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Carpool Consumption: Michelle Obama Drives a Lift for Stevie Wonder and Missy Elliott Hits

2 minute read | August 2016

The Carpool Karaoke segment of The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS has hosted some of the most well-known celebrities and musicians, including Adele, Justin Bieber, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and George Clooney. It’s clear that this beloved segment is a viral hit among fans. In fact, Apple recently confirmed that it acquired the rights to a show of the same name and format with Corden acting as executive producer.

On Wednesday, July 20, first lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott joined Corden to sing some of their favorite songs. While exposure on the show has boosted music consumption for many of the carpooling guests and generated loads of social media interaction, the most recent episode had a big impact on the songs that were featured in the segment.

The first lady, Corden and Elliott blazed through Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On,” Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and “This Song Is For My Girls,” a song performed by Elliott and others as a global call to action for Mrs. Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative. According to Nielsen Music Connect, fans came together on Facebook to discuss Stevie Wonder, where conversations increased by 33,000 (72.7%). Fans also mentioned Elliott on the platform, as the amount of conversations grew by 58,000 (85.5%) from the previous week.

Moreover, music consumption increased after the segment went live. Fans streamed “Get Ur Freak On” 497,000 times, marking a 22.7% increase from the previous week. Digital track sales also increased by 312% to 4,500 units sold compared to week ended July 14. “Single Ladies,” the second song the group performed in the segment, also saw a lift in streaming and digital sales from the previous week. Fans streamed the song 1.3 million times, up 6.4%, and digital track sales increased by 42%. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” the first song in the segment, has been a favorite of both Michelle and Barack Obama even before Stevie Wonder performed it at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The song was also played at the end of President Obama’s speech at this year’s convention. Digital track sales and on-demand streaming of this Stevie Wonder classic grew 76.5% and 7.9%, respectively, compared with the previous week.

While each song generated notable sales and streaming lifts, the group’s rendition of “This is For My Girls,” the first lady’s girl power anthem, has generated the most traction. In fact, the song saw a whopping 1,562% increase in digital track sales after the segment aired, with 9,200 units sold, up from just 552 units sold in the previous week. All proceeds from this song are donated to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund.

Facebook conversations about Wonder and Elliott and consumption of their music did increase slightly before the segment because Wonder performed on July 10 at the British Summer Time Hyde Park Festival in London and Elliott was featured prominently at the 2016 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors on July 11.

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