Oct
15

How Billboard’s New Chart Rules Affect YOU

October 15, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Causes  //  67 Comments

When Billboard announced new rules on how the songs on their “Hot 100″ country chart would be tabulated, it caused a tizzy amongst folks who pay attention to these sorts of things. But the average Joe fans out there may have a little trouble understanding why the issue is something they should care about, and how it could negatively affect the music they enjoy. Make no mistake about it, I and many other folks who keep an eye on music charts as part of our jobs believe that these new rules could cause the largest wholesale power shift to superstars that music has ever seen, while sending the already existing trend of genres coagulating into on big mono-genre into hyperspeed.

There are many losers in the new Billboard format, and what I have been struggling with since they were announced is to name the winners. On the surface, they are the superstar names like Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons, but at the same time the new rules take away the power of these artists to control the amount of attention their music receives over time. The new rules render the the music “single” virtually irrelevant since they include digital download data for songs that haven’t been released in single form.

Below are detailed explanations of how the new Billboard chart rules could affect you as a music fan.

As Fans of Major Country Music Stars with No Crossover Appeal

Not just small, up-and-coming artists will be affected by the new rules. Huge, major country music mega-franchises are feeling the effects already. Taylor Swift songs rocketed up the charts to #1, #2, and #10 when the rules were implemented, while Miranda Lambert’s latest single “Fastest Girl In Town” for example went for #9 to #16, Jason Aldean’s “Take A Little Ride” went from #1 to #5, and Toby Keith got knocked out of the Top 25 all together.

If the new rules hold, you can almost guarantee labels and artists will begin to produce more “crossover” songs to take advantage of the revised format, meaning more pop-oriented country songs, more pop songs that call themselves country, and more non-country artists “going country” to take advantage of the new rules.

Meanwhile artists as far ranging as George Strait and Alan Jackson, to Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert will have trouble getting their singles to attain chart success. Only artists with crossover appeal, or top tier superstar artists who can really drive digital sales will get any advantage from the new format, and will likely completely monopolize the chart with most or all of the songs off a new album once it is released, just like Mumford & Sons is doing in rock right now (see below), and Taylor Swift will do in a couple of weeks when she releases her new album Red.

It is a very real possibility that upon Red’s release, Taylor Swift will own every single top spot on Billboard’s country chart. Literally she could have #1 thru #16 sewed up because of the amount of downloads the songs and album will receive upon release.

Mainstream artists still in the developmental phase of their career can pretty much kiss goodbye any chance of having a breakout single rocket up the charts. The top of the charts will be so locked down with crossover artists, and the middle of the charts filled with names that used to be at the top, it will be nearly impossible to break through. The one exception seen on the charts so far is Florida Georgia Line’s song “Cruise”. Florida Georgia Line, like Taylor Swift, is signed to Big Machine Records, clearly one big winner under the new rules, at least on the surface.

As Fans Of Independent/ Underground Music

I bristle at the idea that none of this matters to folks who don’t listen to the radio or mainstream music, that this is a bunch of hubbub not worth caring about because their favorite bands don’t have a shot on the charts anyway. That’s like saying you don’t care that 20% of the country doesn’t have jobs because you do. If you are a fan of music, and music being better than worse, then these rules will effect you. Sure, not everybody needs to get exercised over the issue or get involved if that’s not their thing, but to get annoyed that other people are or to act like the issue is irrelevant is an exercise in musical elitism.

Everyone has a right to good music, and every artist with true artistic talent has a right to make a living off that music. Fair, equitable charts are one tool to help make that possible. Charts that pander to incumbent superstars and crossover material get in the way of talent development and discovery by both fans and industry.

And the truth is, Billboard’s charts do matter to many of independent/underground fans’ favorite artists. When Hank Williams III’s Damn Right, Rebel Proud debuted at #2 on Billboard, upstaging albums from Taylor Swift and Darius Rucker, this was a huge victory for underground country. Red Dirt albums from folks like Cody Canada and Jason Eady have recently received chart play, and the elevated name recognition from both fans and industry the accolade conveys. Maybe one of the best feel good stories in country music in 2012 is Will Hoge’s song “Even If It Breaks You Heart” that became a #1 hit for Eli Young Band. This song and many others written by honest, hard working, and relatively obscure songwriters will likely never get the recognition they did before under the new format.

