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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

another good reason to hate apple

We demand justice: who murdered Chanel? (Matt P), Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

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

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:40 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

wtf is philip philips?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:49 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

*chart

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

what i'm saying!

some dude, Thursday, 11 October 2012 20:55 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

seems pretty obv

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:07 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

what genre of music dominates the US singles charts now?

Algerian Goalkeeper, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:09 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

Taylor Swift... makes pop dubstep?

The Owls of Ja Rule (DJP), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

p much

there is no dana, only (goole), Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:18 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

SWIFTSTEP

lex pretend, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

What would an ideal modern chart system look like?

wk, Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:19 (2 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 (2 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 (2 years ago) Permalink

actually it gets very stupid very quickly

Keith Mozart (D-40), Saturday, 30 May 2015 10:52 (2 months ago) Permalink

god i hate peter rosenberg

Keith Mozart (D-40), Saturday, 30 May 2015 10:54 (2 months ago) Permalink

it is somewhat insightful but then the whole discussions seems to focus down on "i don't like records like 7/11" :|

dyl, Saturday, 30 May 2015 17:52 (2 months ago) Permalink

lmao at Ebro referring to "Latch" as a dance remix and saying very confidently that "the original was a straight R&B record"

some dude, Saturday, 30 May 2015 23:43 (2 months ago) Permalink

Lmao @ someone citing We Found Love's "timeless" lyrics. Also weird that it got brought up in a discussion about R&B when that song is pure dance on every level.

Also in what world are R&B artists servicing smart R&B to mainstream radio while handing over trendy "ratchet" songs to urban radio? If that is happening, radio clearly isn't picking them up, because it's like looking for a needle in a hay stack trying to hear R&B on a pop or HAC station.

Greer, Sunday, 31 May 2015 00:03 (2 months ago) Permalink

Also a lot of that low-key sounded like respectability politics.

Greer, Sunday, 31 May 2015 00:04 (2 months ago) Permalink

There's an element of that but I think there's also an understandable frustration about artists giving their best work to pop radio

Keith Mozart (D-40), Sunday, 31 May 2015 00:12 (2 months ago) Permalink

Ebro and Rosenberg sound like they literally have no idea what they're talking about

Keith Mozart (D-40), Sunday, 31 May 2015 00:14 (2 months ago) Permalink

the people in that video are imperfect messengers but i think it's a convo worth having. R&B on urban radio right now is, aside from "Earned It" and a couple other big records, overwhelmingly leading in a certain direction (7/11, Bitch Betta Have My Money, Post To Be, Usher and Ne-Yo's stripper songs). even Ciara's ballad has trap drums and faux-Future ad libs.

Beyonce released an incredibly varied album, and the urban radio campaign for it ended up being the 2 most overtly sexual songs, a Nicki Minaj remix, and then a full-on ratchet bonus track, when every other Beyonce album had a singles campaign that went all over the map and had different kinds of hits.

some dude, Sunday, 31 May 2015 01:09 (2 months ago) Permalink

There's an element of that but I think there's also an understandable frustration about artists giving their best work to pop radio

― Keith Mozart (D-40), Saturday, May 30, 2015 5:12 PM (3 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i'm having a difficult time thinking of a recent specific example of a core r&b artist's 'best' songs being serviced to pop while substandard material was left to r&b radio tho. meanwhile there have been about a million cases in the past 3-4 years of r&b and rap artists having to record mediocre, generic edm tracks that many of pop's core artists were already basically doing in order to even have snowball's chance in hell at having one of their songs climb up a pop radio playlist.

the gulf between what pop and r&b radio have been playing lately has been rather wide, and the exceptions that happen to coexist in both spaces somewhat have been white artists' interpretations of classic r&b and a couple 'adult r&b' records that sounded just enough like cee-lo style self-consciously retro cartoon-soul to be embraced w/ little hesitation at pop. (as desperate as it was and as funny as it was to see it flounder, i don't blame usher at all for trying an sos-band-interpolating "blurred lines" knockoff last year before apparently deciding to scrap the album and start afresh.) the 'ratchet' music that rico love is so dismayed is popular at r&b radio at the moment was represented on the pop radio side almost solely by igloo australia doing her whole routine over a fake mustard beat. indeed, it is rather astonishing that "earned it" managed to do as well as it has -- i still find myself wondering sometimes how it would have fared without being on a big movie soundtrack. i even found "don't tell 'em's" crossover success last year surprising.

re: beyoncé, part of what allowed her singles campaigns to be diverse in the past was that she could count on airplay from more than one format, and would often have multiple singles solicited to different ones to cover all those bases clamoring for new music from her. she tried that strategy again this time around, but "xo" was only half-heartedly embraced for about 5 minutes and "pretty hurts" was a flat-out non-starter. i imagine an alternate universe in this that wasn't the case and even a song like "jealous" could've gotten a little pop play. (as well as one where "rocket" wasn't just getting a little unsolicited (?) adult r&b play.)

dyl, Sunday, 31 May 2015 03:55 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, every other Beyonce campaign could rely on pop radio playing some of it (or urban radio taking up enough space that they could still be hits even without pop support. But radio has only become more fragmented, to the detriment of R&B artists, so Beyonce will send something like XO to pop and watch it peak just inside the top 40 before falling.

