Music

ChartCipher’s Analysis of Billboard’s Radio Songs Chart for 2023: Pop, Midtempo Dance Dominated

What were the most notable highlights regarding the sonic characteristics of hits on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart in 2023?

AI-powered hit song analytics platform ChartCipher released its latest report March 15, spotlighting key findings from Radio Songs surveys dated Jan. 7 through Dec. 30, 2023.

In October 2023, ChartCipher launched publicly, as announced jointly by MyPart and Hit Songs Deconstructed. The platform utilizes analytics from 10 of Billboard’s most prominent charts dating to the turn of the century: the Billboard Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, Pop Airplay, Country Airplay, Streaming Songs, Radio Songs and Digital Song Sales.

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Here are three takeaways from Chart Cipher’s new report, reflecting the Radio Songs chart for 2023.

Pop Topped, But Dropped

“Pop was the top genre on the Billboard Radio Songs chart in 2023 with a 37% share” of all entries, ChartCipher’s report notes. “Country followed close behind at 31% and hip-hop/rap rounded out the top three at 23%. Rock, R&B/soul, dance/club/electronic and Latin trailed distantly, each accounting for 9% of songs or less.”

Still, ChartCipher’s research reveals, “While pop has consistently maintained the largest share of the chart for the past five years, its prominence dropped from 54% in 2022 to 37% in 2023 – a low not seen since the start of the 21st century.

“Conversely, country [up from 27% to 31% year-over-year] and hip-hop/rap [up from 13% to 23%] both saw gains in 2023.”

Despite its decline, pop boasts a dual domination, as it tied hip-hop/rap as the top primary genres on the Streaming Songs chart for 2023, each with a 27% share. Country claimed a 20% share and rock, 19%, followed by R&B/soul (9%), Latin (6%) and dance/electronic (3%).

To recap, by performance on each chart, here are the top three genres on both Radio Songs and Streaming Songs throughout 2023. Pop and country each sport higher shares on Radio Songs than Streaming Songs, while hip-hop/rap fared better on Streaming Songs than Radio Songs:

  • Pop: 37% share, Radio Songs / 27%, Streaming Songs
  • Country: 31%, Radio Songs / 20%, Streaming Songs
  • Hip-hop/rap: 23%, Radio Songs / 27%, Streaming Songs

Just Dance (Moderately)

“Radio Songs chart hits have been becoming more danceable the last few years,” ChartCipher reports.

Not that airwaves have been inundated by thumping, hi-NRG beats: “Those possessing moderate danceability rose from half of songs in 2021 to just over two-thirds in 2023,” per ChartCipher. “Conversely, songs with low danceability have been in decline over the same time period. On the other end of the spectrum, highly danceable songs (i.e., those that are club-ready) continue to be few and far between.”

ChartCipher, Radio Songs

ChartCipher cites examples of dance-driven 2023 Radio Songs hits including Dua Lipa’s “Houdini” (high danceability), Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero” (moderate) and Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s “Barbie World,” with Aqua (low).

Meanwhile, with moderately danceable songs dominating, “Nearly two-thirds of Radio Songs chart hits [in 2023 had] tempos under 100 BPM,” according to ChartCipher. “Those with tempos under 79 BPM saw a notable increase in prevalence, from 29% of songs in 2022 to 39% in 2023, their highest level in over a decade.”

No Rhyme or Reason

Dissecting lyrics, “Rhyme density was a mixed bag in 2023, with a near-equal split of songs (sung in English) possessing low, moderate and high degrees of rhymes,” among Radio Songs hits, ChartCipher analyzes. “However, there has been a recent trend towards high and very high rhyme density, together accounting for nearly half of the chart in 2023, compared to one-third a few years earlier.”

ChartCipher references “chart-topping representatives on either end of the spectrum,” from Luke Combs’ “Fast Car” (low rhyme density) to Rema and Selena Gomez’s “Calm Down” (“very high”).

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