Itunes, Billboard, and the marginalization of black music and black audiences in America

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So today Billboard changed their policy to allow digital music sales to count on previously airplay-driven genre charts. The problem with this is that there is no way of separating by demographics like there is for radio. The radio listener chooses the station that best fits their tastes, whereas anyone might buy from Itunes. Further compounding the problem is that that isn't even true -- economically privileged listeners, who are more likely to be white, are much more likely to purchase digital music.

The introduction of Itunes data to the Billboard Hot 100 in 2005 has had the effect of slowly but surely pushing music favored by black audiences off the pop charts and top 40 (and even rhythmic) radio, to the point where there are now very few songs that cross over from urban radio to other formats. Over the past year or so, there have been only a few songs popular on the r&b charts that cross over into the top 40 at any given time, usually below the top 10 (even this year's huge rap hits "The Motto" and "Mercy" got stuck in the teens on the big chart), while most of urban radio's big songs get stuck in the 30-100 range of the Hot 100. This has also led to the trend of black music stars like Nicki Minaj and Usher creating entirely different singles for different radio formats, with pop songs for white radio and r&b or rap songs for black radio.

Billboard's new changes potentially strike an even bigger blow to black audiences being able to determine their own hits. On this week's r&b chart, with the changes enacted, Rihanna's decidedly pop (and, it should be noted, terrible) "Diamonds" jumps from #61 to #1, pushing Miguel's decidedly r&b (and brilliant) "Adorn" out of the top spot. Urban radio stations may have lost one of their last impetuses left not to play pop music with white-leaning audiences.

There's even more to this but I don't have time to explain every last factor at work right this second. Here's what's been said on the rolling r&b thread:

um... some dude... wtf is going on with the R&B chart? why is Rihanna's "Diamonds" suddenly #1?

― (whose paintings looked like (pink) vaginas) (The Brainwasher), Thursday, October 11, 2012 9:14 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

ha i was just about to come to this thread to gripe about that

basically the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart has tradtionally been mostly airplay + physical single sales, so if a nominal R&B song (by, say, Rihanna) did well on iTunes and pop radio but not actual R&B stations, it wouldn't make much of an impact on the R&B chart. but as of this week, iTunes is a factor on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop like it has been on the Hot 100 for years, so now suddenly "Diamonds" is #1, and there's now a R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart which is basically what the main chart used to be, and on that "Adorn" is #1 and "Diamonds is #61.

this is massively fuck up whatever confidence R&B stations and labels had left to not cater to pop crossover imo. horrible move by Billboard.

― some dude, Thursday, October 11, 2012 9:57 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

And now Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs is 50 deep instead of 100.

25-deep R&B Songs chart now, too.

― Andy K, Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:20 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

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.

Eleven of the 25 songs on R&B Songs feature rappers, so "pure R&B" must mean songs with an R&B artist as only or lead voice.

― Andy K, Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:34 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Make that 10, not 11.

― Andy K, Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:34 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

― Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:21 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

excuse me while I find a corner to curl up into the fetal position and cry in

― Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:22 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

rev's "Itunes destroyed Black American pop music" rant on twitter a few months ago was so righteous that i saved it in a doc, tempted to just post it right now

― some dude, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:34 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

post it! i missed it!

― lex pretend, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:36 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i'd have to clean it up and re-order it for it to make sense, but here's the short version he put on tumblr: http://reverenddollars.tumblr.com/post/24446685357/positing-not-claiming

― some dude, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:38 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

ha i saw that, think i favourited it somewhere

― lex pretend, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:42 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I've gone on at least a couple such extended twitter rants. Been meaning to start a thread on the subject here and I think I will now. Please post whatever you saved.

― Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:43 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

oh wow, part of my gripe about this was going to be that the Country charts didn't get the same treatment but they did -- Taylor Swift leaps from #21 to #1 on the revamped download-heavy Country chart. fucking Billboard, putting nails in the coffin of terrestrial radio formats' ability to make hits.

― some dude, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:45 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

would quite like to hear about the role itunes is playing in this - that's not in the tumblr & i don't really know

― lex pretend, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:46 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Wonder if (the very good, all-R&B) Two Eleven has a shot at the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. "Put It Down": 70-76-72 last three weeks on Hot 100 and 16-5-3 last three weeks on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop. Doesn't really bode well.

