Radio and television personality Bobby Bones -- host of the Premiere/iHeartMedia nationally syndicated radio program The Bobby Bones Show -- took to social media on Sunday to allege that voting for the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards are "manipulated" by labels and that behind-the-scenes dealings at country labels affect which songs reach No. 1 and for how long, claiming that half of chart-topping country hits are illegitimate No. 1 hits. His comments have drawn considerable feedback in the country community and refutation from the awards shows.
In one TikTok post concerning country radio chart-toppers, Bones takes country record labels to task, saying, “Here’s the truth about No. 1 songs: It’s politics. They trade them out like baseball cards. A record label will talk to another record label and go, ‘OK, I’ll give you this No. 1 on this date; you give me that No. 1 on that date.’ Which really, it just should be the song that’s the most wanted, the most listened to, the song that people demand ... and so when you hear someone talk about a No. 1 song, I would say half of them aren’t legitimate No. 1 songs. They have to be good to get to the top 10. There’s a lot of research done into these songs. But when it gets to being a No. 1 song, it’s people going, ‘OK, I’ll give you this; you give me that.’ And it’s everybody trying to create as many No. 1s as possible, because everything’s the same. Everybody gets a participation trophy at No. 1.”
Though Bones did not say which specific songs he felt were undeserved chart-toppers, he did mention Luke Combs and Maren Morris as artists whose songs he felt should have had longer stints at No. 1.