On November 18, Spotify anointed Dallas as the latest city to be featured on the streaming platform’s Charts program. Launched in October 2020, Charts publishes weekly reports on listeners’ most popular songs through the application and its social media channels. This year, the program revamped to track by artist, genre, songwriters, and more. But the most interesting is what it’s calling the Local Plus Chart, a way to highlight what is actually being played by listeners who live here.
How it works is simple. Spotify hopes it applies regional nuances to how the industry tracks music. Naike Romain, a product marketing manager at Spotify, says the Local Pulse Charts program measures a track’s “unique popularity” in Dallas and nowhere else—not even Fort Worth or our surrounding suburbs.
The app’s traditional City Charts favor popular industry releases, like Adele’s “Easy on Me,” which shattered single-day streams upon its release. According to Rolling Stone, the debut single on 30 was streamed over 24 million times within its first 24 hours. These juggernauts typically dominate the charts, crowding out smaller artists that may have more of an appeal in a specific city or region. For instance, look at the Houston-based worship leader and songwriter Davy Flowers, whose single “Grateful” topped Dallas’ Local Pulse Chart the first week the program launched.
“That’s just the type of artist we want to put in the spotlight with our new Local Pulse charts that don’t get surfaced in the national and global charts regularly,” Romain says. Tracks like “Grateful” receive chart placements based specifically on data from local streams. The result is a far more diverse list of musicians: the trap corrido group Fuerza Regida make frequent appearances, as does the Texas country artist Cody Johnson and the Memphis rapper Key Glock.
(Not every stream is eligible for the Charts program, however. According to Romain, “some songs may have fewer chart eligible streams than others, depending on streaming behavior,” which opens the meritocracy-based listening program to a bit of questioning.)
Romain says she hopes this will motivate smaller, unsigned, and independent artists to put their work on the streaming platform.
“Our aim is to create room for more artists to be recognized,” she says. “This destination highlights the connection between artists and fans and gives them an opportunity to celebrate with the people who made it possible.”
Her comments are not without merit. Local music fans are eager to see how their favorite artists are performing.
Earlier this month, Stephanie Salas-Vega of Central Track published Happy Spotify Wrapped 2021, Dallas, which highlighted local musicians’ streams, listeners, hours, and international reach on the streaming platform. Dallas bilingual pop band Luna Luna was streamed over 11 million times, and Latinx singer-songwriter Rafa landed over 127,000 streams in 2021. With easier access to this data, maybe it prompts a new listener to press play. After all, these artists are harder to find when they’re crowded out by Adele.