Billboard magazine has announced some significant – and controversial – changes to its genre charts. The moves are designed to bring the genre charts more in line with Billboard’s signature all-genre Hot 100 Chart. Until this week, its genre charts were airplay-only charts. Genre-specific airplay determined the rankings for Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Latin Songs and Hot Rock Songs. But according to the new formula, terrestrial airplay will be supplemented by sales data and streaming activity, as monitored by Nielsen. The Hot 100 Chart has long combined airplay, sales and streaming data.
The second significant change is to allow crossover airplay to affect the genre charts. For example, pop crossover airplay for a country artist, such as Taylor Swift or Lady Antebellum, will also be considered now in compiling the Hot Country Songs chart. Similarly, pop artists that also have R&B credentials will have more clout on the Hot R$B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. This is illustrated most dramatically by Rihanna’s new single “Diamonds,” which moves from #66 on the old chart to #1 on the new one! You can see the latest Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart here.
However, Billboard is not abandoning the concept of pure radio charts completely. Simultaneous to these modifications to existing charts, they’re launching several new airplay-only charts: Alternative Airplay, R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, Country Airplay, Latin Airplay, Adult Contemporary Airplay, Rock Airplay, etc. What’s new to these charts is just the name. They’ll carry the history of the old genre-specific, radio-only Billboard charts.
Read more about all the changes and the (sometimes strong) reaction to them here.