Choosing the right tempo may have an effect on your song’s likelihood of making it to the global charts, or even how many times it is streamed. So which tempo is best? To illuminate this subject, we used our Tag API to analyze 1806 songs from the Spotify Global Weekly Top 200 charts, gleaned from 104 charts between 2019 and 2021.
From July 2019 to July 2021, there were a total of 104 Weekly Global Spotify Top 200 Charts, which featured 200 songs each, for a total of 20800 songs. Of these songs, just 1806 were unique (everything else was a repeat/duplicate).
We tagged all of these with Musiio’s Tag API – specifically our BPM Classifier, in order to discover the popularity distribution of a number of different tempo ranges.
90-99 BPM is the most popular tempo range
18.72% of all songs that made it to the charts in our dataset, had a tempo of between 90-99 BPM, followed by 13.95% from songs between 80-89 BPM, a very similar tempo range.
However, this range was not streamed the most.
Songs in 140-149 BPM were streamed the most
On average, songs in this dataset were streamed 9.1M times. Songs in the 140-149 BPM range were streamed the most (9.9M streams on average), and songs in the 120-129 BPM range were streamed the least (7.8M streams on average).
We looked at the most-streamed range more closely and broke it down into individual BPM.
Within the most-streamed range, 144 BPM songs were streamed the most
Not all tempos in the 140-149 BPM range were equal. 144 BPM songs came out on top overwhelmingly, with an average of 17.35M streams each. 6 out of the 10 BPMs in this range performed above average for the entire dataset, with more than 9.1M streams each on average.
Songs In The Most-Streamed Tempo Range were overwhelmingly Hip Hop
Hip Hop (22.1% of the entire dataset) was overwhelmingly overrepresented in the most-streamed tempo range (67.6%). Since Hip Hop received just about as many streams as the average song in our dataset, this suggests that 140-149 BPM is an especially effective range for Hip Hop specifically.
Songs In The Least-Streamed Tempo Range were mostly Pop
Electronic music, which represented 3.61% of the entire dataset, was overwhelmingly overrepresented in the least-streamed tempo range (17%), which makes sense, since we found that it is streamed significantly below average in comparison to other Genres.
Songs In The 2 Most Popular Tempo Range were 24.8% and 26.3% Latin
Latin, which represented 6.54% of the entire dataset, was greatly overrepresented (by a factor of 4) in the two most popular tempo ranges (90-99 and 80-89 BPM), suggesting that the most successful Latin Genre music generally has a tempo of between 80-99 BPM. Songwriters choosing to write Latin Genre music may do well to pick a tempo in this particular range.
Two Tempo Ranges revealed striking trends when analyzed over time.
Over 2 years, weekly preference for the 90-99BPM tempo declined by about 10%, while preference for 120-129BPM increased by about 6-8%.
With 200 songs in each weekly chart, this means that there are 20 fewer songs in the 90-99 BPM range on average in the Global Top 200 charts now than there were 2 years ago, and 12-16 more songs in the 120-129BPM range than there were 2 years ago.
More study is required, but one possibility for this increase may be increased discovery of new music on TikTok, where higher tempo, danceable tunes tend to be more popular with creators.
There are many reasons to choose specific tempos. Some are more appropriate for specific genres, others are simply more popular. Some might not be as popular right now, but may be on an upward trend you can ride.
These types of insights are incredibly useful for an artist or label – with a marketplace as competitive as today’s, it’s more important than ever to make decisions guided by reliable data.
I am a composer and run a small distributed music, voice, and audio production team comprised of experts in 3 countries. I have a deep interest in startups, business, venture capital, networking, and learning about new ideas. I love meeting founders, angels, and people in VC and private equity to talk shop and connect people that need each other. I've Served clients and brands including Ubisoft, Garena (SEA), IGG Games, Hogarth Worldwide, We Are Social, Moving Bits, Playstudios, Ferrero, Samsung, GSK, Pernod Ricard, Pan Pacific Hotels etc. I’ve also worked with Wang Leehom, Joanna Dong, Derrick Hoh, Luke Slott, and a number of other artists. Founded and ran a professional orchestra in Boston for 5 years.