Beatlemania is Back. Beatlemania Never Left.

“It was 20 years ago today..” Actually, more like 50 years plus a couple of days.  February 9, 1964. The Beatles took to the Ed Sullivan stage, and music history was made.  Getting on the Ed Sullivan show was surreal in itself; the whole deal was sealed with a handshake between Ed Suillivan and Brian Epstein (The Beatles manager) that guaranteed three performances, top billing and a monetary compensation of $10,000. Hard to image a current artist agreeing to that contract.  So, the question to ask is just how big were the 1964 Beatles and could they hold a candle to the stars of today?

Let’s look at the numbers: By the early 1960’s, Beatlemania had already spread through Europe with the release of The Beatles first album, Please Please Me.  However, it was only with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” that they scored an American number one hit.  With a promotion budget of $40,000, the single sold 250,000 copies in the first 3 days; in New York City alone, 10,000 copies were sold every hour. That’s without Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and iTunes.

Compare that to Justin Timberlake’s (JT) long awaited musical comeback.  After a 6 year hiatus, “Suit & Tie” was the first single off his album, 20/20 Experience. The song debuted at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 based on two days of airplay and was number four on the Billboard Hot 100 with 315,000 first-week downloads sold.  That’s 45,000 singles/day versus the Beatles’ 83,000/day.

And what about TV ratings?  The Beatles scored a record-setting 45.3, meaning that 45.3% of households with televisions were watching. That figure reflected an audience of 73 million viewers, all on one night. Within two months of the performance, the Beatles had the top five songs on the American charts, and 63 percent of records released in America were Beatles records. And what about JT?   If you do a search for the official “Suit & Tie” video on YouTube, it received just under 63 million views (and that’s almost a year after it was released).