‘Fast Car’ In-Car Shows Radio and Streaming’s Hit-Making Synergy


Xperi’s DTS has revealed the most popular songs listened to in vehicles during 2023 and Q1 2024 pulled from its in-car AutoStage platform. The measurements include songs listened to over AM/FM and streamed through digital providers over the car stereo.

The DTS AutoStage’s Song Impact Report from 2023 highlights a the rejuvenation of an old hit: Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit “Fast Car.” Combs’ cover became one of the top five most listened-to songs in US vehicles for 2023, but it followed a long journey.

The Country star’s rendition of “Fast Car” initially hit the airwaves in March 2023. It started at the 10,000th spot for in-vehicle radio listeners and swiftly ascended the charts. Within five weeks, it cracked the top 100 and secured the number one position by the week of July 24.

The cover amassed more than 650,000 in-vehicle plays and had been featured on over 1,100 U.S. stations. The song maintained its momentum with program directors globally, further fueled by Grammy nominations and wins. It remained in the top 10 for 23 weeks in 2023, garnering over four million plays and ranking as the fifth most-played song in the U.S. that year.

In 2024, “Fast Car” continued to perform strongly following Combs and Chapman’s Grammys performance, staying in the top 20 and receiving over 1.6 million plays in the first quarter. Chapman’s original “Fast Car” saw a resurgence following her live Grammy performance. Initially ranked at 1,544 in in-vehicle listens, it soared to the 292nd spot by February 5.

AutoStage’s full 2023 Top 100 list can be viewed here.

In Q1 2024, the US’ top spot was taken by Jack Harlow’s “Lovin on Me,” initially popularized via TikTok, while Dua Lipa’s “Houdini” led globally. Rising Canadian superstar Tate McRae finished second on both lists with her single “Greedy.” Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” continues its long reign, finishing in the top five on both lists after being released in 2019.

Top Songs In-Car in the United States – Q1 2024

  1. Jack Harlow – “Lovin on Me”
  2. Tate McRae – “Greedy”
  3. Doja Cat – “Agora Hills”
  4. Taylor Swift – “Cruel Summer”
  5. Tyla – “Water”

Top Songs In-Car Globally – Q1 2024

  1. Dua Lipa – “Houdini”
  2. Tate McRae – “Greedy”
  3. Taylor Swift – “Cruel Summer”
  4. Jack Harlow – “Lovin on Me”
  5. Tyla – “Water”

This evolving digital landscape presents new opportunities and challenges for traditional broadcasting, driving stations to adapt and innovate in how they connect with listeners and manage content. The insights from DTS AutoStage’s extensive data collection and analysis are proving crucial as the radio industry seeks to maintain its relevance and appeal in the increasingly digital and mobile world.

Xperi SVP of Broadcast Joe D’Angelo said, “These lists chart actual sessions by in-vehicle radio listeners and are just the opening salvo of our data insights for broadcasters, which go deep into where, when, and what in-vehicle listeners are enjoying, including listener heat maps and the songs, ads, and program segments listeners enjoy the most.”

“And, because we can track radio plays for songs across all our global radio station partners, we’re able to analyze specific scenarios and trends. For example, how a song might be breaking and how the audience is responding.”


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