Today, Google released its year-end lists, which, much like Billboard’s annual chart reports, are entirely dependent on traffic and popularity rather than staff-wide critical consensus. In both cases, the American public were interested in some good things this year! Two of which were Cardi B and Lil Pump, Google’s second- and third-most-searched artists on Google this year. They came in just behind Linkin Park, which saw a tragic spike in traffic following the death of frontman Chester Bennington this July.
We’d be fools to think searches = popularity, since many of the top 10 (Linkin Park, Jason Aldean, Aaron Carter, Remy Ma) could be attributed to sudden spikes following major news stories rather than what Americans were actually listening to. And in the case of Cardi and Pump, there’s certainly the “who??” factor, since they were both relative unknowns before their sudden rise to stardom this year. When you look at the individual trend charts for an artist like Cardi, Pump, or Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie, you might notice a sudden blip in activity surrounding their breakout single or viral appearance on daytime television, but there’s still more steady search activity throughout the year than for artists who were tied to one big story.
Taylor Swift, much like Donald Trump, did not appear in the top 10 for their respective categories, probably because they’re omnipresent forces that people don’t need to search for on Google to get unrelenting updates about (if anything, Google might be one of the few places to get away from them). Search metrics matter a little less for artists with built-in fanbases, since they’re going directly to social media accounts for updates straight from the source. Having said that, Reputation was the most-searched album, presumably because she kept it off streaming for two weeks and people pirated the hell out of it.
So are Cardi B, Lil Pump, and Bhad Bhabie bigger artists than Taylor Swift? America has spoken, I don’t make the rules! “End Game” still goes, though.