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Billboard Magazine

Billboard Magazine October 19, 2019

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Written for music industry professionals and fans. Contents provide news, reviews and statistics for all genres of music, including radio play, music video, related internet activity and retail updates.

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United States
MRC Media, LLC
29 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
‘highest’ on the charts

TRUE TO ITS TITLE, TRAVIS SCOTT’S “HIGHEST IN THE ROOM” blasts in atop the Billboard Hot 100, marking the rapper’s second leader and first to debut at No. 1. Released Oct. 4 (after it was initially teased in a Kylie Jenner Kybrow cosmetics ad in April), the song launches with 59 million U.S. streams, 6.9 million in radio airplay audience and 51,000 sold, according to Nielsen Music. Scott first led with “Sicko Mode,” which reached No. 1 in its 17th week, on the Dec. 8, 2018-dated chart. Meanwhile, Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber’s “10,000 Hours” roars onto the Hot 100 at No. 4 — and Hot Country Songs at No. 1 (see page 89) — with 33.3 million streams, 19.6 million in radio reach and 53,000 sold. Dan + Shay post…

4 min.
the new catalog conundrum

STREAMING SERVICES haven’t only revived the music industry — they’ve also reshaped it, changing the focus of A&R and marketing and incentivizing executives to prioritize hip-hop over rock and hot singles over big albums. More than ever, major labels and large indies are chasing — and paying big money to sign — artists who can deliver hits fast. At the same time, those hits — indeed, all newly released songs — account for a smaller percentage of overall music sales, including streaming, than ever before. In 2004, when album sales still drove the U.S. recorded music industry, current music — meaning releases less than 18 months old, plus older albums that remained in the top half of the Billboard 200 or still received significant radio airplay — accounted for 64.2% of that…

3 min.
stuck in neverland

IN MARCH, HBO’S harrowing four-hour, two-part documentary Leaving Neverland reexamined allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Michael Jackson had repeatedly sexually abused them when they were children in the 1980s and 1990s. And the explosive program had the late star’s fans — as well as radio programmers — fiercely debating whether his hits would, or should, be played again. The backlash was fast and fierce. Reviewers predicted the film would devastate Jackson’s legacy; Oprah Winfrey agreed to sympathetic interviews of Robson and Safechuck on HBO; radio stations in New Zealand and Canada pulled Jackson’s music. In response, Jackson’s family called the allegations a “public lynching,” pointing out that Jackson, who was found innocent of child-molestation charges in a 2005 trial, was not around to defend himself. The late…

4 min.
tweet to the top

WHEN BAY AREA RAPPER Saweetie released her ICY EP on March 29, her label, Warner Records, hadn’t yet settled on which song to promote to radio as a single. So thousands of Twitter users helped. Shortly after release night, Warner vp fan engagement Elissa Ayadi says that the raunchy track “My Type,” which samples Petey Pablo’s “Freek-a-Leek,” took off on the platform, where fans were quoting the song’s brash, catchy lyrics about exactly what the rapper is looking for in a date. That persuaded the label to focus its promotional efforts on the track, which comes with a splashy music video that has over 45 million YouTube views, and pushing the #MyTypeChallenge on TikTok, which has inspired 50 million videos. “We were like, ‘Instead of forcing it, let’s support what the fans are…

2 min.
jay frank 1971-2019

WHEN UNIVERSAL MUSIC Group senior vp global streaming marketing Jay Frank died Oct. 13 after a battle with cancer, the industry lost a thought leader who for years encouraged executives to adapt to a music business shaped by technology. “Stop caring about what the music business used to be,” he would say, “and start appreciating how the business is transforming.” In his first book, Futurehit.DNA — published in 2009, just as Spotify launched in Europe and well before streaming arrived in the United States — Frank argued passionately that streaming would require songwriters to shorten introductions because songs were no longer built for radio. A decade later, Frank’s warnings of waning attention spans seem to have come true: Tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019 are, on average, 30 seconds…

7 min.
rap goes global, on a local level

LONDON — In the video for his recent single “Du Lundi au Lundi” (“From Monday to Monday”), French rapper Stanislas Dinga Pinto, better known as Niska, stretches out on a gold chaise lounge in the palatial grounds of a hilltop château, surrounded by exotically dressed models and balaclava-wearing members of his crew. It’s a fitting metaphor for Niska’s place among the new wave of French rap royalty that’s taking over the charts in the world’s fifth-biggest music market. “As a young man from the hood, my songs strike a chord with my generation,” says the 25-year-old, whose third album, Mr Sal, was released by Universal France on Sept. 6 and topped the French charts for five consecutive weeks. Niska is the latest example of a trend that’s transforming the music business around the…