Dance Goes Mainstream (Again) [September 2013]

When dance radio enjoyed a modest comeback on American airwaves in 2002, we were inspired to publish what would eventually become Dance Radio Post.  While you’ve never needed more than two hands to count the number of U.S. terrestrial dance stations since then, dance music is doing better on the radio nonetheless.

So far in 2013, the following dance artists have all scored No. 2 hits at mainstream top 40.

Swedish House Mafia Featuring John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child

Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

Zedd Featuring Foxes – Clarity

Capital Cities – Safe and Sound

Indeed, EDM artists occupied half of the top 10 at mainstream top 40 recently.

2 Capital Cities – Safe and Sound

3 Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais – Summertime Sadness

4 Avicii – Wake Me Up!

9 Zedd Featuring Foxes – Clarity

10 Calvin Harris Featuring Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love

By the end of 2013, at least two dance artists may have a shot to go all the way to the top of mainstream top 40.  So radio owners may be reluctant to flip more stations to an all-dance format, but top 40 program directors are more open to dance music…again.

Another Milestone [August 2013]

It was just three weeks ago when we reported three EDM artists in the U.S. top 10.  Now that number is up to four—five if you count Lady Gaga.

4 Lady Gaga – Applause

7 Avicii – Wake Me Up!

8 Capital Cities – Safe and Sound

9 Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais – Summertime Sadness

10 Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

And the Beat Goes On [August 2013]

This may be news to some people, but dance music is here to stay.  If rhythm & blues and country & western are the two main ingredients that made up the musical stew called rock and roll, the recipe somehow yielded a dance flavor from the start.  The first rock and roll anthem, “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock,” is really a dance record of its day.  Think of all the dance-inspired songs from the 1950s and ’60s—“The Twist,” “The Stroll,” “Mashed Potato Time,” just to name a few.  And, of course, dance music dominated the pop chart and top 40 radio by the late 1970s.

Still, we’re pleasantly surprised the August 17 issue of Billboard lists 10 songs by EDM artists on its Hot 100 chart, including three in the top 10.  That’s the best showing for the genre in a long time.

4 Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

8 Zedd Featuring Foxes – Clarity

9 Capital Cities – Safe and Sound

16 Calvin Harris Featuring Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love

17 Avicii – Wake Me Up!

23 Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais – Summertime Sadness

29 Icona Pop Featuring Charli XCX – I Love It

50 Labrinth Featuring Emeli Sande – Beneath Your Beautiful

57 Rihanna Featuring David Guetta – Right Now

83 Major Lazer Featuring Bruno Mars, Tyga & Mystic – Bubble Butt

Note that seven of these songs received an A rating on our Megamix page, four of which were highlighted in our Mega6 column.  If program directors would follow our lead, radio all over the world would sound a whole lot better.  In case you’re wondering, we omitted Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody,” Jason Derulo’s “The Other Side,” AWOLNATION’s “Sail,” and Enrique Iglesias’ “Turn the Night Up.”  Although we still have four months left in 2013, this year has already seen more top 10 crossover hits from dance than any other year in the 21st century.

A Tale of Two Markets [August 2013]

So One Direction’s latest single recently debuted at No. 2 in the group’s native U.K. and in the U.S.  No real surprise since music fans love their boy bands—going back to The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds.  Girl groups are still extremely popular in Britain, less so in America.

The big news is a Swedish EDM artist kept One Direction out of the top spot in the U.K.  By hanging on to No. 1 for a second week, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” managed to keep Britain’s own One Direction from the summit.  After five weeks, “Wake” has reached the top 50 stateside.  This song perfectly illustrates the difference between the American market and the U.K. market in particular and the European market in general.

It seems the post-1970s backlash against dance music is still a part of radio culture in the U.S.  In Europe, dance music is treated as pop music.  But thanks to the Internet, music fans are able to sample all kinds of music—not just EDM—and show their support with a few clicks.  So things are changing in the world’s largest music market.  Mainstream top 40 radio has been playing more dance tracks since the late 2000s.  Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” debuted in the top 20 in America this year, an amazing feat for any dance artist.  Swedish House Mafia’s farewell single “Don’t You Worry Child” eventually went top 10 in the U.S.  The latest encouraging sign:  “Wake” is poised to become a mainstream top 40 hit.  None of this would have been possible five years ago.


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