The Billboard 100 has been the US music industry standard record chart since 1958, and is still going strong today. It features the most popular songs across all genres; ranked by radio airplay, download sales and streaming activity data.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 tracks this week.
Any avid TikTok user would smile knowingly looking at this list because the Top 5 are already well-loved songs within the community (Take note, A&R reps!).
This week, we’re going to tag all of the music in the Billboard 100 (Week of 11 July 2020) to find out if there are any trends that musicians can use to create the next big hit. Let’s first take a look at the genre makeup of this week’s Top 100, to see if we can spot any patterns.
Hip Hop dominates the charts this week, followed by Pop. Interestingly our previous analysis of the TikTok Top 120 showed a very similar trend - Hip Hop was also first (50%) with Pop coming in second (17.4%). Because Billboard focuses solely on the US market, Country comes in at a strong third instead of Tiktok’s Electronic, which takes into account global tastes and trends. In fact Electronic came in one of the lowest on the US airwaves the past few days; with Folk, Rock, Latin and Reggaeton in tow.
While Hip Hop reigns supreme this week, modern day pop music takes so many influences from other genres, it sometimes feels limiting to assign only one genre to a song. It’s like saying ‘Old Town Road’ is “just Hip Hop”. Feels wrong, doesn’t it? The song’s Country influence is too noticeable to discount. So let’s look at the top genre influences in today’s billboard hits.
It appears that Pop Rap is at the top of the list, followed by Trap, Electro Pop, Country Pop & Rock and R&B. This comes with no surprise, seeing that Pop Rap/Trap beats have gone beyond the influence of Hip Hop and made their way to many R&B (H.E.R, Frank Ocean) and Pop (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande) tunes. Synthwave is lower than I expected, with artists such as The Weeknd, Dua Lipa and Harry Styles embracing the 80s vibe of late. Could Synthwave be a gap in the market musicians haven’t fully capitalized on?
When music lovers talk about “vibe”, they’re really referring to the mood of the song. Mood is arguably the main reason why a person forms an attachment to the song. So what kind of emotions or atmosphere do these Top 100 evoke that keeps listeners coming for more?
As hits go, we’ve noticed that Powerful, Romantic and Relaxing moods show up more often, while negative moods such as Dark, Neutral and Angry do less well. This week’s Billboard 100 is no exception, and it’s also reflected in our Mood Valence bar chart. It shows that moods that skew positive tend to be more well received. It makes perfect sense of course, people like to feel good more often!
Analysing hit parades and charts are helpful for music companies, especially since they provide not a concrete answer, but an idea of upcoming trends. This Billboard 100 exercise is just a scratch on the surface of what audio tagging could do.
If you find this piece interesting and would like to know more about how AI music tagging could help your business, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.