Billboard charts

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A screenshot of a website for the most popular songs in the United States. Entries display photographs of the performer adjacent numbers inside pink boxes. Of to the right is a caricature of Lady Gaga as a zombie for Halloween.
A screenshot of "Pop Songs" chart at Billboard.com (on the week ending in November 10, 2012) displays chart entries from 1 through 20 as well as an archive of all top ten hits since the chart began. In the margin, viewers can hop to other prominent charts, such as the Hot 100 or the Billboard 200.

The Billboard charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs or albums in the United States. The results are published in Billboard magazine.

History, methods and description[edit]

On January 4, 1936, Billboard magazine published its first music hit parade. The first Music Popularity Chart was calculated in July 1940. A variety of song charts followed, which were eventually consolidated into the Hot 100 by mid-1958. The Hot 100 currently combines single sales, radio airplay, digital downloads, and streaming activity (including data from YouTube and other video sites). All of Billboard's charts use this basic formula. What separates the charts is which stations and stores are used; each musical genre has a core audience or retail group. Each genre's department at Billboard is headed up by a chart manager, who makes these determinations.

For many years, a song had to be commercially available as a single to be considered for any of Billboard's charts. At the time, instead of using SoundScan or BDS, Billboard obtained its data from manual reports filled out by radio stations and stores. According to the 50th Anniversary issue of Billboard, prior to the official implementation of Nielsen SoundScan tracking in November 1991, many radio stations and retail stores removed songs from their manual reports after the associated record labels stopped promoting a particular single. Thus songs fell quickly after peaking and had shorter chart lives. In 1990, the country singles chart was the first chart to use SoundScan and BDS. They were followed by the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in 1991. Today, all of Billboard's charts use this technology.

Originally, Billboard had separate charts for different measures of popularity, including disk jockey playings, juke box song selection, and best selling records in retail stores. A composite standing chart that combined these gradually grew to become a top 100, the predecessor to the current Hot 100 chart. The juke box chart ceased publication after the June 17, 1957 issue, the disk jockey chart, after the July 28, 1958 issue, and the best seller chart, after the October 13, 1958 issue. The July 28, 1958 issue was also the last issue that called the composite chart the Top 100; the following week began the Hot 100. Billboard publishes many different charts, with the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 being the most famous. Billboard also has charts for the following music styles: rock, country, dance, bluegrass, jazz, classical, R&B, rap, electronic, pop, Latin, Christian music, comedy albums, catalog albums, and even ringtones for mobile (cell) phones. In 2009 Billboard partnered with MetroLyrics to offer top 10 lyrics for each of the charts.

At the end of each year, Billboard tallies the results of all of its charts, and the results are published in a year-end issue and heard on year-end editions of its American Top 40 and American Country Countdown radio broadcasts. Between 1991 and 2006, the top single/album/artist(s) in each of those charts was/were awarded in the form of the annual Billboard Music Awards, which were held in December until the awards went dormant in 2007. The awards returned in May 2011.

Before September 1995, singles were allowed to chart in the week they first went on sale based on airplay points alone. The policy was changed in September 1995 to only allow a single to debut after a full week of sales on combined sales and airplay points. This allowed several tracks to debut at number one.

In December 1998, the policy was further modified to allow tracks to chart on the basis of airplay alone without a commercial release. This change was made to reflect the changing realities of the music business. Previous to this, several substantial radio and MTV hits had not appeared on the Billboard chart at all, because many major labels chose not to release them as standalone singles, hoping their unavailability would spur greater album sales. Not offering a popular song to the public as a single was unheard of before the 1970s. The genres that suffered most at the time were those that increasingly impacted pop culture, including new genres such as trip hop and grunge. Among the many pre-1999 songs that had ended up in this Hot 100 limbo were The Cardigans' "Lovefool", Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn", Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris", OMC's "How Bizarre", Sugar Ray's "Fly" and No Doubt's "Don't Speak".

