The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music (Oct. 13)

Let me introduce you to The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music. This chart takes data from three Billboard country music charts: Digital Song Sales, Album Sales and Streaming. I take the numbers from these charts, plug them into my formulas and methodology and it spits out a number I refer to as a Popularity Rating or Pop Rating for short. This determines the order of the top 20 rankings you’ll see below.

What I love about my chart is it’s simple, but fluid and dynamic. It accounts for all types of artists across the board. It allows independent and older artists to enter it too, as all three categories are ultimately controlled by you the listeners. Not to mention I feel it’s more inclusive of a variety of styles of country music and women artists. It’s a true real-time indicator of who is popular in country music with built-in natural weights that ensures fairness.

One last thing: I will of course be adding my own personal opinion to the chart with a rating of +1, 0 or -1 based on whether I think the artist’s contributions towards their pop rating are helping, hurting or not having an effect on the genre. Onto the chart!

  1. Kane Brown (#1 Digital Songs & #1 Streaming) -1
  2. Luke Combs +1
  3. Dan + Shay +1
  4. Florida Georgia Line -1
  5. Chris Stapleton (#1 Album) +1
  6. Jason Aldean +1
  7. Thomas Rhett 0
  8. Bebe Rexha -1
  9. Brett Young -1
  10. Mitchell Tenpenny -1
  11. Carrie Underwood 0
  12. Dierks Bentley 0
  13. Rascal Flatts 0
  14. Sam Hunt 0
  15. Cole Swindell 0
  16. Travis Tritt +1
  17. Loretta Lynn +1
  18. Lauren Alaina 0
  19. Jimmie Allen +1
  20. Zac Brown Band +1

The Ultimate Pulse: +3

Notes & Observations

  • New Arrivals: Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Travis Tritt, Loretta Lynn & Jimmie Allen
  • Gone: Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert & Jon Pardi
  • The Ultimate Pulse improves one spot to +3 this week, a new all-time high. There was a ton of movement this week, with a whopping five artist swing in arrivals and dismissals.
  • The most shocking artist to be gone is Luke Bryan, someone you expect to not fall off this chart. But “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” wasn’t a big hit. As a result sales and streams have tanked pretty hard. Kenny Chesney’s numbers have tanked too, as his new single is struggling to gain traction so far. Eric Church’s fall off is temporary of course, as his new album just dropped and he’ll be back on The Ultimate Pulse chart next week. Expect my review of that album soon.
  • Kane Brown remains at #1 for a second-straight week. The sales of another new single from his upcoming album helps him just maintain a slight edge over Luke Combs at #2. Next week it’ll be neck and neck between the two for the top spot. Streaming will probably determine who gets it.
  • Dan + Shay are so close to the top two, yet their numbers appear maxed for now. So they’ll just stay out of reach.
  • Jason Aldean has continued to lose in digital sales and streaming, but maintains his spot thanks to strong album sales and the great streaming numbers of “You Make It Easy.” Like Bryan and Chesney, Aldean is also struggling to get traction with his new single in streaming and sales.
  • Thomas Rhett is essentially in the same boat as the aforementioned artists.
  • My Eldredge theory for Brett Young continues to feel spot-on. Expect Mitchell Tenpenny to overtake him soon if Young keeps free-falling.
  • As you can see there’s not much excitement in the top 11 of the chart. But then the chaos starts at #12 with Dierks Bentley. Once again he bounces back up in the top 20 because his album sales boomeranged back up in sales. It makes no sense!
  • Rascal Flatts makes their debut on The Ultimate Pulse thanks to great sales of their new single. This surprised me a lot. Who knew they could still get this much traction in 2018? Unsurprisingly, the song bores me. It feels like a watered-down combination of “You Make It Easy” and a recent Dan + Shay single.
  • Veteran Travis Tritt makes his debut on The Ultimate Pulse thanks to the strong sales of “Help Me Hold On.” The sales spiked thanks to it being performed on The Voice. So I guess that show is good for something. Despite my issues with Tritt’s attitude, this song and his music in general is still great.
  • The legendary Loretta Lynn makes her debut on The Ultimate Pulse thanks to the sales of her new album. It’s pretty cool to see both Dolly Parton and Lynn making appearances on the chart within weeks of each other. I’m glad my proclamation that this chart is inclusive of older artists is remaining true.
  • Lauren Alaina has hung around in the top 20 for weeks thanks to being featured on “What Ifs” and next week it will pay off big, as she should get a boost on the chart from sales of her new single “Ladies In The ’90s.”
  • The last debut on The Ultimate Pulse this week is Jimmie Allen. Now remember when I said if airplay is effective it will show in sales and/or streaming in a significant way? His debut single “Best Shot” is demonstrating just that, as his airplay has gained so has both his sales and streaming. He’s getting numbers from both categories. And it’s a good song to boot! The only reason I haven’t reviewed it yet is because his debut album is dropping soon and I want to hear it to possibly review it, which I could then cover the song in it.