― Andy K, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:48 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

2 columns that chris molanphy and i wrote about r&b's hot 100 decline that get into how itunes changed things:

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2011/05/chris_brown_look_at_me_now_hot_100.php

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2012/07/sales_slump_usher_chris_brown.php

― some dude, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:51 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i read both of those at the time - they were great and i think i may have linked one in my independent r&b piece - but what is it about itunes that means it's an inefficient driver of r&b? it's so geared towards casual/spontaneous consumption that it inherently privileges pop?

― lex pretend, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:54 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

whereas radio-driven r&b is dependent on gatekeepers to an extent?

― lex pretend, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:54 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

those might be factors but the more simple truth is just that demographically speaking the songs and artists that get chart boosts from iTunes sales, particularly single sales, strongly skew pop and not urban

― some dude, Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:57 PM Bookmark

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:18 (four years ago) Permalink

so iTunes ID3 genre tags DO matter lol

stop swearing and start windmilling (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:19 (four years ago) Permalink

i'm quite shocked by this. i didn't know people still cared about billboard charts

frogbs, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:19 (four years ago) Permalink

It's not the charts themselves that I care about so much as how they reflect and drive cultural changes.

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:21 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah the charts are bullshit but they have real ramifications in terms of what gets bankrolled

stop swearing and start windmilling (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:22 (four years ago) Permalink

Oh and Psy has been placed on top of the rap charts, because obv "Gangnam Style" is what's hot in the streets right now.

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:31 (four years ago) Permalink

If you have any interest in this phenomenon, please read the Molanphy articles.

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:33 (four years ago) Permalink

another good reason to hate apple

We demand justice: who murdered Chanel? (Matt P), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:34 (four years ago) Permalink

Are there charts for most genres? And did they change too?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:40 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah the charts are bullshit but they have real ramifications in terms of what gets bankrolled

so does a list of 'what music is actually being bought'

iatee, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:41 (four years ago) Permalink

This is really interesting, Rev. We've never really had high-stakes multiple charts and the US system has always seemed incredibly complicated to me, but then we're a million times smaller so it's a different proposition, I guess.

emil.y, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:43 (four years ago) Permalink

well, they used to be lists of what music is actually being played and requested on the radio, too. but however they combine these different statistics always seems to heavily favor sales over overplay. (xpost)

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:44 (four years ago) Permalink

I for one never liked the idea of airplay contributing to the charts here in the UK and I'm glad it remains sales based.

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:44 (four years ago) Permalink

but I can see why it works better in the USA. You only ever got top 40 or oldies radio here and that was it until digital radio and 1extra.

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:45 (four years ago) Permalink

Chris Mol@nphy wrote this column in ship's column last year:

All I'll add to the exhaustive data you offer is a hobby-horse I've been riding for a couple of years now: the need for Billboard to finally add digital-sales data to the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

They've been resisting for years, on the (implied, not overtly stated) premise that it would ruin the character of a chart that has a long history with black-owned and oriented retailers. But with that segment (along with all brick-and-mortar music retail) at death's door anyway, the sales portion of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs has been near-nonexistent for years, making it essentially a radio chart a la the deadly, predigital Hot 100 of 2000–05.

That's led to a problem where there's no longer a radio programmer-to-consumer-back-to-programmer feedback loop that makes for great charts. I'm sure there's a one-way influence from radio to the teen urban-music buyer who then downloads a Trey Songz MP3. But with that sale not reflected on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, the loop ends there; programmers aren't given clear enough signals of how to reflect their most avid audience members' tastes (especially young audience).

In my ideal fantasy world, you'd be able to segment iTunes/AmazonMP3 song sales to pockets of the country that have large black populations or high urban-radio listenership, but that's probably impossible, or at least fraught. But at the very least, I think it'd be trivial for Billboard to set up a rule whereby a song eligible for R&B/Hip-Hop Songs would have to hit some kind of urban-radio threshold before their iTunes sales would count toward the chart.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:46 (four years ago) Permalink

here's an explanation of the changes, which affect all genre charts:

http://www.billboard.com/news#/news/taylor-swift-rihanna-psy-buoyed-by-billboard-1007978552.story

the rock charts are much less affected by this than R&B or country -- for instance this week fun.'s "Some Nights" went back to #1 after falling to #8, because it had started to run its course on radio but is still selling strong on iTunes.

