OUT OF THE COUNTRY
I was pleased to see that the Court Yard Hounds, aka Dixie Chicks minus one, debuted at No. 7 with their self-titled debut album on last week's Billboard 200. When I flipped to the Country Albums chart, I expected to see them ranked second after Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," but, alas, they were nowhere to be found.
Why is the Court Yard Hounds' album not on Country Albums? And, who at Billboard decides what albums falls under certain genres and which titles are eligible for which charts?
Thanks for your help.
In act of transfiguration that would likely impress Hogwarts' Professor McGonagall, three Chicks turned into two Hounds. Martie Maguire and Emily Robison's new album, without Natalie Maines, opened with sales of 61,000, according to SoundScan. It added 29,000 in its second week, ranking at No. 12 on the current Billboard 200.
Billboard's chart managers "flag" hundreds of titles - albums for our album charts and now songs for our new digital genre charts - each week for specific genres, based on sound and texture. Consideration is also given to radio airplay activity and record labels' promotion and marketing plans.
The Court Yard Hounds' debut release has been categorized as a rock, not country, album by Billboard. It debuted on the Rock Albums chart at No. 3 last week, this week dipping to No. 6. A cut from the set, "The Coast," is receiving airplay at the triple A (adult album alternative) rock radio format.
I asked Billboard country charts manager Wade Jessen to explain the process that went into "Court Yard Hounds" not appearing on Country Albums:
"The Court Yard Hounds' album isn't being marketed to country buyers, with the notable exception of country placement on iTunes. There is no single being worked to country radio stations and Sony's Nashville division isn't involved in the project at all.
"In terms of our stylistic evaluation of the album, the overall content doesn't make a compelling case for a rank on the Country Albums chart on that basis alone. Our assessment of the album at this time is that it isn't appropriate based on marketing thrust or style."
Jessen points out that such decisions are always subject to change. The "Hannah Montana: the Movie" soundtrack did not appear on Country Albums until a month after it debuted on the Billboard 200, as airplay for the single "The Climb" did not immediately resonate at country radio.
"If substantial music from 'Court Yard Hounds' begins to develop at country radio or other country-specific platforms, we are open to reconsidering the project for inclusion on the Country Albums chart."
ONE LESS PASSENGER
"'Airplanes' does not feature Eminem anymore? What is up with that?"
Eminem was listed as a guest, along with Paramore's Hayley Williams, on B.o.B's "Airplanes" as of last week, but the credit now reads B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams.
Billboard director of charts Silvio Pietroluongo explains why the listing was changed:
"The artist listing for this track has been adjusted due to label request, removing Eminem. The version with the rapper isn't the dominant one at radio, nor is it available digitally a la carte."
Similarly opposite-looking titles rank at Nos. 4 and 5 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, by Monica and B.o.B, respectively: "Everything to Me" and "Nothin' on You."
From me to you,
You never know which discordant song titles will co-exist on Billboard charts. One title this week even manages to mix "Hell" and "Church" into the same listing: at No. 79 on the Hot 100 is "Hell on the Heart" by Eric Church.
At Nos. 7 and 8 on Rock Digital Songs, Muse's "Uprising" fittingly charts higher than the Swell Season's "Falling Slowly." The latter track debuts with sales of 19,000 (up from 1,000 last week) after Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze performed the song together May 11 on "American Idol."
And, ahead of the series' ninth season finale Wednesday (May 26), last year's runner-up Adam Lambert now ranks above a "Winner": on the Hot 100, Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" places at No. 28, a notch above "Winner" by Jamie Foxx (last week's mentor on "American Idol").