The Billboard charts tabulate weekly popularity of songs and albums in the United States. Results are published in Billboard Magazine: the premier magazine of the recording industry.
By: Freya Pruitt and Ed Quintana
Every music artist dreams of having a number one hit on the Billboard chart. Far beyond a typical publication, Billboard has the POWER to make or break a career! Making it onto the Billboard charts is the pinnacle of achievement and becomes a true testament that the artist’s music is being bought, played and listened to. Hitting the top 100 on Billboard is a distinction that can manifest in musical stardom and a staggering amount of monetary gain. Needless to say, a Billboard hit is definitely life changing.
Throughout the years, many struggling artists have told their rags-to-riches life stories as their passion, dedication and hard work culminate in the result they dream of. Their “overnight- sensation” is often a seeded illusion that ultimately gives way to unexpected challenges. Countless years of struggling, competition and desperation lead to sleepless nights, demanding concert schedules and many days away from home and family.
Suddenly, all of these sacrifices seem to disappear as a Billboard hit record miraculously changes their lives forever. From a humble beginning, the artist is rapidly transformed into a dream-like life-style. Living in mansions, driving expensive cars, wearing fabulous designer clothing, and mingling with the rich and famous at restaurants become the new “normal”. The artist now has thousands, if not, millions of adoring fans who buy tickets to concerts. Soon, the fame brings in millions of dollars in ticket sales.
The concert goer has created a phenomenon in entertainment. As they arrive, anxiously waiting to hear the Billboard hit, they scream and build themselves into frenzy. The super charged energy in the air builds as they witness the making of a new star. Yes, a Billboard hit will become the envy and inspiration for many in the record business and changes the artists’ lives forever.
Long gone are the simple days, when a song-writer only wanted to write and sing; to achieve success in creating good music. There was an era when all that mattered was to live the American dream and make their music matter to the ears and hearts of the listening public. Once the music ranks high in Billboard Magazine, the record business star’s innocence is lost in an onslaught of fame, fortune and fabulous experiences. Indeed. Billboard Magazine is the premier star maker of the recording industry. It is almost a given; if you want to be famous, land a Billboard No.1 hit. The longer it stays at the No.1 spot, the more famous you’ll become. The vast majority of music artists seen on television, in magazines and selling out large concert halls have streaks of No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts. Billboard magazine is the most iconic and powerful publication in music’s history.
TTW would like to take a look at the history of Billboard Magazine and extend our thanks to those who have helped make this editorial a success. Now, let’s all sit back and take a look at just how Billboard Magazine works, by transforming a hit record into a huge leap of success.
HOW DOES AN ARTIST ACHIEVE A RATING ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS?
Billboard publishes a host of music charts that are individually or collectively based on key fan interactions with music. These “target audiences” launch the artist up the ladder by increasing album sales and online downloads. Billboard tracks downloads, radio airplay and touring. They monitor streaming and social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Vevo, YouTube, Spotify and other popular online destinations for music. These measurements are tracked year-round by Billboard, together with Nielsen BDS, Nielsen SoundScan and Next Big Sound.
In order for an artist and title to chart in Billboard, they must be among the higher ranked performers within the specific metric used to compile the chart. The types of music charts include the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, which are, by far the most famous. Music genres Billboard tracks include 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.
There are many rags to riches stories archived into the history charts of Billboard. Among the most famous, here are just a few artists who’ve have had their dream come true:
He grew up in a trailer park in Detroit, where he lived in a caravan with his mother and brother. Now, he’s worth over $115million.
Multi-millionaire Jay-Z grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn, New York where, he has admitted, he sold drugs as a teen in order to make ends meet. Little did he know he was set to become one of the wealthiest rappers of all time, with an estimated worth of over $450 million
Before Justin Bieber became a YouTube hit, the young Canadian was destitute; he was living in a rat-infested house with hardly any food. The young pop prince didn’t even have his own bedroom and slept on a pullout couch. Today, he’s worth over $65 million.
Mariah Carey grew up in one of the poorest, toughest neighborhoods in Long Island, New York. Unlike her twin siblings. Moroccan and Monroe, she had no toys. She played in the streets of her neighborhood, which taught her to be brave, bold and confident in the face of challenges. She was forced to work several jobs at once, just to make ends meet. Life was difficult for her in New York, but everyone seemed to know there was something magical about Mariah. She began singing to her mother at the age of two. As years went by, she self-trained and developed a never-before heard, eight-octave vocal range. In one fateful night, she was discovered totally by chance.
A Columbia Records executive heard her incredible voice singing at a party. Now she’s vaulted to the top of the charts, numerous times, and is one of the top-selling female recording artists of all time. Her net worth is now over $500 million.
P Diddy is the richest rapper in the world according to Forbes magazine, He ascended higher than Jay-Z,into second place , with an estimated worth of $500 million. It’s hard to believe he was born in a public housing project in Harlem, New York
One thing these astounding artists have in common is that they never forget from whence they came.
Kelly had a deal with a tough move to Los Angeles from her poverty level home in Texas. To make matters worse. her new apartment burned down shortly after she arrived in the city She was forced to live out of her car. This young American Idol winner is now estimated to be worth over $25 million. She is now worth over 400 million dollars.
Nicki Minaj’s life took a turn at the age of five, when she moved from Port of Spain, in Trinidad, to the poor neighborhood of Queens, New York. She now has an estimated worth of over $14 million dollars.
Shania Twain grew up under such poor conditions that her family regularly went without heat, despite the bitter winters they lived through. The singer often went hungry, and was forced to hide the fact she didn’t have lunch to her teachers and other pupils at school. After a very successful pop career some years later, Now a Country-Pop Canadian megastar, Twain is estimated to be worth over $350 million dollars.
Madonna was a struggling artist in downtown New York. Since her discovery, she’s had so many Billboard hits that her estimated net worth is close to a Billion dollars.
Whitney Houston was a simple choirgirl in New Jersey until she emerged onto the Billboard charts.
Diana Ross grew up in Detroit projects. She quickly soared to muti-millionaire status because of Billboard. Madonna. Whitney. Diana Ross. All three divas’ lives were transformed by the magic of a Billboard hit and went on to become living legends in POP music. Could they have done it without Billboard Magazine? The answer is a resounding; no!
Billboards Chart Record-breakers
Following are some historic achievements by many artists. Their success is based upon any record or song that was tremendously successful on the Billboard charts. Billboard paved the road to long and successful recording careers. Perhaps you are familiar with some of the names listed below!
Most No.1 Singles
The Beatles (20 songs), Elvis Presley (18), Mariah Carey (18), Michael Jackson (13), Rihanna (13), Diana Ross/The Supremes (12), Madonna (120), Whitney Houston (11), Stevie Wonder (10) and Janet Jackson (10)
Longest Reign at No. 1 on the Hot 100 (Single’s Chart)
Released in 1995, the enduring Mariah Carey’s collaboration with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” spent 16 sweet weeks (four months!) at the pinnacle of the Hot 100 chart.
Longest Reign at No. 1 on the Billboard 200
The 1961 soundtrack for “West Side Story”, feature film version of the immortal Broadway musical, holds the record for staying atop Billboard’s best-known album chart. It dominated Billboard for over a year–54 weeks!
Longest Run on the Hot 100 (Singles Chart)
With a whopping 87 weeks on the chart, Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” holds the record for most weeks spent on the Hot 100.
Longest Run on the Billboard 200(Albums Chart)
Pink Floyd’s acclaimed 1973 classic, “Dark Side of the Moon”, spent an amazing 861 weeks riding the Billboard 200 album chart. That’s over 16 (non-consecutive) years!
Longest Climb to No. 1 on the Hot 100
Billboard charts took Los Del Rio’s inescapable 1996 dance-craze ditty, “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix),” to a mind-boggling (and occasionally, nerve jangling) 33 weeks from the moment it entered the Hot 100 to finally reaching the top.
Longest Climb to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (Albums Chart)
She probably had no idea how appropriate her 1988 album title would be when she came up with it, but it took Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” a total of 64 weeks – a year and three months – to go from entering the Billboard 200 to reaching No. 1.
Longest Reign On The Billboard 200 By A Woman: Adele (Albums Chart)
Just last year, Adele’s “21” tallied its 24th and last week at No. 1, marking the most time atop the chart for an album by a woman. The set passed the 20-week command of Whitney Houston’s soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” in 1992-93.
Longest Span of No. 1s on the Hot 100
Cher holds the coveted record of accumulating No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 over the longest period of time: 33 years, seven months and three weeks. The first of three weeks at No. 1 for “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher was Aug. 14, 1965. The last week at No. 1 for Cher’s “Believe” was Apr. 3, 1999.
Longest Wait from an Artist’s Debut Billboard 200 Entry to its First No. 1
Tony Bennett waited 54 years for his first No. 1: 2011’s “Duets II.” The pop singer’s first charted album was 1957’s “Tony,” which debuted on the chart dated Feb. 23, 1957.