Incorporating digital platforms[edit]

Starting in 2005, Billboard changed its methodology to include paid digital downloads from digital music retailers such as Rhapsody, AmazonMP3, iTunes. This change also allowed songs to chart with or without the help of radio airplay. This meant that a song did not need radio airplay to be eligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. With this policy change, a song could chart based on digital downloads alone.[1]

On July 31, 2007 "Billboard" changed its methodology for the Hot 100 chart to include digital streams. The digital information at the time was obtained from Yahoo and AOL's streaming platforms. This change was made exclusively to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The effect of this chart change was minuscule at the time because it was estimated to account for 5% of the chart's total points.[2]

In October 2012, Billboard dramatically changed the methodology for their country, rock, Latin, and rap charts, when they incorporated sales of digital downloads and streaming plays into what had been airplay-only charts. Another change was that rather than measuring airplay only from radio stations of the particular genre, the new methodology measures airplay from all radio formats.[3] This methodology was extended to their Christian and gospel charts in late 2013.[4]

On February 20, 2013, Billboard announced another change in the methodology for their charts that incorporated YouTube video streaming data into the determination of ranking positions on its streaming charts. The incorporation of YouTube streaming data enhanced a formula that includes on-demand audio streaming and online radio streaming. The YouTube video streams that used in this methodology are official video streams, Vevo on YouTube streams, and user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio. Billboard argued that this change was made to further reflect the divergent platforms of music consumption in today's world.[5]

Singles and tracks[edit]

All-genre[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Billboard Hot 100 sales + airplay + streaming 100
  • The US music industry standard singles popularity chart
Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 25
  • Ranks the top 25 songs below #100 that have not yet appeared on the Hot 100.
  • Positions do not directly correspond to positions 101-125 of an extended Hot 100, but many sources use this notation
Heatseekers Songs 25
  • Ranks songs from new artists/bands that have never attained the top 50 of the Hot 100.
  • If a song reaches the top 50, it and any of the artist's/band's subsequent singles are ineligible for the chart.
Hot 100 Airplay airplay (audience) 50
  • Measures radio airplay audience impressions on 1,233 radio stations encompassing all formats.
  • One of the component charts of the Hot 100
Hot Singles Sales physical sales 50
  • Measures sales of commercial singles
  • One of the component charts of the Hot 100
  • No recurrent chart
Digital Songs digital sales 50
  • Ranks top-selling digital song sales
  • Combines different versions of songs for a summarized figure
  • One of the component charts of the Hot 100
Hot Digital Tracks 75
  • Ranks digital song sales with different versions of songs listed
  • No recurrent chart
Streaming Songs
On-Demand Songs
streaming 50
  • Ranks top-streaming songs
  • Combines different versions of songs for a summarized figure
  • One of the component charts of the Hot 100
Billboard Twitter Real-Time Twitter real-time 140
  • "Trending 140" - An up-to-the-minute ranking of the fastest moving songs shared on Twitter in the U.S., measured by acceleration over the past hour.
  • "Emerging Artists" - A ranking of the most shared songs on Twitter in the U.S. by up-and-coming artists (defined as artists with fewer than 50,000 Twitter followers who have also not appeared as a lead artist in the top 50 songs on the Billboard Hot 100), ranked by the number of times each song was shared over the past 24 hours.[6]

R&B/Hip-Hop[edit]

Chart title Number of
positions
Description
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 50 Ranks the most popular by combining airplay from All formats of radio stations, digital download sales, streaming data and YouTube views of R&B and hip-hop songs.
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Measures airplay based on audience impressions from various R&B/hip-hop stations.
Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Ranks songs by combining airplay base on radio plays (spins) from 76 R&B/hip-hop stations.
Hot Adult R&B Airplay Measures airplay from 65 Urban AC radio stations.
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales Sales component of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It is a separate panel of sales of commercial 12" Maxi singles in the urban market.
Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles 25 Ranks the top 10 singles gaining points to debut inside the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, though they have not officially done so yet (sometimes they never make it on the chart). The top 10 positions are the ten spaces below the number fifty point on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Rhythmic Top 40 Measures airplay spins on 72 rhythmic stations. Rhythmic is a music radio format that includes of a mix of dance, upbeat rhythmic pop, hip hop and R&B hits. These stations also contribute to Dance/Mix Show Airplay panel
Rap Songs 25 Ranks the top 25 hip-hop/rap songs by combining airplay from All formats of radio stations, digital download sales, streaming data and YouTube views of Rap songs.
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Recurrents Ranks songs that have fallen below No. 50 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and have been on that chart for over 20 weeks.
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Recurrent Airplay Ranks the songs that have fallen below No. 25 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and have been on that chart for over 20 weeks.
R&B Songs 25 Ranks the top 25 R&B songs by combining airplay from All formats of radio stations, digital download sales, streaming data and YouTube views of R&B songs.

