Music News

Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” Posts Weak Pop Radio Callout Scores, Solid Hot AC Marks

Like previous single “ME!,” Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” is not clicking with pop radio listeners.

During its run earlier this year, Taylor Swift’s “ME! (featuring Brendon Urie)” posted weak pop radio callout scores. Indicative of a tepid reaction from listeners, the scores may have played a role in slowing the song’s ascent (and ultimately hastening its demise).

Follow-up single “You Need To Calm Down” appears in the latest Mediabase/Critical Mass Media callout report, and it too is struggling to resonate at the pop format.

It is, however, faring comparatively well with hot adult contemporary listeners.

Based on a survey of pop radio listeners, the report says “Calm Down” is receiving a positive reaction from 53.7% of listeners, a negative reaction from 31.4% of listeners and thus a “net positive” score of 22.4%.

Of the twenty songs featured in the report, the song has the second-worst positive score, the second-worst negative score and the worst “net positive” score.

“You Need To Calm Down” is designated a “favorite” by 24.3%, which is not a bad statistic for a fairly new song. Unfortunately, the song’s “burn rate” of 14.9% is exceedingly high for a relative newcomer (burn rate is, essentially, the percentage of listeners already sick of hearing the song).

To illustrate the point, it has a higher burn rate than the much older (and much more heavily played) “Dancing With A Stranger.”

While the big singles from Swift’s “1989” generally received strong pop radio callouts, the artist’s more recent releases have not been nearly as resonant. “Delicate” was the only solid performer during the “reputation” era, and neither of the first two “Lover” singles is connecting with radio listeners.

— As noted earlier, “You Need To Calm Down” is nonetheless generating a more favorable reaction from hot adult contemporary listeners.

With a positive reception from 62.7% (#4/15), a negative reception from only 20.3% (#2/15) and a net positive score of 42.4% (#3/15), it is one of the format’s best-testing songs.

“ME!” struggled—and continues to struggle—at hot adult contemporary.

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]

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Brian Cantor