Billboard has truly stepped on some toes today, especially with changes to its Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. As a result, the new Billboard methodology changes make the genre charts absolutely meaningless. This is because the new rules that impact genre chart positions are too heavily influenced by Pop airplay, rather than R&B airplay. They made changes to the Country and Latin charts as well but since this blog puts more focus into the R&B portion, this is what we will look at.
In addition to radio airplay data, digital download sales and streaming data (tracked by Nielsen BDS from such services as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music) will also be taken into consideration for chart positioning. What will be seen as a welcoming move is the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart being separated into two different charts – R&B Songs and Rap Songs. Their reasoning is that the new R&B Songs chart will only focus on pure R&B acts such as Frank Ocean, Anthony Hamilton and John Legend to name a few.
BUT NOT REALLY. AND HERE’S WHY:
Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ (a widely considered pop song) has taken the top spot for the first R&B chart published today. Last week, it was #66 on what was the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Rihanna’s new single is NOT popular on R&B radio but because it is “aided by crossover pop airplay”, the song gets top billing on that chart. As a result, hardcore R&B acts like Brandy will find it more difficult to score a #1 song.
And since we’re on the subject of Brandy, her latest single ‘Put It Down’ was #3 on last week’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Prior to Rihanna’s Pop hit topping the R&B chart, Brandy unfortunately drops from #3 to #16 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and debuts at #7 on this new R&B Songs chart. The biggest farce about this scenario is that Brandy is placed six spots below Rihanna who last week wasn’t even inside the top 50.
This is horrible news not just for Brandy, but for hardcore R&B artists in general. It will mean they will struggle to get a #1 song in their own territory just so that Justin Bieber and Adele can reign over them. A laughable example of this is Psy’s dance-pop smash ‘Gangnam Style’ scoring the #1 slot on the Rap Songs tally. Like, REALLY? WTF.