The royalties a small-time songwriter can receive even off of one song can set them up for life. It can take a struggling artist from being poor and having to work part-time jobs, to being able to make moderate living off of music. It can also take a musician already making a moderate living off of music to the point where they can afford to raise a family, pay for health health insurance, own instead of rent their home, etc. And I don’t want to hear anyone say they want their favorite artists to stay poor so they continue to write good songs. Being poor should be a choice for an artist to make if they decide that is where they draw their inspiration from, not some benevolent state-of-being foisted upon them by the industry.

The fight might not be yours and that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean the fight is not worth waging to make the overall music world a better place.

As Fans of Rock, R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin, & Other Genres

That’s right, the counting of crossover radio plays isn’t just affecting country, but other genres as well. You thought Taylor Swift benefited from a chart boost under the new rules? Rihanna’s song “Diamonds” went from #66 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart before the changes, all the way to #1. Why? Because it is being played on pop radio too.

And the same monopolizing of charts that we see in country with Taylor Swift is happening in the rock charts, only worse. Mumford & Sons have the #5, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23 songs on the rock chart right now. Literally every song on their new album Babel is charting. This is based on the strength of digital downloads, but only one of the songs, “I Will Wait” has actually been released as a single.

As Fans of Taylor Swift

Oh, so you think that Taylor Swift is the big winner under this new system? In some respects she is, but in others this brings the country pop princess under renewed scrutiny.

First off, Taylor Swift doesn’t need the additional attention having multiple songs at the top of the country charts brings her. She’s already in the public eye, enjoying the utmost exposure any artist will ever get from media. Her new album Red will be the best-selling debut in 2012, trust me, and probably by 200,000-400,000 copies.

So what does Taylor Swift’s chart success bring her? Additional scrutiny. What are the two big knocks on Taylor Swift? That she can’t sing and she’s not country; the latter already at the top of public debate because she released a succinctly pop song and another “dub-step-inspired” tune off her new album. Taylor Swift doesn’t have to worry about creating exposure for herself, she has to worry about managing the exposure she’s already getting, lest that exposure turns into overexposure, backlash, and burnout of her brand. The new system doesn’t allow her to do that because it takes away the power of the radio single.

Numerous times in the past, Taylor Swift’s career has been diagnosed with overexposure. This happened with Taylor shortly after the 2010 Grammy Awards; the whole off-pitch singing situation with Stevie Nicks that led to her panning by critics across the country and her writing the song “Mean”. Afterwards, even the “Country Music Anti-Christ,” Taylor’s label owner Scott Borchetta admitted she was over-exposed, and was happy she was headed to Australia for a tour, and then on a hiatus from the public eye.

The Australian dates had been planned all along, but it actually worked out great…as far as the talking head of Taylor Swift, that one’s gone into hiding for a little bit, at least on this continent.

Another overexposure moment happened in September of 2009 when Kanye West accosted Swift at the MTV Awards. Just in August, Spencer Cain of StyleCaster asked if Taylor Swift has become overexposed from her previous episodes and her recent headlines for dating an 18-year-old Kennedy son.

When Taylor Swift’s new album Red is released and every single song charts under the new Billboard protocols, it could cause massive negative exposure to Taylor Swift’s career. Meanwhile the benefits Taylor Swift receives from her chart success are only parliamentary, etching her name as the best-selling songstress of this moment in time, but not effecting her sales, or her success overall.

Sign the petition to stop Billboards Multi-Format Airplay Rule

67 Comments to “How Billboard’s New Chart Rules Affect YOU”

  • Bill werde wants it to be a popularity contest..You see that with pop: Madonna, Katy Perry, Gaga, Nicki Minaj…

    But country music fan bases are supportive of each other.

    The Big 3 Men: Waylon, Willie and Cash..Could you imagine if they lived under these rules. Instead of Being friends and making legendary music, it would been a civil war between fan bases.

    The Big 3 women: Dolly, Loretta, and Tammy…Friends, but the war would of been awful too amongst fan bases.

       5 likes

    • Good point. The fan bases of Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood are already in a battle royale. This could happen to other artists too, especially if albums are released close to each other or on the same day. Instead of Billboard’s chart taking the broad perspective, it will become a battlefield of competing projects.

         4 likes

      • How did Bill Werde become chief of billboard..

        I watched him on youtube speak and he is such an idiot…

        His claims:
        Vinyl albums and cassetes are the worst things ever invented.

        Napster ruined album sales in 2000. Though he doesn’t seem to remember how country albums sales were huge during the 2000′s.

        The cd sales reached it’s height with nsync and backstreet boys era…Wrong AGAIN…

        Country Artists can somehow give up it’s tradition and change to pop music easilly.

