The Day the Music (Chart) Died

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“300” height=”80″ />So, Billboard decided to completely change its chart methodology today:

Billboard unveils new methodology today for the long-standing Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Latin Songs charts. Each receive a major consumer-influenced face-lift, as digital download sales (tracked by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming data (tracked by Nielsen BDS from such services as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) will now be factored into the 50-position rankings, along with existing radio airplay data monitored by Nielsen BDS. The makeovers will enable these charts to match the methodology applied to Billboard’s signature all-genre songs ranking, the Billboard Hot 100.

On the surface, this seems like a good idea. After all, the country singles chart included both sales and airplay data for decades, until

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switching to airplay-only in 1989. Declining availability of retail singles made this change necessary.

Since the digital market emerged, I’ve been an advocate for bringing sales data back into the mix. There have been a few songs that were very popular with country audiences that radio didn’t embrace, like “I am a Man of Constant Sorrow”, “Hurt”, and “Not Ready to Make Nice”, but were mainstays on country video outlets and sold plenty of digital downloads alongside impressive album sales. The digital singles market also indicated the budding popularity of acts like Miranda Lambert and Eric Church, who have since become core radio acts.

So what’s the problem with the change? This:

The immediate beneficiaries of this week’s methodology change are Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Mumford & Sons.

Swift, who holds down the top two slots on Hot Country Songs with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Red.” Her new country radio single “Begin Again” jumps 37-10. The pop-crossover No. 1 title ranks at No. 36 on Country Airplay (but also gets points associated with its pop-crossover play) and No. 1 on Country Digital Songs, while “Red” is absent from the Country Airplay list, but ranks No. 2 on Country Digital Songs. “Begin Again” appears at No. 29 on Country Airplay and No. 3 on Country Digital Songs.

There are so many problems here. First, and probably worst, pop airplay is now counting for the country genre chart. This week’s “#1 country song” would’ve been #36 if the methodology hadn’t changed. A song that was most notable for being the first song that country radio refused to play by Taylor Swift, because it had no business being on country radio in the first place. It is not a country hit that crossed over to pop. It’s a pop hit that failed to cross over to country.

#2 isn’t even a country single. It’s an advance download track previewing Swift’s new album. It will drop like a stone next week, much like it will on the Hot 100, where it enters at #6. But the Hot 100’s breadth is able to absorb tracks like this more easily, and it is almost impossible to get that high without at least some radio support. The #2 country single of the week wasn’t played on country radio this week.

Billboard says it’s modeling the new genre charts after the Hot 100, much like the way the genre album charts mirror the Billboard 200:

The move to the Hot 100-based formula will ensure that the top-ranked country, R&B/hip-hop, Latin and rock titles each week will be the top titles listed on each genre’s songs ranking. This will be in line with how the Billboard 200 albums chart aligns with the albums charts for each corresponding genre. Because of the switch to new methodology, the week-to-week movements on the charts for some songs (in either direction) could be quite dramatic.

Until now, only country stations contributed to the Hot Country Songs chart, or R&B/hip-hop stations to Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs; the same held true for Latin and rock. The new methodology, which will utilize the Hot 100’s formula of incorporating airplay from more than 1,200 stations of all genres monitored by BDS, will reward crossover titles receiving airplay on a multitude of formats. With digital download sales and streaming data measuring popularity on the most inclusive scale possible, it is only just the radio portion of Billboard chart calculations that includes airplay from the entire spectrum of monitored formats.

Big mistake. Albums sales are album sales. If x sells more than y, it’s higher on the album chart. Apples to apples. Each genre singles chart has its own idiosyncrasies, reflecting the different ways that music is received by the audience.

Despite all the new methods of delivery, country music’s primary method of distribution remains the radio. It may be the only thing left that is identifiably “country” in mainstream music. The vast majority of country artists do not pursue the pop market in lieu of the country market. At most, they pursue pop as well as country, but usually wait until the song’s a hit at their home format first.

The big crossover hits of years past – “Need You Now”, “You’re Still the One”, “Before He Cheats” – would’ve done very well under this new format, but would likely have spent more time at #1 when they were dominating top forty radio and the song was already a recurrent at country stations. Instead, they went #1 on the country chart when country radio was playing them, then flew up the pop charts a few weeks later, while a new single was hitting the country market.

This new chart methodology is bad enough as it is now. But what will happen when the labels realize the only way to have a #1 country hit is to get your song to be a pop hit, too?

There are so many other problems with this, including the increased challenges of breaking new country acts and the likelihood that digital single releases will now become more strategic than ever. (Remixes! Acoustic versions! Buy them separately so they each count as their own sale!)

I guess I just don’t see the point of having a country chart at all if it isn’t going to measure just the country market.


124 Comments on The Day the Music (Chart) Died

  1. I could see it both ways. The old chart measured what was played on country radio, and if that’s what you cared about, then that chart was superior.

    But the new chart seems to measure the success of country songs, not just what country radio plays. And because Swift’s “We Are Never…” gets played not just on country stations, it is way, way more popular than a song that gets country-station only play; its a more popular country song than some country songs that get no pop airplay but more country airplay than “We Are Never”. So if I am asking about the popularity of country songs, and not asking just about the airplay country songs get on country radio, then I think the new method is better.

    I guess the issue is what kinds of questions are important for industry people to know about and whether these changes help them. I have no idea cuz im not in the industry.

  2. Kevin – you and I are rarely on the same page but I agree with you 100% on this issue. It must mean we are both wrong (lol)

  3. I agree about the need to incorporate digital sales in determining Hot Country Songs rankings, but figuring in airplay from pop is absolutely detestable. I love Taylor Swift, but seeing the likelihood of her dominating the “country charts” for her songs that are unabashedly pop in the first place, is just plain wrong.

  4. Bill Werde of Billboard essentially neutered the Country music charts. They screwed Carrie Underwood out of her 13th number 1 hit that she is going to have this Sunday, and gave it to popstar Taylor Swift instead, for a dreadful song that flopped on country radio peaking at 13. Taylor’s “we are never ever getting back together” is now a number 1 song on the country charts, and Carrie got screwed by Taylor’s pop airplay and digital sales.

    Carrie is not the only country artist who will be burned by this new absurd rule. George Strait will NEVER get another #1 on the hot country songs chart again, as he will have no POP airplay and nominal digital sales. So he will never be able to compete against Popstar Taylor on this new chart. Ever.

    The best country stars can hope for now is to score #1s on the country Airplay charts, but they will never beat Taylor on this new chart. Taylor will dominate this chart for 52 weeks a year, as she is the ONLY so-called “country” star who has more pop airplay then country…and she sells millions of digital downloads to her tween pop Bieber fans.

    This new rule essentially ensure that Taylor’s Pop Dubstep song will chart on the Country Songs chart, and it will beat country songs now…due to pop airplay and digital sales. Taylor will rule this chart unopposed every week indefinitely.

    Miranda and Carrie both refuse to pop remix so they are out of luck on this chart, forever. I can’t imagine George Strait or Josh Turner or Brad ever pop remixing, so they are done for too. No one benefits from this new rule except TAYLOR SWIFT, who happens to be Bill Werde’s favorite. He is obssessed with her and made her Billboard’s Woman of the year last year even though Adele outsold and outperformed Taylor 3-1 in 2011/2012.

    Country music is officially dead. Get ready for 52 weeks with Taylor Swift at number 1 on the so-called “country” charts. I am done with Billboard forever.

  5. This rule punishes Country Artists for being “too country” to get Pop airplay. If you are unwilling to pop remix or pander to pop radio, you are screwed.

    So Miranda and Carrie- who refuse to pop remix- have no chance on this chart. Josh Turner, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Kenny, Brad, etc- never pop remix and have no desire to be pop. So that means they are out of luck too.

    Who will win? Taylor Swift, and perhaps Lady A as they pop remix too. But this will be “Taylor’s chart.”

    I will make a $50 bet with anyone here, that within 1 year of this new chart’s creation, Taylor Swift will have dominated it at least 50% of the time. I guarantee it.

    There will be press releases from Big Machine boasting of Taylor’s dominance of the “country song charts” but they will conveniently forget to tell the public that she got these number 1s from POP AIRPLAY, not COUNTRY AIRPLAY.