Meanwhile Hot 97 will cape for the likes of Sam Smith and Lorde saying we should give their music a chance because they're really R&B/hip-hop records at heart. So I'll hear Stay With Me and Royals all summer no matter where I go including urban stations, while there's no reciprocation from pop radio which seems reticent to play even the bounciest of R&B and still will cut rap features out of pop tracks in some places. Oh and then artists like Jodeci or Jazmine Sullivan or Mary J. Blige or Toni Braxton put out the kind of classic R&B stuff these dudes want to cry isn't on radio anymore but then their music basically gets relegated to the oldies stations. That's a programming decision, not a case of artists not sending in the right kind of songs (as if radio is limited to only playing what an artist sends them).

Greer, Sunday, 31 May 2015 07:11 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, every other Beyonce campaign could rely on pop radio playing some of it (or urban radio taking up enough space that they could still be hits even without pop support. But radio has only become more fragmented, to the detriment of R&B artists, so Beyonce will send something like XO to pop and watch it peak just inside the top 40 before falling.

eh, pop radio didn't play anything from 4, but urban radio played "Best Thing I Never Had," "Party," "Countdown," "Love On Top," and "Dance For You." that's a way more varied slate than "Drunk In Love," "Partition," "Flawless (Remix)" and "7/11" imo.

some dude, Sunday, 31 May 2015 07:15 (2 months ago) Permalink

Beyonce released an incredibly varied album, and the urban radio campaign for it ended up being the 2 most overtly sexual songs

Ha, not that this changes your point at all, but didn't "Blow" get nixed as a single for being literally too overt?

The Reverend, Sunday, 31 May 2015 07:26 (2 months ago) Permalink

i am still mad that that happened with "blow"

dyl, Sunday, 31 May 2015 07:53 (2 months ago) Permalink

Oh and then artists like Jodeci or Jazmine Sullivan or Mary J. Blige or Toni Braxton put out the kind of classic R&B stuff these dudes want to cry isn't on radio anymore but then their music basically gets relegated to the oldies stations. That's a programming decision, not a case of artists not sending in the right kind of songs (as if radio is limited to only playing what an artist sends them).

this is so otm. while i like to think that urban radio would have played basically anything that bey chose as a single from that album, something gives me the feeling "rocket" for instance could have easily been relegated almost wholly to adult r&b/oldies stations rather than the currents-based ones had it been promoted. otm also about radio playing songs that aren't even solicited to them -- while pop radio rarely ever does this anymore, it still happens fairly often at urban radio (w/ nicki being a recent example), which is one big strength of the format imo.

dyl, Sunday, 31 May 2015 08:04 (2 months ago) Permalink

the thing w/ "Blow" was weird, like it was gonna be the pop radio single instead of "XO," which was never gonna work but i guess they thought it sounded enough like "Blurred Lines" to win that crowd

some dude, Sunday, 31 May 2015 11:48 (2 months ago) Permalink

country music borrowing from r'n'b

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/6582974/country-music-plumbs-the-history-of-soul-in-search-of-a-new-direction

See the first comment

curmudgeon, Monday, 8 June 2015 13:39 (1 month ago) Permalink

cf.

example (crüt), Monday, 8 June 2015 14:53 (1 month ago) Permalink

the article gets at it, but country has long been super-appropriative of pop at the crossover level (two of Kenny Rogers' biggest hits were by Lionel Richie and Barry Gibb). in a sense i'm surprised it's taken country so long to have an overt hip-hop element. My suspicion is it has to do with Eminem hitting that 10-15 anniversary stretch.

da croupier, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:30 (1 month ago) Permalink

fyi this song is 11 years old: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over_and_Over_%28Nelly_song%29

DJP, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:32 (1 month ago) Permalink

so's "save a horse (ride a cowboy)," almost!

to be clear, not saying country HASN'T acknowledged hip-hop until now, just that its getting kinda omnipresent rather than a novelty

da croupier, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:33 (1 month ago) Permalink

also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_%28Kid_Rock_song%29

hell, if you want to be cute about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_Went_Down_to_Georgia

