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More Pop, Sung Vocals & Shorter Songs: The State of the Hot 100, as Analyzed by Hit Songs Deconstructed

A comparison of chart trends in 2019 vs. 2018.

What were some of the most notable trends on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart in 2019 as compared to 2018?

On Monday, Hit Songs Deconstructed, which analyzes the compositional characteristics of top 10 Hot 100 hits, will release its annual State of the Hot 100 Top 10 report in full.

Ahead of its arrival, here are five highlights from Hit Songs Deconstructed’s in-depth research.

2019 was the year of pop. As a primary genre, its popularity doubled from 24% of all top 10 Hot 100 hits in 2018 to a 48% share in 2019. With the gain, pop surpassed hip-hop/rap for top honors for the first time since 2016.

Among those helping propel pop, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes and Taylor Swift all charted multiple top 10s in 2019.


Singers soared. As pop surged, top 10 Hot 100 hits with exclusively sung vocals were the most popular in the region for the first time since 2016, at 53%, up from 31% in 2018.

Following exclusively sung vocals, sung/rapped vocals accounted for 40% of top 10s in 2019, falling from 53% in 2018.

Plus, only rapped hits made for just 7% of all top 10s in 2019, down from 16% in 2018.

Only got 3 minutes (and 10 seconds) to change the world. The average length of a top 10 Hot 100 hit dropped by 26 seconds from 2018 to 2019, clocking at just 3:10.

Hit Songs Deconstructed notes a swell in songs under three minutes in length, from just 13% of the top 10 in 2018 to 36% in 2019.

Just dance. Not only were songs, on average, quicker in length in 2019, but they were faster in tempo, too. The average tempo of a Hot 100 top 10 rose to 91 beats per minute, the most since 2016. The figure gained from 83 BPM in 2018.

Major move for major key. After steadily declining year-over-year since 2015, Hot 100 top 10s in a major key in 2019 comprised 43% of all such songs, largely led by, again, the resurgence of pop hits.

Still, songs in a minor key remained the most popular for the fifth straight year, accounting for 55% of all top 10s.

2019 Billboard Year in Music