For this study, we analyzed 2 years of Spotify Top 200 charts from the UK and Global (2019-2021). Each set contained 20800 songs (200 songs per week for 52 weeks), but many of these songs were repeated over multiple weeks. The songs were all tagged with Musiio’s Tag API.
In order to focus this research on the particular types of songs that make it to the charts as a whole, rather than the distribution of song characteristics from week to week, we removed all duplicates and found our first striking finding.
More variation in the global charts
20800 total chart positions available in the UK over 2 years were occupied by only 598 unique songs (2.9% of total), compared to 1773 unique songs in Global (8.5%). This means that from 2019-2021 in the UK, only 598 songs made it to that country’s charts.
Out of those songs, 266 made it to the Global charts
If you are an artist in the UK who does somehow make it to the local Top 200, there is some good news here – 44.5% of those songs also make it to the Global charts.
Hip Hop rules, but it rules more in the UK
Preference for Hip Hop in the UK is significantly more pronounced than in Global (a difference of ~9%). Though a few interesting differences in percentage occur, the general composition of genre distribution in both of these charts is quite similar, with the exception of Latin and Reggaeton, which are both conspicuously absent from the UK chart.
Keep your lip stiff and your salsa to yourself.British listeners
Tempo Preferences Are Notably Different
In the UK, 140-149BPM is the most popular tempo range, with 16.47% of all unique song falling into this category. In contrast, 90-99BPM is the most popular tempo range in Global with 18.67% of all unique songs falling into that category. In general, tempo preferences are quite markedly different between these two datasets and may be worthwhile for artists and record labels to take note of.
UK music is more male, and more minor key
This next observation is most likely due to the greater presence of Hip Hop on the UK charts – keys chosen are 7% more likely to be minor key in the UK than Global, and vocals are 8% more likely to be male. In a previous study, we found that Hip Hop songs in this same period (2019-2021) were overwhelmingly male.
There were notable differences in Genre and Tempo distribution between UK and Global Top 200 datasets. The Global dataset also featured a much more diverse selection of songs in general. Other differences in Key and Vocal Gender may have been related to the increased preference for Hip Hop Music in the UK.
All Other Graphs
I picked the most significant differences to highlight in this article, but am including here all other charts that will allow you to further compare characteristics of UK Top 200 songs with Global Top 200 songs.
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.