           1 likes

  • THANK YOU for posting another article about this and including the petition. I’ve noticed more and more radio stations addressing this issue. I hope more and more fans, artists come forward.

       3 likes

    • Also I think this took many stations, labels, and fans by surprised.

      I think more and more artists and country head labels will help and speak out against this mess.

      This chart should of been #2….Airplay will always be #1.

         1 likes

      • I agree. That’s why there hasn’t been a ton of press on this yet. It just sorta…happened with no lead up to it.

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      • The public will always lead towards the chart that they feel gives the most accurate perspective of public sentiment. The Airplay chart is mostly an industry tool. I believe saying “oh we’ll just pay attention to the Airplay chart” is giving Billboard the easy way out. They should get the “Hot Country” chart right too. There are issues with the Airplay chart as well, namely the way radio consolidation has made the perspective of this chart narrow. Billboard got some things right with the new rules that would have opened up the charts to a broader perspective on music. It’s the Multi-Format Airplay rule and the way songs that are not singles are being represented in the charts that are affecting the new format negatively.

           2 likes

        • Exactly. I have no problem with the digital downloads and streaming being included. But multi-format airplay on a genre-specific chart should have far less weight than genre-radio airplay. Plus, even the downloads and streaming aspects should have far less weight on the genre charts.

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  • Miranda Lambert has no Platiuninum songs, George Strait Has none, Toby Keith his biggest is “Red Solo Cup”….

    How is downloading songs going to help artists..
    Plus a lot of taylor downloads are probaly pop teeny boppers.
    Downloads should be 5% at the most

       1 likes

    • Tony- agree with you. Most country artists are not big digital sellers– with the exception being Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan (lately), Carrie, and Lady A.

      Even Brad Paisley is not a big Digital download seller. His duet Remind Me with Carrie Underwood is almost 2x platinum, but that is because it was a big hit and had the help of Carrie’s fanbase to buy the song too. Normally, he is not a real big seller, and I do not see Brad EVER pandering to pop radio or remixing his songs. He is too classy for that and has too much integrity, so he will lose out on this chart too.

      Can you see Toby Keith remixing his songs for Pop Airplay? Hell to the no. lol

      Would King George ever remix his songs to pander to Pop radio so he can compete with Taylor Swift? God no, and it makes me wonder if this was part of the reason he has had enough and is partially retiring. Don’t blame him. His #1 Streak is over due to this Tayor Swift rule.

      Now that is terrible: Strait worked 30 years for his number 1 streak, and it is now over as he cannot compete under this new chart. Thanks, Taylor swift.

         1 likes

      • Calm down. This is not a Taylor Swift rule and, as is pointed out in the article, the change will negatively impact her.

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        • How the crap will it negatively impact her? She has three songs in the top ten and is going to chart her entire album, probably from number 1-16. It revived her dead flop single and it is going to stay there until pop stops playing it, which isn’t going to happen soon – it hasn’t peaked there yet. This rule basically only benefits HER.

             1 likes

          • Well, that’s it exactly. She has a number one hit with a song country music fans didn’t like, which has led to a backlash.

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  • Carrie Underwood fans are the maddest right now (I can’t blame them, this stole a number-one hit for them), but that is pretty common between the Carrie and Taylor stanbases – however, I predict full uproar when her dubstep song tops the chart and her album drops. Country music is rather against heavy electronic influences in their music (I would argue that is why Brad Paisley’s “Welcome to the Future” broke his string of number-one hits) and this song is based pretty much around them. I predict, in the event of that, full chaos on Twitter with a temporary alliance with R&B fans in opposition of this rule change (who are equally outraged because their core acts are just as hurt as country acts are) causing Billboard to think twice. It may be wishful thinking, but it very well could happen.

    As for right now, Billboard has a few key arguments. For one, “Blown Away” is a mixed-bag to begin with because the instrumentals are not country at all but the lyrical and vocal style are decidedly country. Right now Billboard can use the ‘crazy stanbase’ and genre arguments to their advantage. However, when acts like Brad Paisley (who had a running string of ten consecutive number-one singles as recently as a few years ago), Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts, and Blake Shelton, all of whom have sizeable fanbases INEVITABLY get screwed over by this and miss out on the top ten or top five entirely, those arguments will collapse. This hurts them the most, and they will certainly try and stop it, be it publicly through Twitter or personally through their label.