    Sickening and depressing what is happening to country music.

    I am convinced that Scott Borchetta is behind this. He is best friends with Bill Werde of Billboard, and Werde is a known Taylor Swift fanatic/obssesed/creepy man. Now he changed the charts to give Taylor her undeserved number 1 for the dreadful “We ARe never Ever Getting Back Together” that tanked on country radio. Perhaps Borchetta is trying to get back at country radio for denying his precious Taylor her number 1 on radio….so they crafted this new chart to make sure she now dominates “country songs” indefinitely.

    Just watch: Taylor will dominate this new so-called “Country Songs Chart” for the next 2 years and beyond. No one can compete with her Pop airplay or digital sales. Country fans do not want her pop bubble gum crap on their radio, but she will force her way in to this chart, and hurt deserving actual country artists who will not be able to compete this way.

    Imagine George Strait and Alan Jackson trying to get Pop airplay and sell mass amounts of digital downloads to compete with Taylor. It will NEVER WORK for them. They are screwed forever.

    This rule is absurd and unfair.

  6. My main issue is this – if they wanted to essentially have a country version of the Hot 100 chart, fine. I have no problem with that. But calling it the new Hot Country Songs chart and labeling it the main chart by which country songs must now hit #1? Ridiculous. What they should have done is simply create this new chart, call it something like the Hot 100 Country Songs, and leave the Airplay chart as the main chart for #1 songs.

    The new formula pretty much guarantees that every single song Taylor Swift releases will hit #1 and stay there for several weeks (possibly months). No other country artist has the crossover success that Taylor has, therefore they don’t have the crossover airplay or sales that result from that airplay. So artists like Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, etc, stand little to no chance of ever hitting #1 on this new chart. Heck, even Carrie Underwood won’t hit #1 on it, not competing against Taylor at least, because Carrie doesn’t remix her songs and push them to pop radio. In fact, Carrie would have had her 13th #1 Hot Country Song this coming Monday if not for this new rule change. Instead she gets pushed to #3, while Taylor’s pop song (which is #36 on country airplay, and whose country remix isn’t even available for download) is #1, and her album track (which has 0 airplay on any genre) is #2.

  7. Ugh. I read about this earlier today and, when I saw the results, was surprised at how angry I was. Thank you for providing a forum to vent about this. I love following the charts and for years have eagerly awaited the reveal of the week’s new chart every Thursday morning. Not anymore. Frankly, I’m more interested in Monday morning’s Mediabase charts at USA Today now.

    Wouldn’t the Top 25 just be the 25 highest ranked songs on the Hot 100 with any (however remote it may be) country connection? Wouldn’t a song like “Need You Now” be #1 for four months? Wow. How exciting.

    I like the idea of incorporating some kind of sales aspect into the chart, but a ratio or formula that allows for the chart I saw this morning isn’t right. The #1 “Country” song isn’t “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. I guess it’s the incorporation of the points from pop radio that I find most offensive. Perhaps there should be at least a minimum amount of country airplay required before a song can chart.

    Going forward, in my opinion, any chart achievement or record should have a giant asterisk next to it.

    Huge fail, Billboard.

  8. It’s a damn shame that one of the very best songs ever in Country Music “Blown Away” is getting robbed of a #1 because another song that was a Country Flop happens to get crossover airplay and is selling a few more downloads. Keep in mind “Blown Away” has also achieved Platinum sales. This is a sad day indeed for all of those who are being screwed by this. Don’t forget the songwriters that will be losing out as well.

  9. This new chart methodology is a disincentive to a majority of country artists. It is like telling them, “Hey you wanna peak high in the Billboard country chart? Sell out your souls and make your songs un-country enough to garner crossover pop airplay and higher digital sales.” This is not just about the Carrie-Taylor rivalry (although the timing of the new chart rules is really suspicious); but it really is a disrespect to the genre as a whole. :(

  10. Lets take this scenario for example:
    A country artist releases a bona fide country smash. It resonates well amongst country music fans; everyone loves it. Over a period of months it’s built enough momentum to score a #1 BB Country song. It’s selling well digitally for a country song and is approaching #1 on both Mediabase and the Airplay Chart (“Pontoon,” “Blown Away,” “Wanted,” “Springsteen,” to name a few recent songs that fit this description).

    Suddenly, Taylor Swift releases something similar to WANEGBT. It immediately sells because it’s a Taylor Swift song. It takes the #1 position on HCS based on digital sales alone. It remains the #1 country song for months based entirely on CHR airplay and the subsequent digital sales, despite being a complete failure on country radio because it isn’t actually country. The legitimately good country song never receives the accolades it deserves.

    Sounds fair?

    Sounds flawed to me. You don’t realize how flawed this new methodology is until you look at an entirely plausible scenario. And this scenario is entirely plausible, and it will happen every time Taylor releases a single. It might look good on paper, but implementations often don’t work the way the blueprint says it should.

  11. I don’t necessarily disagree with the basic principle here – I feel sales are a significant indicator of a single’s success. In addition, the airplay chart has become increasingly artificial, with song being dropped from the main chart and reduced to “recurrent” status long before they actually stop being played, so the chart was not actually an accurate record of what was being played anyway.

    The basic problem is that song that aren’t country are being categorised as such (which was happening anyway on radio, but will be intensified with this new system).

  12. Taylor can basically be at the top of this chart until she stops making music – she can release all her singles off her albums and even though they don’t even chart in the Country radio top 20 she will be at the top of the country chart. Any movie soundtrack, collab, and it goes on and on, This was obviously a punishment to Country radio, country artists and country fans for not wanting Taylors debut song and for sending it burning and crashing back down the chart after the planned spin debut that broke the record for females at #13. That song is now #1 because of POP airplay, POP fans buying the digitals, and POP fans streaming because it is not a country song.Kelly Clarkson can release a song to country and be #1 without any country airplay. Bill Werde says WE ARE GOING TO DECIDE WHAT IS A COUNTRY SONG BECAUSE THEY ARE OUR CHARTS !!! Oh really? With two bonafide POP songs #1 and #2 and eventually splattered all down the country chart? There must be a solution to this POP takeover of the country chart.

  13. I also wonder what will happen when a pop artist remixes a song for country radio that is a hit at other formats first. I don’t understand the criteria for charting country now.

    This truly is a new development. Billboard wouldn’t let “From This Moment On” chart on the little-noticed “Hot Country Singles Sales” charts back in 1999 because the CD single only included the pop remixes. I love Shania Twain, but could you imagine what the country charts would’ve looked like in the late nineties? “You’re Still the One” would’ve been #1 for months, even though country radio had already finished playing it and finished playing “From This Moment On”, and moved on to “Honey, I’m Home”, Shania’s last #1 country hit.

  14. I hate to dabble into conspiracy theories, but I could not help but believe that something shady is going on with this rule change particularly with the timing. I remember reading from Billboard Country Update around late last year or early this year, that there is a plan to launch a chart that incorporates radio airplay, digital singles, etc. I immediately thought that the first artist that would have benefited had they changed the rules that early was Carrie Underwood as she released “Good Girl” in February. Given that it is a lead single for a new album of a core format artist, it was expected that it would debut even higher when digital sales are figured in along with airplay from country radio. A rule change in the middle of a new Carrie single would have raised many eyebrows; but fortunately “Good Girl” took a natural course to get to the top.

    Weeks went by and there has not been any update on the chart rule changes (as far as non-insider and ordinary followers of the charts like me are concerned).

    Then, all of a sudden Billboard decides to change the rules in the Hot Country Songs six weeks before the chart year ends. The rule change is also done in the same week that Carrie is in the cusp of scoring her 13th Billboard #1 country hit in seven years, and with a song that is truly one of her strongest releases to date. The rule change is also implemented at the time when Carrie’s ‘arch-rival’ Taylor Swift is weeks away from releasing her new album and where her promotional singles are topping the iTunes sales one after the other.

    Just why is the timing for the change so arbitrarily done? They should have done it in the beginning of the chart year. That would have created less controversy.

    Furthermore, the new chart rules resulted into “We Are Never Getting Back Together” becoming a #1 song when country radio has clearly resisted it for being too pop. To add insult to the injury, “Red” which enters at #2 is now the highest debut for a female country artist.

    Then few weeks ago, Billboard had an article comparing the chart successes of Carrie and Taylor, which basically proved nothing but only incited another ridiculous fan war between the supporters of the two.

    Call me an angry Carrie fan, but I think every Carrie fan and every one who cares about the future of country music should get mad at this completely abominable mistake.

  15. Kevin, I asked the Billboard guy on Twitter that exact question. Even he didn’t know the answer. The whole thing’s a gigantic mess.

  16. Bill Werde avoided the question and evaded giving a real explanation for why he did this– the VERY WEEK that Carrie’s song was to hit #1. He also did it conveniently 2 WEEKS BEFORE Taylor’s Album release.

    coincidence? I think not.

    Big Machine wants big press releases to create fake buzz for Taylor’s new pop cd, and they want to create the false illusion that Country Radio Loved the dreadful “WANEGBT” so they crafted a new chart to buy her a number 1 anyway, overriding the entier nation of country radio programmers, country fans, etc- who hated the song and spoke loud and clear.

    So now Taylor can buy her way into number 1s indefinitely on this chart, just as she bought her way into the Country Hall of Fame with her $4 Million dollar “donation” to create a wing for herself, to ensure she is inducted someday. Same with her massive donations to the Grammy museum.

    She is a black mark on country music history. Someday 100 years from now, people researching the charts for country music will see her pop drivel songs dominating the charts for a year under this new rule, and they will scratch their heads, wondering if she had Magic Juice, as it is clearly not a “country” song or artist.

    RIP Country music. Big Machine/Billboard/Taylor murdered you. 10/11/12.

  17. Don’t buy for a moment that the timing of all this was arranged to buoy one artist’s career or hinder another’s. Come on; it’s way too major and sweeping of a change.

    That said, it’s so major that there’s certain to be significant outcry from Nashville. And after the outcry, we’ll probably see a lot more labels release non-single “singles” like Swift’s camp has for some time, just to be able to compete. I don’t know.

  18. Dan- you should see how much Bill Werde loves Taylor in past articles. He is really creepily obssessed with her. So with that background, I do not think it is a big stretch to think the timing was done on purpose to create BUZZ for Taylor’s big album release.

    Otherwise- they would have waited for the end of the Billboard chart year to do this. That would have made more sense.

  19. Ugh. Thank you so much for posting this! The new chart is just ridiculous and totally NOT representative of the biggest songs in country right now. Country fans REJECTED “We Are Never…” which is why it peaked at #13, deservedly so. How can a COUNTRY chart include POP airplay?

    Also, I think sales and airplay are two completely different things and there is no real way to measure them together, especially for one specific genre. That’s what the hot 100 is for. This new chart isn’t fair for true country artists singing real country music. Why should someone like Taylor, who is releasing pop songs, be rewarded with the #1 country song? It’s pretty much saying that a country artist NEEDS to go pop in order to get a country #1. Several artists who deserve these number ones are not going to be able to get them now because they will be blocked by a pop song.

    This is a complete embarrassment for country music. I hope the country music industry just decides to go by the MediaBase charts from now on to use that as determining what songs go down in history as being #1, and they just forget about this useless new chart. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

  20. …for what it’s worth, carrie’s “blown away” might become that legendary song that got unfairly blown away on its sure way to the #1 spot on the country charts. possibly, the biggest case of injustice ever happening to a single – since being led to believe that 22 year old women from russian web-sites make perfect mid-western wives.

    every which way you look at it – “blown away” is likely to become another landmark song for ms. underwood. at least, some consolation in this mess.

  21. Now let’s look at the fall out from the change, basically the songs that dropped dramatically:
    Miranda Lambert 9 to 16; Jana Kramer 3 to 11; Toby Keith 18 to 26; Greg Bates 14 to 22; Easton Corbin 7 to 13; Country singers without crossover success.

    I hope Nashville screams…I hope they scream loud for I sure do not want greedy record labels pushing the pop button to their stars..

  22. I am also a Miranda fan- not just a Carrie fan- and I am pissed at what happened to mirandas song this week!

    We need to band together and make our voices heard.

    Jasonthegleek on twitter started. petition to protest this change. I will post the link later after I get home if anyone wants to sign.

    This rule hurts everyone except Taylor as it was “taylor made” to help only her.

  23. At least Mediabase charts are here for the country artist. Blown Away is currently #1 (10.11.12). Nashville needs to put its foot down on Taylor and Lady A on their pop success.

  24. I actually agree that the timing was intentional, but I don’t think it was just because of Taylor Swift. I think they wanted to get as much media attention as possible. Swift, PSY, and Rihanna are making that happen. It was the perfect week to make the change for maximum impact. Why else do it now, instead of waiting until the end of the chart year?

    I know Underwood fans are upset because of the timing, but she’s better equipped to do well in this environment than anyone else. Swift is going to do great as well, but WANEGBT is an outlier in terms of radio airplay for her. I expect the rest of the project will be more successful at country radio than pop, as was the case for Speak Now.

    Underwood has been very consistent. Just about every single has sold gold or platinum, and radio airplay has been top two. She wouldn’t have been #1 this week anyway, but she’s got a good shot at it for next week.

    The really difficult challenges will be for the core genre artists who don’t cross over. And country might actually do better at representation than what we’ll see on the R&B, rock, and rap charts. Those fan communities are apocalyptic right now, too.

  25. The changes may be a mess (or not), but the notion that this is going on with the goal of helping some individual artist and hurting another seems really doubtful.

    Surely if Billboard Charts are to have any value, they couldn’t say “lets change our methods to hurt Carrie and help Taylor.” Even if Billboard really wanted to do that, (a big if), doing so would surely be extremely self-defeating.

    Some people say things like this “screws” some artist out of a hit. I disagree. No artist “deserves” a number 1; no artist “deserves” this chart to be the official one rather than some other chart. Surely the chart’s method will have an impact on what kind of music does well on the chart, but if Billboard is now “screwing” carrie due to this method, then it was arguably “screwing” Taylor for using the old method. But I don’t see that one method is morally better than another, or that anyone deserves one method to be used and not the other. The moralistic language seems misplaced.

    Perhaps the new method will prove unhelpful to the industry, and it will be modified. If it hurts those artists whos music does not cross over, as I suspect it will, then perhaps the industry will want billboard to change things. That’s understandable. But I am not sympathetic to all the hysteria about the unfairness to individual artists.

  26. Kevin, have you heard Taylor’s new song “I Knew You Were Trouble?” It’s a pop/dub-step song and will surely be a big hit on POP radio.

    Also, how does Carrie have a good shot at #1 next week? It looks to me like WANEGBT will once again be #1. Either that or IKYWT (if they count that as country).

  27. I don’t get it, so is there two charts? Because it says the old one is now called country airplay chart, if so instead of changing the old one, why didn’t they just create a new chart. This whole thing is ridiculous!

  28. Sweetcheeks- I get that some of us are angrier and more passionate about this issue then others- but we have not been working hard requesting songs for months to try to help our favorite artists get to number 1. Here we are, on the cusp of a number 1, and then Taylor’s Pop song that TANKED on country radio suddenly rises from the dead to screw Carrie, Miranda, everyone.

    I do feel it is directly hurting everyone but Taylor. The facts are the facts. No country artists gets the amount of Pop airplay she does. No one. And she sells the most digital downloads to her Tween pop fans. So she will benefit every week.

    Just watch this chart for awhile and see who is number 1 for most of the next year. Then you might feel differently.

    And yes, a song “deserves” to be number 1 if it is a good song, and has been heading up the charts for months, doing everything right, following the rules. To suddenly rob that song out of a number 1 to help pop crossover dubstep songs is wrong on every level, morally and otherwise.

    George Strait will NEVER have another #1 on the Hot Country songs under this formula, nor will Alan Jackson, Brad, Kenny, Keith Urban, etc. They do not pop crossover either nor are they big digital sellers.

  29. Kevin- I see your points but Carrie doesn’t pop remix or do much pop crossover either. Lady A and the Band Perry, etc- have remixed their songs to pop before so perhaps they can fight back and do so again.

    But for country artists who are against Pop Remixing like Carrie and Miranda (both have spoken out vehemently against it)- they will not have success on this chart.

