Mainstream Top 40

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The 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), a subsidiary of the U.S.' leading marketing research company. Consumer researchers, Nielsen Audio (formerly 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.

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.

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 6 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]

Artist Song Debut Date
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]

Number of
Artist Song Year(s) Source
Ace of Base "The Sign" 1994 [7]
Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men "One Sweet Day" 1995–96 [7]
Donna Lewis "I Love You Always Forever" 1996 [7]
Natalie Imbruglia "Torn" 1998 [7]
Nelly featuring Tim McGraw "Over and Over" 2004–05 [7]
The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey "Closer" 2016 [7]
Dionne Farris "I Know" 1995 [7]
No Doubt "Don't Speak" 1996–97 [7]
Céline Dion "My Heart Will Go On" 1998 [7]
'N Sync "Bye Bye Bye" 2000 [7]
Nickelback "How You Remind Me" 2001–02 [7]
Mariah Carey "We Belong Together" 2005 [7]
Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell "Blurred Lines" 2013 [7]

Most weeks in the top 10[edit]

Number of
Artist Song Year(s) Source
Real McCoy "Another Night" 1994–95 [4]
Goo Goo Dolls "Iris" 1998 [4]
Lifehouse "Hanging by a Moment" 2001 [4]
No Doubt "Don't Speak" 1996–97 [4]
Savage Garden "Truly Madly Deeply" 1997–98 [4]
Khalid and Normani "Love Lies" 2018–19 [citation needed]
Post Malone "Better Now" 2018–19 [citation needed]
Benny Blanco, Halsey, and Khalid "Eastside" 2018–19 [citation needed]
Halsey Without Me 2018–19 [citation needed]
Donna Lewis "I Love You Always Forever" 1996–97 [4]
Goo Goo Dolls "Slide" 1998–99 [4]
Santana featuring Rob Thomas "Smooth" 1999–00 [4]
3 Doors Down "Here Without You" 2003–04 [4]
Timbaland featuring OneRepublic "Apologize" 2007–08 [4]
The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey "Closer" 2016–17 [4]
Goo Goo Dolls "Name" 1995–96 [4]
Ed Sheeran "Shape of You" 2017 [4]
Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B "Girls Like You" 2018 [citation needed]
5 Seconds of Summer "Youngblood" 2018–19 [citation needed]

Most weeks on the chart[edit]

Number of
Artist Song Year* Source
Dua Lipa "New Rules" 2018 [8]
Khalid and Normani "Love Lies" 2019 [8]
Lauv "I Like Me Better" 2018 [8]
Benny Blanco, Halsey, and Khalid "Eastside" 2019 [9]
Edwin McCain "I'll Be" 1998 [8]
Real McCoy "Another Night" 1995 [8]
Goo Goo Dolls "Iris" 1999 [8]
"Slide" [8]
5 Seconds of Summer "Youngblood" 2019 [10]
Santana featuring Rob Thomas "Smooth" 2000 [8]
P!nk "U + Ur Hand" 2007 [8]
MAX featuring gnash "Lights Down Low" 2018 [8]
  • The year indicates when the songs ended their respective chart runs.

Longest climbs to number one[edit]

Week reached
number one
Artist Song Year Source
31st week
Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid "Eastside" 2019 [11]
26th week
Alessia Cara "Here" 2016 [12]
25th week
CeeLo Green "Forget You" 2011 [12]
Demi Lovato "Give Your Heart a Break" 2012 [12]
24th week
Alessia Cara "Scars to Your Beautiful" 2017 [citation needed]
Khalid and Normani "Love Lies" 2018 [13]
23rd week
P!nk "U + Ur Hand" 2007 [14]
Ellie Goulding "Lights" 2012 [15]
Shawn Mendes "Stitches" 2015 [citation needed]
22nd week
Dua Lipa "New Rules" 2018 [citation needed]
21st week
Jewel "You Were Meant for Me" 1997 [citation needed]
Eagle-Eye Cherry "Save Tonight" 1999 [citation needed]
20th week
Niall Horan "Slow Hands" 2017 [citation needed]
Camila Cabello "Never Be the Same" 2018 [16]
Bazzi "Mine" [citation needed]

Longest climbs to the top 10[edit]

Week reached
top 10
Artist Song Year Source
35th week
Lauv "I Like Me Better" 2018 [17]
31st week
Edwin McCain "I'll Be" 1998 [17]
27th week
MAX featuring gnash "Lights Down Low" 2018 [17]
25th week
MKTO "Classic" 2014 [17]
Daya "Sit Still, Look Pretty" 2016 [17]
Jon Bellion "All Time Low" 2017 [17]

