Lead singles of albums in the twenty-first century
Artists often choose songs that are more up-tempo as lead singles. Such songs are often catchier and attract attention toward listeners. However, the subsequent lead single might be slower in tempo in order to demonstrate the range of the album. Female vocalists like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera often maintain a formula of an up-tempo first lead single with a slow ballad follow-up. For example, two singles were released by Miley Cyrus before her album Bangerz - an up-tempo track called, "We Can't Stop" was released as the first single, and a slow-ballad song, "Wrecking Ball" as the second. This was a successful practice of 1980s heavy metal bands. However, not all artists decide to choose their lead single with the up-tempo criteria. Artists may release a lead single that has a message they want to convey to listeners instead of a song with more commercial potential, such as Fall Out Boy who chose to release "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" over the radio friendly "Thnks fr th Mmrs".
Japanese artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro and B'z may release four to eight singles prior to their albums in order to achieve record-breaking debut-week sales. The lead singles in Japan are very heavily advertised and promoted, in some cases even more than the album itself. With album sales continuously declining in the United States, record labels often release singles prior to the album's release date to online music retailers including iTunes, ranging in price from $0.99 to $1.29. This trend has become increasingly popular in many markets.