How long does it take a song to jump the Atlantic? Well, it depends…

Back in the pre-Internet days, a song could gain all kinds of traction and popularity in Europe and remain totally unknown in North America. It might take weeks or months for an import to be stocked by, say, a record store in Toronto and for it to start selling in meaningful numbers–if ever.

There were exceptions, of course. If Depeche Mode released something in the UK on Monday, we might be able to buy the import by the weekend. Still, there was an awfully long lag between release and listening.

The Internet has resolved all that, of course. Songs can spin around the planet at the speed of light the second they’re released. In theory, anyway.

It turns out that human beings are still a little tardy when it comes to catching on to new music on either side of the Atlantic. This is from

In real life it takes approximately 7 hours to reach Europe when you’re traveling from The United States, but how does that translate to music? 😉

By looking at the date a particular track entered Spotify’s top 50 in the various European countries and comparing this to the first chart date in the U.S., we can determine if Europe is behind or leading. When we take the average of all countries and their associated tracks we can rank the territories based on overall travel time.

Combining all territories we see an average of +2.5 days. Looking at the individual territories Sweden (+0.2 days) is the quickest to catch up, followed by Norway (+0.3 days) and Denmark (+1.1 days). Territories that tend to be later to the party are France (+10.6 days) and Italy (+5.7 days).

Read the whole story 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.

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