Yesterday Billboard announced a new rule impacting their industry-standard music charts that will take into consideration YouTube views as part of the broader algorithm that determines the chart placement of songs. This is part of a bigger movement by Billboard that started in October of 2012 to update their charting to include data from the new habits of music consumers, including digital downloads and song streaming.
Over the last few months, and the last few weeks specifically, we have been going through a country music Cambrian Explosion of sorts, with massive, earth-moving events completely re-shaping the style and infrastructure of a genre that has been around for over 70 years. Arguably there’s been more significant events in a short period than any other time in country’s history.
On Friday Billboard Magazine’s editorial director Bill Werde was interviewed about various topics, including the controversial new rules (at least in some circles) on how Billboard is tabulating the rankings on country’s “Hot 100” songs chart. Werde himself has been in the cross hairs of some country music fans who are worried the new system favors crossover pop artists.
The long running, incessant debate about what is country and what is not can get so bogged down in manusha and rehashed arguments that even I get tired of it. Where the situation has become exceptional though surrounds the Billboard Hot 100 Country Charts and their newly-implemented rules. The only entity that appears to be calling “We Are Never…” a country song, is Billboard.