Iconic ’80s songs have enjoyed renewed success thanks to Gen Z’s love affair with the past. Now Luke Combs sits at the top of the charts with his cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” So is Gen Z discovering Tracy Chapman? Short answer—yes.
The Luke Combs’ cover of “Fast Car” has racked up over 250 million on-demand audio (ODA) streams through the week ending July 20, according to Luminate. Globally, the song has performed well too, with 90 million ODA streams outside of the United States. The massive success of this cover is also driving the new generation’s discovery of Tracy Chapman’s original version.
Tracy Chapman’s ODA streamed averaged about 3.5 million ODA streams per week before March 24. That’s when Luke Combs dropped his latest album, Gettin’ Old, which features his cover of “Fast Car.” Luminate took a look at the next three weeks of data and discovered a jump to 4.1 million ODA streams weekly for Tracy Chapman—an 18.4% increase following the Combs cover.
Chapman’s catalog has seen a steady increase in streams since March 2023 with a 51.8% increase in ODA streaming in the week ending July 20 over the week ending March 17—the last week of data before the cover dropped.
Part of what helps drive this success is that Luke Combs fans are comfortable listening to out-of-genre songs from their favorite artist. Luminate Insights Artist Genre Tracker reveals Combs’ fans are 27% more likely to agree with the statement, “I like it when my favorite artists release songs outside of their genre,” than the average music listener.
Younger country listeners (Gen Z and Millennials) also make up the bulk of Combs fan demographic. As a cohort, those two age groups are 28% more likely to discover new music through video and audio streaming services.