Several years ago, Josh Schott started a weekly feature on the now-reborn Country Perspective blog that asked a simple question: Based on Billboard’s country airplay charts, just how good (or bad) is country radio at this very moment? In the spirit of the original feature, I decided to try my hand at evaluating the state of the radio myself.
The methodology is as follows: Each song that appears is assigned a score based on its review score. 0/10 songs get the minimum score (-5), 10/10 songs get the maximum (+5), and so on. The result (which can range from +250 to -250) gives you an idea of where things stand on the radio.
This week’s numbers are from the latest version of Country Aircheck, but I’m going to link to their archives since I never remember to update this from week to week. Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers!
Best Song: “One Night Standards,” 10/10
Worst Song: “I Love My Country,” 2/10
Mode Score: 0 (18 songs)
- Luke Bryan, “What She Wants Tonight” (recurrent)
- Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” (down to #51)
- Lindsay Ell, “I Don’t Love You” (down to #52)
- Brett Young, “Catch” (down from #1 to #5)
- Jordan Davis, “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot” (down from #1 to #7)
- Maren Morris, “The Bones” (up from #11 to #10, but lost its bullet and finally seems to be losing steam)
In Real Trouble:
- Gone West, “What Could’ve Been” (down from #28 to #29, but loses its bullet with a 200+ point loss)
- Billy Currington, “Details” (holds at #35, but is bullet-less for a second straight week with another triple-digit point loss)
- Rayne Johnson, “Front Seat” (down from #37 to #38, gained only ten spins and lost points)
- Eli Young Band, “Break It In” (down from #43 to #45, lost its bullet)
In Some Trouble:
- Kenny Chesney, “Here And Now” (up from #12 to #11, but gained only fifty-five spins and lost points in a surprisingly-weak week)
- Lauren Alaina, “Getting Good” (holds at #39, but gained only five spins and nine points)
- Runaway June, “Head Over Heels” (down from #40 to #41, gained only nine spins and lost points)
- LANco, “What I See” (down from #47 to #9, lost its bullet)
In No Trouble At All:
- Brett Eldredge, “Gabrielle” (debuts at #34)
- Luke Bryan, “One Margarita” (up from #51 to #44)
- Florida Georgia Line, “I Love My Country” (up from #26 to #20)
- Thomas Rhett ft. Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Keith Urban, and Chris Tomlin, “Be A Light” (up from #30 to #26)
- Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” (up from #8 to #7)
Bubbling Under 50:
- Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” (4/10)
- Lindsay Ell, “I Don’t Love You” (6/10)
- Brantley Gilbert, “Fire’t Up” (4/10)
On The Way:
Overall Thoughts: Suddenly, no one is immune from the pain of a spin drought.
I’ll be honest: I have no idea what happens this week. With Bryan’s departure from the top and meh reappearance at the bottom, Brett Young and Davis leaking spins as they age out naturally, and only one massive debut from Eldredge, it seems like there would be a lot of spins to go around. However, not only has the bottom half of the charts continued to struggle (only 6 of 25 saw 100+ spin gains), but the top half saw a fair bit of instability as well: Five songs (not counting Young, Davis, or Morris) saw spin gains of 100 or less (and Chesney lost spins at #11), and only two songs (Shelton and Thanos) broke the 600-spin mark (and no one reached 700, leaving Eldredge’s 1100+ debut as the uncontested winner this week).We also saw a bit more volatility than usual in the top half of the charts, with artists like Church and Lambert dropping multiple spots despite
I was a bit confused by the numbers, so I totaled up the top-50 spin totals for this week and last week to see if the overall spin count had dropped:
- Total spins on 4/13 chart: 143,795
- Total spins on 4/20 chart: 145,835
It turns out that there are actually 2,000 more spins this week in the top 50 than last week. So why do the gain numbers seem more modest this time around? Were they more equitably spread? Were there even fewer spins two weeks that caused last week’s gains to look better? Have I just been staring at this screen for too darn long? (The answer is yes, no matter what the spin numbers look like.)
Of course, back in reality the U.S. coronavirus death count now rivals that of the number of combat deaths in Vietnam and our unemployment systems are reliant on an ancient language like COBOL, which means dedicating mental cycles to the oddities of the airwaves isn’t a great use of our time. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize (and our hands washed, and our feet squarely in our own residences) as we continue to weather this storm.
So what do you think? Are the numbers better or worse than you expected? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!