I’m pretty certain my first ever exposure to Tom Petty came via GTA: San Andreas, whose K-DST radio station featured Runnin’ Down a Dream on its tracklist of wall-to-wall dad rock bangers. Now Mr Petty’s made a return as part of the Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer, which is soundtracked by Love Is a Long Road, and it looks like more than a few other people might have had their first encounter with the artist off the back of it, too.
According to stats from Spotify provided to the BBC, streams for Love Is a Long Road have skyrocketed by an incomprehensible 36,979% compared to this time last week, which either means a whole lot of people pulled up Shazam when they watched the GTA 6 trailer, or every dad in the world has returned to their garage to work on their car all at once.
In harder numbers, that means the track now has over 11 million Spotify streams under its belt, with who-knows-how-many more on your various non-Spotify services like Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music and whatever Amazon’s one is called.
Love Is a Long Road, in case you aren’t familiar, is a song about a desperate and doomed relationship that I’m gonna venture is quite appropriate for GTA 6’s narrative about a Bonnie and Clyde-esque couple on a Vice City crime spree. Petty was a Florida native, too, which I suppose makes the song doubly appropriate for Rockstar’s return to the setting it last visited in 2007’s GTA: Vice City Stories.
Rockstar’s gone pretty hard on GTA’s music in its marketing for the next game. In November, it shared a Grand Theft Auto Radio playlist on Spotify featuring the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival, TOTO, Gorillaz, and various other bands you can find across the series. It’s got nearly half a million likes so far, so some way to go before it catches up with Tom Petty.