The Vast Differences Between The UK And The US Charts

I was taking a look at the UK Top 40, eagerly scanning it whilst looking for songs to include on ‘The 11 Best Singles That Entered The UK Top 40 In 2021’. I realised that if I was looking at the Billboard hot 100 instead, maybe my life would be a little easier.

Both charts are relatively hard to understand. For example, why has ‘Die For You’ by the Weeknd suddenly risen to number 19 on the Billboard hot 100? – surpassing current Christmas hits and recent Taylor Swift singles. Or maybe it’s more confusing that Sam Ryder’s album ‘There’s Nothing But Space Man’ is at number one on Official Album charts UK but his recent singles let alone album tracks received no such attention.

In the UK we have our own niche artists that only reach audiences as far as Europe. Joel Corry, RAYE and Sigala are a few you may recognise. These are mainly electronic singers and producers, and the USA are of course inclusive of this genre too, but more from worldwide hit machines like David Guetta or Martin Garrix. Their indie artists are also welcomed with open arms by us, like Steve Lacy or Twenty One Pilots. Sam Fender and Maisie Peters, however, have not even really come close to reaching the Billboard hot 100. But if you’re famous in the US, you’re bound to then be famous everywhere else too.

On average songs stick around the charts longer on the UK Top 40 than the Billboard hot 100, but this could insinuate many positives and negatives for both sides. Maybe the US are more versatile, taking on different songs each week, or maybe the UK want to make sure that songs don’t fade into obscurity too quickly.

Then you could argue that the UK have completely excluded one very divided genre: country music. It took her pop collaboration ‘The Middle’ with Zedd and Grey for Maren Morris to reach the UK Top 40. Not even her country pop single ‘Seeing Blind’ with frequent chart climber Niall Horan broke through.

Ultimately, no chart is better than the other. For listening to the album tracks of my favourite pop artists, I may go to the Billboard hot 100. If I want some good background music, predominately something EDM, I may opt for the UK Top 40, because I know I won’t find anything too boring, but also consisting of not too many people I would go searching for on Spotify.


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