The Singles Are Back, Baby!

Dave Iannacone

Despite still being in the first quarter of 2011, there have been an abundance of musical milestones on the Billboard charts.

Singer Katy Perry arrives at fashion designer Marcus Molinari's birthday party at h.wood in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

The most recent comes from Katy Perry who just landed her fourth straight #1 single with a remix of “E.T.” featuring Kanye West. What makes this a landmark is that she is only the ninth artist in history to send four songs from the same album to the top of the Hot 100. She now joins the ranks of artists such as Michael Jackson (who holds the record with five,) Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey who have all put out albums with four or more number ones. However, as most of the accomplishments in recent years have been almost entirely attributed to digital downloads (see Glee), Katy has done this the hard way. Not only have her singles been selling like hot cakes, but radio and club play have also helped the songs’ success.

However, Ms. Perry isn’t the only artist seemingly restoring faith in album sustainability. Artists such as Rihanna and the Black Eyed Peas have managed to release multiple hit singles from the same project in recent years, as opposed to the one or two (three if they’re lucky) that most artists get. In fact, Usher is currently cranking out hits from the album project he started in 2009 (despite the fact that he supplemented the release with an EP of new songs). What makes Katy’s accomplishment so amazing, though, is that all of the songs are available on the originally released album, so the fact that they all managed to find their way to the top is an amazing accomplishment.

The good news for the music world is that it looks like a singles market is back and better than ever. Throughout almost all of the 2000’s, hit singles were determined by radio play, and when digital downloads came out, the adjustment to having actual singles again had a few bumps in the road. However, now it honestly seems like artists can have long lasting albums with multiple hit singles like the 80’s and 90’s. Only a few acts (see Rihanna, see Usher, see Beyonce, etc.) have managed to have successful long-lasting projects in recent years, but all thanks to re-releases or supplemental EPs. In fact, even Britney Spears has the best chance of having more than two hits off an album since the early part of the 2000’s.

With alot of big releases coming up from really big artists (Lady Gaga, anyone), this year could continue on its path of being one of the recording breaking years in pop music history.