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Today, Sara Bareilles of ‘Love Song’ fame is releasing her sophomore album Kaleidoscope Heart. No offense to Bareilles, but she is the exactly the kind of artist that would have been a one-hit wonder 10 years ago. Her music, while definitely catchy and well-written, doesn’t really have that superstar appeal. If this was 2003, Bareilles would’ve been lost in the shuffle amongst artists like Michelle Branch, Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne and Liz Phair.  Just look at how the singles she’s released since ‘Love Song’ have performed – the follow up ‘Bottle It Up,’ failed to chart on the Hot 100, peaking at #17 on the Bubbling Under chart. The third single failed to chart at all.

However, her latest single ‘King of Anything,’ has managed to impact the Billboard charts at #51, mostly off of the strength of downloads. In previous years, when iTunes didn’t exist and radio spins were the sole determinating factor of chart success, artists like Bareilles would’ve been left by the wayside. Even artists like The New Boyz and G-Spot Boyz, who scored mega hits with dance singles (‘You’re A Jerk’ and ‘Stanky Leg,’ respectively) have managed to score follow-up hits off of the strength of their previous singles.

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Think about it. Who is the last artist you can genuinely say was a one-hit wonder? Artists that everyone initally assumed would be one-hit wonders, like Ke$ha and Soulja Boy, have gone on to become some of music’s biggest stars. Jay Sean, Jason Derulo, etc. have all carved careers for themselves, mostly based off iTunes downloads. Instead of being the, very often songs become big on iTunes long before going into heavy radio rotation. The new chart paradigm allows the charts to reflect what people are really feeling, and as such novelty songs like ‘The Bed Intruder Song’ become Top 40 Billboard smashes (it currently sits at #29).