Adult/Pop[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Mainstream Top 40 (also Pop Songs) airplay (spins) 40
Adult Top 40 (also Adult Pop Songs) 40
Adult Contemporary 30

Country[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Hot Country Songs sales + all format airplay + streaming 50
  • Combines sales, airplay from all radio formats and streaming data
Country Airplay airplay (audience) 60
  • Measures airplay audience impression on 128 country music stations

Rock[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Hot Rock Songs Sales, airplay,
and streaming
50
  • Ranks the top rock songs based on radio airplay across all formats, sales data, and streaming activity
Rock Airplay Airplay (audience) 50
  • Airplay audience impressions on mainstream rock, alternative, and Triple A radio stations
Rock Digital Songs Digital sales 50
  • Top-downloaded rock songs, ranked by sales data as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan
Alternative Songs (also Alternative) Airplay (spins) 40
Alternative Digital Songs Digital sales 25
Mainstream Rock Airplay (spins) 40
  • Measures airplay spins on 77 mainstream rock radio stations encompassing active rock and heritage rock
Adult Alternative Songs (Triple A) 30
Hard Rock Digital Songs Digital sales 25

Dance[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Hot Dance Club Songs reports from DJs 50
  • Compiled exclusively from playlists submitted by nightclub disc jockeys, who must apply and meet certain criteria to become Billboard-reporting DJs
Dance/Electronic Songs Continuous airplay, single sales, digital downloads, online streaming, reports from DJs 50
  • A chart which uses the same methodology as the Hot 100, which tracks the top Dance/Electronic singles based on club play reports, single sales, digital downloads and monitored online streaming.
  • The songs will be used to determine eligibility for entry into the Hot 100.
  • Criteria will be based on the song's tempo.
  • Remixed versions of Pop, Rock, R&B, Hip-Hop and/or songs of other genres are ineligible for this chart.
  • This chart uses the components of the Club play, Dance/Mix Show, Digital Songs and Single Sales chart.
Dance/Mix Show Airplay Continuous airplay (Spins from exclusive reporters)
Mix show airplay (Spins from Mainstream and Rhythmic stations)
25
  • Originally called Hot Dance Airplay when it was launched in 2003. A monitored dance music radio chart of 6 dance stations that came about as a result of the small but influential impact of dance music on the radio and the stations that program it.
  • Renamed Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart on November 19, 2011. The chart now includes the 157 Mainstream Top 40 and 67 Rhythmic Top 40 reporters that features mix shows in their programming.
Hot Dance Singles Sales 10
  • A chart that measures the sale of commercially released singles in the dance music market, including remixes. It was formerly known as Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales, when the chart was restricted to sales of the 12" Maxi Single and CD Maxi Single format, but in recent years, singles only released in the CD Single format have apparently been counted too.
Dance/Electronic Digital Songs 50
  • A chart that tracks the digital download of dance music singles, including tracks that are exclusively available online only. This chart also includes previously released dance and disco songs that became available for downloading.

Latin[edit]

Chart title Chart type Description
Hot Latin Songs sales + airplay + streaming The Hot Latin Songs (formerly Hot Latin Tracks) is a weekly music chart that ranks the top fifty Spanish language singles in the American music market. It was established by the magazine in 1986, when music labels and Billboard realized that Spanish-language songs had a great potential to the American audiences. As of October 2012, the chart is based on airplay, digital downloads, and streaming for Latin songs. Only Spanish-language songs are eligible to rank on this chart.
Latin Airplay Airplay (spins) The Latin Airplay is a weekly music chart that ranks the top fifty Spanish language singles in the American music market. It was established by the magazine after the methodology changed for the Hot Latin Songs chart on October 2012. The chart is based on airplay on 123 Latin music stations. Songs on the chart are not necessarily in Spanish language.
Latin Digital Songs Digital sales Ranks the top-selling Latin digital sales as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.
Latin Pop Airplay Airplay (spins) The Latin Pop Airplay is a weekly monitored Latin pop music radio chart that ranks the most played Latin pop songs on Latin music stations. It was established by the magazine in 1994.
Latin Regional Mexican Airplay Airplay (spins) The Latin Regional Mexican Airplay is a weekly chart that ranks Regional Mexican music information from different genres like Mariachi, Norteño, Banda and Duranguense. This chart is based on airplay from 65 regional Mexican stations; the radio charts are compiled using information tracked by from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. It was established by the magazine in 1994.
Latin Tropical Airplay Airplay (spins) The Latin Tropical Airplay (a.k.a., Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay) is a weekly monitored chart that ranks Tropical music information from different genres like Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, Guaracha and others on 18 Latin music stations. It was established by the magazine in 1994.
Latin Rhythm Airplay Airplay (spins) The Latin Rhythm Airplay chart comprises singles and tracks from artists who represent the Hispanic rhythmic/Hurban genre including Reggaeton, Hispanic R&B/Hip-Hop, Rhythmic Pop/Dance and crossovers from English-language and/or bilingual acts, monitoring 15 Latin rhythm radio stations. This chart came about as a result of radio stations tapping into the growing second and third generation Hispanic audience who wanted a Spanish-speaking or bilingual alternative to the formats they felt represented them. The magazine established it in 2005.

