There is an undeniable, two-way connection between performance at pop radio and performance in the sales and streaming arenas.
Songs that are performing well at pop radio are receiving considerable audience exposure, which should translate into strong sales and streaming numbers.
Strong sales and streaming numbers, meanwhile, confirm resonance with listeners. That resonance may convince radio programmers to provide more airplay.
Cognizant of this connection, we thought it would be interesting to see how the Top 10 songs at US pop radio are performing on the US iTunes and Spotify charts.
There are obviously some limitations to the analysis. Many record labels have been strategically discounting tracks on iTunes, which leads to increased sales. Should we focus on their actual chart position (with the discount)? Or should we try to speculate where these songs would be without discounted pricing?
Spotify streaming, meanwhile, tends to favor some rhythmic- and urban-leaning songs that would not conventionally fare well at pop radio. Should we accept this inherent disconnect between pop radio and the Spotify chart? Or should we urge pop radio to more frequently play these kinds of songs?
The rankings below are based on the building Mediabase pop chart (for the July 23-29 tracking week), the real-time US iTunes chart, and the daily US Spotify chart for July 24:
Songs that are declining at radio are identified as such; these songs have likely peaked and should potentially be held to a lower standard for sales and streaming.
We also detailed songs that are currently in the Top 10 on iTunes and/or Spotify but not in the Top 10 at pop radio.
1) Despacito by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber (-1.3%)
#1 iTunes, #2 Spotify
2) There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back by Shawn Mendes
#5 iTunes (discount), #35 Spotify
3) I’m The One by DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance & Lil Wayne (-1.6%)
#19 iTunes, #5 Spotify
4) Now or Never by Halsey
#20 iTunes (discount), #38 Spotify
5) Stay by Zedd & Alessia Cara (-11.1%)
#46 iTunes, #43 Spotify
6) Believer by Imagine Dragons
#7 iTunes, #17 Spotify
7) Attention by Charlie Puth
#4 iTunes (discount), #18 Spotify
8) Castle On The Hill by Ed Sheeran (-3.5%)
#25 iTunes, #148 Spotify
9) Wild Thoughts by DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller
#8 iTunes, #4 Spotify
10) That’s What I Like By Bruno Mars (-7.1%)
#24 iTunes, #33 Spotify
Top 10 iTunes performers that are not in the Top 10 at pop radio: Liam Payne’s “Strip That Down (featuring Quavo)” (#2 on iTunes, #14 at radio), Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road” (#6 on iTunes, #15 at radio), Linkin Park’s “Heavy (featuring kiiara)” (#9 on iTunes, no longer charting at pop radio), and Miley Cyrus’ “Malibu” (#10 on iTunes, #20 at radio — and declining).
Top 10 Spotify performers that are not in the Top 10 at pop radio: Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” (#1 on Spotify, below the Top 50 at radio), French Montana’s “Unforgettable (featuring Swae Lee)” (#3 on Spotify, #23 at radio), Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” (#6 on Spotify, #36 at radio — and declining), 21 Savage’s “Bank Account” (#7 on Spotify, not charting at pop radio), Post Malone’s “Congratulations (featuring Quavo)” (#8 on Spotify, #22 at radio), Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” (#9 on Spotify, #33 at radio), and Travi$ Scott’s “Butterfly Effect” (#10 on Spotify, not charting at pop radio).