Music Genres Represented on the Billboard Top 100 Charts


Below is an infographic that I created illustrating the lack of parity in the Billboard Top 100 Charts.

Here are the numbers:

  • Pop – 30 Songs
  • Rap – 9 Songs
  • Hip Hop – 23 Songs
  • Rock – 8 Songs
  • Country – 24 Songs
  • Electronic – 6 Songs

As you can see, Pop, Country, and Hip Hop genres have a stranglehold on the Top 100. These three genres make up 77 of the 100 songs on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.But does being on the Top 100 mean the song is ‘good’ to the general populace? Let’s look at how the Billboard Top 100 charts are tabulated.

This is from a September 29th, 2013 article named ‘Ask Billboard: How Does The Hot 100 Work?’ 

Article writer, Gary Thrust, replies to the question with this:

As we wrote in January when YouTube data was added to the Hot 100’s equation: “Generally speaking, our Hot 100 formula targets a ratio of sales (35-45%), airplay (30-40%) and streaming (20-30%).”

Of course, that’s an overall target for 100 songs each week. That mark can change week-to-week. This week, though, the Hot 100 breaks down in line with the formula’s intent: sales, 39%; airplay, 34%; and, streaming, 27%.

And, week-to-week, some songs show largely along those percentages, while others skew noticeably toward any of the chart’s three metrics.

So it is hard to determined what ‘good’ is in this instance, or really any instance, because songs from already popular artists will get the most airplay, likely the most streaming, and the previous two ‘metrics’ will eventually lead to an uptick in sales. Yet each of the three metrics can make up any percentage of the equation (the above is just a ‘general’ example), and each metric fluctuates every week as Thrust continues:

This week [September 29th, 2013], points for the Hot 100’s leader stem 50% from streaming, 43% from sales and just 7% from radio airplay. No surprise: the song drew a whopping 14.3 million U.S. streams in the chart’s tracking week, according to Nielsen BDS. (The No. 2-streamed song, Katy Perry’s “Roar,” garnered 7.3 million.) “Ball” ranks at No. 3 on Digital Songs with 301,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Conversely, as airplay for “Ball” is just beginning, its low Hot 100 points percentage reflects its No. 31 spot on Radio Songs (via 38 million all-format audience impressions, according to BDS).

‘Wrecking Ball’ is the song that usurped Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ because of breaking a YouTube record of first day views (12.3 Million), which demonstrates the shift from radio to Internet for music that has been happening for over a decade. It is just more recognizable now because of the large difference between 50% streaming and 7% radio airplay; it also helps that Cyrus has an, ahem, ‘interesting’ music video that draws the streaming views.

So what are the keys to reaching the Top 100 in the Billboard charts?

  • Create a captivating music video
  • Have a generic sound and cheap lyrics
  • Put more importance on online streaming and sales than radio airplay (What Millennials willingly listen to the radio?)
  • Build a loyal and enormous fan base
  • Not always necessary but helpful if you are a part of Country, Hip-hop, or Pop genres

If you would like to make an infographic, use this nifty site called Infogram!

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