2019-05-10 // Amazon Top Country 100 & the Alexa-Genre Complex

Amazon Music’s Top 100 Country chart features a wide selection of artists, but their long time on chart suggests a wider platform trend towards stagnancy in several genres.....chartmetric.com @chartmetric #musicindustry #business #data #nerdout #analysis

  • Highlights
    • Amazon Music’s Top 100 Country chart features a wide selection of artists, but their long time on chart suggests a wider platform trend towards stagnancy in several genres
  • 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 May 10th 2019.
  • Amazon Music: Top 100 Songs - Country
    • On the Amazon Music Top Songs Country chart yesterday, Lil Nas X took the #1 spot with the Billy Ray Cyrus collaboration “Old Town Road”, spending 30 days there so far. 
    • North Carolina’s Luke Combs took the #2 spot with the ballad “Crazy Beautiful”, only its second day on the chart, despite being released a year ago.
    • And the heartbroken lyrics of “Whiskey Glasses” kept its current chart peak at #3 from Tennessee’s Morgan Wallen, after living on the chart for 69 days.
    • The Top 100 tracks on the chart feature several artists with a handful records among them: for example, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line and Kane Brown all have four tracks charting, while Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Brett Young, Luke Byran and Chris Stapleton all have three.
    • Label-wise, the Top 100 also are well-distributed, with Columbia Nashville taking 10 of the tracks, Capitol Records Nashville with 9, and Warner Bros., Broken Bow and RCA Records Nashville all taking 8 tracks each.
  • Time on Chart & the Alexa-Genre Complex
    • In terms of time on chart, the Amazon Top Country 100 is fairly stagnant: 86 of the tracks have been there for at least one month, with 22 of them there for a year and a half! That’s nearly a quarter of a Top 100 chart not changing, and a sign of what I’ll playfully call for now the Alexa-Genre Complex.
    • For one of America’s most popular and productive genres, this is fairly bad news for any emerging country artists that are fighting to squeeze into the Alexa-driven platform, while obviously great news for the few top artists benefitting from a stagnant chart.
    • If we take a look at a few other Amazon genres, this chart behavior is surprisingly consistent: the Dance/Electronic genre features 87 tracks in its Top 100 that have charted for more than a month with 26 for more than 1.5 years, while 86 records in Rap & Hip Hop charted for a month plus, with 25 for more than 1.5 years.
    • The Pop genre also follows suit with 85 tracks for more than a month and 20 for more than 1.5 years.
    • It’s almost clockwork how predictable the charts are irrelevant of the genre, and likely says something about Amazon algorithmic behavior rather than each audience’s listening preferences, which would presumably show some sort of differentiation.
    • When aggregating all the genres however, the trend somewhat weakens, with only 71 of the top tracks being 1-month plus, which suggests that this trend might be coded just for genre, and is a cascading effect from genre-focused playlisting. 
    • This would make sense given that when Alexa is engaged, user utterances would likely be something like “Alexa, play some country music” or something similar and giving those top artists more stream time. (sorry if I just triggered your Alexa)
    • Another interesting takeaway is how most of the 1.5-year plus tracks stack towards the top third of the chart, and almost exclusively in the Top 50, meaning that the bottom half of the Amazon charts tends to be more fluid. 
    • So if you’re an emerging artist, expect your success on Amazon Music to be mostly all in or virtually nothing, and if you’re the small population getting lukewarm play, maybe it’s time to make some calls to push that track into that coveted upper Alexa stratosphere.
  • Outro

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