Taylor Swift’s ‘Me!’ Is Thwarted by a Fifth No. 1 for ‘Old Town Road’

Taylor Swift pulled out all the stops for her latest single, “Me!”

She teased the song’s release for two weeks, then formally announced it with an appearance during ABC’s coverage of the N.F.L. draft. Its release on April 26 received wall-to-wall news coverage, and Swift spent the next week promoting it, through a performance at the Billboard Music Awards and a series of merchandise and music offers on her website, including four vinyl versions and even an autographed CD single.

But once all the numbers were tallied, “Me!” — which features Brendon Urie of the band Panic! at the Disco — was still held back from No. 1 by this year’s oddest musical juggernaut: “Old Town Road,” the “country-trap” hybrid by Lil Nas X, which notched its fifth week at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Me!” starts at No. 2.

Positions on the Hot 100, Billboard’s flagship singles chart, are computed through a mix of sales, streaming numbers and radio airplay. And while “Me!” had the most sales for the week — 206,000 copies sold, compared with 88,000 for Lil Nas X, according to Nielsen — it was handily beaten by “Old Town Road” in both streams and airplay.

“Old Town Road” had 103 million streams in the United States last week — its third in a row with north of 100 million — while “Me!” was just under 51 million. “Old Town Road,” which at first was ignored by radio, was played 10,750 times on American stations last week; “Me!” was spun 7,854 times. (If you turned on the radio, though, you had a better chance of hearing Post Malone’s “Wow,” which was played 12,443 times.)

On Billboard’s latest album chart, Pink is No. 1 for the third time in a row with “Hurts 2B Human,” which opened with the equivalent of 115,000 sales, including 95,000 copies of the full album and 17.6 million streams.

“People,” by Hillsong United, the musical arm of the Hillsong megachurch — whose adherents include Justin Bieber — opened at No. 2 on the album chart with 107,000 sales. It was the highest chart position yet for the group, which has been in the Top 10 three times in the last six years.

The rapper Schoolboy Q opened at No. 3 with “Crash Talk,” while last week’s chart-topper, Billie Eilish’s “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” fell to fourth place, and Khalid’s “Free Spirit” is No. 5.

This week also featured two pieces of chart news that will be closely watched in the industry. On Monday, Billboard announced that later this year, it would introduce the Global 100, which it said would rank songs using data from 180 countries.

And on Tuesday, in what could be a significant challenge to Billboard’s valuable chart franchise, Rolling Stone said that next week it would begin publishing a portfolio of new charts using numbers from Alpha Data, the tracking service formerly known as BuzzAngle Music.

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