(March 28, 2024).  There’s something to be said for longevity.  And then there’s something to be said when longevity isn’t happening, like right now at the top of the Billboard charts. 

There’s a trend shaping up at the top of this year’s Hot 100 charts that hasn’t happened since 1991.  That was before Billboard got with modern technology and adopted point-of-sale barcode scanning technology and actual detections of radio station plays to determine its weekly charts.

Here’s the trend:

So far this year, none of the songs that have occupied the No. 1 position on the Hot 100 — the all-inclusive, weekly chart that measures popularity and consumption of songs across multiple metrics, including streaming — have spent more than two consecutive weeks at the top.

Beginning with the first 2024 chart in January (dated Jan. 6) and continuing through the latest frame (dated March 30), every song that’s topped the Hot 100 has spent just one or two weeks in the lead before relinquishing their hold to another tune.

In one case, a song has returned to the penthouse for two additional runs, giving it five total weeks, but none of those reigns went longer than two weeks at a time.

Here’s the rundown:

2024 DateSong – ArtistWeeks
Jan. 6“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee1
Jan. 13“Lovin on Me” – Jack Harlow2
Jan. 27“Yes, And?” – Ariana Grande1
Feb. 3“Lovin on Me” – Jack Harlow1
Feb. 10“HISS” – Megan Thee Stallion1
Feb. 17“Lovin on Me” – Jack Harlow2
Mar. 2“Texas Hold ‘Em” – Beyoncé2
Mar. 16“Carnival” – Ye & Ty Dolla $ign ft. Rich the Kid & Playboi Carti1
Mar. 23“We Can’t Be Friends” – Ariana Grande 1
Mar. 30“Lose Control” – Teddy Swims1
(Note: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Lovin on Me” also spent time at No. 1 in 2023.)

This rapid turnover is predicted to continue next week when Future and Metro Boomin’s viral collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, “Like That,” is expected to dominate the Hot 100 with the highest point total so far in 2024.

And with songs from Beyoncé’s new Cowboy Carter album expected to impact the week after that, the revolving door at the top might not end anytime soon.

To put this in perspective, the last year that opened with a whole quarter transpiring and songs not being able to achieve three or more consecutive weeks at No. 1 was 1991.

Here’s how that year started off:

1991 DateSong – ArtistWeeks
Jan. 5“Justify My Love” – Madonna2
Jan. 19“Love Will Never Do (Without You)” – Janet Jackson 1
Jan. 26“The First Time” – Surface2
Feb. 9“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” – C+C Music Factory ft. Martha Wash & Freedom Williams2
Feb. 23“All the Man That I Need” – Whitney Houston 2
Mar. 9“Someday” – Mariah Carey2
Mar. 23“One More Try” – Timmy T 1
Mar. 30“Coming Out of the Dark” – Gloria Éstefan2
Featured on C+C Music Factory’s No. 1 hit, the legendary Martha Wash was one of six women to sing lead vocals on six of 1991’s first eight No. 1 songs.

As with this year, eight different songs occupied the No. 1 slot on the Hot 100 during the first quarter of 1991, which, as expected, represents highs for any year’s first quarter from 1991-2024 (although two of this year’s No. 1s were repeats from 2023).

Even more astoundingly, you’d have to go back to July 8, 2023, to find the last song that amassed three or more consecutive weeks at the top.  That was when Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” wrapped a 10-straight-week run on the way to its record-setting 16 total non-consecutive weeks at the top (most ever for a solo male without accompaniment).

And going back a full year on the charts, Wallen’s 10-week run is the only time during that period where a song amassed three or more straight weeks atop the chart.  Since April 1 of last year, 23 different songs have occupied the No. 1 position on the Hot 100, one of the highest turnover rates over any twelve-month period since Billboard went modern. 

Before Billboard Magazine adopted a methodology in late 1991 that tracks actual sales of records using point-of-purchase barcode scanning technology, and actual radio play using detections of songs’ audio signatures across airwaves, their charts were a mess.

They were dominated by record store lists (created by store managers) and radio playlists (created by station programmers), which were either phoned or faxed in to Billboard’s chart data crunchers.  These were subject to all the limitations and human error that such a method could impose.

This was known as the pre-SoundScan/Broadcast Data Systems era where rank-order lists dictated the weekly charts with no regard for what sales margins might exist between products, or how much of a radio lead one song might actually have over another.

