Chart Beat Podcast: Ask the Billboard Charts Dept.

Bud Conrad reading Billboard magazine in Charlie Lamb's office in the late 1950s.
Elmer Williams/Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum/Getty Images

Bud Conrad reading Billboard magazine in Charlie Lamb's office in the late 1950s. 

Billboard VP of charts Silvio Pietroluongo (no, not pictured above) stops by to field listener and reader questions and preview future chart developments.

"Going back to even before our first [retail] charts in 1940, we had a lot of vaudeville coverage, and circuses, so it was all live entertainment," says Billboard VP of charts and data development Silvio Pietroluongo. "Now, [live entertainment] is the biggest moneymaker for artists, so it's where we began and where we are now."

In the Chart Beat Podcast's 2016 finale, Pietroluongo joins co-directors of charts Keith Caulfield (also co-host of Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast) and Chart Beat Podcast host Gary Trust to field listener and reader questions and preview what's ahead for Billboard's charts in 2017 and beyond.

While noting that some elements of charts are cyclical – along with the current nature of live entertainment, before memes helped make hits out of "Juju on That Beat" and "Black Beatles," dances similarly helped send songs like "The Twist" up the charts – Pietroluongo muses that relatively recent evolutions in music presentation and consumption have made the current state of charting songs, albums and more incredibly dynamic.

"What makes a hit has changed," Pietroluongo says. "Ultimately, a hit is [still] something that is in the public consciousness. But, thanks to technology and the immediacy of product that's available digitally, we're seeing the total picture of how popular songs and albums are in the many ways that people can listen to them, either on-demand or on radio, which, to me, is still the final stamp of approval of what becomes a long-lasting hit."

"I think we're in the best era we've ever been in [for] accurately measuring music popularity."

A sampling of previous episodes with host Gary Trust:
Folk Duo Goodbye Blue (featuring 3 exclusive performances) / Alex Da Kid / Author Marc Myers / Anthony Head on the Buffy Musical Episode / Suzanne Vega / Bobby Bones (hosted by Jim Asker) / How Daya Broke Through on New Label Artbeatz / The Eagles' Timothy B. Schmit / Joel Whitburn / Debbie Gibson / Hit Songs Deconstructed on The Chainsmokers & Meghan Trainor

Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. (We'll return in January with the next new episode featuring one of radio's biggest syndicated personalities, one who'll receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.)

And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!


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