Since they arrived in the 1950s -- Johnny Mathis' "Greatest Hits" is largely recognized as the first greatest hits set -- hits compilations have helped listeners contextualize artists by offering an overview of their careers.
In that way, the role of greatest hits albums has shifted, with less need for them to curate a fan's listening experience. Now fans can just go to an artist's Spotify page -- which is essentially organized like a greatest hits collection -- and call up the most listened-to tracks, or dig into the deep cuts if they want.
With that, fewer young artists are issuing greatest hits sets these days; Drake has charted 186 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart and has yet to put out a hits comp, and Paramore has released five studio albums without an official singles collection.
But as evidenced by their continued chart presence, greatest hits sets still serve a purpose. When Tom Petty died last year, it wasn't "Wildflowers" or "Full Moon Fever" that rocketed up the charts, but Petty's 1993 "Greatest Hits," which flew all the way up to No. 2, a new chart high for the set. 2b1af7f3a8