Last December in St. Louis, 14,072 songs were more popular than Laura Branigan’s version of “Gloria.”
But a little over five months later, after the Blues adopted the song as their informal anthem, it hit No. 1.
Although not as prominent a rise, Blues fans elsewhere were also listening. The song was streamed a total of 883,126 times in the first week of June. Including videos, “Gloria” played 1.37 million times that week.
“It was all over the country,” said Jim Lidestri, CEO of BuzzAngle Music, which prepared the statistics for the Post-Dispatch. BuzzAngle tracks online streaming, song sales and videos watched on YouTube and other services.
Lidestri said there was a jump in the song’s popularity in early February. That’s most likely when news started to leak out about a Philly bar where Blues players had heard a DJ repeatedly play the 37-year-old hit and a day later goalie Jordan Binnington had a shutout in his first NHL start.
The next big jump in popularity was during the playoffs, Lidestri said.
The song was streamed online 484 times in the St. Louis area the week ending Dec. 28, 2018. By the week of June 7, that number had jumped 18,500%, to 89,612 streams, according to BuzzAngle.
Lidestri said in an email that the song’s rise was “obviously reflecting the enthusiasm of Blues fans.”
“It’s as much of a win for Laura Branigan as it is for the Blues,” he wrote.
In total, the song was streamed at least 330,000 times from Feb. 22 to June 14 in St. Louison music streaming services such as Spotify, Google Play and Amazon Music . Those figures don’t even include Apple’s iTunes, which doesn’t break out data by city, Lidestri said — meaning the real numbers could be one-third higher for the St. Louis area. The song must play for at least 30 seconds to count, he said.
BuzzAngle recorded a total of 4.38 million streams around the country from March 5 to June 14. That jumps to just under 7.1 million including YouTube and other video streaming services. YouTube also doesn’t break out numbers by city, Lidestri said.
Lidestri said streaming is probably the best measure of a song’s popularity, better than radio airplay. “It’s a conscious choice. The radio might be on the background,” he said.
Kathy Golik, president of the company that manages Branigan’s music, could not be reached for comment. But she told KMOX radio that she first heard about the song’s association with the Blues, via Twitter. Golik, who spent 22 days in St. Louis during the playoffs, told the radio station that Branigan, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2004, would have been humbled and elated by the song’s adoption by the Blues and their fans, and would have participated in a “big way” in the journey.
Although St. Louis led the nation in listening to “Gloria,” Lidestri said it was also popular in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Kansas City.