Without looking, what would you guess is the most-streamed song in the world on Spotify right now?

Cardi B’s “WAP”? DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s Song of the Summer contender, “Rockstar”? Maybe the new BTS single, “Dynamite”? 

Nope. As of Sunday, September 20, the No. 1 song on Spotify’s global chart is 24KGoldn’s “Mood” featuring Ian Dior, earning over 6.37 million in a 24-hour period. It is currently No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart, and No. 4 on Apple Music’s global chart. The numbers are rising every day. 

So, how did a relative newcomer like 24KGoldn end up with a hit as massive as “Mood”? To hear the story behind the song’s rapid ascent, we spoke with 24kGoldn and the team around him.

As they tell it, the record came together on a whim. 24KGoldn, Iann Dior, and producers Omer and KBeaZy were playing Call of Duty when they finally decided to make a beat. Next thing they knew, Goldn was singing the hook while Iann laid down the verse. “It’s really crazy, because I wasn’t even trying to make music that day,” 24KGoldn tells Complex. 

Goldn says there’s a specific feeling he gets when he knows a song will be a hit. It’s the feeling he got when he released “City of Angels” in 2019. But neither Goldn nor his team were prepared for the instant success that came next. “I always know when it’s going to be a big song, but you never know how big it’s going to get,” he explains. “It’s like a child. I create this kid, raise it, and send it off into the world, and whatever happens after that happens.” 

24KGoldn’s manager Stretch was similarly surprised by the massive success of the record. “You always think records are good, but this is an anomaly,” he tells Complex. “Everything seemed to align perfectly.” 

Before the song’s release, 24KGoldn teased a snippet on Instagram, and the reaction was immediately positive, Stretch says. When it officially dropped on July 24, the positive response only continued to grow. In its first week, “Mood” sold 15,000 units, bolstered by Goldn and his team sharing the song organically on social media. Then TikTok got a hold of it. 

“Out of the gate, it started on some second-tier pop playlists and alternative tweener hip-hop playlists. Then it grew to hit the big pop playlists and get to ‘Today’s Top Hits.’” - Dave Gordon

TikTok was always a part of their marketing strategy, but Stretch says it was “a secondary thing.” By mid-August, it had been used in 12,000 videos on TikTok. By mid-September, that number grew to over a million. According to Chartmetric's TikTok Weekly Top Tracks chart, it is currently the No. 27 song on the platform.

“Mood” is more than a TikTok success story, though. While the song was picked up steam on social media, Goldn’s team and at RECORDS/Columbia Records began scouting playlists that would be a suitable home for the genre-bending track. “Mood” is uptempo and has elements of hip-hop, but it also incorporates youthful and pop-centric sounds, with reflective bars about toxic relationships. 24KGoldn describes “Mood” as the “happiest emo song.” The track didn’t fit on playlists like RapCaviar that cater to typical mainstream rap music, but Dave Gordon, director of editorial programming and sales at Columbia, says the song found early success on pop and Gen-Z playlists.

“Out of the gate, it started on some second-tier pop playlists and alternative tweener hip-hop playlists. Then it grew to hit the big pop playlists and get to ‘Today’s Top Hits,’ which are the biggest pop playlists on Apple and Spotify,” Gordon tells Complex. “Now, it’s on the biggest playlists on every single platform, every DSP that’s out there, which is amazing for artists like Goldn coming from the hip-hop space.” 

Next, they focused on radio. 24KGoldn’s other manager Austin says the strategy for getting on pop radio was an uphill battle. “It’s so expensive, so it’s not really something you have a strategy for unless the song is really holding its end,” he explains. Still, “Mood” managed to find placement on Top 40 radio stations organically. 

“It jumped from number 23 to number 18 on Top 40 radio,” Austin says. “The management team are ecstatic. We don’t see this often, especially from new artists. You usually don’t see success like this that isn’t from a gimmick or something like that. It’s pretty amazing.” 

Stretch notes that the song’s radio success was even more of a surprise because “it wasn’t meant to be added when it was.” Explaining that there was initially a plan to push another song, he adds, “It was a record that was started from another record, and the stations just started adding it, and it took off from there.”

24KGoldn’s team says there was no one factor that made the song such a big hit. Joe Gallo, EVP of Sales at Columbia credits 24KGoldn’s engagement and all of the various departments at Columbia for working together to achieve the feat. 

Timing was also a major factor, Stretch says. “It’s summer, and everybody wanted something that kind of made them feel better,” he points out. “I personally think it was the timing because everything kind of happened at the exact same time. Radio happened, and then the playlisting happened instantly. Reactions from the fans happened instantly.” 

“With ‘Mood,’ we came in with confidence knowing that we had an artist who has risen to the level of where he’s currently sitting after a lot of hard work over the last 12 to 18 months,” Gallo explains. “He’s built a fan base. He’s done all the hard work with our DSP partners, Spotify and Apple, and he’s put out great content.” 

As “Mood” maintains momentum both on the charts and in sales, 24KGoldn and his crew have no doubt that the track will hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 soon enough. 

“I would say this song is checking all the boxes in terms of what we want to see in volume, in playlist performance, in social credibility and digital credibility. I think we're only getting started,” Gallo says. “I definitely don't want to put a number on it, because it’s just too hard to tell, especially contextually with the market. But this song is a monster. It’s certainly going to be his biggest hit to date, and I couldn’t be more excited to see where it goes.”

Regardless of how it happened, this is a pivotal moment for the rising star. “It’s scary sometimes having songs this big, but these guys already have been building,” Austin says. “Goldn would be touring and there'd be a lot of stuff going on over these last few months that we're missing out on, like building him as an artist. So, next time he's actually able to play, he’s going from zero to 300.” 

In the meantime, 24KGoldn isn’t planning on slowing down. While “Mood” progresses on the charts, he reveals his plans to follow up with an album and several singles. “I’m always trying to move six months ahead, so I already know what the next two singles are going to be,” he says. “I’m really just working on making this album, El Dorado, the best album possible.”

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