It was during this time that the turnover of No. 1 songs was at its highest because, even if a song had a huge unit sales lead over everything else, if it wasn’t reported as the No. 1 seller at the majority of stores reporting to Billboard, it could find itself sitting at No. 2 or lower on the Hot 100, after a brief No. 1 stint.

Between January 1985 and June 1991, no songs managed to spend more than four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 — consecutive or otherwise — in what had to be one of the most predictable and formulaic periods in the chart’s history.

Billboard remedied that by getting with the times and, in November 1991, incorporated SoundScan (sales) and BDS (airplay) data for its Hot 100 chart.  Those data providers have since combined and, after several name changes, now operate under the moniker Luminate, which has been Billboard’s data partner for going on 33 years.

In that time, more accurate data has revealed just how much — and how long — a song can truly dominate the field.  Beginning with Boys II Men’s 13-week No. 1 “End of the Road” in 1992 — just eight months after the chart change was adopted — previous longevity records have been shattered left and right as songs routinely spend ten or more weeks at the top.

That’s why this latest short-reign trend is so remarkable.

In this fan-driven era where songs now spend months — even longer — in the top ten because they’re no longer constrained by a record company’s tight promotion schedule or a radio station’s penchant to move on to another single after just two months, as in the old days, it bucks conventional wisdom that the No. 1 turnover rate could be so high in 2024.

It could also speak to the quality — good or bad — of the songs and the type of quick excitement they generate.

For instance, the current No. 1 by Teddy Swims is a critical favorite, having won over the hearts of millions of fans (and critics) with the singer’s old-school soulful delivery and the relatable story of heartbreak behind the song’s lyrics.

”Lose Control” by chart newcomer Teddy Swims is the latest song on the Hot 100’s No. 1 merry-go-round.

“Lose Control” has also had to wait in the trenches while other songs jumped over it to reach No. 1, including hits by Megan Thee Stallion, Beyoncé, Kanye West/Ty Dolla $ign, and Ariana Grande.  Once the viral waves of those songs subsided, Swims’ floated right to the top of the No. 1 pool. 

Megan’s “Hiss” benefitted from its viral lyrical diss aimed at rival rapper Nicki Minaj, whose intense reaction generated more interest in the song and catapulted it to No. 1.  That same formula is benefiting next week’s expected No. 1 by Future and Metro Boomin, featuring Kendrick Lamar, which includes an unveiled diss of fellow superstars Drake and J. Cole (but mainly Drake).

Beyoncé, of course, reaped gains from all the hype around her crossover to country with “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and there’s no reason to think that another song from her new album (dropping at midnight tonight, Mar. 29) won’t experience the same fate in a couple weeks’ time.

Kanye & Co. came up with a winner by creating a sound for the TikTok community.  “Carnival,” with its anthemic chant-chorus, has been responsible for hundreds of millions of views of user-generated videos using the song’s audio track, which made it the only non-holiday tune to simultaneously top both the Hot 100 and Billboard’s separate Top 50 TikTok Songs chart in the latter list’s short six-month history.

And then there’s Ariana Grande whose huge fan base practically guarantees that she’ll debut at No. 1 with any new release, even if they don’t stay there long.  She’s the only artist this year with two No. 1s — both songs entered the chart at the top — for a total of nine leaders in her career.

It also helps that labels have become more savvy about pushing their product to the top as soon as the song gets anywhere near No. 1, with discounted iTunes sales pitches, multiple remixes, and TikTok-friendly sped-up and slowed-down versions being made available to encourage more content creation. 

There’s no telling how long this fast No. 1 turnover trend will continue, especially with more major releases looming, like Taylor Swift’s new album (dropping April 13 and impacting April 27 charts).

Benson Boone’s “Beautiful Things” — No. 2 this week — has been patiently waiting its turn at the top.

Or maybe another high quality song that’s been waiting in the wings for weeks — Benson Boone’s “Beautiful Things” — will finally emerge for a frame at the top.

No one knows for sure.  But it’s that unpredictability that’s made the Hot 100 a bit more interesting in 2024, for better or for worse.  


DJRob (he/him) is a freelance music blogger from the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, disco, pop, rock and country genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @djrobblog and on Meta’s Threads.

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