Tuesday, March 20, 01:00 PM – 02:30 PM | Perez 302
Changing Billboard Methodologies and Ecological Diversity in Hot Country Songs
Speaker: Jada Watson (School of Music)
In October 2012, Billboard announced a change to its methodology for ranking popularity on the long-running Hot Country Songs (HCS) chart. After more than two decades of ranking popularity according to radio airplay alone, Billboard decided to apply the Hot 100 methodology to the chart, including digital sales and streaming to the HCS formula. While initial concerns over the change focused on the possibility of crossover artists dominating the HCS chart, the new methodology has instead resulted in a significant decrease in the number of artists appearing on the chart, in general, and in the coveted #1 spot, specifically. In addition, female artists have been nearly erased from the chart. With fewer artists appearing on the charts, there is a noticeable lack of variety in the HCS chart and, by extension, on country radio.
In a world where Billboard chart success governs the ways in which country labels sign, produce, and promote artists – what happens when there are fewer artists in the ecosystem? Drawing on the results of a large-scale data-driven analysis of the HCS chart, it considers environmental diversity of the country music industry against the backdrop of Billboard’s changing methodologies.