise lands his fifth leader, with “Die for You” following “Earned It” (one week), “Can’t Feel My Face” (four weeks), “Blinding Lights” (six) and “Save Your Tears” (four, 2021).

“Die for You” completes the longest journey from a title’s release to its coronation on Radio Songs since the chart began in 1990. It tops the tally over six years after its arrival on Starboy, sparked by a surge of interaction on TikTok in recent months, which led Republic to officially promote it to radio.

Since Starboy, which became The Weeknd’s second of four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, where it ruled for five weeks beginning in December 2016, he has tallied four more top 10s: EP My Dear Melancholy (No. 1 for one week in April 2018); After Hours (No. 1, four weeks, April 2020); best-of collection The Highlights (No. 2, February 2021) and Dawn FM (No. 2, January 2022).

The lattermost set generated the singles “Take My Breath,” which hit No. 8 on Pop Airplay and No. 10 on Radio Songs, and “Sacrifice,” which followed and reached Nos. 13 and 24 on the charts, respectively.

“I think Dawn FM is a great album, but I think the bigger success of ‘Die for You’ as opposed to ‘Take My Breath’ or ‘Sacrifice’ comes down to timing,” says Matt Mony, program director of Pop Airplay reporter WYOY Jackson, Miss. “‘Blinding Lights’ was such a massive record that I think it heavily overshadowed anything from Dawn FM. The Dawn FM singles weren’t weaker than ‘Die for You,’ they just came too early. The audience was not ready for more Weeknd yet, in my opinion. Had the album come out this year, the singles probably would have charted higher.”

Meanwhile, and perhaps also benefiting from breathing room since the release of Dawn FM, The Weeknd is also scaling radio charts with “Creepin’,” with Metro Boomin and 21 Savage. The collab, which reinvents Mario Winans’ No. 2-peaking 2004 Hot 100 hit “I Don’t Wanna Know,” featuring Enya and P. Diddy, pushes 5-3 on Radio Songs (77.2 million, up 15%) and 6-4 on Pop Airplay, while hitting No. 1 on Rhythmic Airplay (where it becomes The Weeknd’s 13th leader, 21 Savage’s fifth and Metro Boomin’s first). It concurrently climbs 4-3 on the Hot 100.

Mony also cites the recent spate of successful song revivals for the current snug fit for “Die for You” on radio. “The last year has been unique for pop music, given the resurgence of so many songs like ‘Die for You,’ Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill,’ and ‘Bloody Mary’,” he says, pointing to Lady Gaga’s revitalized 2011 track that ranks at its No. 19 Pop Airplay high, up 31% in plays.

Of “Die for You,” Mony muses, adding a song from 2016 was “a little odd to me at first, but certainly no stranger, no pun intended, than adding Kate Bush from 1985. How songs become hits is changing, and I think having older songs get played as currents proves anything can be a hit now. Current hit radio could be one viral TikTok away from playing ‘Believe’ by Cher.”

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