    As for Florida Georgia Line, that only helps them in the short term – it will have a hard time topping the chart in the future. While “Cruise” is climbing the airplay chart very fast and selling a lot of copies, it will either top the airplay chart or come very close. However, since the song noticeably utilizes country instruments in its arrangement (albeit covered up by guitars and drums, but they are still there and easy to hear) it will have no shot at topping the chart unless a pop-neutered remix removing the guitars and country instruments is released.

    Finally, I have a solid case that all people should make to Billboard – recently, an employee on Twitter said a crossover artist releasing a country mix would ONLY have country play and sales counted for the country chart. Now, the case can irrefutably be made with mainstream sources that WANEGBT is in fact a pure pop song (no media outlet besides Billboard has defined it as such, actually), and thus should only count sales of the ‘country’ mix of WANEGBT (zero, since it hasn’t and won’t be released) and country airplay (next-to-none). Accordingly, the proper result would be for the song to drop off the chart entirely. Billboard has thus far ignored this idea (their argument is based entirely on the flawed assumption that WANEGBT is country), but they can’t ignore it forever.

       1 likes

    • Eric C- well said. Once Miranda’s fans and Brad’s fans, Jason’s fans, etc- all see how this rule is negativley impacting them– they will be mad too. I don’t think people understand the rule and it hasn’t impacted them yet. But it will. Just wait.

      Also– CMT Is misleading the Fans and readers in their recent article on Taylor’s 3 Top 10 hits. They told the fans that only Streaming and Digital sales count, but conveniently left out the controversial element– POP AIRPLAY. So the fans think this is a good thing and have no clue. Wow.

      Billboard is picking on Carrie’s fans and Brandy’s fans (for R&B chart mess) because he wants to lash out at anyone he can to deflect blame from his own guilt.

      But the truth is– this is the one time Carrie’s fans have a right to be pissed, and they are not acting crazy. They are acting exactly as a fanbase should act that just got screwed out of Carrie’s #13th number one, for no justifiable reason.

      Also– the Timing of this rule change is highly suspect. Why do it the VERY WEEK Carrie’s song was to hit #1? Seems like a cheap shot to Carrie and her fans, and also to help Taylor even more since her album drops in 2 weeks…so she will use all this buzz to help her sell more albums. Unreal.

         4 likes

      • Imporant to note that CMT Is misleading the Fans and readers in their recent article on Taylor’s 3 Top 10 hits. They told the fans that only Streaming and Digital sales count, but conveniently left out the controversial element– POP AIRPLAY. So the fans think this is a good thing and have no clue. Wow.

        CMT needs to tell FAns the truth! Everyone deserves to know the whole truth about this rule and how it affects their favorite artists.

        Misleading the public is the worst thing you can do.

        Thanks to this site for being honest and sharing info.

           1 likes

        • half of all those cmt taylor fans are one person.

             3 likes

        • CMT’s head blogger Alison Bonaguro is the biggest Taylor Swift cheerleader you will find.

          I agree the timing is suspect. There’s no intuitive reason to change the formula now, except that Taylor Swift is about to release an album, the CMA’s are in 2 weeks, and the voting is going on right now. I have no idea if this was a factor but it’s hard to not think otherwise. At the same time, we have no proof of a Taylor Swift conspiracy, we can only assume, but Billboard made it easy for us to do that with the timing.

          I think folks need an explanation from Billboard of why now, and who came up with the decision. Was the industry queried for their input, and who?

             2 likes

          • I think it’s reaching a bit to call this a Taylor Swift/ Big Machine conspiracy – not just the country chart rules were changed. WANEGBT is one of her biggest ever hits without this change (just not on the country chart). Her label were instead pushing Begin Again on country radio and it was getting good updates.

               0 likes

          • Reading Alison Bonaguro for me is much like reading Farce The Music’s “Reviews By Brittney” even though Britney is a 14 yr old fictional character.Just saying!

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        • Taylor’s promo singles weren’t officially sent to any radio stations in any format. Their success is almost entirely down to digital downloads. The problem is that Billboard are independently determining songs’ genres.

             0 likes

      • Timing is very suspect – they did it AFTER Jason Aldean (also a UMG act under Capitol) had topped the chart, but before Carrie (a Sony act under Arista) had topped it. Needless to say this REEKS of Scott Borchetta, the country music Anti-Christ in the literal sense of the word now. He’s admitted it is a pop record but doesn’t care since ‘country’ means nothing to him.

        I don’t think Billboard thought it through pretty well, since Carrie has a very vehement base. But UMG must have wanted it to chart high for a long period of time. Taylor is their cash cow, and they realize how quickly Faith Hill went downhill when “Cry” failed to enter the top-ten – the album flopped and only did good on AC. They do not want to repeat that classic Nashville mistake and probably pushed for a system like this so EVERYTHING Taylor releases tops the charts, be it a promotional single or a pop-centric single.