    Carrie is fortunate to have strong digital sales as you correctly stated, but without the Pop airplay, she is in the same boat as Miranda, Brad, Kenny, Keith, Eric Church, Jason, George, Alan, etc.

    All are equally disadvantaged.

    We should play a game and watch this chart for awhile to see if ANYONE can beat Taylor for even one week. lol

    I predict she will dominate it for years, with Lady A getting a few token weeks here or there.

  30. Does anyone know if the airplay only chart for Country available on the site? I can’t find it.

    What’s the rule for recurrents now?

    According to a column on Billboard today, if this new system had been used in 1997, history could have counted LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live” as the #1 COUNTRY song for 7+ months (possibly, given that it topped the SINGLES SALES charts for 32 weeks).

    For me, Billboard is now boring and irrelevant. If I want to know what each week’s chart will look like, I can just go check out the top sellers on iTunes.

  31. I think what will happen is that actual country music fans will simply ignore the main Billboard “country” chart and only follow the country airplay chart instead. Based on the reactions from country fans on this website and various others, it’s clear that the “country” chart has lost all credibility in the world of country music.

  32. I think Eric’s comment is likely. There are other charts (Mediabase). Though I doubt the reactions online represent country fans in an way. Its possible (likely?) that most country fans have no clue how the various charts are made, don’t really care one way or the other, and possibly have no idea that Billboard made this change. Its likely the die-hards who know and/or care.

    I know I started listening to country around 1992, and got into the charts from maybe 1997-2003 or so. I no longer care too much about chart position of a song, but I certainly did for a while back in the day!

  33. Eric and Sweetcheeks seem to sum up the reality. Which means, for the emerging country artists Kevin mentioned, simply that Billboard will become less and less relevant to country artists and country fans. I’M an aspiring country artist, and while I also like my share of electropop, this doesn’t frighten me. I’ll know where to look to see if my country songs are succeeding; it just won’t be where Billboard is looking. So be it.

  34. I did some checking -Carrie has just achieved a #1 single in Blown Away on country radio, Blown Away video has 4.5 million views and Blown Away was just certified platinum selling 1 million singles, now you would think that that would certainly give her a #1 on BB Country but Blown Away is now #3 on the new chart. Taylor has the #1 and #2 song. If Carrie can’t get a #1 with all that then no other artist will be able to. Taylor will be competing with herself on the chart and any POP star that wants to cut a “country song” will be at the top of the chart either at #1 or behind Taylor

  35. Country’s five biggest stars right now aren’t country at all, so I fail to see how this change even matters to them since they aren’t even releasing country material. And the five biggest actual country artists of today, the Chris Young crowd, won’t be changed much unless they and their labels become desperate for meaningless status symbols like having a #1 or top 10 song.

    Believing that what is released today is country is buying into Nashville’s country music gimmick. Just because a marketing gimmick brands an artist as country doesn’t make it so. I still hold country music up to at least some qualifications of its past and therefore, don’t see much change in the genre coming as a result of Billboards decision.

    Yes, there should be a real fiddle/steel guitar/dobro/banjo/country electric guitar to drum machine ratio that we as country music fans demand our genre be held to. Our genre deserves a mean, median and mode. We should be doing things like listening to the backdrop and judging weather or not the melodic beat is something that falls under a country/bluegrass umbrella. We should demand more country instrumentation in our music. Those are called standards and we shouldn’t lose them just because the music and merchandise shucking marketing executives in Nashville have. And when the mean, median and mode coming from Nashville ain’t what we like, we the mathematics of country music falls a bit short, then we shouldn’t call it country y’all!

    Here is who I see as the five biggest country artists in today’s mainstream of Nashville…
    #1 Kenny Chesney…He hasn’t released a country sounding single in several years. I can’t remember the last actual country song he put out as a single. He’s been pop/arena rock for a good, long while.

    #2 Taylor Swift…Other than “Mean” and “Teardrops On My Guitar” she hasn’t released a real country song to radio ever.

    #3 Jason Aldean…Another arena rock, hip-hop influenced artist. I’d say about the only actual non arena rock and/or hip-hop song he’s sent to FM radio was “The Truth”.

    #4 Miranda Lambert…”Me and Charlie Talking”, “House That Built” and…what else? What other Miranda songs have been released that aren’t pop or arena rock? “White Liar”, “Famous in a Small Town”, “Over You”? Arena rock, arena rock and pop.

    #5 Carrie Underwood…”I Told You So” with Randy Travis and again, more questions marks. If what Carrie puts out is considered country, what the heck would her pop remixes sound like? How can you take the “country” out of songs like “Last Name”, “Blown Away” and “Mama’s Song” when it wasn’t really there to begin with?

    Now look at the five biggest acts today that main of us clamor over as actually staying truer to their country roots. Again, my opinion of who the biggest five actually are…

    #1 George Strait…King George releasing a pop remix? Until the pigs start flying, it won’t happen. For the record, yes, I do believe he is still the biggest neo-traditional artist out there in the genre.

    #2 Josh Turner…Do you actually see pop remixes coming out of Turner?

    #3 Chris Young…Out of Chris Young? A guy whose launched his career as being a neo-traditional artist.

    #4 The Band Perry…Here is one group, given that their next album has a new rock-oriented producer crafting it, that could jump the country music shark. I’m hoping more desperately than a Strait single that they keep their breezy bluregrass sound on the next album too.

    #5 Easton Corbin…”Lovin’ You is Fun”, the pop version? I don’t see that one happening anytime soon either given that he too has started his career on a foundation of 1990’s style neo-traditional country.

    Other than The Band Perry, which isn’t a given until we actually hear the new album do you see any of these artists making major changes to the music they’re putting out? And could the other five artists mentioned from the Chesney group actually make music that sounds less country than it does at the present time? I don’t think so. Hence, if we as country music fans don’t lose our standards and allow everyone into the game via cheap marketing ploys, our genre won’t be effected anymore than it already has been the last decade.

  36. I think most of the people that support the end of this new methodology doing this just because they hate Taylor Swift not because they want diversity on country chart … it’s a shame, cause she will stand as a great and popular artist all over the world with or without country charts. I support the end of this methodology, but remenber the not only Taylor do the crossover ‘country pop’, so criticize her, is criticisize many other country acts. I believe in musical diversity, but not made by hate agains’t other good artists.

  37. Motown Mike-

    I get what you are saying, but the songs Taylor have recently put out can’t even have a case made for them being country. They have been very clearly pop, not even straddling the line like I the majority of the others you listed do at least with the majority of the songs (Aldean withstanding, I’ve never understood how he’s considered country.)

    And The Band Perry does change their sound for pop airplay. They remix their songs, including If I Die Young. I think they definitely would have gotten the airplay for that song without remixing, just as Carrie did with Before He Cheats. So there goes 1 of your 5 traditional artists…

  38. Motown Mike – this particular blog has to do with the BB Country Chart and the POP airplay being added to the formula for the chart. Bill Werde says that Billboard will decide whether a song is country or not.

  39. Okay first of all a top 20 hit is not a flop. And instead of focusing on how this hurts Carrie why not focus on how it helps the genre? Everyone complains that radio is to monotonous now indie singles that people discover on Internet radio have a chance to chart. Instead of country radio deciding what songs people hear now our buying power can influence radio. Think about it if thousands of people buy s single and it ends up in the top 10 don’t you think radio is more likely to play it? I think it’s a great idea and hopefully it actually creates a more level playing field for artists to chart based on direct fan support instead of labels bribing radio stations.

  40. @ Hope

    I know the Band Perry changes their sound for pop airplay. What I’m saying isn’t that they’ll change their sound for pop airplay but that their pop airplay sound will become the new direction of the band on the whole.

  41. I wish Nashville had enough pride and sense of unity to band together and really do something about this. I think they should take a page out of the Texas/Red Dirt Country book and just make their own chart.

    The Billboard #1’s will lose their significance anyway when it becomes obvious that 3-4 artists are basically taking their turns at the top, or when Taylor Swift has a 15 week number one hit, or something else equally absurd. People are sheeplike, but they aren’t THAT dumb.

    Heck, WE could make our own chart. It really wouldn’t be that hard.

