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Billboard Shakes Up (Disgraces) Genre Charts

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5 years ago
  • Erica
    Nov 7th, 2010


    Billboard today unveils new methodology for the long-standing Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Latin Songs
    charts. Each receive a major consumer-influenced face-lift, as
    digital download sales (tracked by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming
    data (tracked by Nielsen BDS from such services as Spotify, Muve,
    Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) will now be
    factored into the 50-position rankings, along with existing radio
    airplay data monitored by Nielsen BDS. The makeovers will enable
    these charts to match the methodology applied to Billboard’s
    signature all-genre songs ranking, the Billboard Hot 100.

    Concurrently, Hot Rock Songs, which launched as an airplay-only chart in 2009, and Rap Songs,
    in existence as a radio survey since 1989, will also include
    digital download sales and streaming data for the first time.
    The charts are now viewable on billboard.com and billboard.biz.

    In addition, Billboard is launching a new chart, R&B Songs,
    which will incorporate the same airplay/sales/streaming hybrid
    formula to rank the week’s top R&B-only (non-rap) titles.
    R&B Songs and Rap Songs will serve as 25-position distillations
    of the overall Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, highlighting the
    differences between pure R&B and rap titles in the overall,
    wide-ranging R&B/hip-hop field.
    way people consume music continues to evolve and as a result so do
    our genre charts, which now track the many new ways fans experience,
    listen to and buy music,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard
    Director of Charts. “We’re proud to be offering updated genre charts
    that better reflect the current music landscape as well as a new
    R&B Songs chart that finally shines a spotlight solely on core
    R&B acts like Frank Ocean, John Legend and Anthony Hamilton.”

    Billboard has been charting the popularity of
    R&B songs since 1942, with numerous changes in methodology
    implemented through the years. The most recent formula sports an
    almost-exclusive reliance on radio airplay. The Hot Country Songs
    chart similarly dates to 1944 and has also undergone multiple
    changes in its formula, with the most recent incarnation being one
    fueled solely by radio airplay since the advent of BDS data in 1990.

    Hot Latin Songs, meanwhile, has been based
    solely on radio airplay since its launch in 1986. In its new
    incarnation, only predominantly Spanish-language titles will appear
    on the chart. Titles mostly sung in English, which often receive
    Latin airplay and appear on the radio-based chart, are no longer
    eligible for inclusion. Dual-language songs (those recorded
    independently in both Spanish and English) will have only their
    Spanish-language airplay, sales and estimated streaming factored
    into their Hot Latin Songs rankings (see story, page 13).

    Radio charts for each of the aforementioned rankings will be
    spun off and live in Billboard’s print and/or online properties,
    each keeping its history from its first date utilizing BDS data: Rap
    Airplay (1989), Country Airplay (1990), R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay
    (1992), Latin Airplay (1994) and Rock Airplay (2009). Digital Songs
    charts for each genre, which have been in existence since 2010, will
    continue to be represented as separate rankings as well.
    The move to the Hot 100-based formula will ensure that the
    top-ranked country, R&B/hip-hop, Latin and rock titles each week
    will be the top titles listed on each genre’s songs ranking. This
    will be in line with how the Billboard 200 albums chart aligns with
    the albums charts for each corresponding genre. Because of the
    switch to new methodology, the week-to-week movements on the charts
    for some songs (in either direction) could be quite dramatic.

    Until now, only country stations contributed to the Hot
    Country Songs chart, or R&B/hip-hop stations to Hot
    R&B/Hip-Hop Songs; the same held true for Latin and rock. The
    new methodology, which will utilize the Hot 100’s formula of
    incorporating airplay from more than 1,200 stations of all genres
    monitored by BDS, will reward crossover titles receiving airplay on a
    multitude of formats. With digital download sales and streaming
    data measuring popularity on the most inclusive scale possible, it
    is only just the radio portion of Billboard chart calculations that
    includes airplay from the entire spectrum of monitored formats.

    The immediate beneficiaries of this week’s methodology change are Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Mumford & Sons.
    Swift holds down the top two slots on Hot Country Songs with
    “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Red.” Her new country
    radio single “Begin Again” jumps 37-10. The pop-crossover No. 1
    title ranks at No. 36 on Country Airplay (but also gets points
    associated with its pop-crossover play) and No. 1 on Country Digital
    Songs, while “Red” is absent from the Country Airplay list, but
    ranks No. 2 on Country Digital Songs. “Begin Again” appears at No.
    29 on Country Airplay and No. 3 on Country Digital Songs.
    Rihanna shuffles from No. 66 under the former Hot
    R&B/Hip-Hop Songs methodology all the way to No. 1 with
    “Diamonds,” buoyed by crossover pop airplay of the track as well as
    strong digital sales (No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs).
    “Diamonds” also tops the inaugural R&B Songs tally. On Rap
    Songs, PSY soars 20-1 with his current No. 2 Hot 100 hit “Gangnam
    While fun. claims the No. 1 slot
    on Hot Rock Songs with its former Alternative No. 1 and current Hot
    100 top 10 hit “Some Nights,” Mumford & Sons’ ride increased
    curiosity about their new album Babel to overwhelming
    streaming activity, placing all 12 songs from the set (as well as
    two others from the album’s deluxe version) on the chart.

