2019-04-12 // Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande and the Spotify Popularity Index

Friday Fun Fact: Billie Eilish takes the coveted 100 Spotify Popularity Index from Ariana Grande...but what's Spotify Popularity?.......chartmetric.io @chartmetric #nerdout #musicdata

  • Highlights
    • There can only be one! Billie Eilish takes the coveted 100 Spotify Popularity Index from Ariana Grande.
  • Mission
    • Good morning, it’s Jason here at Chartmetric with your 3-minute Data Dump where we upload charts, artists and playlists into your brain so you can stay up on the latest in the music data world.
  • Date
    • This is your Data Dump for Friday April 12th 2019.
  • Friday Fun Fact
    • We’re going to try a new segment today called Friday Fun Fact where we do a little deep dive into a particular piece of data.
    • Thanks to Komala, one of our brilliant engineers, we noticed that on Wednesday this week, American artist Billie Eilish has received the honor of #1 most popular artist on Spotify according to not followers, not monthly listeners, but to a number we call the Spotify Popularity Index, or SPI.
    • What in the world is that? You don’t see it as a normal Spotify user in the app, but it sure sounds important, and it must be used for something...right?
    • According to Spotify’s API documentation, the number is “The popularity of the artist. The value will be between 0 and 100, with 100 being the most popular. The artist’s popularity is calculated from the popularity of all the artist’s tracks.” We’ve also noticed that it’s re-calculated about once a day.
    • Before we go further, let’s take a look at the top 5 according to SPI: #2 and #3 is Ariana Grande and Drake at 99, Khalid at 98 and then Post Malone at 97.
    • Apparently there can only be one artist in the 100 SPI spot, and from Feb 11th to April 9th, the crown was worn by Ariana Grande.
    • Now if the SPI is calculated from the SPI of the individual tracks, this would make sense as Grande released her last full-length album Thank U, Next on that Friday February 8th, which naturally launched her into the #1 popularity spot within a few days.
    • In turn, Billie Eilish’s newer album, WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, was released on Friday March 29th, and it took her a little under two weeks to take the crown.
    • Why did Eilish take about 12 days and Grande only 3? Likely because of the recent competition. Because before Grande in the #1 spot, it was Toronto’s very own Drake with his massively promoted Scorpion album, who was there for over half a year, from June 2018 until Grande’s February album. 
    • While Drake is currently in 882 editorial Spotify playlists, Grande at least had the benefit of time on her side for the Scorpion effect to dull its shine slightly.
    • Eilish’s album however, despite Grande currently being in 828 editorial playlists versus Eilish’s 283, needed a few more days to fight through Grande’s very strong presence on the platform.
    • Remember that it’s the popularity of each track that makes up the artist’s SPI, and so their fans’ connection with their material may also come into play as a factor: according to a Music Business Worldwide article on March 21st, Eilish’s 800K album pre-adds on Apple Music shattered any previous record on the platform. While it’s obviously not Spotify, it does say something about how her fans seem to be dedicated to the album, while Grande’s body of work seems to be driven towards singles.
    • It’s also worth noting that Grande’s least played track of her album, “make up” at 47M spins, beats out more than 60% of Eilish’s album tracks by spins, meaning that it must be more about each track’s virality, for lack of a better term, than aggregate numbers, meaning that time, indeed, must play a major factor. 
  • Outro
    • That’s it for your Daily Data Dump for Friday April 12th 2019. This is Jason from Chartmetric.
    • Look out for our new article on the success of female artists on the charts from our newest data scientist team member Josh, on our Medium blog at blog.chartmetric.io.
    • Feel free to sign up for a free account at chartmetric.io/signup
    • And article links and show notes are at: chartmetric.transistor.fm/episodes.
    • Happy Friday, have a lovely weekend. 
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