“I vividly remember John dropping by my office with a just-mastered ‘We Are Young’ in hand,” “Glee” music supervisor PJ Bloom says. “It was still on its original blank CD-R titled in poorly handwritten red Sharpie.” When Janick suggested that the track was perfect for the musical show, Bloom demurred. “'Glee’ doesn’t break bands,” Bloom says. “We celebrate existing pop success-that’s our core model.” But after listening to the song only once, he changed his mind.
“Not five minutes later I sent it to ["Glee” co-creator] Ryan Murphy, and within a few short weeks Ryan created what would become one of [the show’s] pinnacle song moments of the entire series,“ Bloom says. "For fun., 'Glee’ provided a launching pad for much of the success to come. For 'Glee,’ fun. allowed us to show the world we could be an A&R source and break a band. It was music business perfection.”
But fun.’s “We Are Young” didn’t quite take off following “Glee”-the show’s version did, peaking at No. 12 on the Hot 100. After the Super Bowl, however, the single soared.
According to Columbia, which handles “Glee” releases, “We Are Young” marks the first track that was truly broken by “Glee.” “The only other two tracks that even come close are [our] artists,” publicity coordinator Winnie Lam told Billboard in an email. The show’s cover version of “We Are Young” has sold 351,000 copies, nearly six times that of the “Glee” versions of Hey Monday’s “Candles” and Black Kids’ “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You.”
But while the release of the “Glee” version did cause a 1,650% jump in sales of fun.’s “We Are Young” (from 3,000 to 49,000, according to Columbia, during the week of Dec. 11, 2011), it wasn’t until the song appeared in the Super Bowl spot that fun.’s “We Are Young” took off. In the weeks since, the song has notched sales weeks of 291,000, 244,000 and 296,000, working backward to the week of the Super Bowl. Its total sales now stand at 1.2 million.