Wiz Khalifa's 'See You Again' Breaks Spotify Streaming Record

Apr 16, 2015
Originally published on April 16, 2015 7:40 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It was streamed on Spotify 4.2 million times in just a single day this week. Last week it streamed a total of nearly 22 million times.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOU AGAIN")

CHARLIE PUTH: (Singing) It's been a long day without you, my friend.

CORNISH: The song is "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, and it set new highs for streaming. NPR's Andrew Limbong explains why it's such a hit.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: "See You Again" is like a lot of pop songs, combining hip hop and a ballad. But this pop song happens to come from the soundtrack of the current hit movie "Furious 7."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOU AGAIN")

WIZ KHALIFA: (Singing) How can we not talk about family when family is all that we got?

LIMBONG: Family - it's a big theme in the "Fast And Furious" universe and a theme that's reflected in real life. Used at the end of "Furious 7," it's a tribute song for the actor Paul Walker, who died in a car crash in 2013. Walker's been in nearly every "Fast And Furious" film. Since his death, fans have created film montages, tribute web pages, and even car decals in his honor. The song's not just about Walker's death, though. Charlie Puth talked about writing the hook with the pop culture website POPSUGAR at the LA premiere for "Furious 7."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PUTH: So my friend, who had passed away in a very similar situation to Paul, unfortunately - I always wanted to write a song about Paul and Vail (ph), my friend, and it just happened to go. The song came out in like 10 minutes. I sat down at the piano, and I was just like, (singing) it's been a long day without you my friend.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOU AGAIN")

LIMBONG: Spotify says the 4.2 million plays in one day is a million more than the old record, Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do." The entire "Furious 7" soundtrack is doing pretty well, too. The last time a soundtrack did this well, it was Eminem's "8 Mile," according to Billboard. And that was more than a decade ago. Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.