Here’s Why Some Billboard Charts Blend Genres

Here’s Why Some Billboard Charts Blend Genres

As artists continue to break new ground in exploring multiple genres – often within a single song – the scope of sounds can feel boundless.

Because not every song fits perfectly in one category, Billboard offers some charts that measure a combination of several types of music, to better encompass the wide variety that currently defines hit music.

Here’s a primer on Billboard‘s charts that blend genres, while also spotlighting individual styles – from R&B and hip-hop to rock and alternative, and more.

Meanwhile, you can browse all Billboard charts here.

R&B / Hip-Hop

Billboard publishes the combined Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as well as the distilled Hot R&B Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts. These surveys measure streaming, radio airplay and sales using the same methodology as the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 songs chart.

Billboard also publishes Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums charts.

The combined R&B/hip-hop charts, whose history dates back nine decades, measure the consumption and popularity of those individual genres and celebrate the artists who create music and score success in both.

Both combined and distinct format charts for R&B (both mainstream and adult) and hip-hop measure metrics covering streaming, airplay and sales, as well as the feats of songwriters and producers.

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs originated in 1942 as the New York-focused Harlem Hit Parade and became the genre’s all-encompassing songs chart in October 1958 (concurrent with Hot Country Songs, whose similar earlier incarnations began in 1944, under the name Most Played Juke Box Folk Records). Top R&B Albums started in 1965.

As music takes new turns, Billboard has continuously sought industry feedback regarding chart menus and names. At times in its archives, Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs was known as Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles (1960s), Best Selling Soul Singles (’70s) and Hot Black Singles (’80s), among other iterations.

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums received their most recent name changes in 1999, each adding “Hip-Hop.” According to a story announcing those updates in the Dec. 11, 1999, Billboard issue: “In four of the last five Billboard Year in Music spotlights, hip-hop titles were No. 1 in the Top R&B Albums category. The same label divisions that market and promote R&B fare also handle rap, and a number of leading R&B stations brand themselves as purveyors of both genres.”

Rock / Alternative

Billboard likewise publishes the combined Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, as well as the individualized Hot Rock Songs and Hot Alternative Songs lists, as well as the Hot Hard Rock Songs chart. These surveys measure streaming, airplay and sales using the same methodology as the all-genre Hot 100.

Billboard also publishes Top Rock & Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums, Top Alternative Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums charts.

As with the combined R&B/hip-hop charts, the blended rock and alternative tallies reflect the reach of acts who excel in music that straddles different sides of the ever-evolving rock and alternative genres.

Combined and individual format charts for rock, alternative, adult alternative and hard rock measure metrics spanning streaming, airplay and sales, as well as writers and producers.

Click here for background on the renamed Rock & Alternative charts, as announced in June.


Hot Latin Songs and Top Latin Albums, while billed as singularly “Latin,” highlight titles that fuse any combination of Latin music, from regional Mexican to pop, tropical and rhythm, along with individualized charts for those specific subgenres.

As with R&B and hip-hop, or rock and alternative, the same teams at record labels, streaming services, radio groups and more often work across a combination of these related, but distinct, genres.

The same holds true for Billboard‘s Christian and separate gospel charts, even as their artists cross-pollinate and work in other genres.

Other Combined Genres

Billboard similarly spotlights artists, songs and albums on the combined dance/electronic charts, most prominently on the multimetric Hot Dance/Electronic Songs and Top Dance/Electronic Albums rankings.

Plus, Americana/Folk Albums measures the top titles by acts that may lean more Americana or folk, or blend both. As with changes noted above, the chart, originally named Folk Albums in 2009, changed to its current name in 2016, again based in large part on industry consultation.

Other charts measure traditional and contemporary jazz, and traditional and crossover classical music, both together and in the more specific genres themselves.

Ultimately, Billboard charts are just tools to help fans and industry stakeholders sift through data, and by no means are meant to confine the infinite creativity that the artists on all these charts share. As music evolves, Billboard continuously evaluates and refines its chart offerings to best reflect the ever-changing landscape.

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