With the proper tools and technology, anyone can make music. With social media, anyone can discover this music. However; song to become a number one hit, it takes a little more work. There is more to a song being a hit than it sounding good. Nowadays, a song can become a number one hit based on three things: sales, streaming, and airplay.
Album and song sales are crucial for a songs success. Songs are typically purchased digitally through iTunes. Albums can be found in iTunes as well. The more people who buy the song, the high it goes on the carts. Streaming is a new format which has quickly become the most popular way to listen to music in the modern day. Streaming is listening to a file in real time on your computer or device. There is no download or purchase necessary, it is just a consistent stream of data, in this case a song or album. You can stream on YouTube, or through other music specific streaming services like Spotify, Tidal or Apple Music for a small monthly fee. In terms of the charts, streaming works the same way sales do. The more streams counted, the higher the placement on the Billboard Chart. However; streams do not make as much of an impact on the charts as actual sales do. The last way songs become hits is through airplay, also known as radio. It is illegal for labels to pay radio stations to play a specific song, therefore fans MUST request it if they want to hear it. The number of spins are counted and sent of to BillBoard each week.
This is why fans are so critical for an artist’s success. Without the fans, the music industry would be a lot different. If you want to have the number one song in the country, not only does it need to sound like a hit, but the fans need to buy the song, stream the song, and request it.
Image: (c) 2016/www.billboard.com