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:47 (four years ago) Permalink

ok lol i spoke to soon -- Philip Philips and Train are now big on the rock charts

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:48 (four years ago) Permalink

wtf is philip philips?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:49 (four years ago) Permalink

Train are now big on the rock charts

chilling words in any context

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:49 (four years ago) Permalink

also holy shit SIX Mumford & Sons songs in a row on the rock songs chart, because that was the last big album release so every song is getting bought individually on itunes

Phillip Phillips won American Idol last year

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:50 (four years ago) Permalink

see that is bullshit with buying albums and the tracks being on a singles track

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:52 (four years ago) Permalink

*chart

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:52 (four years ago) Permalink

what i'm saying!

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:55 (four years ago) Permalink

it's one thing that rihanna has the #1 R&B song now, but when her album is released she'll probably take up the whole top 5

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:55 (four years ago) Permalink

you mentioned itunes sales in the other thread shipz - i'm guessing those are discounted albums rather than individual tracks?

apart from that and

economically privileged listeners, who are more likely to be white, are much more likely to purchase digital music

i'd be interested to know why r&b/rap/country etc might not be as digitally-driven...?

lex pretend, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:59 (four years ago) Permalink

it's funny, you might've thought before this all happened that iTunes impacting singles charts might mean that new artists and grassroots successes that have been shut out by the radio industry might get a better shot at breaking through. instead, it feels like any song by the biggest stars is stomping out songs people love by less famous artists via the power of name recognition and fanatical fanclub followings.

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:04 (four years ago) Permalink

you mentioned itunes sales in the other thread shipz - i'm guessing those are discounted albums rather than individual tracks?

Not discounted albums, people buy lots of album tracks individually from popular albums all the time. A hit album is almost guaranteed to have several album tracks enter the Hot 100 on its week of release because of this.

i'd be interested to know why r&b/rap/country etc might not be as digitally-driven...?

That isn't quite true of country, but white demographics are a lot more likely to have internet in their homes than black/latinos. And even if they do, the white listener is a lot more likely to have spare $$$ to spend on digital music.

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:04 (four years ago) Permalink

i mean if you want to go by the stereotype that country fans are rural/poorer than the same would apply to them too

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:07 (four years ago) Permalink

seems pretty obv

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:07 (four years ago) Permalink

ok...how does that square with the boom in free rap mixtapes?

also, i don't think i realised til now how airplay-driven charts would help songs specifically popular in demographics with no spare $$$ to actually buy them in whatever format.

lex pretend, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:07 (four years ago) Permalink

Note that of the top 20-selling songs in the US during the first half of 2012, only two, #16 "Rack City" and #18 "The Motto" reached the top 50 of the r&b chart.

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:07 (four years ago) Permalink

what genre of music dominates the US singles charts now?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:09 (four years ago) Permalink

i mean if you want to go by the stereotype that country fans are rural/poorer than the same would apply to them too

― congratulations (n/a), Thursday, October 11, 2012 2:07 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I don't think this is as true as one might assume? A lot of well-off suburban country listeners. Or at least country seems to do fairly well on Itunes.

Cap'n Hug-a-Thug (The Reverend), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:09 (four years ago) Permalink

capital-p Pop -- Katy Perry, Rihanna, Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, One Direction, etc. although this year stuff like Gotye and fun. has mixed things up a bit. (xpost)

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:10 (four years ago) Permalink

there's also the argument that buying your favorite song on iTunes (as opposed to just listening to it on the radio, streaming it on YouTube now and again, or buying the album) is a generational habit, and so things that skew younger benefit from this -- Taylor, Rihanna etc.

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:10 (four years ago) Permalink

i mean it sucks because a lot of these formats had been fostering new stars and putting interesting songs at #1 lately, but you're never gonna see Miguel top the R&B chart or Eric Church top the country chart again after this

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:11 (four years ago) Permalink

don't forget Maroon 5

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:12 (four years ago) Permalink

interesting stuff. i don't have my head entirely around the numbers & methodologies here, but there's something about a "return to monoculture" either in real terms or as a measurement phenomenon.

there is no dana, only (goole), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:12 (four years ago) Permalink

is the pop domination due to itunes or changing of radio playlists/genre stations changing to top 40 or just one of those things that happens?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:12 (four years ago) Permalink

interesting stuff. i don't have my head entirely around the numbers & methodologies here, but there's something about a "return to monoculture" either in real terms or as a measurement phenomenon.

