For the last 14 weeks, we’ve been tracking the race to see which track would become this year’s Song Of The Summer. Since people consume music in so many different ways these days, our goal was to put together a democratic formula that compared how a group of over 70 songs performed across five of the primary channels that people frequently use to listen to their favorite jams: the Billboard Hot 100 (radio play & sales), the iTunes charts (pure sales), Last.fm scrobbles (listening on computer and mobile devices), the YouTube music charts (streams) and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Each week, we tracked how our group of competitors fared in each of these different platforms, and then added up the results.
So, without any further ado, we are psyched to announce that Katy Perry has taken home the first place prize in VH1’s first annual Song Of The Summer competition! When the summer began, it looked like Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” was going to be an unstoppable force, but as soon as Katy dropped her 80s-tastic “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” video during the week of June 27th, she dominated the countdown from there on out. Katy was gracious enough to film an quick speech for us while she accepted our totally awesome Song Of The Summer trophy, which we’ve got for you above.
For you completists, here is our final Song Of The Summer countdown chart (that is, until Memorial Day 2012 rolls around!). And you’re on Spotify, you can subscribe to our VH1 Song Of The Summer 2011 playlist and re-live the summer whenever you want.
We’re going to announce this summer’s winner here on the VH1 Blog on Tuesday, but before we do that, we’d love to find out what YOU, the VH1 audience, felt was this year’s Song Of The Summer. What song did you jam the most on the beach? Which track was blasting when you put your ragtop down so your hair can blow? What jam got you and your friends pumped up for a night out on the town? Vote as many times as you like in our poll below. (Oh, and congrats to You Oughta Know artist Foster The People for being only the third song all summer long to hold the top spot in our countdown with their zeitgeisty smash, “Pumped Up Kicks”!)
Somehow we missed this chart when Digital Music News posted it last week, but luckily Fast Company‘s Co.Design blog noticed, and shared it today. As Co.Design’s Cliff Kuang put it, “It doesn’t happen too often, but once in a blue moon a hideous chart contains such a novel conceit that we have to post it.”
So what are we looking at? Not “the music industry’s death,” as the Co.Design headline proclaims. In fact, this animation contains no information about total sales. Digital Music News simply took screenshots of the pie charts with which the Recording Industry Association of America represents its data (see this slide). This explains why the size of the pie fluctuates despite no corresponding data point (and why the occasional data point is out of frame).
Despite these interpretation-hindrances, we are sort of fascinated by the way in which the chart models the formats through which consumers purchase music: the cassette’s rise to plurality (and, briefly, slight majority) and very slow recession from market share; the CD’s complete domination (95.5% of the market share in 2002!) and swift downfall; the intransigence of the LP in the last twenty years; the rise not only of digital downloads, but also of other ways of monetizing music in the digital age (such as subscription services, which may get a bump in 2011 thanks to the launch of Spotify and other developments); and the comparative popularity of the paid single download vs. any physical single format (from 1980 onwards, physical singles commanded less than 8% of the market, but in the six years that digital downloads have been widely available for sale, they have grown to command 20% of the market). All that, and a somewhat effective use of a pie chart! Read more…
At this time last year, hopes for Maroon 5‘s third studio album, Hands All Over, were high. The lead single, “Misery,” had hit #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Pop chart, and since the band had convinced famed superproducer Robert “Mutt” Lange to come out of semi-retirement to produce their album, everyone looked for the band to take the leap from a well-liked, fairly popular M.O.R. band to the next level and a spot among the world’s most commercially successful bands. However, once the album finally hit streets in October 2010, the masses shrugged their shoulders and largely ignored the album. The record was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping over 500,000 copies, but worldwide sales stalled out at just 529,000 total units.
Perceived failures like this have sunk many a band in the past, but thanks to charismatic frontman Adam Levine and ten weeks of national TV exposure courtesy of NBC/Universal’s The Voice (corporate synergy at its finest!), the band has totally reversed their fortunes in less than a year. Their new track, “Moves Like Jagger,” hit #1 on the iTunes chart this week, and Levine’s featured hook on Gym Class Heroes‘ “Stereo Hearts” propelled the song to a Top 20 finish in this week’s Song Of The Summer countdown. No wonder artists like Mariah Carey (The X-Factor), Sara Bareilles (The Sing Off) and more are looking to land prime positions as judges on televised singing competition shows; it’s exactly the kind of exposure to Middle America that the flagging music business is no longer in a position to give these artists using “traditional” music channels. As Maroon 5 has proved, it’s great work if you can get it!
As for the rest of our Song Of The Summer chart —only two more weeks until we crown a champion!— kudos to Katy Perry for her ninth consecutive week in the #1 spot.
The album’s release was unique in two key ways: its successful protection from leaks and its oddly-timed and digital-first release schedule (a Monday iTunes exclusive followed by a Friday physical release, instead of a simultaneous Tuesday release). Just as industry watched Amazon’s 99¢ Born This Way sale to determine strategies for other future releases, they watched The Throne to see how the duo’s unique strategies might affect sales.
So is 436,000 bad news? Not really. In the first place, those are still “big-boy numbers,” as Respect editor-in-chief Elliott Wilson put it to MTV News (besides which, the album’s promotion was primarily aimed at critical, not commercial, success).
More notably, that number fits neatly into the initial projections for Watch The Throne, which were shifted upwards based on the album’s first-day sales on iTunes?which turned out to be a mistake. The album may have set a new one-week iTunes sales record, but within a day of its release it had fallen to #9 on the live-updating iTunes album sales charts (and currently is languishing at #70).