    I know this sucks. But it could honestly be a chance for country music to be COUNTRY again. I hope something positive, or at least less apocalyptic, comes out of this.

  42. The new chart would be better if it only counted AirPlay from country, not pop. But it doesn’t so that’s why people are mad.

  43. Ashley- with all due respect- your post makes no sense. Taylor’s dreadful lead single, “We Are Never EVer Getting back together”- only achieved number 13 on country radio due to a back room Clear Channel Radio deal that Scott Borchetta and Big Machine orchestrated. Once the Clear Channel deal was over, her song tanked and could not recover on country radio due to the maassive outcry from angry country fans. Thankfully, radio listened and stopped playing the song. It died, but now suddenly it is back from the dead, number 1, despite country radio and the music fans’ rejection for the song.

    If forcing a pop song on the country music community that most fans dislike, to manipulate and buy a number 1, is good for the genre, then country music really is dead.

    Taylor can buy thousands of her own songs on itunes, and basically buy her way into the top 10 country charts evne if her songs do not do well on country radio.

    In fact, other pop singers can do it too now. Kelly and others can remix pop songs to country, sell some downloads, and chart in the top 10 on country radio even without country radio airplay.

    Taylor can remix her Dubstep song to Rap, and get a number 1 country hit, under this new rule.

    That is sickening and makes me truly depressed over what has happened to country music. It used to be a proud tradition and heritage. Now Johnny Cash would turn in his grave.

    Millions of Tween pop fans buy taylor’s songs, but they are POP fans, not country fans! How is THAT helping the genre in any way, shape or form? Her songs are POP, and not even very good pop songs. So how is allowing Pop songs to infiltrate and dillute the country charts “helping the genre?” It is only helping Taylor Swift and no one else. It is destroying Country music, one Taylor Pop Dubstep song at a time.

    Now Kelly Clarkson can remix all her pop songs to country, and due to her massive Pop airplay, she will chart at number 1 on all the country charts, even if her songs do not do well on country.

  44. Where do we sign the petition ? Please email me !WANEGBT #1 on BB, #42 on MB and a week old song at #2 same artist. They are gonna ruin country music with this dreadful pop garbage !

  45. The one upside here is that the incorporation of digital sales could benefit artists like Jamey Johnson who can sell but don’t get the airplay they deserve.

    And don’t kid yourselves, Carrie fans. Blown Away might not be marketed as a pop song, but it absolutely is one. There’s nothing about it that sounds country, but you’re all blinded by your refusal to accept that Carrie could possibly have any flaws and your irrational hatred of all things Taylor Swift.

  46. Andrew- Perhaps Carrie fans are the most upset right now because Carrie should have had a #1 next week , if it had been Miranda who was to have a #1 next week or Josh Turner or George Strait or Reba, their fans would be heard the loudest because they would have known about it first. Many fans are fans of both Carrie and Taylor so the “hate” accusation is ridiculous. And many Carrie fans are fans of many artists. This is an issue concerning country radio, the country fans and country music community not counting for much in this equation – country radio now finds itself completely irrelevant as POP radio combined with the other genres will decide the song placements on the Country Music Chart and any artist can take advantage of that fact and easily score a #1 country song even without any country radio airplay. It’s as if Billboard suddenly said to Country and R&B, the direction of your music world that you have enjoyed for decades will now be decided by us, Billboard. Billboard will decide what songs are country . The big issue here is the other genre radioplay being factored in for a Country Chart placement. It makes absolutely no sense. Digital sales OK, streaming OK but not radio airplay from non country. It will overpower country and there will be POP songs at the top of the chart forever, no artist like Alan Jackson will ever reach #1 again. Jason lost his third week at #1 even though it is a huge hit. So as long as POP songs are on the top of the chart, country songs that don’t crossover to POP will never reach #1. And that is the issue at stake here, it affects ALL country artists.

  47. Correction to one of my statements above that- any artist can get a #1 on the country chart- to POP artists will easily be able to gain a #1 on country because of their POP airplay if it is factored into the placements for the Country music chart

  48. Gee, I’m off my computer for half a week and come back to see all this. Sad day for my favourite artists :(

  49. …, interestingly enough, andrew, carrie underwoods “blown away” sounds pretty country, when played by a non-country station.

    of course, i’m not exactly sure about the influence of my individual bias, but in a generally pure pop environment, i.e. european all purpose radio stadions, even pop-country songs kinda stick out like slightly sore thumbs from the rest on the playlist.

    actually, until lately this wasn’t much different with taylor swift songs – they may sound decidedly pop in a country batch of songs, yet country in pop batch.

    however, i agree with kevin’s conclusion. what’s the point in having country charts that don’t reflect the genre in the best possible way. whether the new billboard approach is really distorting the results needs to be seen. if so, i’m pretty sure that will be corrected.

  50. I feel bad for Mirnada, Brad, George Strait, Kenny, Alan Jackson, etc.

    Does anyone here really expect George Strait to Pop Remix to compete with Taylor on this chart? lol He would sooner retire, which is possibly one reason why he is doing so in part. I bet he and ther others are well aware of these changes and hate them.

    Does anyone expect Miranda to be accepted on Pop Radio with her cute, twangy voice? I love her- but she is too country to ever cross over to pop– which is TO HER CREDIT. I mean it as a compliment.

    Plus both Miranda and Carrie already said they hate pop remixes and they both refuse to do it. So there you have it. Taylor wins.

  51. Why do you hate Taylor Swift so much? Because she’s more succesfull than Carrie & Miranda will ever be? It’s not her fault! She makes music! People buy her songs, because her lyrics are real!

  52. Some people are really missing the point here. This is not about a Carrie/Taylor fan war. That’s not what this is. You’re missing the bigger picture.

    It’s debatable whether or not Blown Away is country, this is true. You could argue both ways, however it is primarily being played on country radio. It is resonating well with country audiences, otherwise it would not be #1 on the Country Airplay chart.

    On the other hand, you have We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Whether you like Taylor or not is not the issue. That song is a pop song. It had to receive a country remix. It is being primarily played on pop radio. Furthermore, technically speaking, it is receiving zero country sales since her country remix isn’t on iTunes. So we are literally looking at a pop song that’s not even in the top 30 on country radio topping the charts.

    Pushing aside all bias, those are the facts. A song that was rejected by country radio is now sitting pretty atop the charts, and it probably won’t budge until Taylor submits a new song to pop radio.

    That’s the flaw in the system. This isn’t about “Carrie was robbed by the evil Taylor!!!!1111”

    Carrie is better equipped in this environment than many country artists, admittedly. So let’s focus on those other artists. Miranda is a bonafide superstar according to the country industry. However, because she’s not receiving pop airplay, she will not ever top the COUNTRY charts.

    Genre charts are supposed to measure what’s most popular in that GENRE. While Taylor’s song is popular in pop, country completely rejected it. So it has no business being there. This new methodology is essentially taking the Hot 100 chart and picking out the “country” songs and then ordering them. Not only is this lazy, but it is no longer measuring the same thing. They are now measuring the most popular song by a country artist in America instead of measuring the most popular country song by country listeners.

    I can see it now. Artists will no longer be releasing “traditional” country music because it won’t fare well in this climate anymore. Everybody will have to adapt by releasing pop-leaning songs, and they still won’t be able to compete with Taylor.

    It’s simply an unfair and inaccurate system.

  53. I think the merits of these charts should be determined based on whether they help industry leaders make decisions that ultimately make more money for their firms.

    I don’t think the merits are based on whether the charts help or hurt George Strait, Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift. I don’t think they should be judged based on whether they help or hurt some subgenre of country, be it “traditionalist” “pop-country” or whatever.

    Unless, of course, the charts encourage the industry to favor styles of music that may perform well on the chart but will ultimately hurt the industry.

  54. Nicole says, “A song that was rejected by country radio is now sitting pretty atop the charts, and it probably won’t budge until Taylor submits a new song to pop radio.

    That’s the flaw in the system.”