Christian[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Christian Songs sales + all format airplay + streaming 50
  • Combines sales, airplay from all radio formats and streaming data
Gospel Songs 30
Soft AC
Inspo

Jazz[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Smooth Jazz Songs airplay (spins) 30
  • Measures airplay spins on 14 smooth jazz stations

Ringtones[edit]

Chart title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Hot Ringtones ringtone sale 40
Hot RingMasters 40
  • Ranks weekly sales of master ringtones for mobile phones
Hot Videoclips 25
  • Ranks top 25 most popular music videos according to digital sales and TV play on channels such as TRL and 106 & Park

Canadian charts[edit]

Chart Title Chart type Number of
positions
Description
Canadian Hot 100 airplay + sales 100
  • Canadian music industry standard singles popularity chart
Emerging Canadian Artist 30
  • Ranks most popular songs by emerging Canadian artists
  • Artists are considered emerging until 12 months after the date their first Canadian Hot 100 charting entry reaches the top 40.
  • No recurrent chart
Hot Digital Song digital sales 75
  • Ranks top-selling digital song sales
  • Combines different versions of songs for summarized figure
  • one of the component charts of Canadian Hot 100.
  • No recurrent chart
Hot 100 Airplay airplay (audience) 75
  • Measures radio airplay audience impressions on 137 radio stations from five different formats
  • One of the component charts of Canadian Hot 100.
All-format Airplay airplay (spins) 50
  • Measures radio airplay spins on 137 radio stations from five formats.
  • A 100-position chart is available at Jam! Canoe website.
CHR/Top 40 Airplay 50
  • Measures radio airplay spins on 25 CHR radio stations
AC Airplay 50
  • Measures radio airplay spins on 28 AC radio stations
Hot AC Airplay 50
  • Measures radio airplay spins on 24 Hot AC radio stations
Country Airplay 50
  • Measures radio airplay spins on 31 country radio stations.
Rock Airplay 50
  • Measures radio airplay spins on 29 rock radio stations

International charts[edit]

Billboard Chart Title Description
Brasil Hot 100 Airplay The Brazil Hot 100 Airplay ranks the most listening singles and tracks in Brazil.
Euro Digital Songs The chart ranks the best selling digital singles and tracks in Europe.
European Hot 100 Singles The Eurochart Hot 100 Singles ranks the best selling singles in Europe by combining sales from various countries in Europe.
Japan Hot 100 The Japan Hot 100 ranks the best selling singles and tracks in Japan.
Korea K-Pop Hot 100[7] The Korea K-Pop Hot 100 ranks the best selling singles and tracks in South Korea.
Luxembourg Digital Songs The chart ranks the best selling digital singles and tracks in Luxembourg.
Mexican Airplay[8] The Mexican Airplay ranks the best-performing singles in Mexico.
Portugal Digital Songs[9] The chart ranks the best selling digital singles and tracks in Portugal.

Discontinued charts[edit]

Chart Title Discontinuation date Description
Country Singles Sales 2005
  • Ranks top selling commercial country singles
Top 40 Tracks March 2005
  • Debuted in December 1998 ranking songs by audience impressions on Mainstream, Adult, and Rhythmic Top 40 radio stations
  • Discontinued with the introduction of the Pop 100 and Pop 100 Airplay charts
Pop 100 June 13, 2009
  • Ranked songs by combining airplay focused on pop radio and sales
  • The chart's importance is replaced by the Mainstream Top 40 chart
Pop 100 Airplay
  • Measured airplay on pop music radio
  • One of three component charts of the Pop 100
Global Dance Tracks 2013
  • Global Dance Tracks was a weekly international survey of the songs that were popular in dance clubs globally, compiled by Billboard exclusively from playlists submitted by nightclub disc jockeys who applied and met certain criteria to become Billboard-reporting DJs.

