Many independent songwriters and music producers toil day and night to create music that they hope will make their way into the mainstream. But depending on your chosen genre, you might be facing a great deal of competition for a limited number of spots on the global charts.
In this article, we tagged and compared the genre distributions of 2 sets:
- Spotify Global Top 200 (H2 2020): 600 songs that made it into the Spotify Top 200 charts in the second half of 2020 (to represent global ‘taste’)
- Songs Written By Independent Artists: 8672 un-curated, unreleased tracks (to represent the creative ‘output’ of independent artists), and compared their genre distributions.
For the figures below, we selected the genres for which the largest discrepancies existed between the two sets. Out of these, the genres that were present in greater proportion in the “Songs Written By Independent Artists” set compared to the “Spotify Global Top 200 (H2 2020)” set were considered “Overrepresented Genres”. Those that were present in a lesser proportion were considered “Underrepresented Genres”
The greatest overrepresentation occurs in the “Folk” genre. While this genre accounts for 11.06% of songs written by independent artists, it only accounts for 1.69% of globally popular music. This means that there is stiff competition among Folk artists for placement on the global charts.
However – a chance to succeed still exists, which is more than can be said for Jazz and Classical music, which did not make it to the global charts at all, at least in our dataset.
The greatest underrepresentation occurs in the “Hip Hop” genre. It accounts for only 8.34% of songs written by independent artists, but represents a whopping 18.53% of all globally popular music. This may be due to our dataset being skewed toward Singer Songwriters, but could suggest that independent songwriters and music producers might benefit commercially from infusing Hip Hop elements into their music.
While Hip Hop is underrepresented, the starkness of the underrepresentation in Electro Pop is much more pronounced, as this genre accounts for only 0.92% of songs written by independent artists. In contrast, it represents 8.28% of overall global genre preference, a >700% difference. Independent artists might want to take note and incorporate elements of Electro Pop into their music.
It’s important to have an idea of the competitive landscape and the state of the market when creating music commercially in order to maximize your chances of success – using audio analysis to determine the preferences of a given market and then writing for those preferences may be an effective strategy to focus your creative approach.
Musiio's resident Music Strategist and Music nerd. I ran an orchestra for 5 years, a virtual industry community of 7000 for 3 years, and currently run a small globally distributed creative audio team and compose commercially. I also like rocks and cats.