It's been happening on radio for a while. It's impossible to break the Rihanna-Goyte-Katy-Perry-Maroon-5 stranglehold on Clear Channel Radio. I mean, I hear "One More Night" every 45 minutes.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:15 (four years ago) Permalink

but you're never gonna see Miguel top the R&B chart or Eric Church top the country chart again after this

to be blunt about this, it's because, even though Rihanna makes club trance, she "is R&B" (because, you know), and Taylor Swift makes pop dubstep, she "is country" (again, because, you know). right?

in a way it seems like this is a identity/identification/musicalogical problem. almost.

there is no dana, only (goole), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:16 (four years ago) Permalink

Taylor Swift... makes pop dubstep?

The Owls of Ja Rule (DJP), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (four years ago) Permalink

p much

there is no dana, only (goole), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (four years ago) Permalink

well, it's because when five Rihanna tracks become available her fans will download them at once from iTunes.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (four years ago) Permalink

SWIFTSTEP

lex pretend, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (four years ago) Permalink

What would an ideal modern chart system look like?

wk, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (four years ago) Permalink

Taylor Swift... makes pop dubstep?

I'll assume you don't want to hear her latest track.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (four years ago) Permalink

What would an ideal modern chart system look like?

"Adorn" and "Springsteen" topping every chart.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (four years ago) Permalink

nowhere did I say that the "pre-existing chart placement" was constructed fairly, but nor is it entirely on radio programmers. it's easy to forget, due to being in the aforementioned adults-in-the-media-or-adjacent cohort, that there are a ton of people out there who really, really hate beyonce, or are indifferent to her.

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 15:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

(nowhere did I say that I'm endorsing any of this, either. of course radio can and does have a prescriptive component. a lot of this *is* the prescriptive component. [you can see pop radio's gradually crumbling reluctance to deal with hits like "Trap Queen" and right now "Panda"])

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 15:46 (eleven months ago) Permalink

yeah that's another angle. R1 refused to playlist whip/nae-nae but i wonder if they would again.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I would have thought that iHeartMedia would love Beyoncé

ejemplo (crüt), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Nah, too politically radical now (or so I heard another customer in the grocery store saying to someone)

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/05/23/how-meek-mill-hilariously-won-rap-album-of-the-year-at-the-bbmas.html

“Billboard Music Awards finalists are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and other popular online destinations for music. These measurements are tracked year-round by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound. The awards are based on the reporting period of tracking dates March 23, 2015 through March 17, 2016 and Billboard chart dates April 11, 2015 through April 2, 2016. Since 1940, the Billboard charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of songs and albums, and are the ultimate measure of a musician’s success.”

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Another related issue here in this Chris Molanphy article

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/05/23/why_justin_timberlake_and_max_martin_s_can_t_stop_the_feeling_is_no_1_on.html

20 of the 22 Martin-authored No. 1s have come since mid-2008, the moment when dance-pop began its digital-fueled takeover of the U.S. charts. In other words, Martin has not consistently been a top hit-maker for all of the last two decades—he had a notably fallow hit-making period in America in the early-to-mid 2000s, when R&B and hip-hop were commanding the U.S. Top 40.

...

a hard truth about Max Martin is that for all his purported U.S. R&B influence, he doesn’t write songs black radio in America wants to play. Out of Martin’s 22 Hot 100 chart-toppers, all but one has missed the top of the R&B chart; generally, they don’t even touch that chart at all. (The one exception, last year’s smash by the Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face,” topped the R&B/Hip-Hop list thanks only to Billboard’s current methodology for that chart, which over-weights digital sales and pop crossover. On R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, an all-radio chart that’s a better measure of core black music fans, the Martin-produced “Face” never made it past No. 46.) Martin’s genius is in crafting essentially genreless mass-appeal records that synthesize American and European popular music forms, one part Aaliyah to two parts ABBA. His songs lack clear racial signifiers—by design—and read as inherently pop. So when he does work with an artist of color like Usher, generally it’s a pop crossover move that doesn’t do all that well at the artist’s home format (e.g., 2010’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love”—No. 4 pop, No. 51 R&B).

