It’s a phenomenon we first saw with Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and that then sent Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor” careering back up the charts… now it seems another decades-old track from a British female singer-songwriter is set for an unlikely renaissance thanks to its inclusion in a hit film or TV show.
According to data from global music video network Vevo, Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”, first released in November 2004 from her debut album of the same name, has registered a 256 percent uptake in daily views, equating to over 3.5 times the average daily views worldwide. It is also expected to re-enter the U.K. Top 20 for the first time in 19 years this week, and is currently placed at No. 18 in the midweek charts.
The sudden surge in popularity for the song comes off the back of its inclusion in the hit rom-com Anyone But You, starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell. The film, which is based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, has taken more than $127 million at the box office since its release on December 22, 2023.
Speaking about the surprise resurgence of the track – especially coming so soon after “Murder on the Dancefloor” made No. 2 in the U.K. charts on the back of a notorious scene in the movie Saltburn – Vevo London Senior Vice President Dot Levine told Q: “The trend of classic tracks being rediscovered through their use in films or TV, leading to a resurgence in popularity, is showing no signs of slowing down.
“It clearly signals how well-placed music in visual media can reignite a nostalgic interest in older songs and their music videos – with the video giving artists a chance to re-engage with drifted fans as well as connect with new ones. Over the last couple of months Sophie Ellis-Bextor's ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ placement in Saltburn really highlighted this trend. We're now watching Natasha Bedingfield's 'Unwritten' get its own pop culture moment, with a surge of 256 percent in the daily views after its inclusion in the movie, Anyone But You.”
“Unwritten” was also a hit on its original release, peaking at No. 6 in the U.K. and No. 5 in the Billboard Hot 100, and earning Bedingfield a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance… thanks in no small part to its use as the theme song for the MTV reality show The Hills.
According to Levine, however, fans who may have come to the song after seeing Anyone But You are also taking the time to explore Bedingfield’s wider collection, with Vevo reporting a 150 percent increase in global daily views of the singer’s overall catalog.
“What’s particularly exciting to me about all of this is we see music fans come to Vevo for one artist or music video and stay to discover new ones,” she says. “Natasha Bedingfield is currently enjoying this, with her whole music video catalogue racking up 2.5 times more views than the typical daily views globally.
“We are poised to see which nostalgia hit will climb the charts next – but with the Super Bowl Halftime Show approaching, it's likely many of us will revisit Usher's classic music videos. Here at Vevo, we have seen this event consistently has a huge impact on the music scene each year.”