Uptempo pop (and party rock) anthems ruled radio in 2011.
Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is Nielsen BDS’ most-played song of the 2011 calendar year, while Katy Perry reigns as the artist with the most radio airplay.
The ubiquitous “Deep,” which set a Billboard record by appearing on 12 monitored radio airplay charts — ranging from pop and rock to R&B/hip-hop, dance and Latin formats — dominates the year-end ranking with 658,000 detections registered in 2011 (among the more than 1,200 stations electronically monitored by BDS).
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“Deep” finishes above runner-up “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull (featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer) with 620,000. LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” (featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock) takes the bronze with 571,000 spins in 2011.
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Perry rounds out the top five with two tracks: “E.T.,” featuring Kanye West (No. 4; 526,000) and “Firework” (No. 5; 509,000). Perry also closes out the top 10 with “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” (No. 10; 450,000).
P!nk’s “F—in’ Perfect” claims the No. 6 spot on the 2011 year-end most-played list (501,000), followed by Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” (No. 7; 483,000), Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” featuring Christina Aguilera (No. 8; 465,000) and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Get Enough” (No. 9; 457,000).
The coronation of “Deep” ends a two-year stranglehold on the top spot by country acts. Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” was 2010’s most-played track (600,000), while Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” led for 2009 (465,000).
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Perry, perhaps expectedly, earns her victory as 2011’s most-played artist with 1.46 million detections tallied during the year. “Firework,” “E.T.” and “Friday” all topped Billboard’s BDS-based Hot 100 Airplay chart in 2011, as Perry made history as the first woman ever to notch five No. 1s from an album (“Teenage Dream”) on the airplay/sales/streaming hybrid Billboard Hot 100 survey. (Among all acts, only Michael Jackson had previously achieved the feat, with five Hot 100 toppers from “Bad” in 1987-88).
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Bruno Mars places as 2011’s second-most-played artist with 1.44 million detections (just 17,000 behind Perry) and is the only solo male in the top 10. Lady Gaga ranks third at 1.25 million.
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Rounding out the top 10: P!nk (No. 4; 1.18 million), Rihanna (No. 5; 1.13 million), Adele (No. 6; 1.12 million), Taylor Swift (No. 7; 1.1 million), the Black Eyed Peas (No. 8; 955,000), Lady Antebellum (No. 9; 916,000) and Britney Spears (No. 10; 900,000).
Perry wrests the mantle as the year’s most-played artist from Swift after two years, as Swift held the No. 1 slot last year (1.13 million) and in 2009 (1.29 million). (Still, Swift is ahead of her ranking in 2008, when she finished eighth).
Rihanna, meanwhile, is back in the top five on the year-end most-played artist list for the first time since 2008, when she crowned the recap. After missing the top 10 cut in 2009, she ranked No. 6 last year.
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In all, the numbers reinforce the strength of mainstream pop music in 2011, as the highest country act on the most-played artist list (Swift) ranks at No. 7. In recent years, country acts populated the top five, including Lady Antebellum (No. 2 in 2010), Toby Keith (No. 4 in 2009) and Rascal Flatts, Keith and George Strait (Nos. 2, 3, and 5, respectively, in 2008).
Country has a couple of built-in advantages: the large number of stations in the format, and that crossover hits (“Need You Now,” “You Belong With Me”) log lengthy radio lives as they begin at country and then segue to pop and adult formats. Thus, that Perry is 2011’s top-played act reflects the level of mainstream mass appeal that her hits have attained, having won their support almost exclusively at pop and adult radio.
The rest of the year’s five most-played artists, in fact (Mars, Lady Gaga, P!nk and Rihanna), similarly managed their lofty ranks via a home base at pop radio. Much of their melodic, up-tempo fare was also palatable at adult formats, as, after their initial runs at mainstream top 40, many of their hit songs maintained a strong radio presence as they became adult hits, therefore expanding their reach. In the past, notably, such dance-leaning pop was not as acceptable to now more tempo-driven adult stations (which have reacted to dance’s infiltration of mainstream pop music).
To paraphrase LMFAO, party rock — and pop — was in the house in 2011 …