Two-thousand-seventeen has clearly been the year of “Despacito,” the first YouTube video to hit three billion views and the first mostly Spanish-language song to sit at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 since “Macarena.” “Despacito” just put in its 12th week at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100, and while its success is groundbreaking and really exciting, it’s overshadowed something more troubling: It’s been a very bad year for the Hot 100 when it comes to women.
In fact, it has been just about an entire year—51 weeks—since a track completely fronted by a woman sat at the top of the charts. That would be Sia, whose “Cheap Thrills” overthrew Drake’s “One Dance” (what a time) in late July 2016. She was at the top until The Chainsmokers took the spot with “Closer,” featuring Halsey.
The stats more broadly are just as grim. Back in April, no women were in the Top 10 for the first time in 33 years. We didn’t have to wait that long for it to happen again: right now, you have to get to the 14th place on the charts to find a solo female artist, Cardi B.
Experts have explained that there aren’t women at the top because the regular heavy hitters haven’t put out music. USA Today reports:
“We’re in a little bit of a down period right now,” David Bakula, Nielsen’s senior vice president of analytics and client development, told USA TODAY. “Rihanna is in between (albums), Beyoncé is in between, Taylor Swift is in between, Adele is in between.”
But it’s also because of the immense popularity of hip hop and EDM, two very male-dominated genres in a very male-dominated industry, which are combining to shut women out of the industry and the charts.
With eight No. 1 singles in her belt, it seemed likely that Katy Perry would be able to crack the charts with her latest album Witness. While the album itself reached number one, her best performing single, “Chained to the Rhythm” peaked at Number 4 on the Hot 100.