Last week Billboard unveiled a new initiative that incorporates digital downloads and streams into the figures that determine genre-specific charts like “Rap Songs” and “Hot Rock Songs,” which were previously tabulated according to radio play alone. This brings these charts in line with the Hot 100, which has counted Internet activity alongside traditional media for a while now, and with the real world, where radio’s cultural hegemony has been eroded by iTunes and YouTube.
The rejiggered methodology temporarily played havoc on the affected charts, with Internet-popular songs leaping higher to replace tracks that have been boosted more by traditional PR/radio campaigns. Rihanna and Taylor Swift—who both happen to specialize in the kind of personal-uplift anthems that encourage multiple plays in one sitting—were two of the biggest beneficiaries.
And over at Hot Rock Songs, banjo-wielding British quartet Mumford & Sons are absolutely dominating—at the moment the 12 songs that make up the official release of their second album, last month’s Babel (excluding deluxe-edition bonus tracks), take up almost half of the top 25 spots on the chart.