How Camila Cabello Used Data to Pick ‘Havana’ as the Lead Single for Her Debut Album

Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello (Photo credit: Jason Roman)

On Aug. 3, Camilla Cabello and Epic Records released two tracks from her upcoming debut solo album: the Young Thug-featured “Havana” and the Quavo-assisted “OMG.” Although DJcity’s subscribers gravitated towards “Havana,” both Spotify and iTunes championed “OMG,” giving it premium coverage on Spotify’s “New Music Fridays” and iTunes’ “Hot Tracks” lists.

Despite the priority given to “OMG,” a week later, both tracks reached around 37 million followers via official Spotify playlists and third party playlists, including DJcity Essentials.

By Aug. 19, a leader had emerged. “Havana” appeared on playlists followed by 60 million, while the audience for “OMG” dropped to 30 million. (“Havana” had been added to more playlists while “OMG” had been dropped by some playlists.)

Spotify playlist stats for "Havana"
Spotify playlist stats for "OMG"
A week later, “OMG” dropped out of Spotify’s weekly United States Viral 50 chart, while “Havana” stood at No. 15, with its reach expanded to 68 million followers. Within just days, Cabello announced on Twitter that “Havana” would be the album’s lead single.

“OMG” was eventually removed from Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits playlist, and on Oct. 3, “Havana” began being serviced to U.S. top 40 radio (“Havana” is currently No. 7 on Today’s Top Hits). Cabello released the official video for “Havana” on Oct. 24, and the single currently sits at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ultimately, fans preferred “Havana” over “OMG” and the data reflected how listeners worldwide engaged with it. As real-time insights become more available, artists and labels can make better-informed marketing decisions.

This article was written by Matt Downey and edited by Anthony Polis.

Related: Major Lazer Drops Interactive ‘Know No Better’ Video