        Billboard’s fatal flaw here is that they pissed off two formats at once – R&B and Country. True R&B fans/acts don’t appreciate having Rihanna top their chart, and even ‘country’ fans/acts don’t appreciate a pop single topping their chart. When it screws over

           0 likes

        • acts like Paisley or Aldean, there will be outrage. Paisley will probably be first – his single (which I really like) is going to miss the top spot because of it. Why? Paisley is far too country to chart on pop or HAC. There will be blood, I am sure.

             0 likes

        • Jason Aldean is NOT a “Capitol act under UMG.” He’s on Broken Bow Records which is a wholly independent label with SonyRED distribution (the same company that distributes Thirty Tigers releases).

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          • Alright, my bad – shouldn’t have looked to Wikipedia for that

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  • If I understand the changeover correct, couldnt us fans of independent country music be able to manipulate the charts in the same way that pop music is? I remember a few Christmas’ ago, they had a “chart takeover” in the UK when they were pushing to make some X Factor song the number one song during the holiday and someone created an alternative idea of getting enough people to download a Rage Against The Machine track to be number one (the song escapes me but it was off the first album) and the Rage song actually ended up being the number 1 song for that week on the charts. Couldnt we take to spotify, itunes, amazon, etc and download, or more importantly (and free) stream said songs by American Aquarium, Dwight Yoakam, Justin Townes Earle, the new Waylon album, etc etc and take back the charts? It will give the artists a boost in the ratings they wouldnt get before by not being on Clear Channel stations, and may even get thrown in a rotation here or there on the few stations not owned by CC that look at the charts as stuff to play. Why stand here and complain about how it sucks when we can get our hands dirty and help some artists with this new way.

       4 likes

    • Great point, and this is one of the benefits of the new system, and why we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to Billboard’s new rules. Taking into consideration downloads, plays on Spotify, etc. not only evens the playing field for independent artist, but makes the chart a more accurate reflection of public sentiment. The problem is with the Multi-format rule, and rating songs not released as “singles” by the artist.

         1 likes

      • Perhaps this will lead to more artists writing albums opposed to songs. Some artists you can tell write three songs made for the radio and the rest are just filler tracks, now they may be more inclined to write a full album of good material as more tracks are to chart? However, I think that this could really be used to help the independent artists out if they know how to work the system. One can expect that Swift will dominate the chart when her new album drops, but some songs will dip off now and again as others are pushed. Having a semi organized group of people (you, XXX, No Depression etc etc) all agreeing to push a certain artist or song and have readers download, stream etc can really skyrocket some artists that deserve it. The great part about spotify is that you can just mute it and have the song play on a loop and just let it rack up hits. Cheating yes, but hell the majors have been cheating since day one.

           1 likes

  • A solution good points selfreliable.

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  • The fact that nobody can make it to #1 without Pop airplay is just not correct. 2 months ago before Taylor Swift released her current new music Carrie Underwood was the only Artist that was receiving cross-over airplay with her song Good Girl which would have been #1 on this new chart at that time. Eric Church’s “Springsteen” and Luke Bryans “Drunk On You” would have made it to #1 on this new chart without Pop Airplay. Taylor Swift isn’t always going to be having a single out. This chart measures Popularity and NOT the #1 airplay only. There are still 2 charts available, the same two charts the industry has always used to measure airplay only and award #1 songs. This is just another chart that is more forward thinking that measures Popularity of hits regardless of airplay only. If the Dixie Chicks released a song right now, they would finally have another hit despite Radio banning them. I see this as a good thing to those like Colt Ford, Jamey Johnson etc who can sell music but can’t get airplay.

       1 likes

    • Steve– I disagree with you completely! Jamey Johnson is not a big digital download seller and he gets ZERO POP AIRPLAY. So how on earth will this rule help him? He will be eaten alive in digital download sales by Taylor, and he will never get pop airplay, so it is a lose lose situation for him.

      At least country radio plays him sometimes, thank God.

      But under this rule, Jamey Johnson, Colt Ford, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley, etc- will never be able to score a #1 hit or even a top 10 hit.

      Taylor will be dominating these charts for YEARS, and not just the #1 position. She already has 3 songs on the chart in the first week, and only 1 of those songs is a radio hit. So just wait until her album drops– all 16 of her songs will chart and occupy the 1-16 slots on country radio.

