Mainstream Top 40

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Mainstream Top 40 (also called Pop Songs on and sometimes referred to as Top 40/CHR) is a 40-song music chart published weekly by Billboard Magazine which ranks the most popular songs being played on a panel of Top 40 radio stations in the United States. The rankings are based on radio airplay detections as measured by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (Nielsen BDS). Arbitron refers to the format as contemporary hit radio (CHR).


The chart debuted in Billboard Magazine in its issued date October 3, 1992, with the introduction of two Top 40 airplay charts, Mainstream and Rhythm-Crossover. Both Top 40 charts measured "actual monitored airplay" from data compiled by Broadcast Data Systems (BDS). The Top 40/Mainstream chart was compiled from airplay on radio stations playing a wide variety of music, while the Top 40/Rhythm-Crossover chart was made up from airplay on stations playing more dance and R&B music.[1] Both charts were "born of then-new BDS electronic monitoring technology" as a more objective and precise way of measuring airplay on radio stations. This data was also used as the airplay component for Hot 100 tabulations.[1]

Top 40/Mainstream was published in the print edition of Billboard from its debut in October 1992 through May 1995, when both Top 40 charts were moved exclusively to Airplay Monitor, a secondary chart publication by Billboard. They returned to the print edition in the August 2, 2003, issue.[2]

Chart criteria[edit]

Songs on the chart are ranked by the total number of spins detected per week. Songs which gain plays or remain flat from the previous week will receive a bullet. A song will also receive a bullet if its percentage loss in plays does not exceed the percentage of monitored station downtime for the format. If two songs are tied in total plays, the song with the larger increase in plays is placed first.

There are forty positions on this chart and it is solely based on radio airplay. A number of Top 40 Mainstream radio stations are electronically monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. Songs are ranked by a calculation of the total number of spins per week with its "audience impression", which is based upon exact times of airplay and each station's Arbitron listener data.

Songs receiving the greatest growth will receive a "bullet", although there are tracks that will also get bullets if the loss in detections doesn't exceed the percentage of downtime from a monitored station. "Airpower" awards are issued to songs that appear on the top 20 of both the airplay and audience chart for the first time, while the "greatest gainer" award is given to song with the largest increase in detections. A song with six or more spins in its first week is awarded an "airplay add". If a song is tied for the most spins in the same week, the one with the biggest increase that previous week will rank higher, but if both songs show the same amount of spins regardless of detection the song that is being played at more stations is ranked higher.

Since the introduction of the chart until 2005, songs below No. 20 were moved to recurrent after 26 weeks on the chart. In the chart week of December 3, 2005, songs below No. 20 were moved to recurrent after 20 weeks on the chart. Since the issue dated December 4, 2010, songs older than 20 weeks on the chart are moved to recurrent after they drop below No. 15.

This chart was often mistaken for and confused with the now discontinued Pop 100 Airplay chart.[citation needed] Whereas the Top 40 Mainstream and Pop 100 Airplay charts both measured the airplay of songs played on Mainstream stations playing pop-oriented music, the Pop 100 Airplay (like the Hot 100 Airplay) measured airplay based on statistical impressions, while the Top 40 Mainstream chart used the number of total detections.

Records and achievements[edit]

All-time chart achievements[edit]

On October 19, 2017, the Mainstream Top 40 co-hosts, Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, gave hints as to what the number 1 all-time Mainstream Top 40 song was going to be on the charts.[3] Later that day, the top 100 all-time songs and the top 50-all time artists were released, with the number 1 all-time song being revealed as "Another Night" by Real McCoy.[4] Shown below are the top 10 songs and the top 10 artists from each chart.

Top 10 Pop Songs of all time (1992–2017)[edit]

Rank Single Year released Artist(s) Peak and duration
"Another Night"
Real McCoy #1 for 6 weeks
Santana featuring Rob Thomas #1 for 8 weeks
"Hanging by a Moment"
Lifehouse #2 for 12 weeks
Timbaland featuring OneRepublic #1 for 8 weeks
"How You Remind Me"
Nickelback #1 for 10 weeks
"Here Without You"
3 Doors Down #1 for 2 weeks
"Don't Speak"
No Doubt #1 for 10 weeks
Goo Goo Dolls #1 for 4 weeks
The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey #1 for 11 weeks
"I Love You Always Forever"
Donna Lewis #1 for 11 weeks


Top 10 Pop Songs artists of all time (1992–2017)[edit]

Rank Artist
Maroon 5
Katy Perry
Justin Timberlake
Britney Spears
Taylor Swift
Kelly Clarkson
Mariah Carey
Bruno Mars


Song records[edit]

A blonde woman wearing a black dress performing
Mariah Carey shares the record with Taylor Swift for the highest debut with "Dreamlover" at #12
Taylor Swift shares the record with Mariah Carey for the highest debut with "Shake It Off" at #12

Highest debut[edit]

No. 12: Mariah Carey — "Dreamlover" (August 14, 1993), Taylor Swift — "Shake It Off" (September 6, 2014)
No. 13: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar — "Bad Blood" (June 6, 2015)
No. 14: Lady Gaga — "Born This Way" (February 26, 2011), Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z — "Suit & Tie" (February 2, 2013)
No. 16: Madonna — "Frozen" (March 7, 1998), Britney Spears — "Hold It Against Me" (January 29, 2011)
No. 18: Taylor Swift — "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (September 1, 2012), Maroon 5 — "Maps" (July 5, 2014)

Most weeks at number one[edit]

14 weeks

11 weeks

10 weeks

9 weeks


Most weeks in the top 10[edit]

Most weeks on the chart[edit]

Longest climbs to number one[edit]

Longest climbs to the top 10[edit]

Highest weekly plays[edit]

Below are listed the 10 songs with the most weekly plays under Billboard's then panel. The panel is regularly updated, with stations being added or removed sometimes even weekly, and often expanded, thus the spins record is broken quite frequently.

