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!
- Kane Brown (#1 Digital Songs) -1
- Luke Combs (#1 Streaming) +1
- Dan + Shay +1
- Florida Georgia Line -1
- Chris Stapleton (#1 Album) +1
- Thomas Rhett 0
- Jason Aldean +1
- Bebe Rexha -1
- Mitchell Tenpenny -1
- Eric Church +1
- Brett Young -1
- Jimmie Allen +1
- Cole Swindell 0
- Sam Hunt 0
- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit +1
- Jake Owen -1
- Carrie Underwood 0
- Old Dominion +1
- Maddie & Tae +1
- Lauren Alaina 0
The Ultimate Pulse: +3
Notes & Observations
- New Arrivals: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit; Maddie & Tae
- Departures: Morgan Evans & Jon Pardi
- The Ultimate Pulse improves two spots to +3 this week. Morgan Evans dropped like an absolute rock out of the chart. It was expected, but not this drastically. It was a huge one week blip for him and then right back into irrelevancy. Jon Pardi continues to lack traction with his current single.
- Kane Brown is the new #1 this week, his third appearance at the top spot. This was expected, as another new single from his upcoming album sold well and also got streaming help too. There’s a good chance he sets a pop rating record when his album drops.
- Brown has a small lead over Luke Combs, who narrowly kept the top streamer spot. These two will continue to fiercely battle over the #1 spot and as I’ve said before, streaming will likely determine who’s at the top next week.
- Last week I said Chris Stapleton should take the #4 spot this week. But once again Florida Georgia Line barely holds him off to keep the spot. I’ll be really shocked if Stapleton doesn’t take it next week, as “Millionaire” is selling quite well and Florida Georgia Line’s new single has yet to take off.
- Jason Aldean’s new single “Girl Like You” is starting to really take off in sales, so his spot near the top will be solidified. If he can get it to stream well too he’ll challenge for the top five again.
- As expected Mitchell Tenpenny has a small bounce back and re-enters the top ten.
- Eric Church, Brett Young and Cole Swindell essentially stayed the same in pop rating, so their gains in chart position were more because of artists falling off in front of them and nothing to do with making gains.
- Jimmie Allen falls out of the top ten to #12, as expected coming off the album bump. “Best Shot” continues to sell and stream well though, so he’ll continue to remain in his current vicinity on the chart and challenge for the top ten.
- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit make their debut on The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music at #15 this week. It’s a pleasant surprise from a group that doesn’t really consider themselves to be country. Nevertheless I’ll gladly accept quality artists any time on this chart, especially when they release a good live album like this group did to land on the chart.
- “Down to the Honkytonk” is looking like a career hit for Jake Owen, as it’s selling really well. So expect him to stick around on the chart for a while.
- Sales have fallen off for “Make It Sweet” and it has yet to make an impact streaming-wise, so Old Dominion will linger near the bottom of the chart in the coming weeks. It’s interesting to see how this group’s singles similarly perform to each other. Based on my observations, all of their singles get a strong start and then fall off to about the #15-20 range on iTunes.
- Maddie & Tae make their debut on The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music at #19 this week. Their new single “Die From a Broken Heart” surprisingly sold really well in its opening week. It’s a great surprise to see for a great song to boot. It’s much better than the first single they released. Hopefully this song will find long-term traction.
Next Five Artists Knocking on the Door of the Top 20
- Jon Pardi
- Zac Brown Band
- Dierks Bentley
- Brothers Osborne
- Taylor Swift
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.