College of Business Student Presents at the 2020 Eastern Economic Association Annual Meeting

Kaden Paulson

Kaden Paulson, an economics major in the Jack C. Massey College of Business, recently attended and presented a paper titled “The Dynamics of Billboard’s Chart Success: Evidence from Country Music” at the Issues in Political Economy (IPE) 27th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference in Economics

The 2020 conference was held at the Eastern Economic Association Annual Meetings in Boston from February 28-29. The conference brings together economists and undergraduates from across the country to present and share their research with peers. Students presenting at the IPE also serve as discussants. Paulson was accompanied at this conference by his research advisor, collaborator and faculty member Dr. Colin Cannonier.

According to Paulson, chart success is strongly correlated with music sales and earnings of artists in the entertainment industry. While there have been studies on “hit” prediction, few have explored the factors that make a song a hit and how they impact its climb and sustained ranking at the top of the charts over time. Remarkably, even less is known about these indicators of success within the genre of country music.

Using data from Billboard’s Charts and Spotify API, Paulson investigated the dynamics of Billboard chart success in the country music industry over a period of more than 50 years. He also examined the shift in preferences that have evolved country music from 1964 to the present. His results indicate that danceability, acousticness and energy play a significant role in sustained chart success of a song. The length of stay of a song at the top is notably improved with a top rating in the previous week and a higher acousticness. Although the effect of these variables evolves over time, they remain significant factors in the chart success and remaining hit songs in their respective eras.