In moving 438,000 first-week copies, Ariana Grande’s 2014 single “Problem” considerably topped industry expectations.
Based on intraweek data, Ariana Grande’s 2015 single “Focus” is on track to fall considerably short of industry expectations.
According to Republic Records, “Focus” had reached 65,000 US sales on Monday, November 2, which was the fourth day of the official October 30-November 5 tracking week.
Since the “Focus” sales pace has slowed since day one — and will presumably continue to slow in the coming days — an opening week total in the rough neighborhood of 100,000 seems likely.
No level-headed analyst expected the first week “Focus” total to rival that of “Problem.” In addition to benefiting from an aggressive pre-order campaign, “Problem” also enjoyed launch night exposure from a Radio Disney Music Awards performance. It featured a rap verse from Iggy Azalea at a time when Azalea was one of the hottest names — if not the hottest name — in mainstream music, and it came as Grande’s own profile was ascending to superstar status. It also entered a market absent a behemoth like Adele’s “Hello.”
By the same token, virtually all level-headed analysts expected it to perform better than it has. In addition to being a lead Ariana Grande single (from her forthcoming album “Moonlight”), “Focus” benefited from a lengthy hype campaign and has thus far received strong support at pop radio.
Underwhelming in comparison to expectations, “Focus” still appears poised for a Top 5 (and undoubtedly a Top 10) debut on the US Digital Songs chart.