KCRW’s Top 30 by the numbers: 750 albums, 700 artists, 18 spins

By Marion Hodges

KCRW’s Program Director of Music Anne Litt presides over the vast amount of records in consideration for our airwaves. Photo by Marc Goldstein.

It’s pledge drive season, which means you’re hearing a lot of stats and behind the scenes secrets. Ready for a few more? Of course you are.

A quick scan of the data that we use to pull these charts every week has revealed some seriously impressive numbers. Here’s a brief rundown of what goes into KCRW’s ethos of “Hand-picked music.” 

1. Roughly 750 unique albums are played per week — meaning that at least one song was played from each of those albums, not that the whole album was played.

2. On average, more than 700 individual artists are heard across KCRW per week. We don't have a metric to tally artists listed as “featured” on a track, i.e. entry number 18 on this week’s list: Aidan Noell - “Sharevari (Feat. Nancy Whang).” If we want to factor those artists in as well — and we do — that brings up the total number of artists that get their music heard on KCRW by a currently immeasurable amount. Regardless of the actual number, it’s A LOT of artists.

3. The highest number of spins clocked by a single album over the 18 months that this team has been reporting the Top 30 is, fittingly, 18. That's 18 plays for one album (the latest Kendrick Lamar, in case you're curious) over the span of a single week, including multiple songs. Contrast that with the approach that various other platforms take to programming music. It’s not at all impossible to imagine hearing the same song 18 times in one day…

This is, quite frankly, an unhinged approach to programming music, but not a single person on the team — from your favorite DJ to those of us tasked with keeping our playlist page from collapsing under the sheer weight of your awesome curiosity — would do it any other way. If this type of music discovery is a part of why you love KCRW, show us your support! Keep the tunes flowing freely by joining or renewing your membership today.

For even more handpicked delights, give our Top 30 a spin (and a follow) on Spotify!

Top 30 Albums (9.20.2022)

1 Santigold Spirituals
2 Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs When the Lights Go
3 Sudan Archives Natural Brown Prom Queen
4 Gabriels Angels & Queens - Part 1
5 Danielle Ponder Some of Us Are Brave
6 Bomba Estéreo & Manu Chao Me Duele [Single]
7 Gorillaz Cracker Island
8 Ela Minus & DJ Python
9 Neal Francis Sentimental Garbage]
10 Mura Masa demon time
11 Bonobo ATK [Single]
12 Say She She Prism
13 Jockstrap I Love You Jennifer B
14 Blood Orange Four Songs
15 Automatic Excess
16 Björk Fossora
17 Little Dragon Opening The Door
18 Aidan Noell Sharevari (Feat. Nancy Whang) [Single]
19 Greentea Peng Greenzone 108
20 Kelela Washed Away [Single]
21 BARDO Polaroid Weekend [Single]
22 Thee Sacred Souls Thee Sacred Souls
23 ODESZA The Last Goodbye
24 Panda Bear & Sonic Boom Reset
25 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava

26 Nick Hakim Cometa
27 Anvil FX Estado de Choque
28 Hermanos Gutiérrez El Bueno Y El Malo
29 HAAi Baby, We’re Ascending
30 Lisa LeBlanc Chiac Disco