Friday, December 27, 2013

Country Music 2013: The Top Songs, Artists, and Stats

If we were talking about wrestling, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan would have been the Tag Team of the Year.

While that’s one of the few awards Country doesn’t have yet, Blake and Luke do win our award for best A&O&B chart performers of 2013.

The Songs

Driven by our weekly research, here is how A&O&B’s Top 10 for 2013 shaped up.

The Artists

2013 was another great year for Blake Shelton. He not only placed three songs in our top 30, all were in the top 10 including the number one song “Boys 'Round Here.”

This is the second time that Blake has had three songs reach our top 10 (he did it in 2011 as well) and the fifth time overall that this has been done by a single artist in the past 10 years: Blake as we noted in 2013 and 2011, Luke Bryan in 2012, Zac Brown Band in 2010 and Toby Keith in 2003.

Meanwhile Luke Bryan had three songs in the top 30 including two in the top ten plus song 24 for the year - the Jason Aldean-Luke Bryan-Eric Church title, "The Only Way I Know."

Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Eric Church, Florida-Georgia Line, Tim McGraw and The Band Perry each placed two songs in the top 30.

90% of the Top 1/3 titles in 2013 were by Millennial Artists. Those of you who follow our Roadmap studies know that in February this year we detailed the appeal of various country music clusters with “New Songs from Millennial Artists” being the number one music cluster for multiple demos including 25-54.

While 90% is a big number, new artists didn’t necessarily benefit. In fact, 2013 was a mixed bag for them. Four first-time charters had songs that scored well enough to average a rank of 10.0 or lower (lower is better) during their time as current. However, only one new artist cracked the top 1/3: Tyler Farr. This is just the second time that only one new artist has broken into the top 1/3 on our list since we began tracking this statistic in 2001.

Meanwhile there continues to be minimal chart presence for Historical Superstars. Tim McGraw (2 songs including the “Highway” duet with Taylor Swift) and George Strait (1) were the only Historical Superstars (which we define as core artists with multiple chart hits prior to 1997) to have songs in the top 1/3. For perspective, there were 11 in 2008.

The Stats 

In addition to artists and titles, A&O&B tracks a number metrics. As we usually do let’s look at two: Total Positive and Like A Lot.

Total Positive scores were off for the second year in a row following 2011’s peak. Songs ranking in the bottom 2/3 declined at a slightly greater rate than songs in the top 1/3. We’re looking at higher overall scores than we had for most of the first decade of 2000 but lower scores since 2011. 

The Like A Lot metric was mixed. 2013's average Like A Lot score for our top 1/3 was flat from last year however the average for songs in the bottom 2/3 fell for a second straight time. That drop was big enough to make the gap between the Like A Lot ‘have and have-nots’ the widest it’s been in four years.

Stations whose primary source of music information is tracking spins are vulnerable to a competitor who is tracking their listeners’ tastes.

As we wrote last year, a great programming resolution for the New Year would be to regularly take your listeners pulse on the music you play.  

A&O&B offers client stations online music testing, free, as part of our full service commitment. We’ll be glad to answer your questions about how it works.

1 comment:

Donny Sweeney said...

Hey Mike Not realty sure how I stumbled across this but good read.

IF you would like to hear some local country music check out a song I did. Cheers