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There’s no better time to look back on music than the start of a new decade. And in case you may have forgotten, between 2010 and 2019, The Beatles put their music on iTunes for the first time; Americans were introduced to BTS; Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer; and we were all left wondering who owns the rights to Taylor Swift’s work. 

So, what can we expect from the next decade?

We may not be able to predict the future, but we can take a pretty solid guess at which artists will rule the airwaves in 2020 based on the success these Billboard Hot 100 artists had in 2019. We used Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to determine who’s listening to what, how some of the most popular artists resonate among men and women, and how relationship status may impact music preference. Read on to see what we uncovered. 

Identifying Music Trends

Just because an artist is enjoying their moment in the sun, doesn’t mean they’ve achieved iconic status. Lil Nas X had more than just a small moment to help wrap up the decade, but when we analyzed Billboard Hot 100 artists who Facebook users were interested in, he failed to make a mark alongside talent like Pink, Demi Lovato, and Beyonce. 

With around 20 million monthly active Facebook users interested in their tracks (specifically, 25 million for Pink), 2019 was a powerful year for women in music. Beyonce may have released her last album, “Lemonade,” in 2016, but her “Homecoming” documentary and 2018 Coachella performance kept us talking for months in 2019. For reference, with 150 million to 200 million monthly active Facebook users in the U.S., around 1 in 10 people engaged with Pink, Demi Lovato, and Beyonce. At 15 million monthly active Facebook users apiece, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Eminem were also among the most popular artists.

And while they may not have earned the highest accolades in terms of Facebook interest, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Kenny Chesney, and Kendrick Lamar caught 4.5 million active Facebook users’ attention in 2019 alongside J. Cole and Ed Sheeran. 

Evolving Music Tastes

You may love discovering music now, but as you get older, you’re more likely to listen to what you already know.

More than 1 in 3 Facebook users with interest in Billboard Hot 100 artists were between the ages of 25 and 34, followed by 26% between the ages of 18 and 24. Just 18% of active users were between the ages of 35 and 44, and less than 20% were over the age of 44. 

Among those between the ages of 18 and 24, the leading artists included Lil Uzi Vert (54%), Halsey (48%), and Shawn Mendes (44%). However, the three most popular Hot 100 artists for people younger than 25 were not among the top three artists for older users. Instead, Facebook users aged 25 to 34 expressed more interest in Nicki Minaj (46%), Chris Brown (45%), and Migos (44%), among others. For users aged 45 and older, though, Kenny Chesney appeared in the top three, while fellow country music star Chris Stapleton had the most interest from users between the ages of 35 and 44.

From a Gender Perspective

The music industry certainly has a long way to go where gender equality is concerned (just ask Taylor Swift), but it might be more than just the business of music that’s gendered.

According to our analysis, around 4 in 5 Facebook users with interest in Pink, BTS, Cardi B, and Ed Sheeran were women. In fact, more women than men showed interest in a majority of Billboard Hot 100 artists examined, including Justin Timberlake, Sam Smith, Beyonce, Chris Brown, and Imagine Dragons. Only two artists, Jay-Z and G-Eazy, came close to an equal split between men and women. However, 21 Savage (75%), Lil Uzi Vert (66%), and Kendrick Lamar (66%) had far more interest from men on Facebook. 

Lovers' Lyrics

Relationships are a common theme in music, but your relationship status could also affect the music you’re interested in.

A majority of Billboard Hot 100 artists examined had interest from Facebook fans in a relationship. While The Weeknd, G-Eazy, and Hasley were equally popular among single users and those in a relationship, more artists had interest from those with a significant other, including Kenny Chesney (80%), Jason Aldean (76%), Florida Georgia Line (75%), and Chris Stapleton (74%). 

However, eight artists on the Billboard Hot 100 list were more likely to receive engagement from single users, including Lil Uzi Vert (58%) and J. Cole (54%).

Across Party Lines

It’s frequently argued that all good art is political and that includes the music you hear on the airwaves. Even if the politicization of your favorite tracks or artists isn’t immediately obvious, there might be political motivation lurking somewhere beneath the lyrics or even in the artist’s life or personal views.

More than 90% of Facebook users engaging with artists such as The Weeknd, Cardi B, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole identified as liberal according to their Facebook profiles. 

While Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, and Pink enjoyed an equal split between liberals and conservatives, only a handful of artists were more likely to receive interest from a majority of conservatives. This included Ed Sheeran (54%), 21 Savage (55%), and country music stars Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton, and Thomas Rhett. Despite his vocal support for President Trump, 78% of users engaging with Kanye West identified as liberal.

Regional Representation

Based on interest per 10,000 monthly active Facebook users in each state, we determined Drake, Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Cardi B, and Ed Sheeran were the most popular.

Drake and Cardi B were most likely to have engagement in Southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Georgia. And while Taylor Swift received interest from all over the country, Post Malone had a higher concentration of social media engagement from two states: Wyoming and Arizona.

Common Ground in Sound

Our data suggest that musical fan bases are incredibly diverse, and certain stars appeal powerfully to specific audiences. But no one eager to discover new music should be deterred on the basis of demographics. There’s something for everyone in every genre, so long as you listen earnestly. After all, music exists across cultures for a reason: Its appeal is essentially human, and it helps us connect with others in shared appreciation. So the next time you’re deciding which tunes to play, try exploring something new. You may not become a lifelong fan, but you could come to respect the tastes of others.

Because musical preferences vary so significantly, it can be hard to know how to please a crowd. For businesses, the struggle to pick the right playlist can be even more difficult, in part because of complex laws concerning music in public places. Cloud Cover Music solves all those problems with a single, affordable streaming platform. We curate dozens of stations suited to consumer needs, and you’ll never need to worry about licensing. To learn how we can be the soundtrack to your success, check out our services today.

Methodology and Limitations

For this project, we tapped into the Billboard Hot 100 and collected the top 50 artists from the week of Nov. 25, 2019. We then utilized Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to determine just how much interest surrounded each artist on Facebook to determine if the biggest artists really yielded the most interest. 

Please note that “interest” can be positive or negative. Out of the 50 artists, 42 were represented in Facebook’s tool, and eight artists did not have results. We ran multiple queries for each artist and collected the upper value for total monthly active Facebook users. While doing so, we also collected demographic information for those interested in each artist, along with the number of active users overall in each state for comparison. 

Fair Use Statement

Want to share the sound of our findings? We encourage you to pass the data on to your fans and readers for any noncommercial use by including a link back to this page as credit to our contributors.

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