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Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X. Photos: Jonas Walzberg/picture alliance via Getty Images; Johnny Nunez/Getty Images

Generation Z artists have figured out how their peers consume music in the streaming era, and they're tailoring their release strategies to give their songs an otherworldly longevity on the charts.

Why it matters: A traditional single launch with a big-budget music video isn't enough to create a mega-hit in 2019. True staying power requires a savvy use of memes, remixes and videos to sustain buzz — and the recent war for #1 between Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X utilized all 3, previewing the music industry of the future.

  • Eilish's "Bad Guy" ended the record 19-week reign of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 this week, making her the first artist born in the 2000s to hit #1 on the chart.
  • If Eilish hadn't succeeded, "Bad Guy" would have spent a record-tying 10 weeks at #2 without ascending to the top spot.

The big picture: Streaming is already the biggest factor for Billboard's charts. Last year, Billboard changed how streams count toward the Hot 100, granting the most weight to songs played under paid subscriptions with services like Spotify and Apple Music.

And on-demand songs from ad-supported services (think YouTube and streaming services' free tiers) have more weight than songs played on programmed services, like Pandora.

  • 84% of Gen Zers use their smartphones to consume audio content daily, according to a Consumer Technology Association survey. It also found that their 2 most popular sources of audio content were streaming services and online video.
  • A Music Business Association survey found that 15- to 19-year-olds are far more likely to opt for paid streaming than other age groups because of their preference for mobile streaming — even though 24% said they weren't the ones paying for it.

Eilish and Lil Nas X fought a months-long battle for #1, targeting their peers across their preferred platforms the whole time.

The bottom line: The world's biggest record labels have already caught on — and soon, these promotional strategies won't be limited strictly to the young.

Go deeper: Taylor Swift unloads on Scooter Braun's Big Machine deal

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.