Albums[edit]

Chart title Number of
positions
Description
Billboard 200 200
  • Industry standard, includes albums from any genre.
  • Includes both new and catalog albums.
Top Current Albums 200
  • The same chart as the Billboard 200, with catalog titles removed
Top Pop Catalog Albums 50
  • An album becomes a catalog title when it is more than 18 months old and has fallen below position 100 on the Billboard 200.
Top Internet Albums 40
Tastemakers
  • Ranked albums based on "an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains."[10]
Digital Albums 50
Heatseekers Albums 50
  • Ranks albums from new artists/bands that have never attained the top 100 of Billboard 200.
  • If an album reaches the top 100, it and any of the artist's/band's subsequent albums are ineligible for the chart.
Heatseekers Albums (East North Central)
Heatseekers Albums (Middle Atlantic)
Heatseekers Albums (Mountain)
Heatseekers Albums (Northeast)
Heatseekers Albums (Pacific)
Heatseekers Albums (South Atlantic)
Heatseekers Albums (South Central)
Heatseekers Albums (West North Central)
Top Independent Albums 50
Top Rock Albums 25
Top Alternative Albums
Top Hard Rock Albums 20
Top Folk Albums 15
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 100
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Catalog Albums 100
Top Rap Albums 30
Top Country Albums 75
Top Country Catalog Albums 75
Top Bluegrass Albums 15
Top Latin Albums 30
Regional Mexican Albums
Latin Pop Albums 30
Tropical Albums
Latin Rhythm Albums
Top Classical Albums
  • Traditional Classical albums
Top Classical Crossover Albums
Classical Albums
  • Available only on billboard.com
Top Classical Budget Albums
Top Classical Midline Albums
Top Christian Albums 50
Top Gospel Albums 40
Top Christian & Gospel Albums
Top Jazz Albums
  • Traditional Jazz albums
Top Contemporary Jazz
Jazz Albums 35
  • Available only on billboard.com
Top Dance/Electronic Albums 25
Top Blues Albums
Top Cast Albums
Top Comedy Albums
Top Compilation Albums 20
Top Holiday Albums 50
Top Kid Audio 15
Top New Age Albums
Top Reggae Albums
Top Soundtracks 30
Top World Albums
  • Ranks biggest-selling world music albums, including catalog titles

Other charts[edit]

In December 2010, Billboard announced a new chart titled Social 50, which ranks the most active artists on the world's leading social networking sites. The Social 50 chart tallies artists' popularity using their weekly additions of friends/fans/followers, along with weekly artist page views and weekly song plays on Myspace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and iLike.[11]

In January 2011, Billboard introduced another chart called Uncharted, which lists new and developing artists, who are yet to appear on any major Billboard chart, "...regardless of their country of origin."[12] The ranking is based on the views and fans on social networking websites like Myspace and Facebook. To appear on Uncharted, the artists must be registered Myspace Music artists, and should not have appeared on any major Billboard charts before.[12]

Further reading[edit]

  • Durkee, Rob. "American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century." Schriner Books, New York City, 1999.
  • Battistini, Pete. "American Top 40 with Casey Kasem The 1970s." Authorhouse.com, January 31, 2005. ISBN 1-4184-1070-5

References[edit]

General

Specific

  1. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (February 12, 2005). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 64. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hot 100 To Include Digital Streams". Billboard. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  3. ^ Knopper, Steve (19 October 2012). "Fans React as Billboard Changes Charts Formula". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Billboard staff (November 25, 2013). "Billboard Christian & Gospel Charts to Get a Consumer-Focused Facelift". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Hot 100 News: Billboard and Nielsen Add YouTube Video Streaming to Platforms". Billboard. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  6. ^ "Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts FAQ". Billboard. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 Launches; Sistar Is No. 1 on New Korea Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mexico Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Portugal Digital Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ Binkert, Lisa. "Bruno Mars Live: Billboard Tastemakers". Billboard. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  11. ^ Billboard debuts new Social 50 chart. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 5, 2010
  12. ^ a b "Uncharted". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 

External links[edit]