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Latest Update On How Pop Radio’s Top 10 Songs Are Doing On iTunes & Spotify Charts

“Old Town Road” and “I Don’t Care” are the only songs in the Top 10 of all three charts.

Lil Nas X in Old Town Road | Columbia

Is there a correlation between how a song fares at pop radio and how it performs on the iTunes and Spotify charts?

In a regular feature, Headline Planet attempts to provide an answer to that question. It looks at how the Top 10 songs on the Mediabase US pop radio chart are ranking on the US iTunes sales and US Spotify streaming listings.

This is the newest edition of the feature!

It goes without saying that there will be some connection between the three charts. Significant radio airplay amounts to valuable exposure, which in turn improves a song’s probability of faring well in the sales and streaming columns. Radio programmers will, moreover, look to sales and streaming numbers to determine whether a song is connecting and thus warrants more airplay.

Still, there is no certainty of perfect overlap between the three charts.

For starters, certain artists from certain genres perform disproportionately well on iTunes and Spotify. If those high-performing songs do not align with what pop stations typically play, there will be a disconnect between the consumption and radio charts.

It is also important to consider the impact of television promotion, commercial syncs, playlist positioning and discounts on sales and streaming numbers. It remains unclear how radio programmers evaluate those boosts. Do they simply look at the raw chart positions and begin providing the songs more airplay? Or, do they dismiss the impact of playlists, discounts and other circumstances?

Other factors like radio callout data (listener surveys) and label promotional efforts (pop radio is not a strategic priority in all cases) may further create a disconnect between sales, streaming and airplay positions.

Still, it is worth seeing if any connection does exist.

The below breakdowns are based on the official Mediabase pop radio chart for the May 19-25 tracking period, the real-time US iTunes chart as of 3PM ET on May 27, and the daily Spotify chart for May 26.

The breakdown notes songs that are declining at pop radio. These songs have “peaked” and should thus be held to a lower standard for sales and streaming.

Top 10 at pop radio:

1) Sam Smith & Normani – Dancing With A Stranger (declining)
#22 iTunes, #49 Spotify

2) Jonas Brothers – Sucker (declining)
#8 iTunes, #18 Spotify

3) Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
#15 iTunes, #79 Spotify

4) Post Malone – Wow.
#25 iTunes, #15 Spotify

5) Ariana Grande – break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored (declining)
#82 iTunes, #43 Spotify

6) Lil Nas X – Old Town Road
#1 iTunes, #1 Spotify**
**Note: The Billy Ray Cyrus remix is leading the way on iTunes and Spotify, but some radio programmers are playing the original version of the song.

7) Taylor Swift – ME! ft. Brendon Urie
#6 iTunes, #29 Spotify

8) Khalid – Talk
#14 iTunes, #11 Spotify

9) Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
#2 iTunes, #6 Spotify

10) Ariana Grande – 7 rings (declining)
#58 iTunes, #21 Spotify

Top 10 iTunes performers that are not in the Top 10 at pop radio:
3) Blake Shelton – God’s Country (a country radio single)
4) Billie Eilish – bad guy (in the Top 20 – and rising – at pop radio)
5) Ed Sheeran – Cross Me ft. Chance & PnB Rock) (brand new song; in the Top 40 – and rising – at pop radio)
7) Morgan Wallen – Whiskey Glasses (a country radio single)
9) Halsey – Nightmare (in the Top 20 – and rising – at pop radio)
10) Luke Combs – Beer Never Broke My Heart (a country radio single)

Top 10 Spotify performers that are not in the Top 10 at radio:
2) Young Thug – The London ft. J. Cole & Travi$ Scott (brand new song; not a pop radio single)
3) Tyler, The Creator – EARFQUAKE (fairly new song; not a pop radio single)
4) Billie Eilish – bad guy (in the Top 20 – and rising – at pop radio)
5) DaBaby – Suge (an urban and rhythmic radio single)
7) Post Malone & Swae Lee – Sunflower (a former Top 5 hit at pop radio, has fallen off the chart)
8) Lizzo – Truth Hurts (launching at pop radio this week, already in the Top 50)
9) Polo G – Pop Out ft. Lil TJay (an urban and rhythmic radio single)
10) Shawn Mendes – If I Can’t Have You (just outside the Top 10 at pop radio)

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]headlineplanet.com.

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