TOP = POP: The cover of Billboard's 2010 year-end issue sums up the year in music.
With this week's charts dated Dec. 25, the year closes with yet more evidence that pop was clearly the toast of music this year. Two weeks after P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" topped the Hot 100, the track rises 3-1 on Pop Songs to become her sixth No. 1 on the mainstream top 40 radio survey.
The coronation of "Raise Your Glass" on Pop Songs marks the list's 10th No. 1 this year that also crowned the all-format airplay/sales/streaming-driven Hot 100, the highest yearly total in the Pop Songs tally's 18-year history.
The sum bests the nine shared Pop Songs/Hot 100 leaders last year and continues a three-year-rise. Seven songs commanded both charts in 2008 after five did so in 2007.
"The increasingly pop-focused top 40 marketplace has made it a little easier for P!nk and Jive to climb to the top," says Jive Label Group executive VP/pop promotion Joe Riccitelli.
"Plus, P!nk and writer/producer Max Martin have become a formidable, dynamic pop duo."
Not only did 10 of the 16 Pop Songs No. 1s in 2010 lead the Hot 100, the six that did not just missed the latter chart's summit. All six peaked between Nos. 2 and 5 on the Hot 100, marking the first year since 2001 that each Pop Songs No. 1 reached the Hot 100's top five.
As the Nielsen BDS-based Pop Songs chart reflects airplay on top 40 radio, the impressive chart showings of pop artists have spurred new stations to join the format in the two largest U.S. media markets.
Listeners last year welcomed WXRK (92.3 Now) and KAMP (97.1 AMP Radio), alongside heritage pop frequencies WHTZ (Z100) and KIIS-FM (102.7), in New York and Los Angeles, respectively.
In the November Arbitron ratings, WHTZ (4.7 million) and WXRK (3.1 million) boasted New York's third- and sixth-highest monthly audiences.
"2010 was an incredible year for pop music," says Sharon Dastur, program director of WHTZ, which Friday (Dec. 10) staged its annual "Jingle Ball" concert at Madison Square Garden. This year's edition starred, among others, Katy Perry, Michael Buble (who ventured into the crowd to lead a festive sing-along of "Let It Snow") and closing act Justin Bieber.
"Unlike in years past, so many songs displayed staying power. Usually, we see a handful of titles make it to 1,000 total plays on the station. This year, numerous songs topped even 2,000 spins," says Dastur.
"The Z100 audience was very passionate for the crop of pop music this year."
WXRK operations manager Dom Theodore cites a greater "variety and balance" at the format in 2010. "History shows that hit radio is cyclical and we are at the height of the pop cycle right now where mass-appeal pop music performs best."
In Los Angeles, KIIS (4 million) and KAMP (3.5 million) ranked first and second in last month's Arbitron ratings.
"As we kicked off the decade with high unemployment rates, housing crises and war, pop music has stepped up and lifted everyone's spirits," says KIIS assistant program director/music director Julie Pilat.