In what may become a very important moment and the latest progression of the genre, Billboard has announced the launching of a new chart for only “R&B Songs.” A fact that many music fans where not aware of in the past is that the current R&B/Hip-Hop chart was not filed the same as the more popular Hot 100 list. The biggest and major difference between the genre charts and the Hot 100 is the tally of radio play, physical sales and more importantly today, digital sales (which make up a huge portion of the influence), so the R&B/Hip-Hop chart became almost solely based on radio play when physical singles died off.
The newly created “R&B Songs” chart will follow the same change to the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and other genre charts, which will now incorporate the same airplay/sales/streaming hybrid formula as the Hot 100, but rank the week’s top R&B-only (non-rap) titles.
According to Billboard, R&B Songs and Rap Songs will serve as 25-position distillations of the overall Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, highlighting the differences between pure R&B and rap titles in the overall, wide-ranging R&B/hip-hop field.
“The way people consume music continues to evolve and as a result so do our genre charts, which now track the many new ways fans experience, listen to and buy music,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard Director of Charts. “We’re proud to be offering updated genre charts that better reflect the current music landscape as well as a new R&B Songs chart that finally shines a spotlight solely on core R&B acts like Frank Ocean, John Legend and Anthony Hamilton.”
This change could potentially prove very impactful as according to a recent article in VillageVoice, since 2010 not a single R&B chart-topper reached the top of the Hot 100, which is the first time this has happened since Billboard established the modern R&B chart! The one issue that still needs to be addressed is the labeling of certain artists under “urban” categories that frankly more often than not make Pop music, such as Rihanna (who is now topping the R&B chart today), or Flo Rida or Will.I.Am/Black Eyes Peas who could easily top the Rap or R&B/Hip-Hop chart due to high digital sales, but would honestly offend some pure rap fans if they top their list.
Billboard has been charting the popularity of R&B songs since 1942. View the new chart here.
What are your thoughts??