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!


Musician of the Week: Sheryl Crow!

Here are the past ‘Musician of the Week’ recipients.

Adding to the other talented female musicians that I have posted about (Kimbra, Sara Bareilles), is Sheryl Crow. She’s, sadly, likely more known for dating Lance Armstrong to people of my generation than actually being a successful musician. I am here to change that notion.

Crow performs during the final day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Crow performs during the final day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.          (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Crow was born in Kennett, Missouri to a piano teacher (her mother) and a trumpet player that sometimes was a lawyer (her father). In High School, Crow was a successful athlete, a majorette, and an all-around great student. Seriously, she was involved in almost every club imaginable. When she attended the University of Missouri she continued to join any club/fraternity that she could (no I’m not mistaken when I put fraternity), especially those involving music. Crow achieved a degree in music composition, performance, and education from the University of Missouri. I’ll just say Crow is the Wonder Woman of music and clubs; she seriously is a dream student for universities.

Sheryl Crow began teaching music classes after graduation from the University of Missouri, which allowed her to sing in bands on the weekends; her first legitimate foray into the music industry (though just playing at bars and small music halls). She met a local producer and was then asked to make ‘jingles’ for a few businesses (McDonald’s and Toyota among those businesses). She has noted that she made $40,000 on the McDonalds tune alone. I’d be okay with forty grand for a ‘jingle’ of mine being in an advertisement.

Crow, as a musician, is talented with the guitar, bass, and keyboard – as well as having a stellar voice. She has 118 songs total (not including being featured on songs) and 9 total albums (no EPs). Obviously some more popular than others, but each album has merit, as does nearly every song. 118 songs is incredible, I’m having a difficult time even being able to play one song on my acoustic guitar (granted these 118 songs are over a twenty year period).

Crow at The Grove of Los Angeles, California in 2002, with co-guitarist Peter Stroud. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Crow at The Grove of Los Angeles, California in 2002, with co-guitarist Peter Stroud. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Crow’s most famous songs are ‘Soak Up the Sun,’ ‘All I Wanna Do,’ and ‘There Goes The Neighborhood’ (among others), but a song I truly like from Crow is off her newest album (Feels Like Home): Nobody’s Business. Sure it’s very country pop sounding, but for some reason I really like it, even without any real meaning other than having someone over to her house to have a ‘good time.’

What’s your opinion on Sheryl Crow? Let me know in the comments.

Musician Of The Week: Jake Owen

I recently posted about how Jake Owen bought his own song on iTunes and it made me think that I needed to show some more love to the country music star.

Jake Owen

It was difficult to find a picture that didn’t look like it came straight out of a magazine cover shoot. As you can see I could not find a ‘normal’ one of Jake Owen. Maybe he’s just always ready for a picture.

Owen began his professional singing career in 2006 with the debut song “Yee Haw.” “Yee Haw” is supposed to be an upbeat song “to make people have a good time.”  “Yee Haw” to me seemed like your typical country song with a twangy southern voice, but I’ll give Owen a pass here because it was his debut song.

Some of his best work actually began in 2011 album Barefoot Blue Jean Night. “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” is a song, as well, and probably one of his best, and better known songs.  “The One That Got Away” does a good job of showcasing Owen’s more serious side, considering he is a party boy at heart.

I follow Jake Owen on twitter (@jakeowen if you were wondering), and what impresses me most about him above all is how he interacts with his fans.  Nowadays, popular artists typically do not interact much, if at all, with their fans, but Owen makes up for the artists that don’t interact with their fans. (I’m not saying everyone ignores their fans, but with Twitter it has made it much easier for fans and artists to interact; so you would think a popular artist would give a fan the time of day, yet it rarely happens.)  He will retweet them if they ask for, though this bothers me when people beg for retweets, and he will tweet back asking his fans “Where’s the party at” before his concerts.

I’m sure Jake Owen partakes in the pregaming of one of his concerts, but I have never officially seen him do so.  I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, though, because he’s a really rare performer that gives 100% and cares a great deal about his fans.  If you’re hesitant to listen to country music, or never had the urge to, give Jake Owen a listen.  He won’t disappoint.  He does sing a considerable amount about alcohol, but I’ll attribute that more to his genre than him.

Here’s his music video to “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”

And before I end this post, Jake Owen is a musician because along with singing he plays guitar at his live performances as well.

Jake Owen Twitpics Buying His Own Song On iTunes

Here is the picture and accompanying tweet from Jake Owen:



Now that’s really loving yourself, huh?  You’d think Jake Owen would have a physical copy of his own song from his album, but he may not know how to add his songs from his CD to iTunes to his iPhone? Who knows, but I found this hilarious.

Listen First Before You Judge

We all have that certain band, or artist, that we could listen to all day, all night, every second and never get tired of them.  For me that band is Taking Back Sunday.  Every single song they put out I love, absolutely love.  I have my favorites, of course, but overall I love their entire body of work.

(I recently bought their acoustic CD!)

Then we have those bands, or artists or genres, we completely and utterly despise.  Everyone and their brother will tell you “Nickelback sucks!” or “Creed is so bad!” or “Taylor Swift has no place on my radio!”  Yet I ask them, “Have you ever listened to Nickelback? (or Creed, or Taylor Swift)?”  Most say, “Well, no they’re terrible!”  How can you judge the musicians if you’ve never even given them a chance?

(Side note: I do dislike Nickelback mainly because most of their songs sound the same, Creed is okay, and Taylor Swift could be worse but she’s acceptable.)

Maybe those aren’t the best examples, so I’ll use genres instead.

When I was away at college I lived in a duplex with five other guys, so six total in one duplex.  My one roommate would always give me flak over listening to screamo music (it wasn’t really full-on banshee screamo, but rather bands like A Day To Remember, Killswitch Engage, and the like).  He’d always ask how I could stand that and not get headaches.  Every time he brought this up to me I would always say immediately, “Try listening to it once, man.  Just once give it a go and see what you think.”  He would always reply, half-heartedly, “Yeah, sure I’ll get on that.”

A few months after the initial conversation on screamo, I could hear some screamo ringing down from his speakers upstairs (he had sick speakers).  I had the biggest smile on my face when he came down and told me, “All right, Brad. SOME screamo is okay and I like it.”

I was so happy that I had introduced my roommate to some new music, but there was a catch. “Now you have to listen to some country music!” he grinned.

“No! Not that!” I thought, but after thinking about how I tried so hard convincing him into liking a new type of music I gave in and let him give me some suggestions for country music.

After listening to country music, I will say that country music isn’t as terrible as I had originally thought.  There are some great country singers (Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert to name two), but overall country music is not my cup of tea.  I won’t bag on anyone who happens to like country, even if it isn’t my favorite genre.

Remember: to each their own, but make sure you at least give any and all music a chance.