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:53 (eleven months ago) Permalink

x-post -- according to that daily beast piece--

Still, while the Billboard Music Awards, Nielsen Music, and Next Big Sound were tallying mentions of Meek Mill, they weren’t taking into account whether these mentions were actually positive or negative.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:56 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i still listen to the radio a lot. (much like i continue to follow a certain sports team that i grew up with, even though it is increasingly terrible and impossible to defend.) but most people i know either don't listen to the radio at all or listen to formats other than pop.

there are so many different places now to seek out music, if it's something you care about. so i guess pop radio now exists primarily for people who don't care about it? and most of those people are inclined to tolerate lukas graham?

dc, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

His songs lack clear racial signifiers—by design—and read as inherently pop.

I would argue otherwise. His songs very clearly racially signify, it's just that white gets accepted as default. The fact that Black audiences have never embraced him is directly linked to how his music signifies.

Hey (Extended Mix), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 18:28 (eleven months ago) Permalink

the same way that country music programmer insisted that women country singers could only be the occasional tomato in the male singer country radio salad.

I feel like this is the case with urban radio right now. Radio at this point just has a Black women problem in general.

Hey (Extended Mix), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 18:36 (eleven months ago) Permalink

absolutely.

the typical urban-to-pop pathway that prospective crossovers must follow represents an odd multidimensional spectrum, that, no matter which direction you choose to slice it in, tends to exclude black women as performers and listeners. on one side, the center of the pop radio target audience is (young adult) white women; on the other, that of urban radio is black men. turn the dial from the urban station to the rhythmic one and you'll hear songs that are less male, but also less black. in other words, there are more women on rhythmic radio that urban, but even fewer black women. when you consider how pitifully low the number of women scraping urban airplay top 10s today is (even counting the established shoo-ins like bey and nicki), you get the sense of how dire the situation is for black women at radio in general.

dyl, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 18:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

agreed with H(EM) - to say that Martin's music is "genreless" with "mass-appeal," in the same breath as saying that they seem not to be very popular on black radio stations, is weird. and, i think, problematic in that "white people don't have a race" kind of way.

bucyrus ohio, vus cun nus en l’aria (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 18:50 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Good Lord, Max Martin has written twenty-two U.S. number one singles?!

Mr. Snrub, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 21:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

in the early-to-mid 2000s, when R&B and hip-hop were commanding the U.S. Top 40.

Questions not addressed in that article--
How has or has not the pop radio audience changed since then, how have the corporate chains who own the stations changed since then, and how has the rap and r'n'b changed since then?

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 23:50 (eleven months ago) Permalink

the meek mill album is at least better than compton, it's a pretty good album

rockpalast '82 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 27 May 2016 19:10 (eleven months ago) Permalink

xp love that she shouted out "trailer for rent" and the judds. her voice would be a fuckin revelation on country radio.

dc, Friday, 27 May 2016 19:12 (eleven months ago) Permalink

six months pass...

The excitement of a crowd is an easy thing to feel and an impossible thing to measure — but if you’re seeking a steady, three-hour bliss-buzz, Hot 99.5’s Jingle Ball is about as reliable as it gets. When the local radio station hosted its annual pop revue inside Verizon Center on Monday night — featuring Alessia Cara, the Chainsmokers, DNCE, Niall Horan of One Direction and others — the vibe was electric and the format felt as perfect as ever....

However, the rap tunes that Diplo spun — plus all of the prerecorded guest vocals during Fifth Harmony’s set — highlighted something irksome. White rappers booked for this gig? Two. Black rappers? Zero. Black rappers whose voices were piped-in over the speakers throughout the course of the evening? At least nine. This is something Jingle Ball organizers need to improve on immediately. May all of their Christmases be not-so-white.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/the-queen-of-this-years-jingle-ball-her-crown-is-a-beanie/2016/12/13/0a744168-c14c-11e6-8422-eac61c0ef74d_story.html?utm_term=.12a3c388b61a

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 December 2016 15:58 (four months ago) Permalink

but pop radio is SUPER RACIST ATM so here we are.

― maura, Thursday, December 15, 2016 10:39 PM (yesterday

from the thread for 2016 album and singles end of year stuff

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 December 2016 17:58 (four months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

So where does one get the actual stats for how the charts are compiled from week to week? Like how many streams/sales/plays go into a specific song's placing on a/the chart over time? Is there a subscription service for chart nerd stuff like that, is it openly available or just a secret to the public?

