Listomania part 2: A case study of streaming’s hit-making power

listomania part 2 splash 300wIn December we wrote about the Listomania research from Chris Price of New Slang Media, who has become the leading expert in playlist metrics. Listomania was the first part of a two-part study of the power of playlists, using on-demand market-leader Spotify as a laboratory. That report identified major-label playlists and their share of voice in Spotify’s Browse section. It also analyzed the hit-making power of playlists, and concluded that radio lags behind music services in recognizing and accelerating new music trends.

Part two of Listomania goes deeper and more granular with a case study of Justin Bieber’s hit song, Love Yourself. One theme of the report’s analysis is the streaming and radio work together to make hits, but at different paces, in what Chris Price calls a “mutually reinforcing interplay of streaming and radio.”

This report includes carefully researched charts that map the timeline of the song’s ascendancy. Chris Price has looked back at the day-by-day increasing playlist exposure of Love Yourself in Spotify playlists, correlated with two other tracks from Bieber’s latest album.

listomania part 2 chart 300wWhile identifying the power of playlists to create popularity trends, Price doesn’t forget a central truth of the music business, which is that success is concentrated at the top … and now more than ever. “Globally the top 1% of artists deliver 77% of recorded music revenues — the music industry One Per Cent writ large,” he notes. “It’s not a new phenomenon — music has always been a hits-driven business to a greater or lesser extent — but an exaggeration at the extremities does seem to have coincided with the growth of the streaming economy.”

Radio is assessed as an essential part of a hit’s success. Part of the study’s conclusion cites “the self-perpetuating upward spiral of the music industry One Per Cent, in which streamed and broadcast media feed off each other like an Escher lithograph.”

Listomania is a fascinating and, as far as we know, unique study. Part 2 (“Justin Bieber and the Self-Perpetuating Upward Spiral,” which Chris Price admits sounds like a Harry Potter title) is summarized here and fully available to New Slang Media subscribers.



Brad Hill