We should have known better: never underestimate the chart prowess of Katy Perry. Back in May, we predicted that Perry’s single “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” would continue the chart run of singles from the album, and sure enough, Thursday will mark the 66th straight week in which a Teenage Dream single was in the top ten of Billboard‘s Hot 100. Two weeks ago, though, we cast doubt on the prospect of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” hitting #1?and in so doing, tying what once seemed like an untoppable Michael Jackson record: five #1 singles from the same album, set with “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Dirty Diana,” all from Bad, in 1987 and 1988.
That was before the Missy Elliott remix. On this we’ll defer to the Village Voice, where, in April, Maura Johnstonpointed to the late-release remix as a growing chart-goosing tactic and noting its particular success for Perry with “E.T.” (#42 before its Kanye “remix”; #1 soon after). Then on Friday, Chris Molanphy explained in his chart column “100 & Single” exactly how Perry was juking the stats: releasing a Missy Elliott remix of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” last Monday, as the song was peaking on the Airplay chart but falling on the Digital Sales chart (the two figures combine to determine the Hot 100), and furthermore discounting all versions of the track to just 69¢ at iTunes and Amazon’s mp3 store.
It worked. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” nearly matched LMFAO‘s “Party Rock Anthem” in Digital Sales this week (with the remix accounting for 25% of the downloads) and remained atop the Airplay chart. Despite huge gains in airplay and especially sales for Maroon 5‘s “Moves Like Jagger,” featuring Christina Aguilera, the single could not (yet?) match up to Perry’s single (nor could either of the other songs we predicted might compete; Bad Meets Evil‘s “Lighters” has stalled at #5, and The Throne‘s “Otis” is already out of the top 10). So it came down to LMFAO, who simply could not extend their reign atop the Hot 100 to a seventh week. This news may leave Michael Jackson fans thinking the electro duo should have named their album Sorry For Not Party Rocking Enough.
Electro-sleaze goofballs LMFAO are, at this moment, the only thing standing between Katy Perry and the history books. As we told you last week, their smash single “Party Rock Anthem” is blocking “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” from ascending to the top of the Billboard 100 chart (which would be Perry’s fifth Number One off her Teenage Dream LP). LMFAO is also currently besting Perry on the YouTube and iTunes charts, while Katy is maintaining dominance on Last.fm as well as airplay on our station. And our friends over at New York Magazine‘s Vulture just named “Party Rock Anthem”—a song they described as “a contrived, effective bit of nonsense about how ‘everybody?s gonna have a good time'”—as their current Song of the Summer.
Despite this onslaught from the progeny of Motown records founder Berry Gordy, our highly scientific formula still shows Perry atop our charts for the seventh consecutive week. While it will be incredibly difficult to topple her, it’s good to see Foster The People making a run at the Top Five. After a standout performance at Lollapalooza this weekend, their outstanding single “Pumped Up Kicks” is quickly climbing the charts; if the word “alternative” still carried any weight as a genre, there’s little doubt that Mark Foster could lay claim to the “alternative” Song of the Summer crown.
The dog days of summer are upon us, people. It’s August, it’s hot outside, and the news cycle is starting to slow to a crawl. The general sluggishness of the season is even affecting the music industry, as music fans don’t seem to be gravitating towards any new material. Instead, they seem to be content to play the same songs that they’ve had on repeat all summer long.
Case in point: Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” which has exhibited a stranglehold on the top of our Song of the Summer Countdown for six consecutive weeks. Her song looks to have a lock on the prize at this point, but then again, maybe The Throne (aka Jay-Z and Kanye West) can mount a last-minute challenge when their highly anticipated collaboration Watch The Throne drops next week? Stay tuned!
When Michael Jackson tragically and unexpectedly passed away two summers ago after an overdose of Propofol (which may or may not have been administered by Dr. Conrad Murray), the primary coping mechanism that people utilized while dealing with their grief was rekindling their love of his extensive musical legacy. People who hadn’t visited record stores in years flocked to purchase his back catalog, radio stations worldwide spun his songs for months on end and, as a result, Michael Jackson became a bigger star in death than he had been during the last 15 years of his life.
Well, in terms of her cultural relevance, it’s safe to say that Amy Winehouse was no Michael Jackson. However, her untimely (if somewhat expected) death this weekend at the age of 27 has done a lot to rekindle people’s interest in her musical output, which consists of two studio albums (2003’s Frank and 2006’s Back To Black) and a handful of B-sides. Not surprisingly, she currently occupies three of the top six spots on the iTunes album charts (see below), and “Rehab” —sadly, the song that will now forever define her career— has sold enough and been spun enough in the past three days to land it at #15 on this week’s Song Of The Summer Countdown.
As for the rest of the chart, there’s not much to say this week. The top seven spots in this week’s countdown are identical to the top seven songs from last week’s countdown; Katy Perry is still holding court at the top of the charts, and Adele is still nipping at her heels, closely trailed by Pitbull, LMFAO and Lady Gaga.
At the moment, everyone who isn’t named either Adele or Katy Perry is currently playing for third place, but that’s a tight race, too. Pitbull and LMFAO each continue to hold strong with their club-friendly megahits, while Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge Of Glory” makes its highest appearance on the charts so far this summer, despite its video being widely panned as being too underwhelming and not up to snuff with the rest of Gaga’s video canon. It’s also worth noting that OneRepublic‘s “Good Life” would also find itself in the running for the top prize, if not for a total lack of traction on YouTube and LastFM.
One last note: Rebecca Black‘s follow-up to “Friday”—a song which might just be the most popular (and hated) song of 2011 so far—is scheduled to be released at 8 p.m. this evening. We should know in less than 24 hours time whether this song has got what it takes to make a late summer run at #1.