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Monday, 20 March 2017 10:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Saw this online know, but I don't know anymore info

“Nielsen Music is committed to setting the industry standard for music measurement and reporting,” says Erin Crawford, SVP entertainment and GM music at Nielsen. “Music Connect recently introduced genre album consumption charts and we’re excited to work with Billboard as they further adopt this methodology. As the leading music measurement service on the market, Music Connect will continue to present all of Billboard’s consumption, streaming, sales and airplay charts.”

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/7669133/billboard-genre-album-charts-consumption-streams-track-sales

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 March 2017 15:20 (one month ago) Permalink

excuse my typos...

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 March 2017 15:21 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah you'd need a subscription to a nielsen service like that. soundscan is generally the one people use for sales, while broadcast data systems (bds) is the one for radio spins/audience. not entirely sure about streaming data, but i think it's part of soundscan now. the music connect thing linked above seems to be a user-friendlier environment that combines parts of both of those databases. i assume it's pretty pricey and generally only affordably available to industryites -- at least for bds you have to request a login over email (the "why bdsradio?" document on its homepage says "AVAILABLE FOR CASH OR BARTER").

alternatively billboard gives a rundown of some of the essential data when revealing the top 10 of the hot 100 and billboard 200 in its charts columns each week, tho obviously that's far from comprehensive.

dyl, Monday, 20 March 2017 16:11 (one month ago) Permalink

spotify makes its numbers public https://spotifycharts.com/

J0rdan S., Monday, 20 March 2017 16:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Only two songs in that entire 200 are climbing - both by Drake.

nashwan, Monday, 20 March 2017 16:45 (one month ago) Permalink

everything has been pushed down in position by drake except drake

J0rdan S., Monday, 20 March 2017 16:46 (one month ago) Permalink

Be nice to see weeks/days available (if not just weeks in the 200).

The #1 song being streamed over twice as much as the #4 song - just...how/wow (was hoping that would be far less of a thing in this era)

nashwan, Monday, 20 March 2017 16:54 (one month ago) Permalink

all you need know is we'll be hearing that Ed Sheeran song for a while yet

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 20 March 2017 17:00 (one month ago) Permalink

it's silent to folks above a certain age

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Monday, 20 March 2017 17:10 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, thanks for the suggestions, guys. The kind of stuff I'd be very interested in knowing would be, for instance, how much the inclusion of a song on Spotify's RapCaviar playlist affects its performance over time. Like, what does the streaming data before something like, say, iSpy or Chill Bill goes on there (including youtube hits, I guess) look like? When does it enter the charts in relation to that, when does that start to have an effect on actual mp3 sales, radio play, etc. I understand that it usually goes something like soundcloud/youtube -> official spotify playlist -> billboard -> radio -> prolonged presence in the charts, but having a few case studies would help enormously in just figuring out how variables, general rules, anomalies, etc. Filter in shazam stats in that as well and you should be good to go. I'm guessing there's a lot to be learned if only these numbers were made available and searchable in some meaningful way.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Monday, 20 March 2017 22:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Sonically, the entire track is blown out to a level that feels assaultive, but strangely, “Look at Me!” doesn’t seem to exist in our physical reality. Good luck hearing it in the club, on the radio, out the cracked window of a passing Chevy Malibu, or anywhere else in three-dimensional space. But there it is at No. 65, enjoying its sixth week on the charts, breathing down the neck of Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl.”

It’s all thanks to the fact that Billboard now compiles its weekly marquee singles chart by measuring online streaming alongside sales and radio airplay. So to land its current spot on the Hot 100, “Look at Me!” racked up 10.9 million streams across seven days, according to Nielsen Music — enough to compensate for the fact that radio hasn’t really touched it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-brutal-distortion-of-xxxtentacions-look-at-me-is-changing-the-sound-of-the-hot-100/2017/03/24/fa6a3e8e-0fe9-11e7-ab07-07d9f521f6b5_story.html?utm_term=.0e7bface8e50

curmudgeon, Friday, 31 March 2017 01:12 (one month ago) Permalink

the idea that heavily streamed songs are not actually being heard 'in three-dimensional space' is bizarre but weirdly pervasive

also that heavily streamed songs w/o much support from radio, even ones w/ tremendous longevity, are mere 'memes' (i suppose one could soundly argue that all songs are memes, but you know what i mean)

dyl, Friday, 31 March 2017 06:02 (one month ago) Permalink

well black beatles' streams surged because of the mannequin challenge right?

