It might be off to a solid start, but Ariana Grande’s “Break Free (featuring Zedd)” is thus far not nearly as dominant as predecessor “Problem (featuring Iggy Azalea).”
As of Sunday, the song is no longer #1 on iTunes. MAGIC!’s “Rude,” which regularly held the crown prior to “Break Free'”s release Wednesday night (save for temporary displacement for instant gratification releases like 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Amnesia”), has reclaimed that top spot on the store’s overall single sales chart.
“Problem,” which moved 438,000 copies in its first week of availability, held the number one spot for weeks after its launch this spring and continues to maintain a presence in the Top 5.
Firm first-week sales estimates for “Break Free” are not yet available, but they will not be within the realm of 438,000.
The comparisons are not, however, apples-to-apples. “Problem” launched after an aggressive iTunes pre-order campaign and a performance on the Radio Disney Music Awards. Formally sent to radio the day after its release, “Problem” then received additional first-week exposure at NBC’s iHeartRadio Music Awards.
“Break Free” was also hyped aggressively ahead of its launch, but the scope of the iTunes campaign paled in comparison to that of “Problem.” Its official launch, meanwhile, came via a play on MTV’s “Total Ariana Live” special, which drew a considerably smaller audience than the 3.2 million garnered by the Disney awards.
It has been receiving early radio play this week (and was the 50th-most-played pop song for the seven days ending July 5), but its formal radio impact does not happen until Tuesday, July 8.
Its status as the second single from Grande’s album also served to dilute some of the initial interest. The question now is whether it can gain momentum and solidify itself as another smash for the singer.