The quarter time buzzer has sounded and it’s fair to say commercial radio has entered a new chapter. With Ed Sheeran’s all-blue takeover of 2017 now behind us, the new year brought with it a country-pop number worthy of commercial recognition.
Bebe Rexha takes home the #1 radio single of Q1. ‘Meant To Be’ ft. Florida Georgia Line scored a Most Added crown in the back end of last year, picking up momentum over the summer and emerging with seven weeks at the top of the chart from January through March.
“She’s [Bebe] an excellent songwriter with an incredibly infectious voice, who has been on the cusp of full-blown pop fame for a couple of years,” music director at KIIS Sydney & Melbourne Brad McNicol told TMN at the end of last year when we were gathering predictions for artists to watch in 2018.
Jack Ball, music director at Hit105 Brisbane added: “The song fits almost every format on commercial radio and is completely non-offensive to whoever is listening. There aren’t many radio stations who couldn’t or haven’t played it and simply it’s just really catchy. Plus, who doesn’t love a big collaboration?”
With Florida Georgia Line adding a winning touch to the track, the Warner release marks the most successful single on Australian radio ever to feature a country artist. The Nashville duo continues to prove their crossover potential, also scoring a spot at #10 on the quarterly chart with ‘Let Me Go’ alongside lead artists Hailee Steinfeld and Alesso.
Paving her way as a solo artist in 2017 was easy for Camila Cabello, but she’s already gone one better in 2018. With ‘Havana’ peaking agonisingly close at #2 last October, follow-up single ‘Never Be The Same’ rose to the summit for one week and subsequently smashed any theory that Cabello was destined for second place.
Hot 100 debutants Bazzi, NF, Noah Kahan and Jordie Ireland boosted our collective faith in radio’s capacity to take risks on new talent. They all notched up spots in the hallowed Top 40 and were staple points of commercial playlists for much of the quarter.
That said, there was also room for old favourites. Kylie Minogue’s loveable elegance was met with open arms as comeback single ‘Dancing’ ended the quarter at #31. Fellow Aussie Keith Urban wrote another ripper as ‘Parallel Line’ topped the TMN Country airplay chart for five consecutive weeks. That wasn’t enough to dislodge Lee Kernaghan from the top with his song ‘Drive on’ topping the Q1 Country chart.
Speaking of Australians and country music, four out of the Top 5 played country songs of the quarter came from local acts including Kernaghan, Morgan Evans, Caitlyn Shadbolt and Kirsty Lee Akers – highlighting another impressive influx of airplay for local artists.
Digital and streaming charts saw Post Malone flex his muscles in an arena that has increasingly become his territory over the past two years. ‘I Fall Apart’ dominated the Spotify chart and made the Top 5 on the iTunes chart, while also featuring at #5 on the quarterly Hot 100 – no mean feat for an artist whose genre doesn’t exactly fit the typical mould.
Homegrown heroes Sheppard used their momentum from last year to top both AIR charts with their hit ‘Coming Home’. Meanwhile, fellow countryman Vance Joy also proved that timing is everything. ‘We’re Coming Home’ has been the most successful Australian song across the charts this year by far, but a release later in the quarter means Joy will have to wait until Q2 to reap the full reward.
With that in mind, we now turn and fix our eyes on the next three months. Artists such as Jessica Mauboy, Shawn Mendes and Marshmello will no doubt have their presence felt on the half-yearly charts with a strong arsenal of singles – but as we’ve seen from Q1, we can only wonder what curveballs Australian radio will serve up between now and July.