According to the calendar, until the Summer Solstice occurs on June 21, we’re still firmly in the grasp of Spring. That said, pretty much everyone we know considers “summertime” to be the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To wit, this past weekend millions of Americans broke out their barbeque grills, removed their sandals from storage, and spent the long weekend soaking up the sunshine with family and friends for the first time since last summer (and, if the temperatures here in NYC were any indication, it sure as hell felt like summer with temperatures hovering in the low 90s).
One of our favorite parts about the summertime is the way that music takes on an even more omnipresent role in all of our lives. Sure, we all listen to music year-round, but during the winter months, music is generally something you only experience either inside or through earbuds. Once the summertime rolls around, though, suddenly you start hearing music blasting EVERYWHERE: rattling out from car speakers, blaring from boomboxes while you’re lounging poolside, emanating from an iPod dock when you’re chilling in the park enjoying a picnic, and even crackling through old transistor radios while you’re camping in the woods.
And each year, one song emerges from the pack to stand out as that year’s Song of the Summer. It’s not generally a title that is officially anointed by any governing board, but we here at VH1 wanted to put a little science behind the emotion that these Songs of Summer convey.
Hence, we’re excited to announce that we here at VH1 will be tracking this year’s Song of the Summer from now until Labor Day. So, you’re no doubt wondering, what artist has the lead out of the gate: Lady Gaga? Adele? Bruno Mars? Continue along to find out…
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So, what exactly is the method to our madness? Well, first and foremost, we wanted to recognize that there are many ways in which people consume their music. Some people only listen to radio, some exclusively stream through the internet, some only listen to music on their computers, and, well, some people watch videos on TV; however, most of us steadily consume music using all of the above methods. So, in an attempt to be as democratic as possible as we track this summer’s most popular jams, we took five publicly available factors into account and weighed each factor equally: Chart position on VH1’s Top 20 Music Countdown, number of weekly streams on YouTube, number of weekly scrobbles on Last.fm, position on the Billboard Hot 100, and sales rankings in the iTunes store.
After analyzing these data sources, we identified 40 songs that we were able to measure across these five categories; this initial list of 40 will grow with time as, naturally, songs that have yet to be released cannot yet be measured (we’re talking to you, Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson, et al.). We then compared the performance of these songs against one another and awarded points on a scale of 1-20 based on each song’s performance in each individual category: For instance, a song that got the most streams on YouTube was awarded 20 points, the song that got the second most streams 19 points, the third received 18 points, and so on and so forth.
When you add up all five categories, a handy 100-point scale emerges. And this week, Adele‘s unstoppable juggernaut “Rolling In The Deep” tops the chart with 87 points, followed closely Katy Perry and Kanye West‘s treatise on the merits of alien sex, “E.T.,” and “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars.
So, you may ask, how come old ass songs like “E.T.” (which came out in April) and “Rolling In The Deep” (released in December!!!) are at or near the top of the Song of the Summer countdown? To which we reply: We’re just measuring YOUR behavior, America! If you want new(er) songs in there, start buying/listening/streaming them and this list will reflect it.
Curious as to what songs are currently bubbling under? Well, this week, Adele’s “Rumor Has It,” Rock Mafia‘s “The Big Bang” and Beyoncé’s “1+1″ narrowly missed our chart. And keep your eyes peeled for upcoming posts from our host of the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, Jim Shearer, as well as our music writers Nick Minichino (@nickminichino), Lacey Seidman (@lacezilla) and myself, Mark Graham (@unclegrambo), that feature our own personal picks of 2011’s Song of the Summer.
What songs do YOU think will be the biggest hits this summer? Let us know in the comments below! (Oh yeah, and look for next week’s updated list to arrive on Monday, June 6!)
[Source Data: VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown (Airdate: 5/28/11); Billboard Hot 100 (Week of June 4, 2011); LastFM’s Top Tracks Ending 22 May 2011; YouTube’s Top 100 Most Viewed Music Videos (data pulled on 6/1/11); iTunes Top 100 Songs (data pulled on 6/1/11)]