Radar Report 2022: Five border- breaking surprises from ESNS Radar


What if we had monitored the impact of European talent last year? Which acts broke through via radio or streaming? What was the hit of last year’s ESNS Festival? Well, actually we did track that via the ESNS Radar chart. It is the place where you can explore success outside the country of origin, based on radio airplay and streaming figures. Here are five lessons we learn from the 2022 Year-end chart:

By Menno Visser
Journalist and radio professional

1. If you’re non-UK, make a dance record

Obviously, the UK is a dominant music force in Europe. British pop star Harry Styles with ‘As It Was’ (Sony) is king of the chart, but there are no less than sixty other songs from British origin in the Top 100. There is something interesting when you look at the genres from songs of the rest of Europe inside the Top 100: two thirds of those can be labelled under dance, from Belgian dance pop act Lost Frequencies at #3 to French dance producer Gesaffelstein at #100.

Another notable fact: six of the remaining 14 entries outside the UK that are not dance pop, are famous because of the Eurovision Song Contest: for example, Italian rock stars Måneskin have even three entries in the Top 100.


2. Success can be yours without singing in English


If you’re a real phenomenon like Spanish flamenco pop singer Rosalía or Belgian pop singer Stromae you might be able to have pan European success singing in Spanish or French: we find Rosalia at #41 with ‘Despechá’ and at #88 with ‘La Fama’ (both Sony) and Stromae with ‘L’Enfer’ (Universal) at #78. But that is a real exception, like Eurovision Song Contest winner Kalush even singing in Ukrainian on ‘Stefania’ (Sony) at #79. Others, like British rapper Benzz just add some French buzzwords on ‘Je M’Apelle’ (Universal) at #46, and sing the rest in English.

But the Emerging artists chart – made for new artists whose first release was less than three years ago – is filled with no less than 22 entries of acts who sing in languages other than English. These artists mainly find success in neighbouring countries who share the same language. For example, French rapper Gazo has four entries in the Emerging chart, because his songs are liked in Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland too.

3. Rock is not dead, it lives on radio

Diving even deeper into the data, there is a distinction visible between airplay and streaming data. If we only look at the airplay data, there are six rock tracks which appear only in the airplay chart. Those are by British rock artists Foals (twice), Sam Fender, Liam Gallagher, Yungblud and Alt-J. Looking at exclusively at airplay in the Emerging artist chart, British indie rock band Wet Leg even appears five times inside the Top 30, while they don’t appear when looking exclusively at streaming.

Sam Fender

4. Win an MME Award for a brighter future

Lous & the Yakuza

Sometimes it may take a while, but laureates of the Music Moves Europe Award will ultimately find success. This award is the European Union-funded prize that celebrates European emerging artists.

Of the 2023 MME winners, Belgian rock band The Haunted Youth is already visible in the 2022 Emerging chart at #78 with ‘Broken’ (Mayway). The achievements of Spanish singer Rosalía, who won an MME in 2019, were already mentioned. Italian dance producers Meduza, MME winners in 2020, are at #44 with ‘Bad Memories’ (Universal). And Belgian hip hop act Lous And The Yakuza, MME winners in 2021, can be found twice in the Emerging chart with ‘Kisé’ at #55 and ‘Monsters’ at #58 (both Sony).

5. The ESNS Exchange programme predicts chart success

The ESNS Exchange programme checks which ESNS acts are most booked on European festivals. In 2022, Swiss R&B pop singer Priya Ragu and British post- punk band Yard Act were both the winners with eleven bookings. Their live appeal is reflected in the Emerging chart: Priya Ragu appears at #34 with ‘Illuminous’ (Warner) and Yard Act even has two entries with ‘The Overload’ at #92 and ‘100% Endurance’ at #92 (both Universal). Other acts that played ESNS 2022 which appear in the Emerging chart are British rock band Wet Leg with no less than five entries, Irish singer- songwriter Cian Ducrot and Belgian rock band The Haunted Youth. Remember, last year’s ESNS was just an online edition, so the future is even brighter this year.

The Haunted Youth

This analysis is based on data from January 1 until November 1, 2022
For methodology please visit radar.esns.nl