Kim Petras "Clarity" Album

Can you survive without chart success? 

After two albums and a many a single, Kim Petras still hasn’t been able to put a hit on top 40 or an album on the biggest U.S. chart. She finished two tours that were well received, but it still hasn’t carried her singles to mainstream success.

Failure to score major album sales could be caused by streaming, but even her singles seem not to perform. In theory the smaller, gayer, and more urban Dance Club chart should be a natural audience. For reference, she has never had a song chart higher than #23 on either US Dance or US Electronic.

Not even Paris Hilton and a half dozen other celebrities could get more than about a million views for her recent single on Youtube in the first week (it has since risen to about 2 million hits, but that is still low for an artist who has been around).


Paris Hilton cameo in the Malibu music video
Charting? That’s hot.

There are much more notable artists, such as Haim, who have toured and released successful albums without ever being popular in any mainstream sense. Regardless, Kim wants to be a real pop star.

A small amphitheater of cultists doing meet and greets for $100 each might even be a better model than trying to sell albums in increasingly silly merchandise bundles. Either way, Kim’s team should seriously think about why she isn’t being better received in the US market.

Kim enters America’s living room

Kim was going to play a small set to open much of Camilla Cabello’s tour, unfortunately that was completely made irrelevant by COVID-19. Luckily Kim performed on Jimmy Kimmel, but it will probably take a lot more than that to really launch in a real way. She’s present on Instagram and Twitter more than a lot of peers, but I still think it will be a struggle to sell Goth-pop to Middle America.

That being said, things like Kimmel have a real impact in terms of winning new audience. Note the bump in Google search volumes after her performance on the 10th.

Data showing search interest increase for Kim Petra's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel
Post-Kimmel Google search bump

Interestingly she also seems to have reached the broader audience outside of the usual club shows. West Virginia, Idaho, and Kansas are the prime hotspots here. While some parts of Kim’s story are decidedly gay, urban, and camp, to be a global pop star you have to win an audience outside of the local gay bar.

Now if only we could convince her to ditch Dr. Luke!

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