DANCE music’s popularity is escalating this year with the genre claiming more than a quarter of the hits that have made the Official Singles Chart Top Ten in 2022, according to analysis of Official Charts Company data by the BPI, the representative voice for independent and major record labels across the UK.
In the year to date, 26.1 per cent of the singles that have entered the weekly Top Ten are dance tracks, an almost 80 per cent increase on the genre’s share of Top Ten hits across the whole of last year (14.6 per cent) and nearly three times as high as its share in 2019 (9.3 per cent).
It moves the genre ahead of hip-hop/rap (21.7 per cent) in generating Top Ten hits in 2022, with only pop (40.6 per cent) having accumulated a greater share of Top Ten entries in the year to date.
Underpinning the strength of the domestic dance music scene, more than half of these dance hits are by or feature UK artists, made up of a mix of breakthrough talent such as Scottish production duo LF System, East London DJ/singer/music producer Eliza Rose and Bradford bass collective Bad Boy Chiller Crew, as well as established stars including Calum Scott, Calvin Harris, Ella Henderson, Jax Jones, MNEK and Becky Hill, who won Best Dance Act at this year’s BRIT Awards with Mastercard.
LF System’s first ever hit, Afraid To Feel, which features Louise Clare Marshall on vocals, spent eight consecutive weeks at No. 1 over the summer before being succeeded by Eliza Rose with B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All). In one week in August, Afraid To Feel and B.O.T.A. headed a Top Five also including Break My Soul by Beyoncé and Crazy What Love Can Do by veteran French DJ David Guetta and UK stars nBecky Hill and Ella Henderson. It marked the first time in six years that dance tracks had occupied four of the Official Singles Chart’s Top Five places.
Afraid To Feel is one of nine dance tracks that has already generated more than 50 million audio streams in the UK this year, according to Official Charts Company data, a list headed by Where Are You Now by Lost Frequencies and Calum Scott and also including Make Me Feel Good by Belters Only ft Jazzy and Where Did You Go by Jax Jones ft MNEK.
Eliza Rose’s climb to No. 1 followed B.O.T.A. becoming a viral hit on TikTok and made her the first female DJ to reach the top of the Official Singles Chart since Sonique with It Feels So Good in 2000. Her success highlights the leading role female talent is playing in dance music’s rising popularity with half of the dance tracks making the Top Ten this year by or featuring women artists.
These include homegrown talent such as Becky Hill and Ella Henderson, who were both part of Crazy What Love Can Do with David Guetta, while Henderson also scored a Top Ten hit with 21 Reasons alongside Nathan Dawe.
They have been joined by a number of international female artists, led by Beyoncé whose Break My Soul climbed to No. 2 in August to give the US superstar her highest-charting single in the UK since 2008. Bebe Rexha scored her first UK chart-topper in September as the featured vocalist on David Guetta’s I’m Good (Blue), Halsey was part of the Top Ten hit, Stay With Me, with Calvin Harris, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams, and Irish singer Jazzy has scored one of the year’s biggest hits with Make Me Feel Good alongside electronic collective Belters Only.
The genre has also been embraced this year by global superstars such as Beyoncé and Drake releasing dance-oriented albums.
Perhaps as a reflection of the growing presence of dance, the average beats per minute of tracks in the Top Ten has continued to increase in 2022. In the year to date, hits in the Top Ten are averaging 127.9 BPM, up around nine per cent on 2018 when the average was 117.3 BPM and since when the average has risen every year.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI, BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize, said: “Britain has always excelled at dance music, so it’s gratifying that the genre’s renaissance is powered in part by homegrown talent, including breakthrough artists
LF System and Eliza Rose, who have both spent multiple weeks at No. 1 on the Official Singles Chart this year.
“It’s fascinating to see how other genres such as hip-hop and pop are morphing into dance and to see dance music being embraced by global superstars including Drake and Beyoncé.”
Official Dance Singles Chart of 2022, to date* – Official Charts Company
Position – artist – title
1. Lost Frequencies & Calum Scott – Where Are You Now
2. LF System – Afraid To Feel
3. Belters Only ft Jazzy – Make Me Feel Good
4. Jax Jones ft MNEK – Where Did You Go
5. Luude ft Colin Hay – Down Under
6. David Guetta, Becky Hill & Ella Henderson – Crazy What Love Can Do
7. Bad Boy Chiller Crew – BMW
8. Beyoncé; Break My Soul
9. Eliza Rose & Interplanetary Criminal – B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All)
10. Tiesto & Ava Max – The Motto
* up to chart week 42 2022
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