Is This The ULTIMATE Summer Playlist?

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EMBEDClockwise, From Above. Photo: Courtesy of 4AD Records; Latium Entertainment and RCA Records; Monkey Puzzle and RCA Records; Republic Records.
Sia Turns Things Around
People love a good light fixture, apparently. Sia’s soaring track “Chandelier” enjoyed stunning growth in July. Listeners have streamed it more than 40 million times on Spotify and we couldn’t be happier. The Aussie’s new album, 1000 Forms of Fear, is scary good and all told, her music is getting upward of a million plays a day. Sia has also been making a point of turning her back on fame, quite literally, by facing away from the audience when she performs. Message received; music can actually be enjoyed just by listening to it.

About That...
“Weird Al” Yankovic has been known for his parodies since the '80s, thanks in large part to his belly-laugh-inducing music videos. But according to our listeners, Weird Al’s songs are worth listening to independently of the wacky visuals. Songs from his new album Mandatory Fun occupy the top four spots of Spotify’s viral chart in the U.S. this week - an indicator they’re being widely shared. Listeners dig instantly-popular “Handy,” “Word Crimes” and “Foil.” But the most shared track among listeners is “NOW That's What I Call Polka” (a mash-up of Miley, Foster the People, Daft Punk and others). Funny thing is — there’s no video for that song (yet). What does this tell us, you ask while stroking your chin and raising one eyebrow (yeah, I see you). Well, it suggests our listeners are streaming (and liking) the whole album, not just the songs that are all over the interwebs right now.

Move Over, Ariana. Here Comes... Ariana
You may have noticed that smiley Ariana Grande is everywhere. Her hit “Problem” featuring Iggy Azalea has been one of the top tracks of the summer around the globe and its follow-up, “Break Free” is starting to go bananas, too. It debuted in our top ten in the U.S. (huge!). We think it’s going to have a rather grand time with our listeners, particularly those in love with EDM since Ariana employed Russian-German DJ/producer Zedd (of “Stay The Night” fame), to work his magic on the track. It’s only a matter of time before “Problem” and “Break Free” start fighting over who’s top dog. Yeah, not such a problem for Ariana. Or, as she might say: Head in the clouds, got no weight on my shoulders...

Summer (Playlist) Lovin'
Summer playlists went off the hook this past month. Among the most popular with our listeners; A Summer of Country which features tunes like Luke Bryan’s “She Get Me High” and Rascal Flatts’ “I’m On Fire.” Then there’s singer Jesse McCartney’s Summer 2014 Jams playlist which is getting tons of attention from his followers. It’s a neat round-up of songs of the moment, like Pharrell’s “Come Get It Bae,” Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and — surprise! — a few songs by Jesse himself. I’m obsessing over a playlist curated by two (rather adorable) dudes who used to work in the music industry but now run the popular New York restaurant review site The Infatuation. Check out their Summer Guide 2014 for slick and eclectic tracks by delicious bands like Bleachers, Glass Animals, and Jungle.


Shanon Cook, a TV journalist and total vet on the music scene, has interviewed everyone from Annie Lennox to R.E.M. Now, the Spotify trend expert will be sharing her favorite tracks every month here on R29 — listen in!