      How, exactly, is Jamey Johnson and Colt Ford supposed to get Pop Airplay and Massive digital sales to help them out on this chart?

      They robbed Peter to give to Paul (Pop radio) so now country radio has no power– and Pop radio does.

      Either way– Jamey Johnson, Josh Turner, George Strait, Brad, Eric Church, etc- all lose.

      Even Carrie Underwood loses out as she has Zero Pop Airplay for most of her songs as she won’t pop remix, nor will Miranda Lambert.
      Miranda and Carrie were already both screwed on the chart in its first week, by Taylor, as neither Carrie nor Miranda has pop airplay.

      This rule hurts everyone except Taylor. I feel sorry for Jamey Johnson, Scotty McMCreery, Jana Kramer, Colt Ford, and all the newbies trying to break in on the charts now. Good luck with that. lol

         0 likes

      • Theresa, you are out of touch thinking that Taylor Swift is the only one benefitting. Heck, Hunter Hayes is about to have a song getting Pop airplay, Carrie Underwood is currently at #46 on the HAC chart. Just because Taylor has brand new music out now doesn’t mean it will always be this way. Lady A, The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts, etc all have had crossover airplay throughout their chart histories.

        Pop Airplay will only matter when someone in the top 40 is getting crossover play. Go back and take a look at the past charts BEFORE Taylor released her lead single, Carrie Underwood was the ONLY Artist on the charts getting crossover airplay at that time with Good Girl. Had this chart been in place then, SHE would have been the sole beneficiary.

        As far as Colt & Scotty and Jamey etc, Scotty’s song would have peaked higher on this chart due to sales being incorporated. Colt Ford actually has his first charting single on THIS chart thanks to digital sales because he is receiving little or no airplay. He certainly would never have a top 40 hit on the other two charts. So yes this chart has benefitted him. Facts are facts. Alan Jackson hasn’t had a #1 hit on the other two charts in years, why act like all of the sudden he’s irrelevant now because of this chart. He was getting less airplay with each single release and not doing well on the other charts long before this one came into play.

           0 likes

        • You’re not taking account the future. No, Taylor Swift will not always have a single out… But when its time to add new talent to your label, are they gonna sign a Chris Young or Sunny Sweeney who will do fine on country but nowhere else, or are they gonna cash in and sign a pop princess or pretty boy band? Sure, maybe right now, this very moment there are enough “country” country stars to compete… But Taylor and Flatts clones will be the bees knees to sign now and will take over the charts. I don’t think Hank done it this way.

             1 likes

          • The same people dominating this new chart are the same ones dominating the 2 airplay charts. If Taylor doesn’t have new music out then Carrie, Lady A, Jason, Luke, Eric , Blake etc will all still be at the top of this new chart. Take away the new Taylor songs and the chart is pretty much right on with the songs that are the most popular right now. However, some people that have songs that are selling well that radio isn’t playing are going to have an opportunity to chart based on the songs popularity like the Colt Ford song or maybe a future Dixie Chicks release that radio has banned.

               0 likes

          • When signing a new act, labels are concerned with potential sales, not chart positions. So this shouldn’t have an impact.

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  • Thank you SOOO much for this great article and for being on top of this! It feels good to be on the same side as most of you all here on this blog, as a Carrie fan. ha ha

    I am so upset for so many reasons, but mostly because this rule made my Grammy cry today. She is a big George Strait fan, and is 93 years old. When she read the Billboard rule, and realized King George’s #1 streak is over on Billboard due to this new “Taylor Made” Swift rule, she literally cried.

    In that moment– I wanted to punch Bill Erde and Scott Borchetta for making my Grandmother cry. :(

    RIP Country music charts.

       6 likes

  • One thing that seems to be getting lost in the discussion is that while Billboard is the most well-known chart, Mediabase is more widely used within the radio business. Countdown shows like Bob Kingsley, Kix Brooks, Lon Helton, Crook & Chase, et al use Mediabase, not Billboard. And the station I work for – along with many others – rely on Mediabase to determine how often to play currents.

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    • I totally understand that MediaBase has their charts and that the Billboard Airplay chart is still around, but as you pointed out, these are industry tools for a narrow portion of the population, while Billboard is supposed to be for everyone, to follow their favorite artists and see how they’re doing and to discover new music that is on the rise.

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      • I think the Billboard Airplay chart will no longer be just an industry tool. Over time, country music fans will increasingly use the airplay chart as a substitute for the main country chart.

