After R&B giants Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Teddy Riley did the #Verzuz battle on Instagram after being postponed twice, they were met with a heightened popularity on streaming services. The 49 songs played during their match-up saw an increase in streams that continued to surge on the days after.
Billboard reports that their hits that spanned over three decades saw an 115 percent skyrocket in streams a day after #Verzuz. By April 21st, those 49 tracks had three million streams collectively. The same day of their battle (April 20th), they had a collective increase of 1.4 million. On the days leading up to the battle, Riley and Edmonds were gaining over a million streams from fans anticipating their battle.
The song that received the most streams was Tevin Campbell’s 1993 no. 1 hit “Can We Talk” with 232,000 on-demand audio streams. Riley-produced tracks came in in the second and third spot with No Diggity,” which had 173,000 streams and SWV’s “Right Here/Human Nature” with 128,000. Two of Boyz II Men’s biggest songs “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road,” which were both written by Edmonds, wrapped up the top five with 101,000 and 100,000 streams respectively.
It’s notable to mention that Toni Braxton’s “Love Shoulda Brought You Home Last Night” that was written by Edmonds had a 493 percent increase in streams, from having 12,000 streams before to 74,000 after. Riley’s hit with his former group Guy “Piece of My Love,” had a 203 percent increase in streams in one day thanks to #Verzuz. Hi-Five’s “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game),” saw an 186 percent jump in streams the say after the IG Live.
During #Verzuz, viewership reached a peak of 500,000. With many tuning in and watching after the live battle was over, there was a total of four million people who watched.
Riley said that after the battle, he learned a lot about going live on Instagram after his major technical difficulties that led to the battle’s second postponement.
“It was life-learning experience,” he told Billboard. “Because we’re new to Instagram when it comes to doing live. We were like, “Dag… I tried to give people more, and they thought I was trying to do a whole big production for the battle.” No, the battle was just us! It was just a technical difficulty that was told to us by the technical people at Instagram. They was telling us: It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t his fault. It was basically our hookups. As soon as Babyface got on, because before Babyface got on, I was sounding great, everything was sounding good. But when we started joining each other, that’s when it kind of went out of wack, and we had to stop it. Because we’re perfectionists.”