What Makes a Hit in 2022? (with Andrew Unterberger)
We all know that the musical landscape has changed in recent years. Tik Tok, Youtube, playlist culture, social media, and on and on and on—they’ve all remade how we listen, and what we listen to. But when folks (including us?) discuss those changes, they all too frequently focus on the big picture at the expense of the details. Streaming is over a decade old now. How…has it changed? That’s why we were so excited to talk to Andrew Unterberger, a journalist at Billboard who recently wrote a fascinating piece exploring why new music is taking longer to reach the top of the charts—and spending so much time there once it does. Where breaking on radio (or Tik Tok!) used to be enough, today’s hits take complex routes across any number of platforms on their way to the Billboard Top 40. Talking our way through them reveals the multi-polar, chance-driven, promotion-filled universe that’s driving our current listening. Turns out, it’s a world that’s far more chaotic (and a lot less planned) than either labels—or their critics— would like to admit.
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Music: Pauline Anna Strom - "Freedom at the 45th Floor"
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