CHARTS: White People Are No Longer Relevant In Pop Music Sales

billboard race

Photo: DraftFCB

More than 81 per cent of Billboard Top 10 best-selling albums are now made by non-white or mixed-race groups of artists, according to research done by ad agency DraftFCB.

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The agency looked at the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 songs for each year from 1950 to 2009, which encompassed around 600 datapoints. Then, each artist was classified as being either White, Hispanic, African-American, or “Multicultural” (groups or collaborators with members of different ethnic backgrounds).

While it’s been obvious for a long time that American pop music has a heavy minority influence, seeing it tabulated into hard numbers is nonetheless shocking (if you’re white): Since 2000, Caucasians have had only a feeble presence in Top 10 music sales.

Ken Muench, Draft’s director strategic planning, said, “The U.S. is undergoing a radical, fundamental shift in demographics. Consider that among 85-year-olds in the U.S., only 14 per cent are a minority … while among 0-4 year-olds, 48 per cent are a minority!”

Ryan Herzog added that in 1956 Pat Boone’s version of “Tutti Frutti” went to No. 12 on Billboard’s chart, whereas Little Richard’s original — and vastly superior — version only made it to No. 17.

The data was presented to Taco Bell before the company commissioned a new campaign featuring a new tagline, DraftFCB tells us. Not coincidentally, the new positioning, “Live Mas,” is in Spanglish.

Note: On the day this item was written, six of the Top 10 artists were either African-American or multicultural collaborations.

This chart shows the racial breakdown of the general population vs. the racial breakdown of Top 10 pop artists since 1950.

In 1953, the Top 10 was all white.

1962: For the first time, half the Top 10 were African-American artists.

1973 was another turning point: The top-selling artist was a multicultural collaboration.

1993: Eight of the 10 bestsellers were African-American, and the other two were white or multicultural groups playing forms of reggae.

2000 was another turning point: The Top 10 has featured a cross-cultural collaboration every year since Santana's No. 2 album.

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