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 (1 year ago) Permalink

so iTunes ID3 genre tags DO matter lol

stop swearing and start windmilling (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:19 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

another good reason to hate apple

We demand justice: who murdered Chanel? (Matt P), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

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

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:40 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

wtf is philip philips?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:49 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

*chart

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

what i'm saying!

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:55 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

seems pretty obv

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:07 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

what genre of music dominates the US singles charts now?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:09 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

Taylor Swift... makes pop dubstep?

The Owls of Ja Rule (DJP), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

p much

there is no dana, only (goole), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

SWIFTSTEP

lex pretend, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

What would an ideal modern chart system look like?

wk, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

speaking of billboard trends (she said in an attempt to make her question relevant), what was the last cover song to hit #1? And I mean a legit cover, not like the demo leaked on youtube or w/e.

musically, Sunday, 22 June 2014 02:20 (1 month ago) Permalink

ok I checked and I think it was "lady marmalade" in 2001

Before that it was "candle in the wind" in 1997

Then "can't help falling in love" in 1993

Is the cover officially dead? Did sampling kill it? Discuss.

musically, Sunday, 22 June 2014 02:29 (1 month ago) Permalink

There was also 'I Swear' by All 4 One in 1994.

MarkoP, Sunday, 22 June 2014 02:34 (1 month ago) Permalink

Wait, I didn't know "I Swear" is a cover.

Herbie Handcock (Murgatroid), Sunday, 22 June 2014 02:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

And Monica's Angel of Mine in 1998

MarkoP, Sunday, 22 June 2014 02:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

You probably never turned on Country Radio in the mid 90s.

Granted when I first heard it I thought that the John Michael Montgomery version came after.

MarkoP, Sunday, 22 June 2014 03:01 (1 month ago) Permalink

covers still happen they just don't seem to get released as singles or hit #1, would guess the absence this century due to adult contemporary losing it's influence on the #1 spot, except for 'lady marmalade' almost all the covers to hit #1 for several years before that - 'candle in the wind', 'i swear', 'can't help falling in love', 'i will always love you', 'i'll be there', 'don't let the sun go down on me', 'when a man loves a woman' (shudder) - got major play on ac (and the british 'angel of mine' was effectively a demo as far as the us in 1998 was concerned). then again it's not like covers are burning it up on the ac chart, i probably missed something but i think the most recent cover to hit #1 ac that's not a xmas song (which do freakishly well) is sheryl crow's 'the first cut is the deepest'. thought 'ok maybe covers don't really make it to #1 that often', of those i listed above all except 'candle in the wind' (an outlier for obv reasons) come bunched together at the beginning of the decade so it's a pretty long window w/ virtually no covers hitting #1. however a cover hits #1 on the ac chart every single year of the 80s, though generally only one cover hits #1. hot 100 isn't quite as consistent - there are three years at the beginning of the decade w/ no covers hitting #1 - but i think there are actually more covers hitting #1 on the hot 100 overall for the decade, 1987 alone has five covers hit #1, 1988 has four. w/ this data i'm guessing that covers hitting #1 on the hot 100 isn't so much a reflection of ac's influence as some larger factor in the culture, maybe boomers making up such a distorted portion of the market that they're being pandered to (esp by the late 80s where the covers generally aren't remotely as obscure as big early 80s hits like 'bette davis eyes' or 'i love rock n roll'), the #1 covers of the early 90s all crossing over from ac is probably a reflection of that format lagging behind pop, generally being slow to change.

balls, Sunday, 22 June 2014 03:34 (1 month ago) Permalink

Oh wow, this inspired me to look up the ORIGINAL original "Lady Marmalade" and jesus christ this is terrible. Wow. Thank god Allen Toussaint and Labelle rescued it.

The Reverend, Sunday, 22 June 2014 09:27 (1 month ago) Permalink

oh, wow, hadn't realized it wasn't a labelle original, good lord that is limp.