maura, Friday, 31 March 2017 11:13 (one month ago) Permalink

Good luck hearing it in the club, on the radio, out the cracked window of a passing Chevy Malibu, or anywhere else in three-dimensional space.

yeah, you might have to stream it along with several million other people

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Friday, 31 March 2017 13:55 (one month ago) Permalink

also: aux cords?

maura, Friday, 31 March 2017 17:00 (one month ago) Permalink

that is true maura re: black beatles. (tho the song was doing well/gaining strongly even before that.) idk tho it just feels weird when ppl write off the success of e.g. "bad and boujee" or "mask off" as being solely attributable to memes as if the songs aren't the memes themselves. i mean, the 'meme' that catapulted "bad and boujee" to the top was basically 'ppl quoting/riffing on its most memorable lyrics on twitter' so it seems so wrongheaded to dismiss the song itself when the song *is* the meme.

dyl, Friday, 31 March 2017 18:04 (one month ago) Permalink

oh i agree with you. i think there's a lot of confusion over what "pop" means because of filter bubbles and it results in conclusions like these.

maura, Saturday, 1 April 2017 02:09 (four weeks ago) Permalink

man I love "mask off" didn't know there was a meme

example (crüt), Saturday, 1 April 2017 03:01 (four weeks ago) Permalink

well black beatles' streams surged because of the mannequin challenge right?

― maura, Friday, March 31, 2017 6:13 AM (fifteen hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

from what i understand they were just beginning a full court radio press when that happened and it was already building in the top 40, so it was well on its way. that meme just nudged it over the top

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Saturday, 1 April 2017 03:15 (four weeks ago) Permalink

tbh i haven't seen any "mask off" memes except for someone syncing it to the crying piccolo girl, ppl just seem to be flocking to it because they like it (myself included)

dyl, Saturday, 1 April 2017 08:00 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Future' FB page posts a ton of them.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Saturday, 1 April 2017 08:54 (four weeks ago) Permalink

oh lol i'll check it out

dyl, Saturday, 1 April 2017 14:57 (four weeks ago) Permalink

But can anyone get near the amount of spots on a chart as Ed Sheeran?

http://freakytrigger.co.uk/nylpm/2017/03/datapanik-in-the-year-sheero/

curmudgeon, Sunday, 2 April 2017 22:36 (four weeks ago) Permalink

drake apparently

maura, Monday, 3 April 2017 16:14 (three weeks ago) Permalink

all you need know is we'll be hearing that Ed Sheeran song for a while yet

― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, March 20, 2017 10:00 AM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I've only heard this from my roommate karaoking it

Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix), Thursday, 6 April 2017 19:42 (three weeks ago) Permalink

^^^speaking if songs I only hear when I'm streaming them...

the rockists' red glare (Drugs A. Money), Saturday, 8 April 2017 06:52 (three weeks ago) Permalink

http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/1487-will-the-mainstream-support-more-than-one-rap-queen-at-a-time-a-charts-investigation/

"Consider this: In the entire history of Billboard’s Hot 100, solo female rappers have fronted a No. 1 single just twice—Lauryn Hill’s 1998 half-sung “Doo Wop (That Thing),” and Iggy Azalea’s 2014 Charli XCX–backed “Fancy.” (That paltry number rises from two to 2.25 if we count Lil’ Kim’s equally billed verse with Christina Aguilera, Mya and Pink on their 2001 remake of “Lady Marmalade.”) And female rappers aren’t even guaranteed proper credit when they do support a chart-topping hit. On “No Diggity,” the classic 1996 BLACKstreet smash, Dr. Dre and Queen Pen rapped on virtually equal bars, but only Dre was listed on the single; Pen went unmentioned on both the CD-single cover and the Hot 100. Even Remy Ma herself has experienced a buried credit. As part of Fat Joe’s Terror Squad crew, she rapped on the summer 2004 chart-topper “Lean Back,” but despite equal billing with Joe on the single, only the group name was credited on the Hot 100."

Crazy Eddie & Jesus the Kid (Raymond Cummings), Thursday, 13 April 2017 21:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Sad! Do US pop hit stations all just take orders from I heart Radio corporate algorhythm types?

curmudgeon, Friday, 14 April 2017 14:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

the ones owned by iheart do. the ones owned by cbs take cues from cbs data. etc.

maura, Friday, 14 April 2017 18:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink


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