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Chart Beat Podcast: Are Justin Bieber & Future’s Consecutive No. 1s a Coincidence or Trend?

No acts had ever topped the Hot 100 & Billboard 200 with new No. 1s in back-to-back weeks – until this year. Why have Bieber & Future? Plus, Columbia's Lee Leipsner on Harry Styles, The Chainsmokers…

Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what’s on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.

This week, Gary and Trevor discuss how Justin Bieber has achieved a first on the Billboard Hot 100: new No. 1s in back-to-back weeks, as Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee‘s “Despacito,” featuring Bieber, dethrones last week’s new leader, DJ Khaled‘s “I’m the One,” featuring Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne. The unprecedented set of new No. 1s in consecutive weeks follows a similar recent first on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as Future bowed atop the tally with FUTURE and HNDRXX on March 11 and 18, respectively. Are these pairs of back-to-back No. 1s coincidental or a reflection of changing music distribution patterns, aka, a … sign of the times?

Speaking of sign of the times … Columbia Records executive vp promotion Lee Leipsner stops by to discuss the latest successes of the label’s Harry Styles, The Chainsmokers, James Arthur and more.

“It’s very sophisticated. It’s high-brow, but I think that’s what makes it unique,” Leipsner says of Styles’ ’70s-rock throwback “Sign of the Times,” the lead single from his debut self-titled album, expected to soar in at No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200. “He wrote what was in his heart and what was in his head, and he had a vision. It’s not a dance track, it’s not … 17 songwriters. It’s Harry.”

As for The Chainsmokers and their active streak of 54 straight weeks in the Hot 100’s top 10 (the most ever among non-solo acts), “Alex [Pall] and Drew [Taggart] are a hit machine right now,” Leipsner muses. “They’re writing incredibly great pop songs.”


Wrapping up the podcast, Gary and Trevor note how long before Logicnew atop the Billboard 200 with his album Everybody – was scaling the Hot 100 with “1-800-273-8255,” featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, maybe the most famous musical phone number was dialed into the top five this week in 1982: Tommy Tutone‘s “867-5309/Jenny.” With texting perhaps supplanting actually talking as the communication of choice, could this be the last time a phone number appears in the title of a Hot 100 hit? Gary and Trevor try to make the, um, call.

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