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 22 June 2014 10:52 (1 month ago) Permalink

I think it works. Can't think of anything more fitting for Lady Marmalade than cheap sleazy 70's porn music.

tsrobodo, Sunday, 22 June 2014 15:35 (1 month ago) Permalink

ok I checked and I think it was "lady marmalade" in 2001

clay aiken's cover of "bridge over troubled water" went #1 in 2003 as part of a double A-side single

le goon (J0rdan S.), Sunday, 22 June 2014 16:06 (1 month ago) Permalink

aiken's 'bridge over troubled water' didn't go #1 on hot 100 though 'this is the night' did, his 'botw' didn't chart at all on hot 100, peaked at 29 on ac where 'this is the night' peaked at 13

balls, Sunday, 22 June 2014 16:31 (1 month ago) Permalink

ah

for some reason i was convinced that those early american idol number ones were covers but i guess they were doing original schlocky songs

le goon (J0rdan S.), Sunday, 22 June 2014 16:52 (1 month ago) Permalink

i can't believe "a moment like this" is an original song

le goon (J0rdan S.), Sunday, 22 June 2014 16:52 (1 month ago) Permalink

my mind is totally being blown

literally no idea lady marmalade or angel of mine were covers!

although the latter goes along with my brilliant business plan of putting together an American girl group and having them release exclusively covers of sugababes/misteeq/honeyz songs and making me a billion dollars

musically, Sunday, 22 June 2014 17:44 (1 month ago) Permalink

aiken's 'bridge over troubled water' didn't go #1 on hot 100 though 'this is the night' did, his 'botw' didn't chart at all on hot 100, peaked at 29 on ac where 'this is the night' peaked at 13

This was some royalty/ chart manipulation baloney along the lines of "Candle in the Wind '97" being the b-side to some hugely bestselling song nobody knows.

relentlessly pecking at peace (President Keyes), Sunday, 22 June 2014 17:53 (1 month ago) Permalink

All songs are covers until proven original.

Herbie Handcock (Murgatroid), Sunday, 22 June 2014 17:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

does it count as a cover if the artist had been given the song before the first version was released? iirc (it's in one of the billboard fred bronson books that i don't have anymore) that was the case with "angel of mine," with clive davis deciding she would record it very early on, tho eternal ended up releasing their version in the uk several months before monica's album was released

dyl, Sunday, 22 June 2014 19:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

That's also possibly the case with "Lady Marmalade" tbh

The Reverend, Sunday, 22 June 2014 19:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

(and definitely the case with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine")

The Reverend, Sunday, 22 June 2014 19:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

I am looking at my Fred Bronson book and it's not particularly consistent if that was his methodology - for example, Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded their versions of Grapevine before the Miracles' version was released, in fact the Pips version was released before the Miracles' version was. But the two singles are noted on the list of remakes as covers of the Miracles song.

They do a good job of capturing the "black person sings it - white person charts with it" type of cover but some of these inter-label things are harder to quantify. If you asked some rando on the street in 1969 they would have said Marvin covered Gladys. If you asked Marvin he would have said fuck no I sang it first.

musically, Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:05 (1 month ago) Permalink

oops I wrote that whole comment before I saw the last one, anyway yall get the picture

btw did anyone else not know that these were covers?

They long to be close to you - dionne warwick
Rhinestone cowboy - larry weiss
Midnight train to georgia - jim weatherly
alone - (i-ten...?)
greatest love of all - george benson (wut)

musically, Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:16 (1 month ago) Permalink

i've never actually heard benson's version (it was for a muhammad ali biopic iirc) but that it was the original came up a ton in 86 when whitney's version was unavoidable. may have just been a case of a song hanging around for so long that dj's were running out of things to say about it. can't imagine it sounds radically different. much much younger when they were hits so maybe casey kasem mentioned it w/ them also but 'bette davis eyes' and 'tainted love' are two i always think of when it comes to hits i was shocked to find out were covers.

balls, Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:35 (1 month ago) Permalink

one of the weirdest ambiguous cases i've seen is this:

you will probably recognize that, if you do, as christina aguilera's "what a girl wants." apparently it was one of the first songs that her label got for her debut album, though the writers had also given it to ophélie winter, whose album came out first (in ~august 1998). amusingly, the xtina and ophélie versions were both released as singles at basically the same time in early 2000, and were on the french charts concurrently (though xtina's version way outpeaked the other and stayed on the charts for more than twice as long).

dyl, Sunday, 22 June 2014 23:30 (1 month ago) Permalink

the snap!/chill rob g thing with "the power" was totally bizarre too

dyl, Sunday, 22 June 2014 23:33 (1 month ago) Permalink

speaking of dying and dead trends...skinny young black models lipsyncing the vocals of their uglier counterparts was definitely a thing for a while wasn't it, let's all take a moment to thank martha wash for suing the shit out of every 90s house group

musically, Monday, 23 June 2014 18:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

or skinny white young models in the case of this,

But then maybe not cause the 'uglier counterpart' happened to look like this,

tsrobodo, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 00:13 (1 month ago) Permalink

*er herm*

tsrobodo, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 00:15 (1 month ago) Permalink

Lip-synching models in dance-pop videos are still quite common, aren't they?