Artist records[edit]

Rihanna shares the record with Katy Perry for the most number-one singles (with 11) and holds the record for the most top ten singles (with 29), and the most overall appearances on the chart since her debut (43).[25]
A woman performing on stage
Katy Perry shares the record with Rihanna for the most number-one singles (with 11). Katy holds the record for most cumulative weeks at number one for Pop Songs.[26]

Artists with the most number-one singles[edit]


Artists with the most cumulative weeks at number-one[edit]


Artists with the most top 10 singles[edit]


Artists with the most entries[edit]


Self-replacement at number one[edit]

† Iggy Azalea is the only act in Mainstream Top 40 history to replace herself at number one with her first two chart entries.


Additional artist achievements[edit]

Lady Gaga is the only musical artist in history to have her first six singles all reach the number-one position on this chart.
  • Lady Gaga is the only artist to have her first six singles reach No. 1.[35]
  • As of 2011, Britney Spears holds the record for the longest span between No. 1s at 12 years, seven months and four days between her first No.1 and her latest.[36]
  • Katy Perry's Teenage Dream is the first and only album to have 6 singles top the chart.[37]
  • JoJo at age 13, became the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single on the chart with "Leave (Get Out)".[38]

Album records[edit]

Most number-one singles from an album[edit]


Use in countdown shows[edit]

From January 9, 1993, until its last first-run show on January 28, 1995, American Top 40 used this chart as its main source after having used the Hot 100 Airplay chart since 1991.


  1. ^ a b "Chart Histories—Top 40 Airplay". Billboard 100th Anniversary Issue 1894–1994: 264. November 1, 1994. 
  2. ^ Girard, Keith (August 2, 2003). "The Evolution Continues". Billboard. 115 (31): 10. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Chart Beat Podcast: The Top 25 Pop Songs of the Past 25 Years, by Britney Spears, Rihanna & More". Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Rihanna Rules as No. 1 Artist In Pop Songs Chart's 25-Year History". Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Greatest of All Time Pop Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Greatest of All Time: Pop Songs Artists". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. November 12, 2017. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  7. ^ Trust, Gary (March 16, 2014). "March 16, 1996: Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men's 'One Sweet Day' Makes History On Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ Trust, Gary (March 26, 2010). "Ask Billboard: Happy 40th, Mariah!". Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Chainsmokers' 'Closer' Ties for Second-Longest No. 1 Run Atop Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs December 26, 1998 (Weeks on chart)". 
  11. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs June 03, 1995 (Weeks on chart". 
  12. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs January 23, 1999 (Weeks on chart". 
  13. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs July 10, 1999 (Weeks on chart". 
  14. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs April 15, 2000 (Weeks on chart". 
  15. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs September 01, 2007 (Weeks on chart". 
  16. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs January 24, 1998 (Weeks on chart". 
  17. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs May 15, 1999 (Weeks on chart". 
  18. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs September 02, 2000 (Weeks on chart". 
  19. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs November 03, 2001 (Weeks on chart". 
  20. ^ "Alessia Cara's 'Here' Completes Record Climb to No. 1 on Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  23. ^ "Hot 100 Chart Moves: MAX Hits the Top 40 With 'Lights Down Low". Billboard. February 1, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  24. ^ a b "Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood' Tops Another Tally & Breaks Weekly Plays Record". Billboard. July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Rihanna Rewrites Record For Most Pop Songs No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Katy Perry Ties For Most Pop Songs No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  27. ^ Trust, Gary (October 16, 2017). "Taylor Swift Tops Pop Songs Chart With 'Look What You Made Me Do'". Billboard. Retrieved October 16, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Katy Perry Sets Record On Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "Chart Highlights: One Direction, Katy Perry, U2 Score New No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Hot 100 Chart Moves: Hailee Steinfeld's 'Starving' Hits the Top 40". Billboard. September 16, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Hot 100 Chart Moves: Lorde's A-Leaping & Ed Sheeran Debuts 10 Songs From 'Divide'". Billboard. March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History". Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  33. ^ "G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha Rule Pop Songs Chart With 'Me, Myself & I'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 11, 2016. 
  34. ^ "Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea Top Pop, Rhythmic Songs Charts With 'Problem'". Billboard. 
  35. ^ Trust, Gary (2010-03-15). "Lady Gaga, Beyonce Match Mariah's Record". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  36. ^ Trust, Gary (2011-09-12). "Britney Spears' Sustained Success 'Go'-es On At Pop Radio". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  37. ^ "Katy Perry". Billboard. 
  38. ^ "JoJo Signs Deal with Atlantic Records". Complex. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  39. ^ "Selena Gomez Scores Third Pop Songs No. 1 With 'Hands to Myself' & Releases New Single From 'Revival'". Billboard. 

External links[edit]