HITS Daily Double


We’ve been flooded with calls and emails about the Bible’s response to our piece about the inclusion of free streams on its chart, a reply that only underscores the cluelessness at the top of the publication. (See our initial story here.)

More fundamentally, it represents the falling away of its last remaining shreds of credibility. We never liked to admit it, but the fact has always been that you weren’t #1 unless you were #1 on Billboard’s chart. What this latest episode—and the Bible’s lame justifications—reveal is that the chart has become as irrelevant as the publication itself.

Antiquated rules continue to govern what kinds of physical and downloaded music can be counted on the charts, but no such vigilance applies to streams. Even a few Billboard staffers, who understandably wish to remain anonymous, have admitted they can’t explain it.

In their laughable defense, the Bible’s editors claim they worked “with label partners” on determining the rules, although we’ve yet to find anyone in the label world who was consulted on these seemingly arbitrary guidelines. If minimum pricing applies to physical and downloads, why not to these types of streams that have no revenue-generating component?

“An intense vetting process” is alleged with regard to potential gaming of the system with bots or other manipulations, but no detail has been forthcoming. The ostensible “safeguards in place” offer little assurance that the least tech-savvy intern in our office couldn’t circumvent them.

Everyone wants to do whatever’s possible to maximize the chart impact of their releases. But without imposing these standards evenly to all platforms, we have a situation with streaming that's no different than handing out free CDs in the street.

Will the labels do anything about this, or are they still too worried about where Amato might put them on the Power List?

It’s a sad day when we have to be the voice of credibility.