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10 Biggest Summer Music Money Makers

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Well, congratulations recording industry: You got your Song of the Summer back last year.

After Carly Rae Jepsen shrugged off major labels and radio and let online listening drive Call Me Maybe into the collective U.S. psyche in Summer 2012 -- and Psy leapfrogged the entire U.S. recording industry from Korea to follow it up with Gangnam Style -- Robin Thicke, T.I., Pharrell and Universal-owned Interscope Records restored the status-quo with the infectious beat of Blurred Lines.

It was one of those rare moments during the past few years when radio actually debuted the song much of the country was listening, talking about and hearing out of cars, storefronts and boardwalk/theme park rides last summer. Irrelevance averted, but not by much. We're still talking about an industry that was not only forced to recognize Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' independently released Can't Hold Us near the top of last summer's charts, but was compelled to give the duo a whole lot of hardware at the Grammys for a song and album the big music machine didn't help produce or promote.

Blurred Lines, meanwhile, is now remembered less for its spot on last year's summer soundtrack than it is for ushering in Miley Cyrus' Bangerz era and putting "twerk" into the vocabulary of every mom in Ellen-watching America.

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It hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but in the wake of its MTV's Video Music Awards zenith it fell behind Macklemore's Thrift Shop to No. 2 on the year-end chart -- just ahead of Imagine Dragons' Radioactive.

Is that a bad thing? Not really. It's an indication listeners themselves have a greater say in what is and isn't the song of their summer than ever before. With various media and streams of distribution at their disposal, fans can push songs to the top of the charts through avenues their parents don't even know about.

Before this, summer songs were not only hand-selected by record labels, but were often so cynically plotted that they actually contained the word "summer." Billboard compiled its list of the Top 10 summer songs of all time this year, giving us a reminder of what summer once sounded like and what our seasonal playlist may never look like again.

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