What Does Ireland’s Average Pop Star Look Like?

This blog entry takes a look at the Irish top 20 single charts and analyses some key demographic features about the artists who are given the main credit on the singles in the charts. The data for this blog entry was accessed on the 17/09/2018 at 14:21 and is available at: http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/irish-singles-chart/

Gender:

The majority of pop stars in the Irish top 20 singles chart were men. There were only two singles out of the top 20 where the main credits for the song are to a female artist – and they were the same artist (Arianna Grande took up two spots). A possible explanation for this could be the rise in EDM type pop music. In EDM it is the music producer/DJ of a song that tends to get first credit on the release of a track and they seek out vocalists to feature on the song.

This means that the artists singing songs are often not the ones who create those songs. It just so happens that the producer/DJ role in the music industry at the moment appears to be male dominated for some reason. Calvin Harris, DJ Khaled, Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and the Chainsmokers all serve as good examples for this. As a result female artists appear to be featuring on more tracks instead of taking the lead role.

Nationality:

The vast majority of artists in the Irish top 20 were also American. Our cousins from across the Atlantic were responsible for 60% of the Irish singles in the top 20. This is not actually that surprising as Irish people have always appeared to take American acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Drake, the Killers, and many more into their hearts. Which makes sense; our cultures have overlapping competencies like language and infrastructure. It is also why we seem to admire a lot of British artists who made up the second biggest nationality in the top 20 (10%).

What is a nice surprise to see though is the increase in non-English speaking acts being able to make it into the Irish charts. This week’s chart had appearances from French and Lithuanian artists. Again this is probably due to the rise in popularity of more electronic based music where lyrics and vocal style are becoming less of a key factor in music and as a result tracks are able to cross the language barriers of the world with more ease.

Age:

The average age of an artist in the Irish top 20 was 34.22 years old. This might actually seem quite old for a pop star but it seems to be more a consequence of the singles in the charts nowadays consisting of collaborations.

Take DJ Khaled for example, one of the most popular music producers in the world right now is 42 years old. He also constantly collaborates with younger artists like Justin Bieber (24) and Chance the rapper (25) who are still in their prime in terms of performance and popularity. His collaboration with these young artists leads to hits in the charts where the lead artist on the song is older than the main performers of the song.

The artists in the charts also appear to be artists who have been there awhile. Out of the top 20 singles this week just two songs were debut tracks from artists. Then there are the likes of Eminem releasing new music getting into the charts nearly 20 years after his debut in 1999.

Collaborations:

While solo artists are now responsible for way more of the songs in the charts than bands or groups, there is still very few instances in the charts where songs belong to just one artist. 65% of the singles in the Irish top 20 last week were collaborations. Again this could be down to the increase in demand for Hip Hop and EDM type music which is a much easier format to collaborate on than in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s where bands dominated the charts. It seems that solo artists just aren’t performing solo anymore.

By Daragh O’Leary

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