The Billboard Hot is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales physical and digital , radio play , and online streaming in the United States. The weekly tracking period for sales was initially Monday to Sunday when Nielsen started tracking sales in , but was changed to Friday to Thursday in July This tracking period also applies to compiling online streaming data.
Radio airplay, which, unlike sales figures and streaming, is readily available on a real-time basis, is tracked on a Monday to Sunday cycle previously Wednesday to Tuesday. As of the issue for the week ending on August 29, , the Billboard Hot has had 1, different number one entries. Prior to , Billboard ' s lead popularity chart was the Honor Roll of Hits , established in This chart ranked the most popular songs regardless of performer based on record and sheet sales, disk jockey, and juke box performances as determined by Billboard ' s weekly nationwide survey.
Although officially all three charts had equal "weight" in terms of their importance, Billboard retrospectively considers the Best Sellers in Stores chart when referencing a song's performance prior to the creation of the Hot The Top combined all aspects of a single's performance sales, airplay and jukebox activity , based on a point system that typically gave sales purchases more weight than radio airplay.
On June 17, , Billboard discontinued the Most Played in Jukeboxes chart, as the popularity of jukeboxes waned and radio stations incorporated more and more rock-oriented music into their playlists.
The week ending July 28, was the final publication of the Most Played by Jockeys and Top charts, both of which had Perez Prado 's instrumental version of " Patricia " ascending to the top. On August 4, , Billboard premiered one main all-genre singles chart: the Hot The Billboard Hot is still the standard by which a song's popularity is measured in the United States.
The Hot is ranked by radio airplay audience impressions as measured by Nielsen BDS, sales data compiled by Nielsen Soundscan both at retail and digitally and streaming activity provided by online music sources.
There are several component charts that contribute to the overall calculation of the Hot The most significant ones are:. The tracking week for sales and streaming begins on Friday and ends on Thursday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Monday to Sunday.
A new chart is compiled and officially released to the public by Billboard on Tuesday. Each chart is post-dated with the "week-ending" issue date four days after the charts are refreshed online i. The methods and policies by which this data is obtained and compiled have changed many times throughout the chart's history. Although the advent of a singles music chart spawned chart historians and chart-watchers and greatly affected pop culture and produced countless bits of trivia, the main purpose of the Hot is to aid those within the music industry: to reflect the popularity of the "product" the singles, the albums, etc.
Billboard has many times changed its methodology and policies to give the most precise and accurate reflection of what is popular. A very basic example of this would be the ratio given to sales and airplay. During the Hot 's early history, singles were the leading way by which people bought music.
At times, when singles sales were robust, more weight was given to a song's retail points than to its radio airplay. As the decades passed, the recording industry concentrated more on album sales than singles sales.
Musicians eventually expressed their creative output in the form of full-length albums rather than singles, and by the s many record companies stopped releasing singles altogether see Album Cuts , below. Eventually, a song's airplay points were weighted more so than its sales. Billboard has also changed its Hot policy regarding "two-sided singles" several times. The pre-Hot chart "Best Sellers in Stores" listed popular A- and-B-sides together, with the side that was played most often based on its other charts listed first.
During the Presley single's chart run, top billing was switched back and forth between the two sides several times. But on the concurrent "Most Played in Juke Boxes", "Most Played by Jockeys" and the "Top ", the two songs were listed separately, as was true of all songs.
With the initiation of the Hot in , A- and-B-sides charted separately, as they had on the former Top Starting with the Hot chart for the week ending November 29, , this rule was altered; if both sides received significant airplay, they were listed together. This started to become a moot point by , as most major record labels solidified a trend they had started in the s by putting the same song on both sides of the singles provided to radio.
More complex issues began to arise as the typical A-and-B-side format of singles gave way to 12 inch singles and maxi-singles, many of which contained more than one B-side. Further problems arose when, in several cases, a B-side would eventually overtake the A-side in popularity, thus prompting record labels to release a new single, featuring the former B-side as the A-side, along with a "new" B-side. As many Hot chart policies have been modified over the years, one rule always remained constant: songs were not eligible to enter the Hot unless they were available to purchase as a single.
However, on December 5, , the Hot changed from being a "singles" chart to a "songs" chart. It was claimed by major record labels that singles were cannibalizing album sales, so they were slowly phased out. During this period, accusations began to fly of chart manipulation as labels would hold off on releasing a single until airplay was at its absolute peak, thus prompting a top ten or, in some cases, a number one debut.
In many cases, a label would delete a single from its catalog after only one week, thus allowing the song to enter the Hot , make a high debut and then slowly decline in position as the one-time production of the retail single sold out. It was during this period that several popular mainstream hits never charted on the Hot , or charted well after their airplay had declined. During the period that they were not released as singles, the songs were not eligible to chart. Many of these songs dominated the Hot Airplay chart for extended periods of time:.