DJP, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:37 (1 month ago) Permalink

not being entirely serious obv

DJP, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:38 (1 month ago) Permalink

i was gonna say, i couldn't tell what you thought i was saying where any of this would be contradicting it

da croupier, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:39 (1 month ago) Permalink

one hope is that with 2000 back in fashion kid rock will be inspired to relax his "boring son of ted nugent & bob seger" shtick and maybe write some funny raps again

da croupier, Monday, 8 June 2015 16:42 (1 month ago) Permalink

Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me" came out in 2001 and is pretty much a rap song

Is It Any Wonder I'm Not the (President Keyes), Monday, 8 June 2015 16:53 (1 month ago) Permalink

and McGraw worked with Nelly again in 2012.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 June 2015 16:57 (1 month ago) Permalink

(at that point I wasn't sure who was doing whom a favor)

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 June 2015 16:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

to be clear, not saying country HASN'T acknowledged hip-hop until now, just that its getting kinda omnipresent rather than a novelty

but if we're playing the "who remembers a country song with a hip-hop element in it" game

da croupier, Monday, 8 June 2015 17:01 (1 month ago) Permalink

okay "We got a funky new tune with a fly banjo" made me lol

DJP, Monday, 8 June 2015 21:38 (1 month ago) Permalink

also what the hell: 1997: Spearhead feat. Joan Osbourne - "Wayfaring Stranger"

DJP, Monday, 8 June 2015 21:40 (1 month ago) Permalink

spoken-word country songs have been a thing since the dawn of country music

example (crüt), Monday, 8 June 2015 21:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

My head spun when I saw the words "Imani Coppola"

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 June 2015 21:42 (1 month ago) Permalink

http://www.imanicoppola.com/

lol

DJP, Monday, 8 June 2015 21:46 (1 month ago) Permalink

like a giraffe of nah (forksclovetofu), Monday, 8 June 2015 21:47 (1 month ago) Permalink

^^ defines "check out my fly banjo"

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 June 2015 21:50 (1 month ago) Permalink

was putting "i poop in a clam" on her website her own decision?

example (crüt), Monday, 8 June 2015 21:55 (1 month ago) Permalink

that DJ Quik sounds more like a santur than a banjo

example (crüt), Monday, 8 June 2015 21:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

the top three songs in america -- and five of the top six -- are led by black men. if you count kendrick's verse on the "bad blood" remix then there is a black man on each of the top six songs on this week's chart

J0rdan S., Thursday, 9 July 2015 13:40 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

he has two verses doesn't he? it's basically kendrick lamar feat. taylor swift

transparent play for gifs (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 9 July 2015 13:51 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100 1 through 6

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 July 2015 14:30 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

I think only two of those songs get airplay on urban stations, though?

Evan R, Thursday, 9 July 2015 14:34 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Oh, three I guess. I thought rap stations weren't playing that Wiz Khalifa song

Evan R, Thursday, 9 July 2015 14:36 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

the wiz khalifa song is a pop-to-urban crossover radio-wise. it even went top 10 on the hot adult contemporary format before urban lol.

i stumbled across this article yesterday mentioning an emerging radio audience measurement device that would be competing w/ nielsen's ppm. ppm is the device that is mainly used now -- when it started getting put into use in the late 00s, ratings at many latin and urban stations were basically decimated immediately, which was obv controversial and delayed its rollout into many markets significantly. anyways i don't know much about the nitty-gritty of radio analytics so i have no idea how much is just hype/hot air, but the article makes it seem as tho the new competitor (voltair) may do a better job of measuring the audience for several stations that had been hurt by ppm in the past, at least well enough to convince some of the higher-ups at the stations. (the example they use is the smooth jazz format.)

idk here's the link http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/did-nielsen-kill-the-radio-star/

dyl, Friday, 10 July 2015 04:50 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Now 1 through 7. http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100

skip, Friday, 31 July 2015 20:56 (4 days ago) Permalink

It would be cool if this extended to black women at all.

Sidenote: does radio play the Kendrick version of "Bad Blood" or the original?

drown zoowap (The Reverend), Saturday, 1 August 2015 04:44 (3 days ago) Permalink

I've heard the Kendrick version a lot on radio. I imagine it depends on the format.

Greer, Saturday, 1 August 2015 05:03 (3 days ago) Permalink

Yeah, I haven't heard it on the radio at all but I haven't listened to top 40 in quite a while.

drown zoowap (The Reverend), Saturday, 1 August 2015 05:07 (3 days ago) Permalink

here the adult contemporary stations play the sans-kendrick version and all the other stations that play it play the one with kendrick

dyl, Saturday, 1 August 2015 06:21 (3 days ago) Permalink


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