Have you noticed something missing from the top 40 music charts lately? Something that used to be a staple of popular music but now seems nowhere to be found. That’s right, and we’re talking about instrumental songs.

Back in the day, instrumental hits like “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis or “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer were just as likely to top the charts as any vocal-driven pop song. But nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single instrumental track in the top 40.

So what’s going on here? Are people just not interested in music without lyrics anymore? Or is there something else at play?

One possible explanation is the rise of streaming services and the decline of radio. While radio DJs used to have the power to introduce listeners to new instrumental tracks, streaming algorithms tend to focus on vocal-driven songs that are more likely to keep people listening. In fact, a recent study by the University of California, Irvine, found that songs with lyrics tend to be more popular on streaming services than instrumental tracks.

Another factor to consider is the way we consume music today. With so many distractions competing for our attention, it’s easy to see why instrumental songs might not be as popular as they once were. After all, it’s harder to connect with a song that doesn’t have a clear message or narrative.

But even with these factors in play, it’s still surprising how few instrumental songs make it onto the charts. According to data from Billboard, there hasn’t been a single instrumental song in the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart since 2013, when “Harlem Shake” by Baauer briefly held the top spot. In fact, only 13 instrumental songs have ever reached the top 10 in the history of the chart.

So what does all of this mean for instrumental music? Well, for one thing, it’s not going away anytime soon. Instrumental music is still popular in a variety of genres, from classical to electronic to jazz. And while it might not be as prevalent in the top 40 charts, that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable or important.

In fact, some artists are even embracing the absence of instrumental songs in the charts as an opportunity to stand out. Take the group 2CELLOS, for example, who has achieved international success with their instrumental covers of popular songs like “Smooth Criminal” and “Thunderstruck.”

So while instrumental music might not be as ubiquitous in the top 40 charts as it once was, it’s still alive and well. And who knows? Maybe one day, we’ll see another instrumental hit take the charts by storm. Until then, we’ll just have to enjoy the wide range of instrumental music that’s out there, whether it’s topping the charts or not.

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