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 30), and the most overall appearances on the chart since her debut (49).[18]
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.[19]

Artists with the most number-one singles[edit]

Number of Singles Artist Source
Rihanna [20]
Katy Perry [20]
Maroon 5 [21]
Pink [20]
Bruno Mars [20]
Taylor Swift [22]
Justin Timberlake [20]

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


Artists with the most top 10 singles[edit]

Number of Singles Artist Source
Rihanna [25]
Maroon 5 [26]
Pink [25]
Justin Timberlake [25]
Mariah Carey [27]
Katy Perry [25]
Taylor Swift [25]
Usher [25]
Bruno Mars [25]
Britney Spears [27]
Nelly [27]
Madonna [27]
Christina Aguilera [27]
Ariana Grande [28]

Artists with the most entries[edit]


Simultaneously occupying the top two positions[edit]

  1. "One Sweet Day" (with Boyz II Men)
  2. "Fantasy"
  • OutKast: January 31 - February 7, 2004
  1. "Hey Ya!"
  2. "The Way You Move" (featuring Sleepy Brown)
  1. "Blurred Lines" (Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell)
  2. "Get Lucky" (Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams)
  1. "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX)
  2. "Problem" (Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea)
  • Halsey: February 23 - March 9, 2019
  1. "Without Me"
  2. "Eastside" (with Benny Blanco and Khalid)


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.[33]
  • 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.[34]
  • JoJo at age 13, became the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single on the chart with "Leave (Get Out)".[35]

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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The Chainsmokers' 'Closer' Ties for Second-Longest No. 1 Run Atop Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Khalid & Normani's 'Love Lies' Ties Dua Lipa's 'New Rules' For Longevity Record On Pop Songs Chart". Billboard Music. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Eastside Mainstream Top 40 Chart History". Billboard Music. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Youngblood Mainstream Top 40 Chart History". Billboard Music. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid Complete Record Rise to No. 1 on Pop Songs Chart With 'Eastside'". Billboard.
  12. ^ a b c "Alessia Cara's 'Here' Completes Record Climb to No. 1 on Pop Songs Chart". Billboard.
  13. ^ Trust, Gary (September 17, 2018). "Khalid and Normani's 'Love Lies' Lifts to No. 1 On Pop Songs Airplay Chart". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2016-06-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2016-06-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Trust, Gary (May 7, 2018). "Camila Cabello's 'Never Be the Same' Hits No. 1 on Pop Songs Airplay Chart". Billboard. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Lauv's 'I Like Me Better' & Dua Lipa's 'New Rules' Set Longevity Records on Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. June 18, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Rihanna Rewrites Record For Most Pop Songs No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  19. ^ "Katy Perry Ties For Most Pop Songs No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d e Trust, Gary (March 26, 2018). "Bruno Mars & Cardi B's 'Finesse' Tops Pop Songs Airplay Chart". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  21. ^ Trust, Gary (July 30, 2018). "Drake Tops Hot 100 For Third Week With 'In My Feelings,' Passes Rihanna For Most Weeks at No. 1 This Decade". Billboard. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  22. ^ Trust, Gary (July 23, 2018). "Taylor Swift Tops Pop Songs Airplay Chart With 'Delicate'". Billboard. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  23. ^ "Katy Perry Sets Record On Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Chart Highlights: One Direction, Katy Perry, U2 Score New No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "BTS Becomes First K-Pop Act With Two Hits on the Pop Songs Chart as 'Fake Love' Debuts". Billboard. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "Maroon 5 Chart History". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  27. ^ a b c d e "Hot 100 Chart Moves: Hailee Steinfeld's 'Starving' Hits the Top 40". Billboard. September 16, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  28. ^ "Ariana Grande Chart History". Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  29. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History". Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  30. ^ "Lil Wayne Chart History". Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  31. ^ "G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha Rule Pop Songs Chart With 'Me, Myself & I'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  32. ^ Trust, Gary (February 18, 2019). "Halsey Holds Top Two Spots on Pop Songs Chart With 'Without Me' & 'Eastside'". Billboard. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  33. ^ Trust, Gary (2010-03-15). "Lady Gaga, Beyonce Match Mariah's Record". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-09-21.
  34. ^ Trust, Gary (2011-09-12). "Britney Spears' Sustained Success 'Go'-es On At Pop Radio". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  35. ^ "JoJo Signs Deal with Atlantic Records". Complex. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  36. ^ "Selena Gomez Scores Third Pop Songs No. 1 With 'Hands to Myself' & Releases New Single From 'Revival'". Billboard.

External links[edit]