Taylor Swift’s ‘Exile’ Gets a Streaming Bump From Viral Fan Video

Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up column, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.



See latest videos, charts and news

See latest videos, charts and news

This week: A much-shared fan reaction to a Taylor Swift Eras performance results in big gains for the ballad in question, an unusual pop artist goes viral in an even more unusual way and we may have the first post-Beyoncé hoedown hit.

Taylor Swift’s ‘Exile’ Sees Uptick Following Swiftie’s Viral Reaction Video

[embedded content]

For nearly a year, the surprise songs performed each night on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour have provoked a wide spectrum of reactions — from elation from those in attendance who happened to hear their favorite song performed during their tour stop, to heartache from those who missed an unforgettable moment. Madison Blackband, a 20-year-old Australian Swiftie, ended up producing an unforgettable moment herself last week, when she took video of herself and two friends outside of Swift’s performance in Sydney on Feb. 25.

Trending on Billboard

The Brisbane native posted a TikTok of herself hearing the opening notes of the Folklore track “Exile,” which caused her to double over into her friend’s arms and collapse in sobs; the caption read, “My reaction to Taylor singing Exile (also known as the song that saved my life).” The overwhelming emotion in the clip went viral, with over 10 million TikTok views and countless memes re-creating the drama. And in the week that followed, “Exile” experienced an increase in streams, as fans just had to hear what exactly was in that Bon Iver duet that made that Swiftie crumple in tears.

In the three days before the video posted (Feb. 22-24), “Exile” earned 1.12 million official on-demand U.S. streams — but the following three days (Feb. 25-27), that number rose to 1.30 million streams, an increase of 16%, according to Luminate. As for Blackband, she’s taking the viral moment in stride: “There’s no point letting it upset me,” she told Rolling Stone last week. “I reacted the way I reacted.” – JASON LIPSHUTZ

Viral X Ad Transforms Julie Ragbeer from Unknown to Rising Streaming Phenom 

[embedded content]

Most people are aware of the power and reach of platforms like X (formerly Twitter) or Instagram. Most people are also aware of how influential advertising can be. Few can say they would have predicted that a paid ad on a sizable pop culture X account would transform a New Jersey college student from bedroom crooner to certified streaming star. 

On Feb. 22, Pop Tingz – an X account focused on covering pop culture that boasts over 166,000 followers – shared a promotional post for Julie Ragbeer with the caption, “[Julie Ragbeer] reminisces with her 19-year-old experiences in her new debut album.” At press time, the tweet has garnered over 13,000 likes and 11.4 million views on the platform. While these kinds of X accounts have shared promotional posts for little-known independent artists in the past, the bizarreness of the Ragbeer ad (at the time her account was private and followed by just 100 people) coupled with the undeniable, tongue-in-cheek allure of songs like the funky “Older Guys” resulted in genuine streaming gains for the nascent social media star. 

According to Luminate, Ragbeer’s independently released catalog – which consists of one LP, two EPs and two standalone singles – received a negligible number of official on-demand U.S. streams during the week of Feb. 16-22. In the week immediately following the X post (Feb. 23-29), streaming activity for Ragbeer’s catalog ballooned by a whopping 34,630% to over 80,000 streams. On Spotify, “Mary Whiton Calkins” — a tribute to the early 1900s American philosopher and psychologist whose worked focused on researching memories and dreams — ranks as Ragbeer’s most popular track, with over 50,000 streams on the platform. 

While it remains to be seen whether she can bottle up her virality and create a lasting career, the Pop Tingz-spurred phenomenon of Julie Ragbeer is just the latest example of the power of the Internet. — KYLE DENIS

Dasha Scores the Year’s Second Boot-Stomping Texas-Themed Country-Pop Hit

[embedded content]

The rising wave from Beyoncé’s country crossover smash “Texas Hold ‘Em” keeps lifting boats from all over — and the latest beneficiary might be San Luis Obispo, Calif.-born singer/songwriter Dasha. Now based out of Nashville, Dasha has been trying to make it in country music, and last year released the lovelorn single “Austin,” sounding a little like a more honky-tonk-ready spin on Halsey’s 2020 hit “You Should Be Sad.” But its stomp-clapping giddy-up groove also shares more than a little DNA with “Hold ‘Em” — and with that song becoming one of the early year’s defining hits, “Austin” has begun to take off as well.

The song of course has done exceptionally well on TikTok — where Dasha now has nearly 300,000 followers and calls herself country-without-the-“o” on her bio page — particularly as part of a line dance trend started by the singer-songwriter. For the tracking week ending Feb. 15, which Beyoncé released “Hold ‘Em” midway through, “Austin” had exploded from 82,000 official on-demand U.S. streams the week before to over 830,000, according to Luminate, a gain of 916%. The next week, which also included the Feb. 16 release of Dasha’s independently released full-length country debut album What Happens Now? the song kept rocketing upwards, growing another 182% to over 2.3 million streams. For the most recent week, ending Feb. 29, the song has slowed a little but is still climbing, now up another 32% to over 3.1 million streams.

Will “Austin” also become a Lone Star State-sized pop hit in the months to come? We’ll see, but it’s clear that even with Beyoncé’s sizeable presence understandably commanding the most attention, there’s still plenty of room for other artists on the honky-tonk dancefloor in 2024. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER