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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

another good reason to hate apple

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

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

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

wtf is philip philips?

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

*chart

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

what i'm saying!

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

seems pretty obv

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

what genre of music dominates the US singles charts now?

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

Taylor Swift... makes pop dubstep?

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

p much

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

SWIFTSTEP

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

What would an ideal modern chart system look like?

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

I'm probably wrong, I HOPE I'm wrong, but my first thought was "I really hope that isn't Usher"

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

also I don't really get the argument here, big voices and raspy voices and low voices are not mutually exclusive.

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:30 (seven months ago) Permalink

I am having trouble getting past the conflation of "low" with "rough" right at the beginning of the article.

Marcus Hiles Remains Steadfast About Planting Trees.jpg (DJP), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

(I thought I had written "like katherine" in that post, oops.)

Marcus Hiles Remains Steadfast About Planting Trees.jpg (DJP), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:27 (seven months ago) Permalink

Also, Nelly is a terrible example because he doesn't have I would term a "low" voice.

Marcus Hiles Remains Steadfast About Planting Trees.jpg (DJP), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

i met meshell ndgeocello--this was maybe 3 years ago, maybe longer--i remember her saying that exact same thesis to me (as the RS article)

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 17:58 (seven months ago) Permalink

I don't think it's an unreasonable thesis but it's not presented very well in that article.

Marcus Hiles Remains Steadfast About Planting Trees.jpg (DJP), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 17:59 (seven months ago) Permalink

i met meshell ndgeocello--this was maybe 3 years ago, maybe longer--i remember her saying that exact same thesis to me (as the RS article)

― Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, October 17, 2017

yeah she said something similar at EMP a couple years ago

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 18:21 (seven months ago) Permalink

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-pop-diva-identity-crisis-1508348017

"In the age of hip-hop, female pop stars are facing an identity crisis.

In July, R&B/hip-hop surpassed rock for the first time to officially become the biggest music genre in America, according to Nielsen Music, which tracks online streams and digital and physical albums. As of Oct. 12, R&B/hip-hop has driven 24% of music consumption in 2017—more than rock’s 21% and double pop’s 12% share."

skip, Friday, 20 October 2017 05:33 (seven months ago) Permalink

Imagine if pop radio was open to even more r'n'b. Can't access full WSJ article. Does it propose a new business plan for Taylor Swift?

curmudgeon, Monday, 23 October 2017 16:23 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/20-best-pop-albums-of-2017-w513516

Am pretty sure that all of the critics who wrote for this like r'n'b and rap (and I like their writing), but the definition of pop used here seems kinda rockist and blue-eyed

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:48 (five months ago) Permalink

I guess Bruno Mars was a late 2016 release, so that's why he wasn't included.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:56 (five months ago) Permalink

what would you have swapped in that doesn’t?

also have you seen the jingle ball lineups

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:57 (five months ago) Permalink

he was on the 2016 list
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/20-best-pop-albums-of-2016-w455459/bruno-mars-24k-magic-w455593

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:58 (five months ago) Permalink

i mean i understand your point but pop as it is currently staked our in the us is very white (with some latinx tinges). there was no rap or r&b artist on the lineup for the jingle ball i went to sunday in boston and the only mcs on the nationwide bill were logic and g eazy

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:00 (five months ago) Permalink

(and last year there were r&b and hip hop lists too)

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:00 (five months ago) Permalink

i wish pop radio played more r&b. it is criminal that beyoncé needed to hop on a freaking ed sheeran song in order to top the charts for the first time this decade

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:03 (five months ago) Permalink

So pop 2017 is just jingle ball emo, guitar strum & tasteful dance beat, retro rock, and Sam Smith paying homage to old soul singers?

The list finds space for Amber Coffman, Blondie and Aimee Mann who are not topping the charts these days, but doesn't find room for retro focused or similarly artisinal African-American artists, or African-American artists who are in the charts redefining pop

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:08 (five months ago) Permalink

can you name some? not being confrontational just genuinely curious

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:13 (five months ago) Permalink

Curtis Harding, Daniel Caesar, Ms. Jody, Miguel, Stokley Williams and can't the rap that makes the chart count as pop

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:19 (five months ago) Permalink

How about Mary J. Blige too

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:22 (five months ago) Permalink

as i noted earlier this likely isn’t the only genre list

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:24 (five months ago) Permalink

so maybe wait until they’ve all rolled out and then nitpick

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:24 (five months ago) Permalink

going to check out ms jody though, thanks

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:25 (five months ago) Permalink

No problem.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:30 (five months ago) Permalink

I get that they're defining "pop" as music that is sung and includes melodic hooks, it's just interesting who in 2017 both on and off the charts gets to be included in that definition and who does not.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:35 (five months ago) Permalink

well it's also defined in part by label and radio and streaming-playlist siloing. like kelly clarkson probably won't make the r&b list, you know?

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:41 (five months ago) Permalink

And Aimee Mann gets to be pop, rock and probably Americana too.