BILLBOARD: THE HISTORY
It is astounding to study the history of Billboard magazine and just HOW Billboard Magazine became “THE” Billboard Magazine, an ultimate star/chart maker. For all you musicians, singers and writers around the world, this historical information should serve you well. To MAKE a difference, you need to BE the difference: Billboard set the bar to a much higher standard than even they could have imagined! Billboard Magazine, the world’s premier music publication has served the entertainment industry since 1894. Yes, you read that date right—in 1894, singers and various genres of musical acts began to seek their fame in Billboard Magazine! It began as a weekly bill-posting and advertising business. Through many years of transformation, it remained the standard for success. Billboard Magazine has seen the eras of the Victrola clay record player; reel-to-reel tapes, 8-track and cassette tapes; vinyl singles and multiple song record albums (which created the gold and platinum record awards), to the technological advent of CDs and MP3s.
Today, its popular music charts have evolved into the primary source of information on trends and innovation in music. Billboard now serves as THE source of success for music fans, artists, top executives, tour promoters, publishers, radio programmers, lawyers, retailers, digital entrepreneurs and many others .On January 4, 1936, Billboard magazine published its first music hit parade. By mid-1958, a variety of song charts followed, which were eventually consolidated into the Hot 100. For many years, a song had to be commercially available as a single record (known as “45”s) to be considered for any of Billboard’s charts. During the LP (vinyl record) era, Billboard obtained its data from manual reports filled out by radio stations and stores.
Originally, Billboard had separate charts for different measures of popularity. Prior to the creation of the Hot 100, Billboard published four singles charts: “Best Sellers in Stores”, “Most Played by Jockeys”, “Most Played in Jukeboxes” and “The Top 100”. A composite standing chart that combined these gradually grew to become a top 100, the predecessor to the current Hot 100 chart.
As music technology changed, the jukebox chart ceased publication after the June 17, 1957 issue; the disc jockey chart after the July 28, 1958 issue and the bestseller chart after the October 13, 1958 issue. 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 on-air American Top 40 and American Country Countdown radio broadcasts. The Compact Disc (CD) replaced the vinyl record by the mid 1980’s. In 1990, Billboard used SoundScan and BDS technology to tabulate the charts. In 1995, Billboard went online at www.billboard.com.
As Billboard’s consumer-faced online home, Billboard.com features an extensive array of searchable, playable charts; breaking music news; artist interviews and exclusives, news, videos and more. The online site now attracts well over ten million unique visitors each month in more than 100 countries.
Between 1991 and 2006, the top single/album/artist(s) in each of those charts was/were awarded at the formal, star-studded annual Billboard Music Awards. The coveted awards ceremony was held in December for decades, until the awards went dormant in 2007. They returned in May, 2011. By 1995, Billboard’s updated policy reflected the changing realities of the music business.
Upon catching up with technology and a totally different, diversified audience in 2005, Billboard changed its parameters for what constitutes a chart-topping hit. The forum began to include paid digital downloads from digital music retailers such as Rhapsody, AmazonMP3 and iTunes. This change allowed songs to chart with or without the help of radio airplay.
Now, eligibility to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 is wide open to artists who’ve never been aired on a radio station. This policy change made it possible for song to chart based on digital downloads alone. In 2009, Billboard partnered with MetroLyrics to offer a new venue—the Top 10 Lyrics for each of the charts.
In October 2012, Billboard dramatically changed dynamics for their country, rock, Latin, and rap charts. The era of incorporating sales of digital downloads and streaming plays into what had been airplay-only charts had arrived. Among its changes, rather than measuring airplay only from radio stations of the particular genre, Billboard’s new methodology measures airplay from all radio formats.
This means of identifying the hottest and most popular, rising music acts was extended to their Christian and gospel charts in late 2013. On February 20, 2013, Billboard announced another change in the boundaries for their charts, bringing YouTube video streaming data into the dynamics 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 used in this methodology are official video streams, Vevo on YouTube streams, and user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio. Billboard states that this change was made to further reflect the divergent platforms of music consumption in today’s world.
The Hot 100 now combines single sales, radio airplay, digital downloads and streaming activity (including data from YouTube and other video sites) in order to capture top hits from every possible source. All of Billboard’s charts use this basic formula. What distinguishes the charts are a compilation of which sources, stations and stores are actually used. Each musical genre has a core audience or retail group that employs a chart manager to determine the results. Billboard is headquartered in New York with bureaus in Los Angeles and Miami. It also has editorial correspondents in major cities around the globe. Billboard Magazine, now diversified beyond the comprehension of its founders, remains the premier star-maker in the music industry.
Question: Would there even BE a recording industry without Billboard Magazine? TTW Magazine proudly honors Billboard Magazine for its outstanding contribution to the music industry and its powerful, chart-making ability identify hit records. They still transform lives and create new stars. Without Billboard magazine the recording industry simply would NOT be what it is today! Thank-you, Billboard, for your astounding history –making publication that has put thousands of successful artists on the red carpet. Long live BILLBOARD MAGAZINE!