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How The New Billboard Charting System Affects Country Music

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I recently featured an article about the new Billboard Charting system that will now change the way Country Music songs will rank on the Country Music charts.

While some fans could care less, others are worried that the new system of ranking Country Music hits could change a lot about the music and radio business. Basically, Country Radio airplay was the main factor in getting a song on the charts. Now, spins in any genre, downloads, and streaming will all factor in to a ‘Country’ song’s chart position. Change.org has put together a petition to stop the change, explaining that the new system will affect the fans of Country singers that do not have crossover pop records- like Easton Corbin, Dierks Bentley, George Strait, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan.

To better explain, I’ve re-posted this article from Change.org-

“Not just small, up-and-coming artists will be affected by the new rules. Huge, major country music mega-franchises are feeling the effects already. Taylor Swift songs rocketed up the charts to #1, #2, and #10 when the rules were implemented, while Miranda Lambert’s latest single “Fastest Girl In Town” for example went for #9 to #16, Jason Aldean’s “Take A Little Ride” went from #1 to #5, and Toby Keith got knocked out of the Top 25 all together.

If the new rules hold, you can almost guarantee labels and artists will begin to produce more “crossover” songs to take advantage of the revised format, meaning more pop-oriented country songs, more pop songs that call themselves country, and more non-country artists “going country” to take advantage of the new rules.

Meanwhile artists as far ranging as George Strait and Alan Jackson, to Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert will have trouble getting their singles to attain chart success. Only artists with crossover appeal, or top tier superstar artists who can really drive digital sales will get any advantage from the new format, and will likely completely monopolize the chart with most or all of the songs off a new album once it is released, just like Mumford & Sons is doing in rock right now (see below), and Taylor Swift will do in a couple of weeks when she releases her new album Red.

It is a very real possibility that upon Red’s release, Taylor Swift will own every single top spot on Billboard’s country chart. Literally she could have #1 thru #16 sewed up because of the amount of downloads the songs and album will receive upon release.

Mainstream artists still in the developmental phase of their career can pretty much kiss goodbye any chance of having a breakout single rocket up the charts. The top of the charts will be so locked down with crossover artists, and the middle of the charts filled with names that used to be at the top, it will be nearly impossible to break through. The one exception seen on the charts so far is Florida Georgia Line’s song “Cruise”. Florida Georgia Line, like Taylor Swift, is signed to Big Machine Records, clearly one big winner under the new rules, at least on the surface.”

Click here to read about how the charting system affects fans of other formats.

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