For the second summer in a row, an iconic ‘80s song is a smash across music consumption formats and now sits in the upper echelon of the Billboard Hot 100. The 2023 twist is that it’s a cover.
Luke Combs’s take on Tracy Chapman’s iconic “Fast Car” is strongly resonating with music listeners around the nation with over 250m On-Demand Audio (ODA) streams through the week ending 07/20/23. Globally, the song has taken flight as well, with over 90m ODA streams outside the US. The massive success of Combs’s cover of “Fast Car” has had a strong impact on Tracy Chapman’s music consumption as well, and not just on the original version of “Fast Car.”
In the three weeks prior to the release of Combs’s album Gettin’ Old featuring “Fast Car” on March 24, 2023 (weeks 10-12 2023), Chapman’s full primary artist catalog – including “Fast Car” – averaged 3.5m US ODA streams per week. Through the next three weeks (weeks 13-15 2023) this jumped to an average of 4.1m (+18.4%). And with steady increases since late March, Chapman’s catalog showed a 51.8% increase in ODA streaming the week ending 7/20/23 over the week ending March 17, 2023.
But, is the popularity of Luke Combs’s version helping to drive additional discovery of the deeper Tracy Chapman catalog? Removing “Fast Car” from Tracy’s overall ODA streaming shows that it is indeed. Chapman’s artist catalog excluding “Fast Car” is up 37.3% the week ending 7/20/23 over the week before Combs’s album release.
Luminate Insights Artist Genre Tracker helps reveal some of the keys to this success as Luke Combs’s fans are music streamers who are open to out-of-genre songs. These fans are 27% more likely to agree or strongly agree with the statement “I like it when my favorite artists release songs outside their genre” than the average US music listener, demonstrating their affinity to additional types of music. Additionally, using Luminate Insights US Music 360 consumer research data, younger country listeners (Gen Z and Millenial, which are also the biggest cohort of Luke Combs fans*) are collectively +28% more likely to discover new music through video and / or audio streaming services.
Did you miss the release of Luminate’s 2023 Midyear Music Report? If so, click here and learn more about the rise of US Country music and other high-impact trends including: “Bands, Brands & Superfans,” “Locals, Lyrics & Languages,” and “The Impacts of New Tracks.”
*According to Luminate Insights Artist & Genre Tracker (consumer research)