    But it only seems like it is a flaw in the system if the chart is supposed to measure what country radio plays. Then it is a serious, serious flaw. If the chart is supposed to measure “which country songs are most popular,” and the Swift song is considered a country song (debatable, but then its debatable if Blown Away is country), then it seems the new method is superior because it can account for more factors that are relevant to popularity than just whether country radio played the song. The Swift song is more popular than Blown Away overall as the Swift song reaches a much larger audience (thanks to pop stations, downloads, whatever)

    I think the questions are 1) what should the charts be measuring and 2) are they measuring what they claim to be measuring. I don’t think the answer to 1) is so obvious as implied in your post.

  55. I’ve already covered this in the other comment.

    Carrie’s song being a country song is debatable, but it is apparently being accepted as a country song because country radio is playing it and it has great callout numbers.

    Taylor’s song being a country song is NOT debatable. It was so pop that they had to give it a country remix. And that country remix isn’t for sale (so technically speaking, WANEGBT shouldn’t be number one since it has no sales).

    In fact, going by Billboard’s own new methodology, Taylor shouldn’t be number one still, but that’s not my point here.

    The purpose of a genre chart based on common sense is that it represents what the country community deems as the most popular songs. Taylor is a well-established artist. The fact that her song did not receive a free ride to the top tells us that country did not like her song, and it was not popular in that ocmmunity.

    It is the pop mix that is receiving all the airplay she’s garnered, not the country one, so no, this is not the most popular country song. Scott Borchetta even TOLD Billboard that this was a pop record. There is no debate that this is a pop record, and the pop mix is the one that received all the airplay. The country mix has received little airplay.

    It is not fair to the country (or urban) community because what they like is different than what the rest of the country likes.

    It does all come down to what this chart is supposed to be measuring, I agree with that. However the old chart was supposed to measure what the most popular songs are in their respective communities. If that’s not the purpose of this chart (which it clearly isn’t), then it should not have the same name. I have no problem if they want to keep the chart, but give it a different name, and still use the old chart as official.

  56. There isn’t anything to debate about the current singles out of the top-tier of country music. Kenny “El Cerrito Place”, Miranda “Fastest Girl in Town”, Carrie “Blown Away”, Aldean “Take a Little Ride and Taylor “Begin Again”; not a one of these songs is country. So how does the pop crossovers effect the style and sound of artists whose singles, at the time of the billboard change, aren’t even remotely country?

  57. There isn’t anything to debate about the current singles out of the top-tier of country music. Kenny “El Cerrito Place”, Miranda “Fastest Girl in Town”, Carrie “Blown Away”, Aldean “Take a Little Ride” and Taylor “Begin Again”; not a one of these songs is country. So how does the pop crossovers effect the style and sound of artists whose singles, at the time of the billboard change, aren’t even remotely country?

  58. It gets WORSE and WORSE: Taylor’s Pop Dubstep song. “I Knew You Were Trouble”- is predicted to sell 400k downloads next week–so a POp dubstep song will debut at #1 on the Hot Country music charts under this new rule. Sickening!

    Next week- when her album drops- all 16 of her songs will sell substantial digital downloads, so all 16 will chart on the Hot country songs chart, which has essentially become a Digital sales chart.

    Even without any radio airplay– Taylor’s digital sales are strong enough to thward all the country songs that are actually getting airplay on COUNTRY radio, not pop, like her songs.

    Anyone here defending this rule really needs to take a step back and ask how can you defend a rule that makes a Pop Dubstep song the number 1 song on country radio? How can you defend that??

    It is an insult to country music, and a black mark on country music history.It is a joke.

  59. Okay now, who among us here misses the days in the 60s and 70s when this crossover craziness happened in a more or less organic fashion, with country legends like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash attracting a lot of pop airplay, and Linda Ronstadt able to cross over from pop to country without even trying?

    I had a feeling that something like what Billboard has done was almost sure to happen at some point, and now it seems it has. I hate to say it, but country music as most of us have known it for decades, probably just ceased to exist. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a shame.

  60. Yanno after Billboard put out their “Taylor vs. Carrie” blog that they knew would get instant fighting, I think the narcissists changed on this day on purpose, for Taylor, and just for the fun shock value of it. Good Business sense would have had them explaining upcoming changes and then changing on Jan. 1st.

  61. Yeah, I just don’t see the point in including non-genre play. That’s what the Hot 100 is for; it combines everything. Include downloads for Country Songs? Sure. But why include airplay from non-country stations?

    Perhaps once Taylor Swift spends like 30 straight weeks at #1 Billboard will see its mistake.

  62. I hope they are embarassed the next few weeks when they see what they did. This is what will happen:

    1. Even though “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is now recurrent on mediabase & soon will be on billboard, it will continue to chart in the top 10 on country songs due to its massive pop airplay and digital sales. So it will be in the top 5 country songs indefinitely.

    2. Taylor’s Pop Dubstep song, “I Knew you Were Trouble” is going to sell 400k this week per projections, so it will debut at #1 on Hot Country Songs chart in a week or so.. Embarassing to the country music to have a Dubstep song as the #1 song in the land. What an insult to country music.

    3. On 10-23, when her album drops, all 16 tracks on the cd will chart on the Hot Country songs chart due to massive digital sales that she gets every time she releases her new album. So she will occupy the number 1-16 slots most likely on the new, Wonderful, “Hot Country songs” charts.

    The new chart is essentially a Hot Digital Sales chart as sales and pop airplay seem to matter more then country airplay now.

    Ie- Taylor is in the top 5 on the Pop Top 40 charts for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, but was 37 on country billboard charts. Now her song is #1 on country due to the massive Pop airplay of over 70 million audience impressions.

    God Bless Country music. :(

  63. Hypocrisy at its finest. And what is Blown Away? It has a damn dance beat in it for Gods sake. I don’t like the changes either, but it’s hypocritical to act like Taylor is the one causing all of this when Carrie and pretty much everyone else helped cause this downfall too.

  64. “1. Even though “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is now recurrent on mediabase & soon will be on billboard, it will continue to chart in the top 10 on country songs due to its massive pop airplay and digital sales. So it will be in the top 5 country songs indefinitely.”

    Tee, it didn’t even last long enough to go recurrent. It fell off the chart completely today.

    Which makes this all even worse. Talk about discrepancy. #1 on Billboard… fallen off the face of Mediabase.

  65. @Frank Really? Can you dance to Blown Away? I don’t think so.

    Blown Away doesn’t really belong to a designated genre. It’s such a mixture that you can’t really place it.

    But Frank, that’s not the point. Obviously country radio has accepted Blown Away as a country song since it’s getting enough airplay to be #1 on Mediabase and Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. That’s the fact of the matter.

    On the other hand, WANEGBT is a song that was REMIXED TO COUNTRY. Scott Borchetta even called it a “pop record” in a Billboard interview. Furthermore, that remix was not getting played by radio. In fact, it’s lost an unprecedented 65% of its airplay in one week and it didn’t even last long enough to go recurrent. It’s fallen off the Mediabase chart. Country music rejected the song.

    By calling Carrie Underwood fans hypocrites because of Blown Away’s country merits, you are comparing apples to oranges.

  66. As far as I am concerned this will be a hollow victory for whoever orchestrated this (Scott Borchetta, Bill Werde, whoever). This is akin to someone stuffing the ballot box so their daughter can win high school prom (and yes, the analogy is intentional). Changing the rules so that you ‘win’ all the time doesn’t mean a damn thing in the end. Country music fans hopefully know what REAL country music is. This hurts everyone in country music, be it Carrie, Miranda, George, Alan, Brad … EVERYONE. It also hurts Taylor because, poor little girl, she won’t ever know what it’s like to win something fair and square. Taylor Swift being able to say she’s ‘#1’ means nothing if the rules are changed to make it so. Personally, I would rather be #10 on a chart that was fair and balanced than #1 on a chart specifically orchestrated to make it so. Sadly, what is going to happen is singers and acts are going to pander to this chart. Is country music really going to stand for someone telling them what country music IS? I sure hope not.

  67. Just as an aside, Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” is not the current number one song on the Country Airplay chart. Jason Aldean’s “Take a Little Ride” is still number one, which means the fact that “Blown Away” has not reached number one cannot be blamed exclusively on the chart changes.

    Also, aren’t going a little too far with the idea that these changes were orchestrated for the purpose of keeping Taylor Swift at the top of the charts, or of hurting Carrie Underwood’s chart success, etc.? All of that amounts to nothing more than speculation.

