29 May 2018

Guide to Discovering the Top 5 Pop Tracks

Instrumental A&R scouting platform: Guide to discovering the top 5 pop tracks

Instrumental A&R scouting platform is actively tracking over 160,000 artists and 740,000 tracks on Spotify. In a recent blog series, we have been sharing tips and tricks to help our users maximise the benefits of our platform.

Utilising Spotify and social API data with applied AI processes, our A&R scouting platform unearths the fastest growing artists and tracks. With a multitude of filters on our talent discovery platform, users are able to fine-tune their searches to suit each brief. We understand that each brief is unique, so in this blog we want to show you how we would go about scouting for the top 5 pop tracks.

Check out our comprehensive, step-by-step guide to unearthing the top 5 tracks below. Be sure to read to the bottom to discover the results of our search!

1. Determine the artist’s association with a label

The ‘exclude and include label type’ filters on the platform allow you to determine an artist's association with a label. By excluding ‘major label’ artists, our platform will only pull data from the (approx) 45% of artists on Spotify who are either self-releasing or associated with independent labels. By including ‘self-releasing’, results will show artists with tracks not associated with a label or publisher. As a result, you’ll save time by only listening to self-releasing artists. For this search, we are going to scout for tracks that are not associated with a major label.

2. Scout artists by genre

Crucially, this filter allows users to fine-tune the genre of tracks to suit their brief. In this case, we are going to select ‘pop’. This will provide you with a list of the best performing pop tracks. For broader searches, the ‘exclude artist genre’ filter allows the user to remove certain genres from the dashboard.

3. Total playlist followers

'Total playlist following’ is a great indicator of streams. Every time an artist is added to an influential playlist of more than 10,000 followers, that following figure gets added to the artist’s total. By using the ‘total playlist following’ filters, you are able to see the tracks that are being picked up by influential playlists. Users can then rank the results by ‘total playlist followers’, to see who is gaining serious momentum on Spotify playlists. It is also possible to find the tracks which have grown the most in the past 7 days, by filtering results by ‘playlist followers change’ or ‘playlist followers % change’.

4. Other tips for unearthing the top 5 pop tracks on Instrumental’s data-driven A&R scouting platform

Other filters we recommend using for this search are our mood based filters. We have made use of Echonest’s track characteristics to help you sort artists based on the mood of their tracks. These characteristics are particularly helpful for sync teams or music supervisors looking to find tracks based on mood. These filters include ‘acousticness’, ‘danceability’, ‘energy’, ‘instrumentalness’, ‘liveness’, ‘speechines’ and ‘valence’. By using the track mode filter and max and minimum BPM filters, it is also possible to increase the granularity of your scouting results.

For example, if you are looking for an upbeat pop track for an advert, you may look for a track in major, with a BPM of around 118-135BPM, with high values in valence, instrumentalness, danceability and energy.

In our search for pop tracks, we also selected a ‘latest release date’ to ensure the tracks are recent releases.

So, what are the top 5 pop tracks we’ve selected from our search results?

Based on our search criteria, we have unearthed our 5 top performing pop tracks. Check them out below.

1. Mood by Carlie Hanson


Last year breakout U.S pop princess Carlie Hanson introduced herself to the world as an emerging star with the release of “Why Did You Lie”. Since then, the Wisconsin teenager has released two huge tracks which have been gaining significant traction on streaming platforms. She has even been featured on Taylor Swift’s Favourite Songs playlist.

Her latest single “Mood’ is a nostalgic effort, wrapping teen memories of late night takeaways and jacuzzi sessions into a chilled electro-pop soundscape. Featured on Teen Party, New Music Friday, amongst other influential playlists, “Mood” is the top ranking pop track under our search criteria with 8,642,692 total playlist followers (Instrumental A&R Scouting Platform).

2. joy. by for KING & COUNTRY


Australian duo, for KING & COUNTRY, is comprised of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone. They enjoyed success back in 2012 with “Crave”, winning Billboard’s New Artists to Watch. “joy.” is the first teaser of what is to come from their long-awaited album, which will follow their 2014 release “Run Wild. Live Free”.

The uplifting track features their signature soaring melodies, driving rhythms, theatrical instrumentation alongside an explosive chorus. Featured on 16 influential playlists this week, including Pop Rising, the track has picked up over 6.6 million playlist followers and 358,000 streams to date (Instrumental A&R Scouting Platform).

3. Just A Little by Violet Days


Hailing from Stockholm, Violet Days is the project of singer-songwriter Lina Hansson and producer Kris Eriksson.

Having built up a powerful reputation after co-writing and producing The Chainsmokers hit “Paris”, the duo have been picking up major traction on their own tracks. Driven by upbeat synths, “Just A Little” finds that perfect middle ground between electronic and alt-pop.

With a high danceability of 0.71 out of 1, the track has secured features on Digster Fresh, Made in Sweden and New Music Friday, alongside 5 other influential playlists. This has given the track a 754% increase in playlist following in the last week, taking their total to over 3.7 million (Instrumental A&R Scouting Platform).

4. Shine by Johnny Balik


Canadian singer-songwriter extraordinaire Johnny Balik shot to the top of our charts with the release of his previous single “Honey”. Adding another hit to his repertoire, he has released “Shine”. His smooth vocal returns behind slick, climatic pop production. With an energy score of 0.64 out of 1, “Shine” has been picked up by two influential playlists, pushing his playlist following to over 2.6 million (Instrumental A&R Scouting Platform).

5. Body on Me by Harper


East-London based Harper blends styles that encapsulate her favourite sounds, with nods to hip-hop, dubstep and folk. As she prepares to unveil her new EP, she has shared “Body On Me”, an urban-pop groover featuring rapper Trillary Banks. With a hip-hop inspired beat, pop melodies and bars from Banks, the single is an excellent taste of what is come from her upcoming release.

The track is high in energy, scoring 0.8 out of 1 and has been picked up by three huge playlists in The Pop List, This is How We Do and Chilled Pop Hits. This has given the track a total playlist following of over 1.1 million (Instrumental A&R Scouting Platform).

If you have any questions about Instrumental’s music scouting platform or want to find out how it can power your own music scouting efforts, please get in touch via hello@weareinstrumental.com