Music Industry

Deconstructing the hit songs of the first half of 2018

HitSongsDeconstructed is a website that tracks trends in songwriting, production, and the music business designed to help musicians and composers navigate through the confusing maze of today’s industry. It focuses largely on what it takes to write and produce a hit song.

The site took a look at compositional trends seen so far in 2018 and found the following. (Keep in mind that we’re only dealing with the American Top 200.)

  • 44 songs, 45 performing artists, 154 credited songwriters (do the math!), 66 credited producers (again, often more than one per song), and 12 record labels all made it into the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Five songs were hip-hop: God’s Plan (Drake), Nice For What (Drake), Psycho(Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign), Sad! (XXXTentacion) and This is America(Childish Gambino)
  • Two songs were pop: Havana (Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug) and Perfect (Ed Sheeran featuring Beyoncé)
  • Drake had two #1 and spent the most time at #1 (18 weeks).
  • Hip-hop accounted for 55% of the Top 10 singles, an increase of 37% over last year.
  • Hip-hop influences were involved in 89& of all Top 10 songs, an increase of 63% from the same time last year.
  • 55% of Top 10s were sung by males. Only 20% featured exclusively female vocals.
  • Songs that featured a combination of song and rapped vocals were the most popular.
  • This is interesting: 68% of the songs that made the Top 10 were in a minor key. Is that an indication of the public mood? That sad-sounding songs are dominant?
  • The majority of hits feature the chorus before the first verse. This indicates the role of streaming in songwriting. Start with the hook and hopefully suck people in so they stick with the song beyond the magical 30-second mark which is when streaming services pay out for that listen.

If you want to read more, go here.




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37452 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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