Fred and his readers discuss R&R, the Digital charts, Janet Jackson and more!


Hi Fred,

If what I've what I read is accurate, Billboard has acquired Radio & Records. If that is true, I'm curious to know if there will only be one chart in the future instead of the two current ones. I'm asking this because I'm a huge Carrie Underwood fan, and it was a little bittersweet for me to see that her single "Don't Forget to Remember Me" reached No. 1 on the Radio & Records chart but No. 2 on the Billboard chart. Would occurrences such as this be a thing of the past?

Thanks for your insight.

Gregg Nottingham
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Gregg,

What you read is true. Our parent company, VNU, acquired Radio & Records and subsequently merged the 33-year-old publication with Billboard Radio Monitor. The first issue of the new Radio & Records is being published this week with a cover date of Aug. 11.

The airplay charts that will appear in Radio & Records will be compiled from data supplied by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. R&R is now part of the Billboard Information Group, so while some charts will appear exclusively in R&R (just as many charts appeared exclusively in Billboard Radio Monitor), the charts that appear in both R&R and Billboard will be the same, including Hot Country Songs.



Can you explain why there are two charts, one called Hot Digital Songs and one called Hot Digital Tracks? It certainly seems redundant to me. And how are each calculated into the Hot 100 chart?

Jeff Lutz

Dear Jeff,

Some songs are available to purchase as digital downloads in different versions -- sometimes in clean or explicit versions, sometimes as album tracks or single edits, sometimes as remixes. On Hot Digital Tracks, all versions chart separately. On Hot Digital Songs, sales of all versions of a song are combined.

If you look at this week's Hot Digital Songs chart, you'll see that "London Bridge" by Fergie is No. 1. However, on Hot Digital Tracks, the explicit version is No. 2 and the radio edit (a clean version) ranks No. 17.

Only Hot Digital Songs is published in Billboard magazine while both digital tallies are available online and to subscribers of the Billboard Information Network (BIN). Sales of all versions of a song are combined for the Hot 100, so in effect it is the data from the Hot Digital Songs chart that figures into that chart.

While it may seem redundant to compile both charts, keep in mind that Billboard charts are designed to be helpful tools for the music industry, and the industry prefers having the information from both charts available.


Hey Fred,

How is it that the Princess of Pop is not fairing well on the Hot 100? [Janet Jackson's] single "Call on Me" is No. 25 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, gaining airplay every week, yet on the Hot 100 she falls weekly with no gainer credit.

On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart she is bound to crack the top 10 next week with airplay still gaining. Has the Super Bowl incident really hurt her career that much, or is pop radio just ignoring her? I feel the same way that the Madonna fans have felt over the last few weeks.

Two weeks ago, Janet's single must have had a surge at pop radio because it jumped from 63-25 -- but then nothing. I was sure that this would be at least a top 10 hit. Does everyone need to release a single before they can crack the top 10 (example: Beyonce)?

Love reading you every week. Look forward to your always informative answers.

Thanks a lot,

Jamal Cannady
Baltimore, Md.

Dear Jamal,

The Hot 100 has been compiled every week for 48 years -- in fact, we just passed the anniversary date, as the first Hot 100 was dated Aug. 4, 1958. For most of those 48 years, the pathway to success was to rack up heavy sales and heavy airplay, preferably at the same time.

It's only in recent years that sales became less of a factor, as sales of commercial singles in the United States diminished to a point where the best-selling single of the week might not have enough points to even appear on the Hot 100.

That situation has changed dramatically in the last year, with the singles market reinvigorated by the growing popularity of paid digital downloads. As a result, sales once again plays an important role in a song's success on the Hot 100.

Ranking No. 25 on the Hot 100 Singles Airplay chart means that "Call on Me" by Janet Jackson & Nelly is receiving moderate airplay. The single debuted at No. 26 on Hot Digital Songs two weeks ago, which explains the 63-25 jump on the Hot 100. Last week the single fell 26-44 and this week the title has fallen off the chart. That's why "Call on Me" is not faring better on the Hot 100, where this week the song falls 33-38.


Hello Mr. Bronson,

Poor Gnarls Barkley just can't get a break. When it seemed that [the single "Crazy"] was poised to take the No. 1 position from Nelly Furtado and Timbaland, here comes Fergie with her "London Bridge" taking the top spot.

Which brings me to my question. Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson makes it to No. 1 with her debut single. She was in that old TV show "Kids Incorporated," and then she joined Wild Orchid before becoming the only female member of the Black Eyed Peas. Now, her debut single makes it to No. 1 in only three weeks. Is that a record?

I mean, if we can discount all the other songs that debuted at No. 1, is reaching the top of the chart in three weeks some kind of record? I think that Whitney Houston may have done it with "I Will Always Love You," and perhaps the Beatles did it too with one of their earlier songs. But I can't think of any song that has debuted outside the top ten and jumped to No. 1 in three weeks. Did Kelly Clarkson jump from 52 to No. 1 in two weeks?

Thanks for a wonderful column,

Cesar Morataya
Washington, D.C.

Dear Cesar,

Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" reached the top of the Hot 100 in its third week on the chart. The single debuted at No. 60, took a small step to No. 52, and then set a record by leaping to No. 1. You mentioned Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," and that single also made it to the summit in three weeks, moving 40-12-1.

You were also right on when it comes to the Beatles, but they achieved pole position in two weeks, not three, with "Can't Buy Me Love." In 1964, that single debuted at No. 27 and then flew to No. 1, holding the record for the biggest jump to No. 1 until 2002, when Clarkson's debut effort set a new record.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two '90s singles that were propelled into the penthouse in two weeks. In 1996, "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony debuted at No. 2 and moved up one rung the following week. A year later, "4 Seasons of Loneliness" by Boyz II Men followed the same flight plan.

As for Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," see this week's Chart Beat for an update on that single's Hot 100 status.