A post from April last year noted that the "contemporary hit" radio stations were not playing much music from the current year, despite that being the sole raison d'etre of that radio format. If you wanted oldies, you would tune in to an oldies station -- not contemporary hits radio. In the comments, I left updates every few months noting the same pattern throughout the year.
As of 2021, there is no such thing as "contemporary" hits -- it's just 2020 and before, with only a handful of current-year songs that are quickly retired for good after a few weeks in rotation. If you listen to the music played in public spaces, it is also from 2020 at the latest, and generally the 2010s or earlier.
Even the libtards who control the music distribution industry are desperate to pretend that the entire Biden usurper interregnum is simply not happening, and we'll just make believe that, culturally at least, it's no later than the Trump era, whether you liked or hated it politically. That's why one of the few songs from 2021 that was allowed to go into heavy play throughout all of last year was "Driver's License" -- *the* breakout song of the year -- since it was released in early January, before the Biden usurper admin took office, and therefore technically a Trump-era song.
As teetering-on-the-brink as the climate and the culture were during Trump's term, it had not yet plunged into full-on irreparable collapse. That switch was only triggered once Biden took office, as most clearly signaled by the soaring inflation.
Aside from monitoring the contempo hit radio station playlists, now we have further confirmation of the collapse of the music industry in 2021 -- the Billboard year-end charts. Of the entries in the Hot 100 chart, merely 42 were released in 2021, a clear minority. Meanwhile, 51 were released in 2020, along with 4 from 2019, 1 way back in 2017, plus 2 Christmas revivals (from '94 and '58 originally).
It is normal for a handful of songs to carry over from the previous year, especially if they were released at the end of the previous year. But not a solid majority. And these were not just released at the tail-end of 2020, but all throughout 2020.
The only other year I know of where a majority of the year-end chart was songs from the previous year is 1985, whose charts were dominated by songs from 1984, as discussed here. I haven't done a fine-grained study of other years, but I've looked over these charts for over a decade, and no other year really jumps out as having been dominated by last year's songs.
At any rate, is the 2021 chart explainable like the 1985 chart is? No. First of all, there was a phase-change in the 15-year cultural excitement cycle in 1985, as the cycle switched from the manic phase of '80-'84 to the vulnerable phase of '85-'89. This is not just any old gear-shifting, but shifting from an invincible high to a crashing hangover. This was the difference between the New Wave half of the '80s and the slow & soft half of the '80s -- no contest.
But during the move from 2020 to '21, there was no phase-change, as both years are part of the restless warm-up phase of the cycle. And unlike the New Wave '80s, nobody is going to point to the songs from 2020 as some kind of recent peak in musical awesomeness, inevitably bound to overshadow whatever followed after them.
Also, in 1985 the contempo hit radio stations were in fact playing lots of that year's new releases, throughout the year, whereas in 2021 those stations play a few recent releases and then retire them immediately. The new releases of '85 lasted into the rest of the late '80s zeitgeist, whereas the new releases from '21 do not even last through '21, let alone the rest of the early 2020s.
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There will be a few exceptions, like "Driver's License" and perhaps Olivia Rodrigo in general, but that is it. She is the very last dying breath of the moribund American empire's musical culture. The kind of wild and enduring cultural innovation that we saw in previous decades only comes from a people who are high in national cohesion (asabiya, or collective action potential), as they are fashioning their own group identity (ethnogenesis). The kind that could propel them into an expanding empire.
Now that the American empire is in clear terminal decline, the other things that stem from our formerly high levels of asabiya will also enter terminal decline. And nowhere is that more obvious than in music. The movie industry has been reduced to remakes and reboots, but at least those unoriginal new entries do something at the box office. New songs are not getting played and listened to, if they are getting made at all.
This dovetails with the national fragmentation and people not wanting to be part of a single, shared national culture. The days when Katy Perry and Taylor Swift united fans from both political parties are long gone, though it was only less than a decade ago. That's just another aspect of our asabiya stagnating for awhile, and has now begun plummeting off a cliff.
When was the last you ever heard of Babylonian scientific and artistic accomplishments? Don't get too smug -- that's going to be America's story in a few hundred years.
By the way, this is also why our national culture is more influenced by foreign peoples, who happen to lie within our geopolitical sphere of influence -- especially South Korea (K-Pop, and BTS specifically on the Billboard charts), and Japan (anime, video games, VTubers, e-girl fashion, etc.). We're running on fumes here in the imperial core -- anyone else out there in the Pentagon-occupied sphere got anything we can borrow for a quick fix of novelty?
Not to get all sacrilegious by comparing Christianity to anime and Nintendo, but it's not terribly different from the cultural influence of the Levant on Western Europe, as Jesus-following missionaries from the Roman-occupied Near East spread the gospel to the Roman-occupied regions of Europe, including the imperial core around Rome itself (but not the pagan north Germanic or Baltic tribes, who were unoccupied by Rome).
Of course, that extra-national cultural influence only began once the Roman Empire had entered terminal decline, during its Crisis of the Third Century. Hardly anyone in Roman Europe became a Jesus-follower during the Empire's peak and later stagnation periods of the 1st and 2nd centuries. However, once Roman literature began collapsing, at the same time the empire itself did, well, anyone out there on the periphery got anything we can borrow to fill the void?
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Last year I showed that the popularity of rap music is a mirage, and that someone somewhere is cooking the books, tweaking formulas, or playing / downloading songs that no one is actually listening to from that genre. This was done over the course of the woke 2010s to boost representation of African-American culture in the national-level statistics and metrics -- but not the actual culture that actual Americans actually consume, just a bunch of white lies in a data spreadsheet. This was a symbolic fig-leaf to a neglected Democrat coalition group, rather than do anything for them materially.
"Digital song sales" is a far more reliable Billboard chart now, since it only measures the number of paid downloads for a song. The "faux representation" book-cookers have an infinite number of ways to tweak the formulas for the Hot 100 chart (which takes into account paid downloads, radio airplay, and streaming of various types).
And yet, even this illusory genre's hits in the 2021 year-end charts fit the same overall pattern, with loads of them having been released in 2020, including two of the highest entries -- "Go Crazy" by Chris Brown & Young Thug, and "What You Know Bout Love" by Pop Smoke. These songs reached #19 and #22 on the Hot 100 chart, despite not breaking into the top 75 Digital Song Sales chart, and neither hit #1 on the weekly Hot 100 chart.
Meanwhile, "Easy on Me" by superstar Adele, a new release in 2021, did not make it onto the Hot 100 year-end chart at all, despite being #1 on the weekly Hot 100 chart for fully 7 weeks (not to mention dominating multiple other weekly charts), and landing in the top 30 of the Digital Song Sales year-end chart, and her YouTube videos alone having reached into the hundreds of millions of views.
This kind of flagrant fakeness is the result of transforming the Hot 100 chart into the NYU admissions office of the music industry, where objective merit counts for little, and it's all about woke representation and reflection of Democrat party demographics (*not* the demographics of "society" as a whole, or else there would be a fake boost to country songs as well as rap). If you want to see how the songs scored on the music industry's SAT, go to the Digital Song Sales chart, or consult the contempo hit stations' "recently played" lists.