What makes a summer hit song?

Carly Rae Jepsen performs in New York City. Sometimes a little tweet is all it takes to catapult a relatively unknown artist -- like Carly Rae -- to the top of the charts.

Sarah Gardner: Summer's almost over but I'll bet you're still hearing the radio pop song of the summer, that catchy tune "Call Me Maybe?" And besides that song, performers, concert promoters, and radio DJs have had a bevy of hits to cash in on the past couple months.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman checks out which songs have stayed hot -- and why.


Mitchell Hartman: For most of the summer, “Call Me Maybe” has topped the Billboard charts.

"Call Me Maybe" from Carly Rae Jepsen: Your stare was holdin’, ripped jeans, skin was showin’, hot night wind was blowin’, where you think you’re goin’ baby. Hey I just met you and this is crazy...

It’s the infectious girl-falls-for-boy-across-a-crowded-dance-floor tune from Canadian newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen.

Brett Andrews, DJ at Clear Channel’s Z100 in Portland, says Jepsen got a major assist from social media.

Brett Andrews: A completely unknown artist like Carly Rae Jepsen can end up having the song of the summer because of one simple 140-character tweet from Justin Bieber.

Country-crossover star Taylor Swift recently bumped Jepsen from No. 1 with her young-love-is-over anthem.

"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" from Taylor Swift: We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back to together. Like, ever.

Andrews says love songs appeal to his target audience -- young women.

Andrews: The men may not admit that they love these songs, but they do. You hear guys humming along to Taylor and Rihanna.

Taylor Swift is Billboard’s top-earning artist this year. 

 But Gary Bongiovanni of the magazine Pollstar says many Top 40 artists don’t earn big on tour.

Gary Bongiovanni: The recorded music business has faded. The artists perceived as the biggest of the moment -- because of the amount of airplay and press -- don’t necessarily sell a lot of tickets.

The top acts are older school: Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, the Dave Matthews Band. More generation... me. 

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace. 

 

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...