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  • The Grateful Dead

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  • Latest Billboard Update: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/photo…pdate_1015.pdf

    No mention of the new chart, guess that’s mid-week only.

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  • There are serious problems with the new chart rules. However, blaming Scott Borchetta or Taylor Swift is slightly hysterical. Swift will need country radio again some day but, right now, she is breaking through internationally, not chasing a country number one. If she were chasing a country number one, she certainly wouldn’t have released WANEGBT as her lead single.

    The never-ending Carrie v Taylor discussion is ridiculous – they are both talented and each have something worthwhile to offer. So much pettiness and vitriol in comment sections about them.

       0 likes

    • They tried to force it on country radio with the hourly plays on the first day and it flopped after a massive debut. For a major ‘country’ act, having your lead single flop on your ‘core’ format is NOT a good sign, so there is reasonable speculation that UMG/Big Machine/Scott Borchetta pushed for a rule change to help their artists.

      As for Taylor, I don’t think she is talented at all. Carrie doesn’t write her own songs that often, but at least she doesn’t have to lip-sync or correct her pitch with machines while performing. But nobody here is saying SHE pushed for it – some of us are saying HER LABEL did.

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      • “but at least she doesn’t have to lip-sync or correct her pitch with machines while performing”

        Are you accusing Taylor of lip-syncing or pitch-correcting with machines while performing? If that is the case, then why do you think her performances are imperfect? If she really were lip-syncing or pitch-correcting during performances, then you would never know about her vocal imperfections.

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        • Point I’ve made 100 times. Either you use Auto-tune and lip-sync and your vocals are perfect, or you don’t and they’re not. There’s no middle ground, or doing both at the same time.

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        • She clearly lipsynced at the VMA’s this year and there was speculation she did so at the 2008 ACMAs (due to her microphone making no noise while completely submerged in water) and the 2008 AMAs (when she sang “White Horse” but her lips didn’t fully match up to the words). So she has done that at least once, at award shows – not that it other artists don’t do it (remember Scotty McCreary lipsyncing at an awards show or the parade)? She has auto-tuned at award shows in the past, and when that has failed at one point (the infamous Grammy performance) it has since been used as evidence that she uses pitch correction at least some of the time. I can’t judge on concerts since I don’t go to her shows and don’t watch them on YouTube.

          Basically, my guess is she sometimes uses correction/lipsyncing at award shows but not at her live shows (my mother and aunt can attest to that – she opened for Brad Paisley once and she was horrible, according to them). It isn’t really inconsistent as it is a rather common practice for pop singers to lip sync.

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          • She CLEARLY lip-synced at the VMAs? Apparently, it’s only “clear” to you. Regarding the 2008 AMA’s, that performance of “White Horse” was riddled with imperfect vocals. Do you have any evidence of these assertions or are you trying to pass of your speculations as fact? Do you have any idea how damaging it would be to her career if she is ever caught lip-syncing? Bad vocals in the Grammys did not even dent her popularity. On the other hand, you can bet that getting caught lip-syncing would destroy her career, as it would demolish the main thing that her fans value about her: her authenticity. Given this tradeoff, do you think that Taylor would be stupid enough to lip-sync at award shows (or at any show)?

            And if she does Auto-tune at award shows, then why do you see vocal imperfections in almost every award show that she performs in?

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    • This is not a tay vs carrie discussion. It is a genre discussion. If tay releases a pop album she will still be on the country charts. Why?

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  • I signed the petition, This is a such a crock of shit.

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  • @Eric – Look it up; I said there was SPECULATION, I never said there was definitive proof of that one. Google “2008 amas taylor swift lip sync” (no quotes in the actual search) and you will see commentary on Yahoo, the 9510, and Reuters. I never said anything was clear and since I have no intention of listening to her music I can’t personally confirm it… But the speculation WAS there. As for her fans, they wouldn’t care if she lipsyncs – as long as they feel she is ‘one of them’ and is making music they can relate to, they will listen to her. They didn’t care about the Grammy performance, which was blamed on a ‘technical issue’.

    As for auto-tuning or pitch correction, it can’t correct everything. It has its limitations – it can cover up vocal limitations, but not make someone sound like some amazing, perfect singer.

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    • They didn’t care about her Grammy performance because although the performance was bad, it was HONEST. Taylor’s fans love her because of her HONESTY and AUTHENTICITY. Being caught lip-syncing would completely destroy that image.

      As for auto-tuning: if you look at videos of her performing, you will find that her award show performances are generally her worst, and her performances to small audiences (without any microphone) are her best. This seems to destroy your auto-tune theory.

