How a weird YouTube hack helped Post Malone’s “rockstar” get to No. 1 on the Billboard charts
A video loop of the song’s chorus has over 41 million views.
On Monday, Billboard announced that Post Malone and 21 Savage's "rockstar" reached the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 singles chart. The song is both Post Malone's and 21 Savage's first No. 1 single, and arrived at the top after spending three weeks in the No. 2 spot. The strongest support for the song came from streaming platforms, and as Billboard reported, this week was the song's "third (nonconsecutive) week at No. 1 on the Streaming Songs chart with 51.3 million U.S. streams."
Part of that song's chart success comes from a YouTube video uploaded in September by Post's label, Republic Records, that features the chorus on a loop for 3:38, which is the same amount of time as the full song. This video doesn't feature any of the song's verses or 21 Savage's guest verse either. In the video's bio, there's a link that sends viewers to the streaming service of their choice to listen to the full song. The looped clip currently has over 41 million views and is roughly averaging more than a million views per day. According to a person familiar with the situation, a view of the video counts for the charts in the same way that a view on a remix of an instrumental track would.
At best, the new video could be viewed as a clever marketing scheme, and at worst, as tricking listeners who think they're hearing the song as advertised. It also comes amidst reports that YouTube streams will soon count towards the Billboard album charts.
A rep for Republic Records did not immediately return a request for comment.