Next Five Artists Knocking on the Door of the Top 20

  1. Eric Church
  2. Jon Pardi
  3. Kenny Chesney
  4. Jake Owen
  5. Old Dominion

Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts below and feel free to make predictions for next week’s rankings. Feel free to ask questions if you need any clarification on the methodology and rankings.

4 thoughts on “The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music (Oct. 13)

  1. Zackary Kephart October 10, 2018 / 11:29 am

    Pretty disappointed that “Better Boat” hasn’t caught on. That’s one of his best IMO. Oh well. I was actually surprised it jumped four spots into the top 30 on the airplay chart. I would think that song would fare worse in airplay than it would streaming or sales. Not surprised about Aldean. There were much better, more distinctive choices than “Girl Like You.” I’d love to know exactly how labels pick singles (I know there’s focus groups and things like that but … what’s the exact process?) because it makes no sense most of the time.

    “Best Shot” has grown on me (I always thought it was, at the very least, decent), and I’m looking forward to Allen’s album on Friday.


    • Josh October 10, 2018 / 12:13 pm

      I’m disappointed too. It’s a great song! I could still see it being a slow-burn type of hit, but it unfortunately won’t touch the heights “Get Along” reached in sales and streaming. Hopefully “Ends of the Earth” is the next single. Completely agree on Aldean. When I saw that choice, I was like “Really?!” I didn’t even remember that song when I first saw it. If it was up to me I would have chosen from the following: “Blacktop Gone,” “Rearview Town” or “High Noon Neon.” I too would like to know the thought process for single selection because I hate like 80% of the choices made. You would think with the big access to fan opinions they would make better choices.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zackary Kephart October 10, 2018 / 12:56 pm

        Ever since Luke Combs’ “She Got The Best Of Me” was released as a single over “Beautiful Crazy,” this question has really burned in my mind. Personally I like the former track better, but “Beautiful Crazy” was killing it earlier this summer in terms of sales and streaming. Yet it’s not a single. Sure, it could be the next one, but why not capitalize on the hype now? It’s absolutely baffling to me.


        • Josh October 10, 2018 / 1:17 pm

          That’s a great example. “Beautiful Crazy” clearly had the momentum with sales and streaming. Yet they just reject it and stick to the planned single. I mean when I’m presented with new data that shows something so clearly, I would change my mind. Another example of this was Chris Stapleton’s label choosing to go with “Either Way” over “Broken Halos” as the lead single for From A Room Volume 1. The latter was clearly more favored and better set up as a successful single. As much as I love “Either Way,” I knew it wouldn’t blow up. But “Broken Halos” was a slam dunk to everyone who follows the genre. The good news for Combs though is he’s so popular right now he could pick any of his songs as a single and it would be big. It’s really incredible how quickly he blew up. Most artists don’t have this luxury though and picking the right single is the difference between being a presence in the genre for years to come and getting released from a major label. Or you end up in delay hell like Gary Allen and Josh Turner.


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