Can’t Believe It? T-Pain Suddenly Topping File-Sharing Networks

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The man who brought you “I’m Sprung,” “I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper)” and “Bartender” is now enjoying an unexpected jump across P2P networks and radio stations.

This time, the track is also a familiar favorite, “Can’t Believe It,” one already recognized across mainstream and urban channels.

As of Tuesday, “Can’t Believe It” topped a BigChampagne trend-based ranking based on P2P searches and downloads, as well as traditional radio station spins.  The ranking was shared exclusively with Digital Music News by BigChampagne, which compiles a broad number of data sources within its BC Dash application.

The T-Pain track was downloaded nearly 6 million times during the week ending December 16th, up from 5.89 million during the previous period.  But the surge to the top, from third last week, breaks ranks with most other positions.  For example, “Can’t Believe It,” the paid download, was recently hovering in the 80s on the iTunes Store, down from a peak position of 11 established in early August.  Separately, the song’s YouTube video ranking is 29th, a steady slide since first surfacing in September.

T-Pain stands on his own, though a guest appearance by Lil Wayne undoubtedly boosts the appeal of the song.  Perhaps more importantly, a remix featuring Justin Timberlake is just now hitting the iTunes Store, networks, and more traditional outlets.  The first version of “Can’t Believe It” appears on T-Pain’s Thr33 Rings, a circus-themed album released in November with first-week sales of roughly 168,000 units (now past 300,000).

Top-level radio positions also appear subdued, though market-specific numbers are strong.  Across the United States, “Can’t Believe It” ranked 37th on Tuesday, according to Mediabase, down from 3rd in early October.  But in heavily-populated Los Angeles, the song most recently landed at 3rd, across all formats, based on 199 spins.  The song moves upward one notch, with concomitant jumps in regional file-sharing volumes.

Other markets are also showing strong numbers, specifically across Hit Rhythmic formats.  In nearby San Diego, the song ranks 3rd on 160 format-specific spins, up from 4th previously.  In Dallas, the song is now 4th on Hit Rhythmic on 71 spins, up from 15th previously.  In Houston, the song remains at 6th on 97 format-specific spins.

Other high-ranking cities include Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Tuscon.  The follow-up single, “Chopped & Skrewed,” is also making waves, though the song probably carries less hit-power than “Believe”.

Why the market-specific bounces?  T-Pain is visiting Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles this week, before touring Oakland, Chicago, and Detroit next week.  That is probably boosting spins on both tracks, and helping to spread track acquisition online.

Report by publisher Paul Resnikoff.