Katy Perry‘s second album Teenage Dream came out almost a year ago, but the 26-year-old star has already celebrated another kind of anniversary: As of last week (which saw her “E.T.” lose its top position to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”), Perry had been in the top 10 of the Hot 100 for a full 365 days.
That’s 52 consecutive weeks with a song—“California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,”“E.T.”—at or near the top of the charts (and some weeks, she checked in with two top 10 hits). No artist has ever spent an entire year in the top 10—not Mariah Carey, not Elvis Presley, not Madonna, not even the Beatles.
Of course, a lot has changed in the 53-year history of the Billboard Hot 100.
Perry has the benefit of digital sales, which allow for convenience for consumers and easy tracking and counting. Plus, she exists in an industry that features slim label rosters, which means that tentpole artists like Perry tend to get more promotional attention (because the label can’t afford for any of the singles to not be hits).
Strangely, Perry’s dominance in the Hot 100 hasn’t translated into album sales. Teenage Dream has shifted about 1.5 million units in nine months, which is certainly an impressive number. But in a different era, Perry’s Hot 100 dominance would have sent Teenage Dream to incredible heights. Consider this: In 1995, Mariah Carey spent six months (half the time Perry has logged) in the top 10 with the singles from Daydream, an album that went on to sell over 10 million copies in the United States alone.
Clearly, those were different times, and many would say that Perry’s accomplishment isn’t as big a deal because of the way that numbers are tracked now versus the less-scientific charting of Billboard’s earlier incarnations. But in this current music climate, where you’re only as popular as your last single and you can lose your cool in the time it takes to tweet, Perry has proven herself to be an artist with consistency. The numbers may not be gaudy, but they are solid. And in context, they’re spectacular.
But what do you think? Is Perry’s record impressive or just a product of convenient math? Sound off in the comments below!