Three weeks ago, the editors at Billboard, who for decades have defined what makes an American hit, shook up the song charts for various genres.
The magazine started counting digital sales and online streams along with radio airplay in its tallies for most major formats. It also created two new charts using the same criteria, breaking out rap songs in one and R&B songs in a second.
The results have given stars with a pop-oriented sound and broad crossover appeal an advantage over other artists, upsetting and puzzling some music fans. Take Psy, the pudgy South Korean pop star with the infectious dance moves whose video “Gangnam Style” went viral on the Internet. Since the new rules took effect, “Gangnam Style” has been the No. 1 song on the new Rap Songs chart for the last three weeks, even though Psy does not rap on the track and most American hip-hop radio stations have yet to embrace him as a bona fide rapper.
On the Hot Country Songs chart, Taylor Swift’s pop single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” has held the No. 1 position for three weeks, even as many country stations have rejected it, and Rihanna’s pop hit “Diamonds“ has remained atop the Hot R&B-Hip Hop Songs chart, causing dismay among R&B purists. Read more