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6 Reasons Why ‘The Middle’ Is The New Model For Pop Music Hits

Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey

There’s a new target in pop.

“The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey isn’t just a #1 hit — in my view, it’s the new model for #1 hits. Here’s a checklist to making this new kind of smash:

1. Radio Hit

As much as streaming is the future, there’s no replacing a radio hit. Don’t forget that radio still reaches more Americans than any other medium — more than TVs and iPhones. Each month, 243 million American adults listen to radio. It’s also the first place people go to discover new music — more so than Spotify or your hipster friends in Silver Lake. That’s why record labels have huge departments dedicated to promoting songs to radio stations.

So, yes, even in 2018, the model for a pop hit starts with radio play. Indeed, “The Middle” reached #1 on US radio. It also hit #1 on Billboard‘s Radio Airplay and Dance charts, and peaked at #5 on the Hot 100. Like the biggest pop hits, part of its success is its longevity — after 17 weeks, the song is still in the top 10.

2. Streaming Hit

In case you haven’t heard, streaming is going pretty well. In 2017, US revenue grew 15% to $6.5 billion (Billboard). Spotify has 159 million monthly active users, with 195 billion streams in 2017 (Hypebot).

Oh, and Spotify went public. In other words, streaming saved the music industry — which is why you need to have a streaming hit, as well as a radio hit, in order to be relevant.

As of this writing, “The Middle” has 321 million streams on Spotify, and has been featured in

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