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 07:29 (1 month ago) Permalink

there's no pretense that they are the actual vocalists tho

i mean this is what it used to be like:

musically, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 23:32 (1 month ago) Permalink

and

strychnine, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 23:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

Last top 10 hit rap song by a black person is "Holy Grail" :(

The Reverend, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 04:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

i almost consider "loyal" more a rap than r&b song, not that that invalidates your point at all

and that only got to #9 anyway

le goon (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 05:36 (1 month ago) Permalink

also "show me" def got spins on pop radio even though it didn't quite hit top 10

west coast sound plays pretty well w/ contemporary pop right now

le goon (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 05:38 (1 month ago) Permalink

also derulo kinda blurs the line b/w rapping and singing

but even having to pull out these examples highlights the problem

le goon (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 05:42 (1 month ago) Permalink

Bring back '90s house. Problem solved.

Cronk's Not Cronk (Eric H.), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

Love Wamdue but king of my castle is an abomination

saer, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:10 (1 month ago) Permalink

lol if 90s house comes back in the us you just KNOW it's gonna be white ppl like kiesza leading the way

dyl, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

Bring back '90s house. Problem solved.

― Cronk's Not Cronk (Eric H.),

It's been back!

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:42 (1 month ago) Permalink

for a minute now

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

Bring back Black Box!

Cronk's Not Cronk (Eric H.), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Saw Maxwell on Saturday night and at the end of the show (which was great) he talked a little bit about being surprised by the (solid) turnout, since there were no radio stations in Boston playing his music. Jam'n 94.5 has pretty much become a rhythmic currents station that deigns to play rap not by Jay-Z, while 96.9 considers songs made in 2008 the "throwback jams" that make up its lifeblood. (Playlist.) I'm sure Boston isn't the only market lacking an adult R&B outlet, but it made me bummed out.

maura, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 21:46 (1 month ago) Permalink

there aren't any that I know of in Atlanta either & it sucks. it seems like there would be a market for it here!

guwop (crüt), Tuesday, 15 July 2014 21:50 (1 month ago) Permalink

that's crazy. there are like 5 stations in the Baltimore/DC area that played "Pretty Wings" and "Bad Habits" when they were new and most of them keep his older singles in permanent late night rotation

some dude, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 21:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

atlanta has a very popular adult r&b station. hint: it's the one that's played erykah badu four times in the past four hours and maxwell twice. the one that will regularly play an old deniece williams cut but won't play hip-hop.

balls, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 22:17 (1 month ago) Permalink

my bad - KISS 104 plays adult-oriented r&b in Atlanta incl. Maxwell

xpost

guwop (crüt), Tuesday, 15 July 2014 22:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

actually take it back about no rap, they played this half an hour ago, it has 'a rap' in it -

fucking LOOOOOOOOVE kiss fm. their license used to be out of athens so you could pick it up in athens as well as you could in atlanta. i can remember the summer after i got out of the navy working this third shift job and them buying in whole hog on the whole 'be careful'/'friend of mine'/'when a woman's fed up' saga. they also played the hell out of the temptations' 'stay', which i think was their last hit really. one of the thing i loved about r&b stations when i was a kid that adult r&b stations keep up but normal r&b/hip-hop don't really is there was this real cross generational representation in the playlist and the perceived audience. country has a little of that still but not as much as it used to. it may have just been a side effect of demo disparity in size between boomers and gen x, top 40 when i was a kid would pander as much to 40 year olds as to 13 year olds.

then they traded licenses w/ the fish and now you can barely maybe pick up kiss fm in athens (you can pick up the fish just fine, which was pretty smart of them cuz god knows there are plenty of white xians in this market). i always mean to stream them on my phone when i'm in the car but i usually end up listening to podcasts or fmu or spotify.

balls, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 22:29 (1 month ago) Permalink

i will say that maxwell's mention of there being no r&b radio in this city emboldened me to play 'cold' and some other stuff on wzbc today, so good work on that front i guess

maura, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 22:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

i once met a reggae artist on a bus headed from nyc to boston. it was her first time playing a show there, and she seemed pretty trepidacious about it

een, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 03:39 (1 month ago) Permalink


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