As debate and conflicts occurred more and more often, Billboard finally answered the requests of music industry artists and insiders by including airplay-only singles or "album cuts" in the Hot Extended play EP releases were listed by Billboard on the Hot and in pre-Hot charts Top until the mid-to-late s.
With the growing popularity of albums, it was decided to move EPs which typically contain four to six tracks from the Hot to the Billboard , where they are included to this day. Since February 12, , the Billboard Hot tracks paid digital downloads from such internet services as iTunes , Musicmatch , and Rhapsody.
Billboard initially started tracking downloads in with the Hot Digital Tracks chart. However, these downloads did not count towards the Hot and that chart as opposed to Hot Digital Songs counted each version of a song separately the chart still exists today along with Hot Digital Songs.
This was the first major overhaul of the Hot 's chart formula since December The change in methodology has shaken up the chart considerably, with some songs debuting on the chart strictly with robust online sales and others making drastic leaps. In recent years, several songs have been able to achieve to position jumps in a single week as their digital components were made available at online music stores.
Since , the all-time record for the biggest single-week upward movement was broken nine times. In the issue dated August 11, , Billboard began incorporating weekly data from streaming media and on-demand services into the Hot This refers to songs being bought along with merchandise, either from an artists website or through another vendor. The magazine stated that this was a tactic generally used by certain artists to boost their chart positions. Instead, such physical releases are now only counted when they are shipped to the consumer, rendering the tactic "ineffectual".
A growing trend in the early first decade of the 21st century was to issue a song as a "remix" that was so drastically different in structure and lyrical content from its original version that it was essentially a whole new song. Criticisms began when songs were being completely re-recorded to the point that they no longer resembled the original recording.
The first such example of this scenario is Jennifer Lopez ' " I'm Real ". Originally entering the Hot in its album version, a "remix" was issued in the midst of its chart run that featured rapper Ja Rule. This new version proved to be far more popular than the album version and the track was propelled to number one. To address this issue, Billboard now separates airplay points from a song's original version and its remix, if the remix is determined to be a "new song".
Since administering this new chart rule, several songs have charted twice, normally credited as "Part 1" and "Part 2".
The remix rule is still in place. Billboard , in an effort to allow the chart to remain as current as possible and to give proper representation to new and developing artists and tracks, has since removed titles that have reached certain criteria regarding its current rank and number of weeks on the chart.
Recurrent criteria have been modified several times and currently as of [update] , a song is permanently moved to "recurrent status" if it has spent 20 weeks on the Hot and fallen below position number Additionally, descending songs are removed from the chart if ranking below number 25 after 52 weeks.
These rare cases are handled on a case-by-case basis and ultimately determined by Billboard ' s chart managers and staff. Christmas songs have been a regular presence on the Hot each December since the relaxation of recurrent rules, culminating in Mariah Carey 's recording " All I Want for Christmas is You " reaching 1 on the chart in December Billboard altered its tracking-week for sales, streaming and radio airplay in order to conform to a new Global Release Date, which now falls on Fridays in all major-market territories United States product was formerly released on Tuesdays prior to June This modified tracking schedule took effect in the issue dated July 25, Billboard ' s "chart year" runs from the first week of December to the final week in November.
This altered calendar allows for Billboard to calculate year-end charts and release them in time for its final print issue in the last week of December. Prior to Nielsen SoundScan, year-end singles charts were calculated by an inverse-point system based solely on a song's performance on the Hot for example, a song would be given one point for a week spent at position , two points for a week spent at position 99 and so forth, up to points for each week spent at number one.
Other factors including the total weeks a song spent on the chart and at its peak position were calculated into its year-end total. After Billboard began obtaining sales and airplay information from Nielsen SoundScan, the year-end charts are now calculated by a very straightforward cumulative total of yearlong sales, streaming, and airplay points. This gives a more accurate picture of any given year's most popular tracks, as the points accrued by one song during its week at number one in March might be less than those accrued by another song reaching number three in January.
The Hot served for many years as the data source for the weekly radio countdown show American Top This relationship ended on November 30, , as American Top 40 started using the airplay-only side of the Hot then called Top 40 Radio Monitor.
The ongoing splintering of Top 40 radio in the early s led stations to lean into specific formats, meaning that practically no station would play the wide array of genres that typically composed each weekly Hot chart.
An artist or band's ability to have hits in the Hot across multiple decades is recognized as a sign of longevity and being able to adapt to changing musical styles. A new chart, the Pop , was created by Billboard in February to answer criticism that the Hot was biased in favor of rhythmic songs, as throughout most of its existence, the Hot was seen predominantly as a pop chart. It was discontinued in June due to the charts becoming increasingly similar. The Canadian Hot was launched June 16, The Japan Hot was launched in the issue dated May 31, , using the same methodologies as the Hot charts for the U.
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