Brandy & Monica Combine for Over 20 Million U.S. Song Streams After Verzuz Battle

Brandy and Monica’s record-setting Verzuz viewership translated into major gains for both singers’ streaming totals after the event.

Combined, the pair registered 21.9 million U.S. on-demand streams for their song catalogs from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, a period comprising the day of the competition and two days after of residual fan activity. That total compares to 6.3 million U.S. on-demand streams in the three days leading up to the broadcast (Aug. 28-30), a surge of 248%.

Of the 21.9 million streaming total, Monica’s catalog accounted for 11.2 million plays, while Brandy’s songs clocked 10.9 million streams.

The two R&B hitmakers participated in the latest Verzuz showdown on Monday (Aug. 31). At its peak, the web broadcast drew 1.2 million simultaneous viewers, the highest recorded among the series’ clashes thus far. Previously, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott partnered for the viewership record, with about 750,000 fans tuning in for their contest on May 9.

Verzuz competitions began in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Instagram Live. The event comprises two artists, groups, or producers – generally from the R&B or hip-hop sphere – battling one another in a song-for-song competition that lasts at least 20 rounds. Of the nearly two-dozen episodes to date, the series has hosted contests including Babyface vs. Teddy Riley, Ludacris vs. Nelly and the program’s architects Timbaland vs. Swizz Beatz.

Monica seized the win for the biggest individual streaming song, with new single “Trenches” (featuring Lil Baby), which she debuted halfway through the set. The release pulled 1.2 million U.S. on-demand streams in its first three days.

Beyond that, her next highest totals came from “So Gone,” which nabbed 840,000 clicks, a 142% improvement from 356,000 before the event, and a trio of tunes from her 1995 debut album, Miss Thang: “Why I Love You So Much” (764,000; up 168%), “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” (518,000, up 218%) and “Before You Walk Out of My Life” (499,000; up 218%).

Similarly, Brandy used the Verzuz platform to bring attention to her current single, “Borderline,” which gave the singer her best streaming result of the week. The track, from her B7 album released last month, drew 571,000 on-demand streams Aug. 31-Sept. 2, up 87% from 305,000 in the three days prior to the event.

Behind “Borderline,” Brandy’s top five streamed songs during the period were, respectively, her 1999 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Have You Ever,” (555,000; up 153%), “I Wanna Be Down” (496,000, up 116%), “Almost Doesn’t Count” (428,000; up 307%) and “Angel in Disguise” (408,000; up 579%).

Of course, we can’t forget the main event: “The Boy Is Mine.” The pair closed the nearly three-hour affair with a karaoke-style performance of sorts, with the classic collab playing in the background as they took turns performing bits of their duet parts. “Boy,” which crowned the Hot 100 for 13 weeks in 1998, registered 899,000 U.S. on-demand streams Aug. 31-Sept. 2, up 152% from 356,000 in the three days preceding their showdown.

Posted in: Music