One of my ongoing interests has been attempting to quantify the popularity of kids music, and I do that every week on my Kindie Week in Review show. When it comes to kids music albums, the wide variety of charts I consider -- Billboard, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby -- gives a decent overview. No chart is perfect, but the variety does give some sense of relative popularity among broad range of audiences, from those who have never heard of the word "kindie" to schools and libraries, to folks like you or me.
When it comes to individual kids music songs, however, the charts do a poorer job. The iTunes and Amazon singles charts are populated primarily with Kidz Bop renditions, songs from Disney animated movies released 20 years ago, novelty songs, and songs Amazon couldn't figure out where to place. The only chart that does a decent job of actually charting kids songs, particularly kindie songs, on a national basis, is Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live's "13 Under 13" countdown. It's a weekly look at the most popular songs on the satellite radio station. And while the folks at KPL have described the chart as much as art as quantifiable fact, the chart does have a decent relationship to what is actually being played on the station.
I've finally had a chance to compile the data from songs that hit the charts in 2012. Most of the delay is my fault (I'm already planning the 2013 chart and will be much more timely with that one), but some of the delay is due to the structure of this analysis -- it looks at every song that hit the 13U13 chart in 2012 (there were 50 in all), and sometimes those songs that entered in December 2012 didn't exit until March 2013. A couple of the songs from the 2011 list of top Kids Place Live songs -- Keller Williams' "Mama Tooted" and Todd McHatton's "I Think I'm a Bunny" -- were charting on the KPL list all the way into June 2012.
This analysis would not be possible without the weekly work of Gwyneth Butera at the Kids Place Live Fans site, so thanks, Gwyneth!
My methodology is pretty simple -- I give each song on each chart points for their ranking, 13 for #1, 12 for #2, and so on down to 1 point for being at #13. Obviously I could use other methods and weightings, but since the chart itself is not 100% based on plays, I think this is accurate enough. What it does is make clear which songs were particularly popular. As it so happens, there was a nice demarcation point between the top 13 songs and the rest of the batch. So here, then, are the top 13 kids music songs of 2012.
#1: The Board of Education - "Why Is Dad So Mad?": While much of this chart will be presented in clumps of songs because the methodology is crude and it's not worth distinguishing between songs who might have differed by 1 or 2 points in total, it was clear was this Star Wars fandom-related riff by the Seattle band was the most popular kindie song of the year.
#s 2 through 4 (alphabetical):
- Afro Circus (from Madagascar): "Afro Circus"
- OzoKidz (aka Ozomatli): "Moose on the Loose"
- Recess Monkey: "Dancing Bear"
#s 5 through 9 (alphabetical):
- Randy Kaplan: "Don't Fill Up on Chips"
- Randy Kaplan: "In a Timeout Now"
- The Okee Dokee Brothers: "Can You Canoe?"
- SteveSongs: "Flat Stanley"
- Wunmi: "Rainbow"
#s 10 through 13 (alphabetical):
- The Aquabats: "Poppin' a Wheelie"
- Brave (i.e., from Brave): "Learn Me Right"
- Lunch Money: "Spicy Kid"
- Shine and the Moonbeams: "High Five"
Finally, listed alphabetically below are the top10 artists of 2012 on Kids Place Live as judged by total points, which could reflect a single massive hit or a couple good ones. This is an even more imprecise measure -- some artists spend half their year on the charts with two or even three mid-range hits, not to mention the perennial favorites that get played once or twice a day -- but do provide some additional context.
- The Board of Education
- The Brave soundtrack
- Caspar Babypants
- Dog on Fleas
- Randy Kaplan
- Lunch Money
- The Madagascar soundtrack
- The Okee Dokee Brothers
- OzoKidz (aka Ozomatli)
- Recess Monkey