Does Music Popularity Show How “Good” Music Is?


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It’s popular for a reason … right? Let know your thoughts.

Well, the short answer to that question would be no, absolutely not.

Defining how “good” music can’t simply be boxed into a category of how “good” it is by how many streams it gets on Spotify, right?

But what of, Chart Music? POP HITS. Chart music has been around for decades, ever since the 1950s when we rated music on how many sales it got that week. Does this define how “good” music is? It certainly would show that because the song in number 3 for instance, can be seen as “better” than the song in number 4.

Current Top 10 Chart (as of 08/01)

But when something is popular, does this mean its good popular or just … popular? It’s a common occurence I find myself thinking when I’m listening to the Charts for the week, or any music for that fact.

This then, of course, is based off personal preferences from every listener, surely? I don’t particularly favour Cardi B‘s music – but then again, I’m not the target market. It is simply pop, to the point and controversial which makes it instantly popular in its own right. But, technically and musically, her music is not exactly scratching heads over at Berklee is it? It’s mind-numbingly boring in its concept and originality to me, but fans love the incredulous sass, flavours and the sheer simplicity in her music.

Then, from that, it comes down to if you rate technically adept music as “good” or not.

This all gets confusing quickly, doesn’t it?

Scratch that. This question might not be the best to ask. We should change this question to, what makes music popular?

From a simple Google search, Popular Music is defined as a genre that produces the most hits. Fittingly known as the pop-music formula, the songs usually have a good and to-the-point rhythm, a catchy melody that is insanely easy to remember and the beauty of a domino effect – so when it is listened once, they are just as easy to sing along to; hence why it sells the most, or is shared the most.

Take the TOP 10 above, for instance. With music that would usually make your toes curl, tunes from Little Mix, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Dua Lipa are simple in their design and pass just with the right amount of cheese.

The bigger the following, the bigger the sales, the better the position.

Now, I don’t necessarily agree with how Chart Music is done as it is just one big popularity contest. But, I get the appeal. The trending music allows those more relaxing music listeners to stick the Chart playlist on and familiarise themselves with the current music without a second thought.

But does it reflect how “good” music is? At the end of it all, I don’t think so, no. You’ll get those saying that it’s popular for a reason, but popular music, more specifically, Chart music just simply defines popular preference among a mass audience who listen to Chart Music, and does not take into account “good” music that others prefer within their own niche categories such as Electronic Orchestral, Urban and World.

But rather, enjoy Chart music for what it is – popular easy-listening that brings about a bit of added excitement on a Friday when new music is released. Marvellous stuff.

4 responses to “Does Music Popularity Show How “Good” Music Is?”

  1. Music & Life Blog avatar
    Music & Life Blog

    Really enjoyed this thought provoking piece. I agree that chart music should just be enjoyed and seen for what it is. Personally, most of my music I love won’t be considered in the UK charts so I’ve always seen the charts as not for me. However, music is relative to everyone so I understand that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. manvmusic avatar

      Ahh absolutely, I was definitely a fan for Charts when I was kid, though – guess that’s their demographic! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aphoristical avatar

    I think sustained popularity on the album charts indicates quality – like people don’t keep buying your albums if they’re not good. But obviously lots of great acts are niche and don’t do well at albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. manvmusic avatar

      Aye, that’s certainly true. People don’t come back if it’s not good, so there’s a key to consistency somewhere in there … appreciate the insight, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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