  68. I totally agree with Ben. Its mere speculation and also its highly unlikely that Billboard would risk their reputation merely to hurt Carrie and benefit Taylor.

    The new charts may be bad and maybe Billboard will reverse course. Time will tell…

  69. Ben – you did notice that on the Hot Country Songs chart Carrie is #3 and would have been #1 without Taylors two songs – one of them “Never” now #1 went backwards from #13-17-15 and fell off the radio country song charts completely in 3 weeks and the #2 Red has no airplay on country radio. Those are the top two country songs on Hot Country Songs, how can a song be hot in country when #1 it hasn’t even been played on country radio and #2 it fell off the chart in 3 weeks due to dislike

  70. Ben, “Blown Away” will be #1 this week on the Billboard Airplay chart, but it won’t be #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart simply because of the rule changes.

  71. I don’t think anyone is arguing that Carrie’s record isn’t being hurt by the change in methodology; they are merely pointing out that wasn’t done specifically with that purpose in mind.

    I’m guessing that they’ll be tweaking this methodology some in the near future for the reasons others have already stated. It seems like a good idea in principle; they should just change it a bit so only airplay from country radio stations is counted.

  72. Frank- Carrie may have some pop/rock influence in her songs, but she has never remixed to pop and never ever will. She and Miranda are both against it and have spoken out vehemently against it.
    Carrie may not be a traditional artist, but next to Taylor Swift, she sounds like Loretta Lynn.
    Don’t lump Carrie into Taylor’s mess.

  73. I’m not sure why an artist’s views on remixes (to pop or to country) should be relevant to Billboard’s decisions on chart methodology.

  74. Sweetcheeks it is when the pop version of a country song can enhance the charting of said pop song now on the pop chart and by Billboard’s changes that pop song gets extra points for it was originally a country song. People who do this are Taylor, Lady Antebellum and perhaps The Band Perry.

  75. I guess I don’t see the problem. If artists want to do this by making a remix so as to make their song more popular, then it would seem to make sense that their song would chart higher on Billboard because their song is more popular, thanks to the remix. If a country song gets pop airplay and is thus more popular than a country song that gets only country airplay, it seems reasonable that the song would chart higher on a Billboard chart that measures popularity of country songs (not a chart that measures what Country PDs are playing). Seems like the change might more accurately represent which country singers are popular.

  76. Continually citing Carrie Underwood’s stance on remixing is something of a hollow argument, considering the majority of her songs are pop enough that they don’t need remixing in the first place. More importantly, a good song is a good song (and a bad song is a bad song) regardless of which radio format it’s tailored to. I think we’ve ridden this bandwagon about as far as it goes.

  77. Ben – you did notice that on the Hot Country Songs chart Carrie is #3 and would have been #1 without Taylors two songs

    What I said was that Carrie is not number one on the Airplay chart because she isn’t. Downloads would have been a factor in her current #3 placing on the overall chart, and if we’re going to count Carrie’s downloads, we have to count Taylor’s too. She may be number one on Airplay next week, but she isn’t this week, and it’s because of Jason Aldean, not because of Taylor Swift. No, she won’t be number one on the main chart, but it’s pretty clear that the Airplay chart is the only one that carries any real weight.

  78. I wish we would get some reactions from labels and, especially, artists. I would think niche labels have a real issue with this change as it will just push them out of the fray even more. Major labels probably encouraged the change because it promotes big name artists even more.

    My guess is most artists don’t like the change. Pure genre artists like Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, etc. (and Miguel, Frank Ocean, Anita Baker, etc. in R&B) will now get marginalized even more. How can fans of music get behind that?

    From what I can tell, most people are fine with downloads counting; that makes sense. The real issue is having non-genre airplay count toward genre charts.

  79. Downloads should count. But only for a song that is specifically released as a single. There’s no reason a whole album should chart just because millions of people are downloading it.

    Streaming data also shouldn’t count. I guess we could all play the next George Strait single on repeat in Spotify and just leave it going for a few days…

  80. If downloads should count, I don’t see why streams shouldn’t. They’re just as much a reflection of a song’s success as downloads are. The net’s the net. But the problem of general airplay counting for a genre-specific chart, to me, is the same problem I had with people saying “Love Story” broke records by being the first song to be No. 1 on HCS and HPS, when we all know that there were two different mixes on both charts. I’m a shameless Taylor fan, but I’m a music fan first, so I’ll just look to airplay to know what the latest country “hit” is. Ironically, though, the market has never determined what was on my iPod, so it doesn’t really matter to me. The one thing I can’t stand is the idea that, no matter what suits-and-ties “engineered” this, that it’s Taylor’s “fault.” Scott himself said that WANEGBT is a pop record first. She can’t be blamed for making whatever kind of music she wants. As Kevin himself once said, whatever she’s doing doesn’t stop any of us from listening to something else if we want to. That’s one of the GREAT things about music today.

  81. Downloads should count. But only for a song that is specifically released as a single. There’s no reason a whole album should chart just because millions of people are downloading it.

    Devin, I agree. I tend to view downloads as something of a modern day parallel to the physical single sales that were factored into chart positions in times past. I do think the ratios should be adjusted though, with radio being the main factor. (Having non-radio single “Red” at #2 on the chart just feels ridiculous)

    I admit I’m curious to see how much weight the new chart carries in the eyes of the industry as well as the general public. Many Top 40 countdown programs have are going by Mediabase these days, and the Country Airplay chart is still there to show what’s being played on radio, so it makes me wonder how hard the labels and artists are going to gun for hits on the new Billboard chart.

  82. Ben mentions that top 40 countdowns are going by mediabase, and the Airplay chart still shows whats on radio. Which makes sense! The new chart and the Country Airplay charts measure two very different things!

    I can see country radio rejecting a song that is a major hit on iTunes or the cash register and embracing a song that few people are passionate enough to want to buy.

    Imagine 10 listeners hear the new Joe Diffie single on the radio. They all like it enough not to turn the radio to another channel, but only 1 likes it enough to actually buy it. Seems like a radio hit.

    Now 10 listeners hear Taylor Swifts new single. 3 love it enough to buy it, but 2 listeners hate it enough to switch the station. The remaining listeners are pretty indifferent to the song but won’t change the station when it comes on.

    Seems like Taylor sell better but Joe Diffie might actually make more sense for radio.

    I would assume that industry people would want all this kind of data. Fans might not care (it seems from the comments here that some fans generally prefer charts that favor their favorite artists).

    It seems there should be room for all kinds of Charts. A top-40 airplay show would probably wish to stick to the airplay only charts but someone buying CDs for Walmart might value other data.

  83. If Bill Werde’s obsessed with Taylor Swift, he needs serous therapy. If this wrong isn’t righted by the time my Billboard subscription runs out in Dec. of next year, I’m seriously gonna cancel it!

  84. there are two things wrong.
    1. they are now including the airplay country songs are getting on country radio and pop radio. If they want to do this they should include all of the others songs being played on pop radio and call the charts country/pop soungs. It is just called country songs and should only include songs played on country radio even if they are corssovers. Another example is colt ford who is country rap the week the charts changed he jumped from #52-40 are they also including the radio airplay country songs are getting on rap stations.

    2. the other issue is that there is no definition of what a song has to sound like to be clasified as a country song. Taylor Swift classified her song “we are never ever getting back together” as a country song so it went to the top of the country songs charts. With the current way we allow artists to classify ther songs as country songs you could have a jazz artist release a single call it country and because of digital sales end up on the country songs charts.

    So I believe the only way to make this fare is to only use the airplay from country radio stations and create rules on how to be classified as a country song.

  85. zyxwvut – Billboard said they are going to decide what is a country song – they had no choice with Never Ever because it had already debuted at #13 on country radio due to a paid for spin deal, it then started going backward never to see the top of the radio airplay chart but it came roaring back as the #1 Hot Country Song because of it’s POP airplay where it has remained for weeks now – such a travesty – this new chart should not be the official country song chart because it includes airplay from other genres and yes, any big name artist from another genre can release a song to country radio, but only IF Billboard deems it country and if it has success from their fans in buying it and getting it played on POP radio can it make the top of the chart. Basically Taylor will rule this chart because she isn’t country, her fans are POP who buy alot of downloads compared to country fans who buy albums and so gets played on POP radio- she’s a POP star rusing as country to get awards and PR and so gets the advantage over country singers. I won’t comment on Taylors AMA performance because I don’t really know POP music and whether it’s good or not, but she should not have won a country award.

