Friday, July 08, 2011

And The Hits Just Keep Getting Harder To Find....

Time for more wild and wacky fun with numbers, looking at trends in popular music!

Tuesday we looked at the trends of Novelty songs, showing a significant drop over the decades. Wednesday and Thursday, we looked at Instrumental artists, showing an even more dramatic drop in the number of instrumental songs.

So how about overall? How many songs have been reaching the top of the charts?

I tabulated the total number of sangs per year to crack the Top 10, then took a 10 year average to get some smoothing. See any trends?

Between 1960 and 1967 the number of Top 10 songs rose pretty steadily. Between 1966 and 1976 it was remarkably steady, between 100 and 106 Top 10 songs per year. There was a bit of decline starting in the mid / late 70’s into the 80;s (disco?), then a rebound to the “100-songs-per-year” level by the end of the decade. Then a steep and steady decline through the 90’s. And then bottoming out around 2001. Since 2001 the average has remained quite steady, between 56 and 60 Top 10 Songs per year.

The glaring thing? Over the past decade, the number of successful songs has been about 40% less that it was through the 60’s and 70’s.

Aren’t folks making good music? Is it just another sign that the music industry is leaning towards a general “same-ness”?? Fewer Instrumentals? Fewer “novelty” songs. Fewer songs making it to the top of the charts?.

No wonder popular music is struggling.

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