Billboard C&W Charts (from the beginning)

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Postby DrTravel » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:55 pm

Chartaholic wrote:True. I will add though that this affects such a small percent of songs. Only those songs that do manage to cross over are affected. However, it seems worse than it really is because mostly only the biggest genre songs will cross over, making them bigger. But it is like 1 percent of songs a year.
Ah... NO. It's a much bigger impact.

Paul's response was "The problem with using the Hot Country Songs for the "main" chart numbers is that we have to sell books to stay in business. Our customers gave us an overwhelmingly negative response when we switched to the HCS chart for the last few months of the 2012 edition. Many longtime customers said that they would never purchase another Country book if we didn't go back to using the Airplay numbers. The main problem (as you stated) is that the HCS chart uses airplay numbers from non-Country stations! BTW, I don't see how we're "manipulating" the chart data if we show BOTH sets of numbers. The Billboard Country Airplay chart is still a MAJOR chart and is closely followed by fans and industry types alike. We did not make this decision lightly. I've posted about this on the Pulse boards and the OVERWHELMING response has been positive. In fact, not one person so far has had anything negative to say. Again, we must sell books or else we will cease to exist."

The Pulse Board refers to the new Hot Country Songs chart as the "mongrel chart" and only considers the Country Airplay chart reflective of what country listeners are buying and listening too. Sam Hunt's "Body Like A Back Road" just completed a 34 week run at #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. It hasn't even been listed on the Hot Country Airplay chart for quite some time.
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Postby kjell » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:14 am

The info at hand indicates that DrTravel's conclusions are right. History proves that there's a substantial differance between airplay charts and sales charts of the same dates, and the real popularity follow the sales charts. I see the problems caused by the crossover hits, but this is not reason enough to make me buy AirPlay chart books. As kingofskiffle I can live with a book that has both, preferably the sales chart info as main.
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:50 pm

The Billboard country singles chart was based on sales and airplay from 1958 to 1990. Then it switched to airplay only from 1990 to 2012. I'm guessing this can be better described as 'country radio airplay only.'

Then in 2012 the chart switched to this hybrid of sales, streaming, and airplay, but if I'm reading these posts correctly it sounds as if this 2012 airplay was not 'country radio airplay only,' but instead national airplay of designated country songs across all radio formats. Thus skewing and corrupting the true airplay of country radio.

I'm greatly in favor of this switch back to 'country radio airplay only' for this next Record Research country songs book. The last 2012 book was only using the hybrid chart data for the final few months of 2012 anyway, so this new book is only going to revise those final few months, and continue on with country radio airplay, which is what the country charts were from 1990 to 2012.

Anybody correct me if my assumptions are wrong...
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Postby DrTravel » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:46 pm

I'm going to compile the Country Airplay chart from October 20, 2012 onward. For songs that were on that chart I will include all chart positions previously. It's what I do because I have no life!! That way I will have the chart data for both country charts since the changeover for easier comparison. When the chart had the makeover it went from "The Top songs that Country Radio plays" to "The Top Songs consumed in the U.S. that are the Country genre". Did they make it better or worse? Guess it depends on your perspective.

If record research goes with the Airplay chart as the "main" one, how are they going to handle the transition? Seems logical that for songs on the Hot Country Songs chart dated October 13, 2012 to just continue their chart runs on the Country Airplay beginning on October 20, 2012. This would actually have more continuity to what actually happened on the Hot Country Songs chart.
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Postby kjell » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:18 pm

As the situation turns and thinking a few years ahead it may well be that your decision to do both chartruns will be the sensible strategic move. I have not changed my principal attitude though.
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:32 pm

For the benefit of those who do not know this, there was a time when Billboard’s singles pop chart was a chart for the ‘popular’ music format, based on airplay of ‘popular’ format radio stations and sales at ‘popular’ format record stores. Crossover hits from country and R&B did occur frequently / often, but the chart reflected what ‘popular’ format radio stations were playing. Same thing for the separate country and R&B singles charts. 3 separate formats.

Then at some point in history (the 90’s? the 00’s? 1998?)[EDIT: actually Dec 5, 1998], Billboard decided to make the Hot 100 ‘pop’ chart an all-encompassing mix of all genres, scanning all types of radio stations and record store sales, and combining everything together. Thus the Hot 100 ‘pop’ chart lost its ‘pop’ radio format focus and became a mixed beast of everything, although you could say it was still a majority of pop, somewhere greater than 51%.

A lot of ‘pop’ radio stations had a problem with this though, as did those stations that carried the weekly American Top 40 Countdown radio show[EDIT: the problem began in the early 90s, when rap record sales with no airplay began appearing on the Hot 100]. Listeners were complaining about the non-pop records that were getting air-time, the stations pushed back at Billboard, and Billboard then created multiple new [EDIT: secondary] ‘pop’ charts to reduce the influence of the non-pop format hits (mostly rap if I recall correctly).

Looking back, it probably would have made more sense to leave the Hot 100 alone, keep it as a ‘pop’ radio airplay and sales format, and give the newly created ‘all-encompassing’ chart a different name.

I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t know of a single radio station that plays all the music genres as shown on the current Hot 100. It’s still interesting to have and read, even if no radio station is following it, but one could say the continuity with the past took a turn at the fork in the road.

