Sabrina Carpenter in a stunning mint silk gown, celebrating her sold out 'Short 'n Sweet' tour, july 4
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Sabrina Carpenter's Rise

Sabrina Carpenter Overtakes Rihanna as 5th Biggest Artist on Spotify, Sells Out "Short n' Sweet" Tour

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July 4, 2024

Sabrina Carpenter has surpassed Rihanna to become the 5th biggest artist on Spotify and sold out her entire "Short n' Sweet" tour.

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abrina Carpenter has reached another monumental milestone in her career, surpassing Rihanna to become the fifth biggest artist on Spotify with over 85.2 million monthly listeners. This achievement also secures her position as the third biggest female artist on the platform, trailing only behind Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, who each boast just over 98 million monthly listeners. Projections indicate that by the start of next week, Carpenter is poised to overtake Post Malone, who currently has 87.9 million monthly listeners.

The extraordinary rise in Carpenter's listener base can be largely attributed to the viral success of her singles "Espresso" and "Please Please Please." Tracks from her upcoming album "Short n' Sweet," scheduled for release on August 23, 2024, have not only captivated audiences but also driven significant engagement on streaming platforms. "Please Please Please" has secured the number two spot on the artist and song radios of Spotify's top 50 artists, sparking considerable discussion about the role of Spotify’s algorithms in Carpenter’s rapid ascent.

Adding to her accolades, "Please Please Please" reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Sabrina Carpenter’s first number one hit. Part of Carpenter's widespread exposure may be due to her label, Polydor Records, likely investing heavily in Spotify's Discovery Mode. With Discovery Mode, artists and labels identify priority songs, and Spotify's system incorporates that signal into the algorithms powering personalized playlists. This strategic investment could be driving the algorithmic placement of her songs across a diverse range of playlists, ensuring her music reaches a broader audience.

"Please Please Please" occupies the number two position in 100% of the top 50 Spotify Artist playlists or their song playlists. In most cases, "Espresso" was found at number eight on the same playlists. "Please Please Please" has taken the number two position in playlists for artists such as 21 Savage, 50 Cent, ABBA, Adele, aespa, Amy Winehouse, Angele, Arctic Monkeys, Artemas, A$AP Rocky, AUDREY NUNA, Ava Max, BABYMONSTER, Bad Bunny, Bee Gees, Benson Boone, Beyonce, Billy Joel, BLACKPINK, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Christina Aguilera, Central Cee, Coldplay, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Daddy Yankee, David Guetta, Demi Lovato, Destiny’s Child, Doja Cat, Dolly Parton, Ed Sheeran, elise rose, Elton John, Eminem, Etta James, Fergie, FIFTY FIFTY, FKA twigs, FloyyMenor, Frank Sinatra, Future, Glass Animals, Gunna, Gwen Stefani, Harry Styles, Hillary Duff, Hozier, Imagine Dragons, J Balvin, Jay-Z, Jeff Buckley, Jennifer Lopez, Joni Mitchell, Jorja Smith, Jung Kook, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Karol G, Katy Perry, Kehlani, Kendrick Lamar, Khalid, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Laufey, Lauryn Hill, LE SSERAFIM, Lil Nas X, Lily Allen, Macklemore, Mahmood, Marshmello, Maroon 5, Metro Boomin, Michael Buble, Michael Jackson, Miley Cyrus, Mitski, Myles Smith, Neon Trees, NewJeans, NSYNC, Olivia Rodrigo, One Direction, Paramore, Paul McCartney, Pitbull,  Queen, Rauw Alejandro, Rob Grant, Royel Otis, Rvissian, Sam Smith, Saweetie, Selena Gomez, Sexyy Red, Shaboozey, Shakira, Sherine, Soulja Boy, Spice Girls, Suki Waterhouse, SZA, Tame Impala, Teddy Swims, THE ANXIETY, The Chainsmokers, The Kid Laroi, The Pussycat Dolls, The Ronettes, The Strokes, The Temptations, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Troye Sivan, Tommy Richman, Tony Bennett, Tracy Chapman, Twenty One Pilots, Victoria Monet, and WILLOW, among others.

Aggressive promotion of Carpenter’s music has not gone unnoticed by Spotify users, who have taken to X/Twitter to voice their frustration. Users report that her songs frequently appear on their playlists and are often played automatically after their preferred tracks. One user noted that "PPP" played automatically after unrelated songs across all genres, even appearing in a playlist themed around "fart" sounds.

Some of the most notable reactions include: @joleena: "No matter what I’m listening to, as soon as the playlist or album ends, the second 'random' song will always be a Sabrina Carpenter song." @KarmaIsAFad: "Spotify keeps pushing Sabrina Carpenter on me like no, I don’t want to hear the song randomly after Cleo Sol." @icaruSYRE: "Spotify is shoving Espresso by Sabrina Carpenter down my throat with the DJ beta feature." Sentiments like these highlight a broader issue within the streaming industry: the balance between organic growth and algorithmic influence. Aggressive promotion of Carpenter’s singles raises questions about the fairness and transparency of music streaming platforms.

Concerns about potential payola practices have also been highlighted. Payola, the illegal practice of paying for song placements without disclosure, has been suggested as a possible factor in Carpenter's rapid rise. A Forbes article discussed the prevalence of payola within Spotify’s platform, suggesting that Carpenter’s sudden prominence might be driven more by financial investment than organic popularity.

On July 4th, Carpenter added another feather to her cap by announcing on Instagram that her entire "Short n' Sweet" tour has sold out. Her celebratory post, captioned, "and just like that you guys sold out the entire short n' sweet tour, espresso went #1 at the pop radio andddddd i slid down this slide :') thank you all so so much!!! i can't wait to see you on the road," has garnered significant attention and mixed reactions from her followers.

Some of the top-liked comments under her Instagram post reflect a spectrum of sentiments: @_michele_hadley: "Sabrina the tour is gonna be empty bc it's all bots and resale for 4x the price." @bearynahte: "uhmmm i think the bots got a lot of the tickets ilysm tho." @ddianalea: "Bots and scalpers sold it out girl not us." @karmen_elizabeth: "sabrina bots and scalpers sold out the tour, real fans won't be there :(" @nethra_kesanapalli: "girl that ticketmaster shit was not it." @brentbergbauer: "you mean the scalpers sold out the whole tour, and like 3% went to actual fans?" @akrl.na: "girl ur tickets were more than taylor how is that possible."

Carpenter’s swift rise on Spotify, particularly her recent overtaking of Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Drake, Dua Lipa, and Justin Bieber, underscores the dynamic nature of music streaming and the significant role algorithms play in an artist's visibility and success. Achieving such prominence with just a couple of singles highlights the evolving methods of music promotion and the potential for rapid fanbase expansion through strategic platform engagement.

However, the mixed reactions from her tour announcement also point to the challenges faced by artists in ensuring genuine fan access to live events. The issue of bots and scalpers securing a large portion of tickets has been a recurring problem in the industry, often leading to inflated resale prices and limited availability for real fans. The situation has prompted calls for more stringent measures to ensure fair ticket distribution and better fan experiences.

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