    On Hot Latin Songs, Wisin & Yandel move to No. 1 with
    “Algo Me Gusta de Ti,” featuring Chris Brown and T-Pain, matching
    its Latin Airplay rank. The track is No. 3 on Latin Digital Songs.

    Nov 11th, 2010

    The final nail in the coffin for R&B music. Love Rihanna but how the hell is “Diamonds” the #1 R&B Song in the country? Foolishness dot com!

    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 8th, 2010

    Yes this is a mess.  The likes of Miguel, Brandy, and Keyshia Cole have now flown down in the charts since that market rarely gets tons of downloads.  You can pretty much forget about the Urban AC R&B artists that’ll never chart high now either.   Rihanna will probably have a #1 R&B song for every single now.  Crazy.  I would not label Diamonds as R&B, it should be in Pop.

    I guess the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart is still there so that’ll pretty much be like the old chart.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Music Forever
    Oct 11th, 2010


    ReplyCopy URL
    Sep 27th, 2011

    Trash. These pop songs disguised as country/R&B/rap/rock are now going to fuck up the charts. So stupid.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Jan 24th, 2012

    I can appreciate the logic behind the change. The consumer has easy access to every song in the digital era. It’s been weird for Billboard to claim that “these are the week’s most popular country, rock, rap or R&B songs” when the truth’s been that “these are the week’s most played songs on specific radio stations”.

    However, this change has produced messy results. A pop song is #1 on the country chart and another pop song is #1 on the R&B chart. R&B music is at a disadvantage because R&B singles are notoriously low sellers. I guess mainly hip-hop songs will be topping the R&B/ Hip-Hop chart.

    A few weeks (or even months) are needed to properly evaluate the impact of this change. The verdict for the first week: not good.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Aug 1st, 2012

    This is terrible! What the hell they were thinking!?
    They should’ve changed the rules on Dance/Club Play Songs, that chart is a joke and has no credibility!

    ReplyCopy URL
    Oct 17th, 2011

    I am so upset about this!  Billboard does this the weekend before Carrie Underwood is set to get her 13th Billboard Hot Country Song chart number 1! Now she has to settle for a Billboard Airplay number 1. So unfair!

    It seems very fishy that Country Song charts now include Pop Airplay as well as digital downloads.

    Since Taylor Swift is the biggest pop crossover artist, and only so-called country singer with significant pop airplay, she will reign number 1 on this new chart all year long. Already she benefited:  Her Lead single tanked on the country charts and peaked at 13. It is done. Yet somehow on this new chart, they factored in POP AIRPL:AY and digital downloads, so now that horrid “We are never ever ever getting back together” is now number 1 on the Hot country songs charts despite tanking on country radio. SO UNFAIR!

      All other country stars are severely disadvantaged by this new rule.    Can you imagine poor George Strait trying to get POP AIRPLAY to compete with Taylor?   He will never score another number 1 on Hot country songs, ever, under this formula. Ever.

    The rule benefits one person, and one person only: Taylor Swift, who is not country anyway, not remotely.  

    ReplyCopy URL
    Feb 12th, 2012

    I KNEW IT. I f*cking knew it. I just saw this thread now, but I knew something was up when I went online to check the Billboard Country Songs chart, and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” jumped TWENTY spots to land at number 1. First of all, that never happens on the country charts. On the pop charts, yes, but songs climb up so slowly on the country charts. And WANEGBT was on its way down already. Second, I BARELY heard WANEGBT and didn’t hear “Red” AT ALL on any radio station in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. So I was shocked to see it suddenly take the top 2 spots.

    This thread explains everything. And I agree that it’s such a sh!tty, unfair way to do the charts.

    Swift has 3 songs in the Top 10. And among those 3, the song that’s getting the most airplay (“Begin Again”) is also the one that’s charted the lowest.

    If Billboard is going to go through with this crap, they need to be STRICTER about the genres. I was pretty sure that Dustin Lynch (“Cowboys & Angels”) was gonna work his way up to #1. He was getting tons of airplay here in Los Angeles. It’s disgusting to see him slip, just so Taylor Swift can take over the top 2 spots with songs that are unabashedly pop.

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    Darlyn Dyson
    Dec 1st, 2010

    As a fan of R&B I don’t like the changes at all. The changes are just about as worse as the Grammy changes.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Feb 12th, 2012

    I’ve been using Mediabase to check on the country charts ever since this bullsh*t took effect, but I decided to visit the Billboard website tonight. WANEGBT is still the #1 country song, which is funny because it hasn’t been getting any radio airplay in WEEKS. Heck, it’s not even on the Country Airplay charts anymore. Hasn’t been there for a loooooooong time.

    So how is it possible that the so-called “#1 country song” isn’t even getting any airplay or support from country radio? Billboard is so full of sh*t. 

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