Metro Weekly

A Trans Woman and Nonbinary Musician Chart the Biggest Song in the World

Sam Smith and Kim Petras made history with "Unholy," which has had 77 million streams since its debut last week.

Sam Smith and Kim Petra - Photo: Michael Bailey Gates
Sam Smith and Kim Petra — Photo: Michael Bailey Gates

Sam Smith and Kim Petras have been favorites among LGBTQ music lovers for years now, and both have also managed to reach audiences outside of that community, but this week marks a new high for both of them.

In fact, the two superstars made history with their new duet, which ended up being even bigger upon its arrival than anyone could have imagined.

Billboard announced a short time ago that “Unholy,” the first collaboration between Smith and Petras, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200.

For those who don’t know, that’s a weekly ranking arranged by Billboard of the 200 most-consumed songs in the world. Competition is incredibly fierce on the tally, as it takes into account sales and streams from all platforms in every territory to compile a look at what billions are listening to.

This week, the No. 1 song in the world is a duet between a nonbinary artist and an openly transgender woman.

It’s impossible to ignore the importance of this moment, as before “Unholy” arrived, no nonbinary or trans performers had conquered the chart.

Now, two barriers have been pulled down in spectacular fashion. The fact that they were demolished simultaneously makes this immediate showing that much more impressive.

According to Billboard, “Unholy” opened at No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200 thanks to 76.7 million streams and 20,000 downloads sold.

That sales sum isn’t massive (many other chart-toppers have started off with much larger figures, even though pure purchases have largely fallen out of favor), but more than 76 million streams in one seven-day period is notable.

“Unholy” began appearing on charts late last week, and since then has been named a proper hit on many of the most important rankings around the world.

The tune debuted at No. 1 in markets like the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. It also arrived inside the top 10 in nations such as Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and even the U.S.

In the United States, “Unholy” debuted at No. 3, easily making it the biggest hit by nonbinary and trans musicians.

In fact, it may very well be the first top 10 smash by any artists who identify as such. Billboard announced the tune’s position on the all-encompassing and highly competitive Hot 100 just a few hours before revealing the loftiest tier on the Billboard Global 200.

“Unholy” is expected to serve as the second single from Smith’s upcoming album, though they haven’t yet shared any information regarding title or release date.

The latest cut has already far outperformed its predecessor, “Love Me More,” which arrived in April 2022. For comparison, that track peaked at No. 117 on the Billboard Global 200.

For those keeping track, “Unholy” marks Petras’ first placement on the Billboard Global 200 chart (and the Hot 100). She has enjoyed some success on various Billboard rankings, but until this frame, she hadn’t reached the more major lists.

Smith has now appeared on the worldwide tally with eight different tunes, and “Unholy” marks their first top 10.

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!