Justin Bieber makes highest Billboard debut with "Boyfriend"

Wed Apr 4, 2012 3:29pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Canadian pop phenomenon Justin Bieber made his highest single debut on Wednesday with new track "Boyfriend," debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

More than 559,000 copies were sold of "Boyfriend" in its first week.

Despite the singer's popularity -- 41 million fans on Facebook and 19 million on Twitter -- this is only the third time Bieber has managed to break into the Hot 100 top ten. Previous hit, "Never Say Never" made it to No. 8 last year, and "Baby" notched No. 5 in 2010.

"Boyfriend" sees the 18-year-old singer take a more mature direction with his music, making a transition from catchy pop tunes to heavy R&B beats as Bieber displays his rapping talents.

The track was played 3,961 times on U.S. radio in its first week, an average of 31 plays on each station, making "Boyfriend" the best first-week plays for a song by a male artist in Billboard's Pop Songs chart history.

Bieber was unable to beat chart-toppers fun., who held the Hot 100 No. 1 again with their single "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae, which sold 363,000 digital copies last week.

Despite Bieber's song selling more copies than "We Are Young", "Boyfriend" ranked lower on the Hot 100, which measures sales, airplay and on-demand songs from streaming services such as Spotify.

"Boyfriend" was available only on iTunes in its first week, while "We Are Young" was available to stream and purchase from all digital retailers.   Continued...

Singer Justin Bieber speaks at a ceremony where Michael Jackson's shoes and gloves are used to make hand and foot imprints in cement in the courtyard of Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on January 26, 2012. REUTERS/Phil McCarten