  86. Very disappointed in the new way Billboard Magazine tallies the Country Singles chart. They should have left it the way it was.

  87. I think its a great change with the new chart. If a singles fails to get airplay but sells a lot then it also could be a big hit. I think that sales and airplay together makes a more correct picture of the chart than only airplay.

  88. How does everyone like a completely POP song breaking the country female record for longest running song atop the Hot Country songs chart? Never Ever just unseated Connie’s Once a Day 48 year old record. The problem is the percentages they use to determine the placings – to have a POP song spend 8 weeks at #1, a song that only made it to #13 on country radio because of paid for spins and then went back down the chart and fell off completely in 4 weeks. The #1 Hot Country song for 8 weeks that isn’t even on the country airplay chart anymore – it makes no sense at all – Plus #3 on the chart this week is a contestant from the Voice with a cover song. The chart isn’t relevant for country music.

  89. The chart isn’t relevant for country music.

    Exactly. There may be some amount of hoopla over Swift “breaking” Connie Smith’s record, but any way you slice it, Smith’s accomplishment with “Once a Day” was worth so much more.

  90. The only problem with the argument vs pop and rock is that when “Once A Day” made that record, it was a sales and airplay based chart AND based on label-provided not actual #s from stores.

    So while Taylor’s “pop song” may have this record, how she got it isn’t much different than Connie’s (except for actual sales/airplay metrics).

  91. The pop airplay factor constitutes a major difference. Single sales were indeed a factor in the success of “Once a Day,” but otherwise, “Once a Day” became a country hit because it was a hit on country radio.

    “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is not even being played on country radio, but became a number one “country” hit because of downloads, and because of being played on pop radio. That, to me, is a big difference.

  92. OK, so “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” logs on one more week at #1 in the revised Hot Country Songs. It now passes “Once a Day” for the longest run by a solo female artist at number 1. What a historic day for country music and for a soon-to-be ‘country music’ legend!!! NOT.

    I hope the song will stay longer in the top. The longer it stays at #1, the more ridiculous and irrelevant this revamped charts is becoming.

  93. Airplay in other genres shouldn’t even be CONSIDERED for real country artists, who stay true to their base, not even WANTIN’ crossover appeal!

  94. The way I see it with Taylor’s fans the world over, she will be on top for the entire year. What’s the travesty (besides the points for crossover appeal) is that it is the most uncountry song there is right now.

  95. I wish people paid more attention the point Ben makes; no one is arguing that sales should not count. People are upset about crossover airplay counting. I keep reading things where it seems like that distinction is being missed. People are upset with POP (and other) airplay counting toward the COUNTRY chart.

  96. Sales counting is fine, as long is an actual country song being bought.

    WANEGBT is NOT country. It’s pop.

    Like, how many country fans actually bought WANEGBT?

  97. Everyone, I have some good news to announce….


  98. Digital Downloads should be like the old days. Do not let the song be downloaded unless it is a released single. (You used to couldn’t buy a single if it was not released to the public on a 45 or cassette single)Sure you can download the whole album, but if when released every song on the album is available to chart. Really why have a singles chart of any type anyway. It seems all they are concerned with is the album chart anyway. Also who decides if it is eligible to hit the country chart or not. Bon Jovi and Kid Rock have been on the country chart so anything they releases from now on is a possible country song. There needs to be some sort of direction here. I also don’t believe it should be left up to Country radio alone either. Radio has been a joke for the last 15 years anyway. It should have less control over the chart. I have been a big supporter of Billboard pretty much all my life. This might run me off for good. It was messed up. But now it is totally screwed!

  99. Taylor DID spend 9 wks @ #1 with, WANEGBT. Bill Werde NEEDS to reactivate the country chart, for country radio airplay, ONLY!


    This is NOT the first attack on country, or pretty much ANY non-pop, non-rap genre by Billboard. Somebody posted earlier that radio is the only mainstream outlet left for Country music.

    Check out these numbers!!!

    Real country channels in USA: about 1800
    Billboard monitors: 126
    Real pop channels: about 600
    Billboard monitors: 144

    Oh, and in case you try to justify Billboatd/bds with “well, come on, pop IS going to be number one, of course…”


    The popularity ratio of the two genres is 14/8, (oh sorry Billboard) COUNTRY!

    What Billboard is trying to do is change the radio charts to look more like digital download charts, which is completely unfair. Some genres get their power from the radio. Like, only from the radio. The radio is to Country what diguital sales are to rap. So the result is Country, easily the biggest rafio genre, never getting number ones except on (formerly) Country-only chart.

    But do you see why this makes the pop-influencing-country move EVEN MORE UNFAIR?

    Not only does non-country directly influence country, but the non-country is getting EXTRA representaion, on top of te fact it has no business on the ountry

  101. Ah-hem, ah-hem, lol. To continue my point, by monitoring such vastly incorrect numbers of radio stations (this doesn’t just go for country and pop), they make it harder to have a fair overall countdown of any sort.


    The fact is they’re just biased, and when the go-to countdown for all of the music industry secretly puffs up pop’s success, it definately steers the industry along with it.

    Artists tend to make what’s popular, and some people tend to buy what’s popular.

    Don’t use Billboard. SPREAD THE WORD!

  102. You are correct Ashley in saying that people tend to buy what’s popular. Its sad but true. Most people just follow what others tell them is good music. If it’s #1 then it must be good. Such a shame.

  103. Hey, gang, great news. I got the print issue of Billboard today, for 1-26-13. At least it gives us the top 25 airplay songs. Better than nothin’, right? Who knows? Maybe it’ll go deeper into the chart online.

  104. Country music had already changed and evolved but it was not bad, and then Taylor and Scott came around and destroyed it. Thanks Scott and Taylor. I hope in 50 years from now music people look back at this time and are like WOW I cannot believe that girl was popular.

  105. So Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” now has top 50 country airplay, yet it still doesn’t appear to be charting on Country Songs. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” still is on the chart, though.

  106. Billboard introduced another shakeup in its formula for Hot 100 by including Youtube views in US. Will this also apply to the mongrel Hot Country Songs? Isn’t it that the new Hot Country Songs is parallels the rankings of ‘country’ songs in Hot 100? Hence another opportunity for Taylor Swift to dominate the already useless Hot Country Songs chart. No one can really match her Youtube views!

  107. ^ this can also favor rock and pop acts crossing over to country format. Mumford & Sons’s “I Will Wait” and The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey”, which are making inroads at country radio are also getting more Youtube views thanks to their respective Grammy exposures. But at the same time, as pointed out, “I Will Wait” is yet to appear in HCS despite being almost a top 40 country airplay hit. In short, the new HCS is just plain absurd.

  108. The old Country chart still exist. Is just have changed name to the Country Airplay Chart. So anyone can still see what the hotest song on radio is. The redone country songs chart is the old airplay chart combined with streams, digital sales. Sales should absolutely counts to define the most popular songs on country songs. Maybe there should be a criteria to what a country song should be like.

  109. I see what you guys mean over here. If we were to compare this to Taylor Swift WANEGBT, which I rmbed on that particular week that went #1 when it wasn’t supposd to. Despite a huge drop out from the Top 10 and also out of the country chart, it managed to miraculously shoot up to the top due to youtube views, streaming and digital sales?? It will be unfair and inaccurate if we were to compare it to Mumford and Sons ‘I Will Wait’, which is most definitely doing well in digital and physical sales, youtube views and constant radio airplay in AC, HAC and Top 40 charts! it has even garnered radio airplay to sneak in the country airplay chart! but yet, i still dont see it charting on the HCS! with those kind of sales and airplay, it will definitely be Top 20 on HCS at least if we will to compare with Taylor WANEGBT. THIS IS JUST PLAIN RIDICULOUS. I suspect there’s definitely some tweaking and control Big Machine has done to make sure that Taylor gets #1 just for the sake it’s her major crossover to pop big hit!

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    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m
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