Country music’s history is littered with legendary artists, songs and albums that have reached the top of the charts, showing just how broad its reach can be. They serve as evidence of its diversity.
Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart has become the standard measure for monitoring country music popularity in America. Here we examine some of the chart’s notable milestones over its long and storied history.
Country music charts are of immense value to both artists and fans, not only financially but for how they influence awards shows and other events. Every song and album released into country music over time makes an appearance on these charts, often changing its landscape in ways never imagined by earlier artists like Ray Price or Willie Nelson; more modern artists such as Eric Church or Sam Hunt combine rock and R&B sounds with traditional country to form hybrid sounds which resonate strongly.
No matter the changes within country music, successful country releases have always managed to secure top spots on the charts. Many records have even experienced rapid sales since country first entered popular music’s charts back in its early years.
Garth Brooks’ No Fences album stands as an exceptional example. Selling 18 million copies worldwide and yielding four top 40 hits as well as earning six Academy of Country Music Awards including album of the year, No Fences became an instant classic.
No Fences was one of the most impactful country records ever produced. The title track topped Billboard Hot 100 charts while other tracks from No Fences included “Friends in Low Places,” “Ain’t Goin’ Down,” and “Unanswered Prayers.”
Shania Twain had a significant influence on country music industry during the 90s, reaching sales figures more comparable to Beatlemania than any other artist during her earliest incarnation that sold over 7 million copies (an incredible accomplishment in an age before CDs became widely popular).
Randy Travis’ Always & Forever became one of the greatest albums of its era in the ’80s. An album which brought together all his best songs and performances at that point in time.
This two-disc collection ranks among the greatest mid-decade greatest hits collections ever released in country music, and ranks among its five times platinum sales records. It includes many memorable hits like “Old Alabama” and “The Heart Is Made To Break,” making this release one of the must-own releases in its genre. Many best-of lists have included this great compilation as an essential listening experience.
Top singles on country music charts come from multiple sources, such as radio stations, streaming services, sales or downloads. iTunes and Apple Music Songs Chart lists popular country radio songs being played currently while Country Song Downloads Chart presents free downloadables available through various services.
The Hot Country Songs chart is compiled each week from songs submitted by country radio stations, streaming digital services and digital downloads to Billboard for publication. Radio professionals often refer to this chart when selecting new singles of note from country music for playback on radio or digital streaming services.
There are countless types of songs that make their way onto country music charts, but certain standouts stand out more. These songs have generated significant media coverage and had a profound effect on country music industry as a whole.
First up are songs that have made it to number one on country music charts, including some that have spent multiple weeks at the top, or have stayed there over an extended period.
On the charts, there have been some noteworthy hits that also made it into the top 10, such as Sam Hunt’s “Drink You Away”, Ingrid Andress’ “Wishful Drinking”, and Jason Aldean’s “Trouble With A Heartbreak”.
Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter also enjoyed chart success with their duet “Thinking ‘Bout You,” one of the year’s top country songs that proved immensely popular on radio stations and one of the year’s most downloaded tracks.
Morgan Wallen’s hit “Last Night” was both the highest selling and streamed country song of April, as well as Lainey Wilson’s ballad “Heart Like a Truck”, which held at the top of the charts for two consecutive weeks.
These songs are still making waves on country radio and have the opportunity to reach new listeners, which is indicative of today’s changing times; genre-blending has become more widespread within country music – which can only benefit fans looking to expand their music library.
Airplay is the cornerstone of success for any artist, and this holds true in country music as well. The top songs on country charts represent both established classics as well as newcomers that have caught radio programmers’ ears.
Popular singles tend to remain at or near the top 30 for several weeks or months, based on reports from reporting stations, indicator research, and fan votes.
One effective measure to rank songs is its number of radio plays, so to be eligible for this ranking they must have been played on at least one station over the past three months and receive at least 25,000 plays every week.
Other considerations come into play as well, including audience size and frequency of playback on specific stations. A song could receive millions of plays yet still only rank in the top ten at certain stations.
Success can also be measured in terms of downloads received by radio stations; this data can be seen on the “Top 50 Singles” chart which displays the most downloaded songs by radio during various periods (today, this week, month or all time).
“Wasted on You” by Morgan Wallen and “Hey Sailor” by Jason Aldean are among the many singles making an impression this year, featuring prominently among them is Morgan Wallen’s most recently debuted single to date on Billboard Country Airplay charts, while Aldean reached new heights with their inaugural entry “Hey Sailor”.
Wallen faces the difficult challenge of breaking his next single into radio airplay charts, but his Sneedville hometown may just have found their winning formula with “Thought You Should Know”, off his forthcoming third album One Thing at a Time.
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Country songs that reach the top of the charts depend on their level of airplay, which measures how frequently radio stations air them. Airplay is one of three criteria used by Billboard Hot 100 and Mediabase country music charts to rank songs; sales (physical and digital), streaming activity, and sales are the others.
Country music charts are used to identify the top-selling and most-played tracks within the genre, compiled by Billboard magazine and released each week.
These charts can be found in most countries with a robust music industry and provide a way to gauge the popularity of songs within your region. Unfortunately, they can be confusing for new listeners as they frequently change based on various factors that determine rankings.
Charts are essential in helping artists and songwriters gain exposure in the music industry and find new fans. Furthermore, charts provide a quick guide for people searching for music to listen to.
Traditionally, music charts were driven by physical sales and radio airplay; but today their success is often determined by streaming services like Spotify or YouTube views alone. Artists may see their singles quickly ascend the charts due to this factor alone.
So it is not surprising for artists and fan clubs to join forces and make requests of radio stations, which may sometimes work, but often are done with bad intentions and could actually damage an artist.
Country music charts require that artists can reach their intended target audience with their songs; this can be accomplished through various means such as touring and live performance.
As part of their strategy to reach more people with their songs, artists need to get them on the radio by performing at shows or signing with labels.