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      • Authenticity and honesty have nothing to do with it; they like her because her music appeals to them. They are mostly pop fans who love the type of bubblegum pop she releases, and many of them are also ‘Beliebers’ or fans of other pop acts.

        As for Taylor, if she was such as authentic and honest artist she wouldn’t be pushing her pop music as country music and she wouldn’t be promoting herself as a country act in the first place. She is certainly more blunt in songwriting than usual but she simply is not country.

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        • “They are mostly pop fans who love the type of bubblegum pop she releases, and many of them are also ‘Beliebers’ or fans of other pop acts.”

          Ugh, this is so patronizing. She has a much broader fanbase than that.

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          • Well, it’s her base, and it is a pretty strong one. Considering teenage girls are one of, if not the biggest album buyers, which is why boybands like One Direction or people like Justin Bieber sell craploads of albums. That’s why every single she releases tops iTunes, or why every album she has made has sold over 4 million copies in an era where you are lucky if you go platinum – she has unified that base behind her, just like Britney Spears (who had a million-selling debut week) Backstreet Boys (who had two million-selling debut weeks out of only 16 in history) and N’Sync (who holds the record with 2.4 million albums sold in their first week, and holds the second-highest mark as well with 1.9 million albums sold) did in the 90s. Teen, bubblegum pop sells, and Taylor Swift has managed to appeal to that base in the same way that led to massive teen pop smashes in the 90s.

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          • I don’t think you have any idea about her fan base if you think that her fans view her like they view Justin Bieber or Britney Spears. The teenage girls you are referring to may think of Justin Bieber as “hot” and “fun”, but they consider Taylor Swift as the real deal. To them, Taylor is “one of them”. Her authenticity is her key selling point.

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        • Her music appeals to her fans BECAUSE they know that it’s coming from her authentic life experiences that they can relate to. They consider her an honest storyteller who has maintained an emotional connection with the fans despite having become tremendously famous and wealthy.

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          • And who does it appeal to? Teenage girls, for the most part, or pop fans. Look at this review of her first album:

            http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/taylor-swift-taylor-swift/

            It clearly identifies what her base was early on. They are who got her popular, and they will keep her popular until she stops making music they can relate to. To be frank, it is a brilliant marketing strategy on the part of Big Machine, and it has worked like a charm, but it doesn’t change what her base is and who she emotionally connects with – girls, mostly teenagers or 20-somethings. There are certainly plenty of exceptions, but that is her base.

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  • The problem I see with this is the fact that they are imposing distinctions that just are not there. Internet radio, for the most part, doesn’t try to sell formats, and in some case, such as pandora, exposes just how arbitrary they are. But billboard is taking those raw numbers, and funneling them into somewhere they weren’t at in the first place.

    And as for the idea of an organized push to get a certian artist to the top of the boards, I think it’s a great idea, but choosing a artist would be a problem. My vote would go to Hellbound Glory, but I feel like there would be some anger from artists about that kind of favoritism. The other thing would be, as cornball as it sounds, to get somebody to do a “South Gonna Do It Again” type of song. But if these rules stay the same, I would take part in a drive like that if somebody puts in together.

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  • Trig said: “Being poor should be a choice for an artist to make if they decide that is where they draw their inspiration from, not some benevolent state-of-being foisted upon them by the industry.”

    Gosh, that sounds exactly like Obamanomics to me! Maybe a question about these Billboard Chart changes will come up in tonight’s Presidentail debate…(lol)

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    • Trust me, I don’t subscribe to Obamanomics, or any political creed for that matter.

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  • [...] I just like that the Carrie vs Taylor war continues with the fans.   [...]

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    • i wouldn’t mind seeing taylor and carrie settle this in a wrestling match clothing optional.

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  • i just signed the petition.(such a bullsh** concept)

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  • “We need a country music Jesus to come and save us all” – Eric Church

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    • As Eric Church has said, that line was written in sarcasm.

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  • Anybody thought of the fact that Spotify streaming is now included could really be used to manipulate the charts. Ever think of the idea that these record companies can come up with a way to set spotify on a constant loop on a song on many different accounts…

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  • Jon, since there are ways to know if a ‘record label manipulated the charts through streaming’ (the IP of the streaming devices), It’d be easier than ever to prove manipulation.

    Not that I couldn’t see it happening. I just think that a hell of a lot of the under 25 aged fans who fall in the Swift demographic stream their music rather than buy it. Many who even BUY it probably still stream through spotify/pandora/youtube than any radio dial.

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