Mainstream Top 40

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"Pop Songs" redirects here. For other uses, see Pop Song.

The Mainstream Top 40 (referred to as Pop Songs on is a weekly airplay chart from Billboard magazine.

There are 40 positions on the chart, and it is solely based on radio airplay. The chart ranks the week's hottest pop songs, ranked by mainstream top 40 radio airplay detections as measured by Nielsen BDS Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. Arbitron sometimes refers to the format as contemporary hit radio.


The Mainstream Top 40 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.

Since the introduction of the chart until 2005, songs below No. 20 will be moved to recurrent after 26 weeks in the chart. In the chart week of December 3, 2005, songs below No. 20 are moved to recurrent after 20 weeks on the chart. This criterion was changed again in the chart week of December 4, 2010, whereby songs older than 20 weeks on the chart will be moved to recurrent after it dropped below No. 15. This latest methodology remains in use until now.

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) measures airplay was based on statistical impressions, while the Top 40 Mainstream chart used the number of total detections.

Song 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 24), and the most overall appearances on the chart since her debut (38).[3]
A woman performing on stage
Katy Perry also shares the record with Rihanna for the most number-one singles (with 11). She holds the record for 1st and 2nd most weekly plays for the songs "Dark Horse" and "Roar". Katy holds the record for most cumulative weeks at number one for Pop Songs.[4]

Highest debut[edit]

No. 12: Mariah Carey - "Dreamlover", Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off"
No. 14: Lady Gaga - "Born This Way", Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z - "Suit & Tie"
No. 16: Madonna - "Frozen", Britney Spears - "Hold It Against Me"
No. 18: Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", Maroon 5 - "Maps"
No. 19: Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj - "Bang Bang"
No. 20: Lady Gaga - "Applause",[5] Katy Perry - "Unconditionally"

Most weeks at number one[edit]

14 weeks

11 weeks

10 weeks

9 weeks

Most weeks on the chart[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]

Artists with the most number-one singles[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.
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

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


Artists with the most top 10 singles[edit]

Artists with the most entries[edit]


Artist achievements[edit]

Use in countdown shows[edit]

From January 9, 1993 up until its last first-run show on January 28, 1995, American Top 40 used this chart as its main source.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "Rihanna Rewrites Record For Most Pop Songs No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Katy Perry Ties For Most Pop Songs No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs December 26, 1998 (Weeks on chart)". 
  7. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs June 03, 1995 (Weeks on chart". 
  8. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs January 23, 1999 (Weeks on chart". 
  9. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs July 10, 1999 (Weeks on chart". 
  10. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs April 15, 2000 (Weeks on chart". 
  11. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs September 01, 2007 (Weeks on chart". 
  12. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs January 24, 1998 (Weeks on chart". 
  13. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs May 15, 1999 (Weeks on chart". 
  14. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs September 02, 2000 (Weeks on chart". 
  15. ^ "Billboard Pop Songs November 03, 2001 (Weeks on chart". 
  16. ^ a b c "Chart Highlights: Katy Perry, HAIM, Pharrell & More Make Moves". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Make History On Pop Songs Chart | Billboard
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Katy Perry Sets Record On Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c "Chart Highlights: 'Ooh' She Did It Again... Britney Spears Debuts On Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Make History On Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  27. ^ Chart Moves: Demi Lovato Leaps To No. 1 On Mainstream Top 40 Chart | Billboard
  28. ^ Trust, Gary (2010-03-15). "Lady Gaga, Beyonce Match Mariah's Record". Billboard (magazine). Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  29. ^ Trust, Gary (2011-09-12). "Britney Spears' Sustained Success 'Go'-es On At Pop Radio". Billboard (magazine). Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  30. ^ Katy Perry's Latest Chart Record: A 6th No. 1 From 'Dream' on the Pop Songs (Not Hot 100) Chart
  31. ^ "JoJo Signs Deal with Atlantic Records". Complex. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  32. ^

External links[edit]