Tracking Tracks: Living in the Post-Artist Era

Introducing Chartmetric's new Compare Tracks feature, reflecting the music industry's renewed focus on tracks. Explore it through the work of Puerto Rico's Bad Bunny.

Tracking Tracks: Living in the Post-Artist Era
Jason Joven
Jason Joven
August 4, 20224 min read
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OK, OK, of course the artist still matters, but one thing that can’t be denied in the Spotify and TikTok era is that the track once again reigns supreme. While the industry continues to wrestle with itself over how to properly remunerate songwriters and how fans frequently have no idea who they’re listening to, Spotify keeps dishing out algorithm-fed tracks our way, and TikTok users hop onto each new viral song to help grow their own followers. Oh, and don’t forget to ask Alexa to play some music…. She’ll pick the artists for you.

With the industry's renewed focus on the track- and sub-track level (think 15-60 second TikTok or Instagram Reels clips), we thought it was long overdue for some more track-oriented features to claim their spot in the limelight. So, Chartmetric now has the Track Comparison feature, which defaults to a release date-oriented chart. This means that instead of calendar dates, we organize track performance according to their respective days of release, measuring by Day 1, Day 2, and so on.

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Let’s take a look at the current No. 1 artist in the world: Puerto Rico’s Bad Bunny. Still riding high off his May 2022 album release, Un Verano Sin Ti, three of its tracks have already had a great summer themselves. On the Artist Page > Artist Overview tab, the Compare Tracks section will show some artist tracks as an example.

Follow along on Bad Bunny's Artist Profile.

Here, looking at “Me Porto Bonito” (with Chencho Corleone), “Ojitos Lindos” (with Bomba Estéreo), and “Tití Me Preguntó," we can compare how two collaboration tracks (one with a fellow Puerto Rican artist, another with a Colombian band) compare with a solo track in terms of Spotify streams. Because they are on the same album, they also happen to have dropped on the same day (May 6, 2022), so we’re simply examining how their Spotify streams have progressed.

At Day 28, it seems the two collaboration tracks have fared better than the solo track, the first two sitting around 143-145M Spotify spins, while the solo track was only at 122M.

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However, a longer look to the current date of writing (July 31, 2022) shows that around Day 40 (mid-June 2022), “Ojitos Lindos” started to gain less Spotify streams per day, while the other two tracks seemed to progress at their regular rates. In fact, by mid-August 2022, it's likely that “Tití Me Pregunto” will surpass “Ojitos Lindos” in streams.

What this means depends on what Bad Bunny's label and team have done with the tracks. Did one track get a key sync? Was there an active promotional campaign buoying “Ojitos Lindos” for a month before going dormant? Maybe something in the news drew attention away from the track or an odd Spotify algorithm playlist effect favored two tracks and left out this one. It will take an experienced team to truly diagnose what made one track perform better than another, but this insight can at least signal the health of the release cycle of an artist's tracks.

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If we add a couple of Bad Bunny’s biggest collaboration tracks, “MIA (feat. Drake)” and “LA CANCIÓN” (with Colombian superstar J Balvin), we have even more to study. If you see a dotted line in this Compare Tracks feature, it means we’ve inferred daily data our system is missing. But given the data we do have, we provide a projected trendline to take into consideration. In this case, it helps to zoom out to the “All” view.

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Now, we can see that “LA CANCIÓN” broke 1B Spotify streams after Day 1000, and it took till about Day 1150 for “MIA” to break the same stream barrier. For the case of Bad Bunny’s three other tracks above, it seems they are on a much more favorable projection…so will they reach 1B streams sooner? Time will tell.

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In case you’re still on your way to becoming the biggest artist in the world, there are a lot more stats to consider. Indie artist Searows has been reliably uploading his floaty, soulful music onto TikTok, and only has two tracks out on Spotify at the time of writing.

In Searows’ case, measuring something that’s more about audience growth, such as Playlist Count, is key. For instance, about 2.5 weeks after release, his song “Used To Be Friends” is about to break 100 Spotify playlists, and that’s great.

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At about Day 14, if we switch over to Spotify Playlist Reach (this is the total amount of followers across all the playlists), Searows had a 1.5M playlist follower reach count! This is a great time to check out his past playlist history in the Playlists tab. Once there, we find it was from a key fourth (out of 50) rank placement on Fresh Finds (at 1.1M followers at the time of writing).

In the meantime, don’t forget that there are other vital metrics available for comparison: TikTok Posts, YouTube Views, Chartmetric Track Score, Shazam Counts, Genius Views, and more are all available in the Compare Tracks feature.

So, in case you’re searching for the right track-centric tool to navigate a (sometimes) post-artist world, Chartmetric has the Compare Tracks feature for your use at all plan levels. Let us know how you use it on all of our socials @chartmetric.