One could also argue that Record Research should redo their Top Pops book as they’re redoing their country songs book. Figure out which of the many ‘pop’ charts of today best reflects the ‘pop’ radio format, and use that chart data going forward from the switchover date in combination with the historical pop chart data since 1955. That would give continuity with the past. And add the current mixed beast Hot 100 data since the switchover date off to the side.

I know, I’m dreaming…
Last edited by RokinRobinOfLocksley on Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby DrTravel » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:06 pm

My question to Paul at RR:

If you do decide to go with Airplay as the main data, how would you handle the transition on October 20, 2012? For songs on the Country chart before then, would you just start using their chart positions on the Country Airplay chart in continuation? Seems logical if you consider the Airplay chart to be the new official chart. That would create a more stable transition than actually occurred on the actual HCS chart. You can then just show data for the HCS chart from 10/20/12 onward as this was essentially a "new" chart on that date.

His response was:

Yes, we would just simply keep the Airplay research flowing as it did and would treat the HCS chart as a new chart from that 10/20/12 date.

Remember that RR considers the Hot Country Songs chart prior 10/20/12 as simply an airplay based chart. So continuing the chart runs on the Country Airplay chart makes sense. The "new and improved" Hot Country Songs chart introduced on 10/20/12 is now considered a hybrid chart and would begin as a brand new "bastard" chart!

I did ask why they didn't run into the same issue with the R&B chart - the response "The R&B chart didn't seem to have the huge discrepancies that the Country charts have."

One HUGE discrepancy between the two country charts would be the chart history of "Cruise" by Florida-Georgia Line. The song only charted for 24 weeks on the Airplay chart and was #1 for three weeks. On the HCS chart it was #1 for 24 weeks. If you highlight the Airplay data, imagine the stir that would create given that everyone has heard that this song broke all #1 longevity records (until Sam Hunt came along).

The Airplay chart also has a recurrent policy where it is common for a song to hit #1 then drop completely off 2 or 3 weeks later. That's probably why "Cruise" only lasted 24 weeks. On the HCS chart the song actually had two runs at the top. The first coincided with the Airplay run, the second occurred after the song dropped off the Airplay chart.
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Postby DrTravel » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:50 pm

Here's the updated C&W spreadsheet which includes the Country Airplay charts from October, 2012 onwards. Of the 934 songs that peaked on these charts 2013-2016 here's the breakdown:
426 charted on both charts
179 charted only on the Country Airplay chart
329 charted only on the Hot Country Songs chart

http://www48.zippyshare.com/v/wGKHQ5pi/file.html
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Postby kjell » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:37 pm

This means 81 per cent of the total charted on the country songs chart and 65 per cent on the AirPlay chart. Obviously country songs is reflecting this genre better. Only 46 per cent charted on both. That's below my expectations since the country songs chart is a hybrid chart and not a sales only chart. None of the charts are according to the old standards. As both charts are partly or wholly based on AirPlay they overlap each others market. The country songs chart seems to represent it better both in quality and broadness, but both together give the widest possible overview, and is therefore the best solution as things stands. A further analysis might be comparing the positions from both charts of the double hits to look for systematic differences, but that would probably be less fruitful workload considered.

AS always you've done a fast and interesting job here.

Thanks for the effort.
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:36 pm

Thanks again DrTravel, another incredible operation on your part...
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Postby DrTravel » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:32 pm

kjell wrote:This means 81 per cent of the total charted on the country songs chart and 65 per cent on the AirPlay chart. Obviously country songs is reflecting this genre better. Only 46 per cent charted on both. That's below my expectations since the country songs chart is a hybrid chart and not a sales only chart. None of the charts are according to the old standards. As both charts are partly or wholly based on AirPlay they overlap each others market. The country songs chart seems to represent it better both in quality and broadness, but both together give the widest possible overview, and is therefore the best solution as things stands. A further analysis might be comparing the positions from both charts of the double hits to look for systematic differences, but that would probably be less fruitful workload considered.

AS always you've done a fast and interesting job here.

Thanks for the effort.
So on the 60 position Airplay chart there were 605 songs.

On the 50 position Hot Country Songs (HCS) chart there were 755 songs - obviously much higher turnover however, some songs stayed on this chart forever. This was the chart that had two different songs at #1 for over 23 weeks! Nothing like that on the Airplay chart.

Think the country diehards believe that there were way too many non-country songs on the HCS chart. For example, Taylor Swift switched from country to pop so all of her songs made the HCS chart while none of them made the Airplay chart. Billboard identified her as country while the country radio stations properly disowned her. The Cruise remix with Nelly was responsible for many weeks at #1 on the HCS but no country radio station played it! On the other hand, many country songs from TV (like the Voice and Nashville) received Airplay but were not enough of a crossover hit to make the HCS chart. Think Billboard needs to re-examine what artists they include on their Hot "Country" Songs chart. Hell, I think Billboard needs to re-examine how they compile their Hot 100!

As always, thanks to those who helped "in the shadows".
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Postby kjell » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:47 pm

Concurrence on my part!
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:05 pm

I double agree...
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Postby DrTravel » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:19 pm

Here's the updated SS - includes some corrections and a few more months of charts

http://www40.zippyshare.com/v/KHPmc9LW/file.html
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:55 pm

DrTravel wrote:Here's the updated SS - includes some corrections and a few more months of charts

http://www40.zippyshare.com/v/KHPmc9LW/file.html
Thanks again x 4000, DrT !!!
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