Not exactly related, but did you see this article

http://www.vulture.com/2017/12/defining-the-decade-in-pop-music.html

It’s about Antonoff style pop and its weaknesses

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:53 (five months ago) Permalink

If Kelly Clarkson could sing like Teena Marie she could probably be pop and r’n’b.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 21:01 (five months ago) Permalink

i did see that piece and i agree with a lot of it. pop radio this year was mostly boring - the combined influence of those big songwriting camps and the ever-more-concentrated creation of radio playlists has been deathly

and yeah the term "adult album alternative" (where any putative mann singles would line up) does a lot of heavy lifting as far as positioning

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 21:10 (five months ago) Permalink

Ms. Jody btw appeals largely to over 50 poc who like to line dance and are at the top end of the adult r’n’b listening bracket even if some of their synth and entendre filled southern soul faves don’t get played on such outlets.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 21:26 (five months ago) Permalink

Such an audience I'd say is as pop as an Aimee Mann one

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:35 (five months ago) Permalink

sure and i’m sorry i didn’t hear it earlier in the year

i’d recommend eric weisbard’s TOP 40 DEMOCRACY if you haven’t read it yet

maura, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 23:37 (five months ago) Permalink

Have heard of it, but haven't read it yet. Thanks.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 14:21 (five months ago) Permalink

the Aimee Mann record is actually quite lovely if anyone wants to actually engage with it rather than using it as a prop in an argument

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 13 December 2017 14:36 (five months ago) Permalink

it is very good!!

maura, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 14:49 (five months ago) Permalink

I want to read more about the Antonoff-ization of pop music.

Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 14 December 2017 17:40 (five months ago) Permalink

jack antonoff produced three albums, only one of which (Taylor Swift) came close to getting play on mainstream pop and particularly pop radio -- and even it isn't doing so phenomenally -- and a handful of songs in 2017. that's it. that's all. compare to someone like my nemesis Benny Blanco, who genuinely is unescapble: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Blanco_production_discography

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Thursday, 14 December 2017 17:50 (five months ago) Permalink

other people with far more influence on pop music in 2017 than everything Antonoff has done in the past decade combined: Ali Payami, Julia Michaels, Sia, as much as I hate to say it the Chainsmokers

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Thursday, 14 December 2017 17:53 (five months ago) Permalink

yeah benny blanco's persistence has been pretty amazing to me. i guess he's super-chameleonic, which helps

so katherine would you say that antonoff is like pop's equivalent of a prestige tv auteur

maura, Thursday, 14 December 2017 18:08 (five months ago) Permalink

Man, does that make Benny Blanco Chuck Lorre?

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 14 December 2017 18:16 (five months ago) Permalink

sure, why not

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Thursday, 14 December 2017 18:32 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Beginning in 2018, plays occurring on paid subscription-based services (such as Amazon Music and Apple Music) or on the paid subscription tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported platforms (such as SoundCloud and Spotify) will be given more weight in chart calculations than those plays on pure ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or on the non-paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported services.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8006673/billboard-charts-adjust-streaming-weighting-2018

Seems like this change will not be helpful to most black musicians

curmudgeon, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:34 (three months ago) Permalink

NY Times Popcast discussed this back in October 2017 I see.

On this week’s Popcast, Mr. Caramanica discusses the text and subtext of the Billboard Hot 100, and how the rule changes might punish certain audiences and genres, with Joe Coscarelli, pop music reporter for The New York Times, and David Turner, senior staff writer at Track Record.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/arts/music/billboard-chart-streaming-rule-change.html

curmudgeon, Monday, 29 January 2018 21:01 (three months ago) Permalink

Beginning in 2018, plays occurring on paid subscription-based services (such as Amazon Music and Apple Music) or on the paid subscription tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported platforms (such as SoundCloud and Spotify) will be given more weight in chart calculations than those plays on pure ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or on the non-paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported services.

They should just publish separate charts. "Here are the most-streamed songs. Here are the most-streamed songs from people with paid memberships to streaming services. Here are the physical CDs and downloads that sold the most copies this week - and by the way, we're including catalog titles alongside new releases now, so yeah, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Metallica's Black Album are the most popular records in America, again."

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 29 January 2018 21:06 (three months ago) Permalink

"this change will not helpful to most black musicians" has been the common intuitive interpretation, and that was certainly my own gut feeling, but in light of a few findings published here-n-there i actually don't think it's likely to be correct.

exhibit a:

Mind you, there’s not even evidence that overindexing paid streaming would hurt hip-hop: A source at Spotify told me rap dominates the paid side of the service, too, even more strongly than the ad-supported side. I will wait to comment in full for when the new rules take effect, but in the meantime we might want to decide if we are rooting for or against our new robot overlords.

exhibit b:

... on-demand subscription (paid) audio streams took an 80% share [by volume], while ad-supported streams claimed 20% of the market.

so paid-tier streaming users are even more likely to be consumers of 'urban' music + their combined streaming activity far outweighs that of those who only do 'free'/ad-supported streaming... if anything it seems such a rule change would give a boost to rap music (with the exception of the sort that gets most of its streams on youtube, i.e. dancing memes and such).

it's odd that billboard announced that impending rule change so far in advance. i figured they would implement it early in the year, but so far nothing else has been said about it.

dyl, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 02:12 (three months ago) Permalink

oh and chris molanphy's comment was specifically about spotify, but it's safe to say it's fairly generalizable: the charts for apple music, which is subscription-only, are even more heavily skewed toward the urban side of things than spotify's charts are.

dyl, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 02:19 (three months ago) Permalink

yeah apple is alllll hip hop

maura, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 03:28 (three months ago) Permalink

Interesting. Thanks.

On a different subject-- the Grammys and rap --seems like its a catch 22 situation right now-- The voting membership and the academy head seem little interested in rap (and r'n'b). Even though many in the rap and r'n'b worlds (engineers, producers, artists ) could qualify to join the academy and could then vote, they probably don't consider it or want to, due to the way the genres get treated.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 03:29 (three months ago) Permalink

The gender issues too, of course.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 03:30 (three months ago) Permalink


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