Starting this week, Billboard will factor YouTube views into its already elaborate formula for determining the most popular songs in the country and it has already yielded some pretty interesting results. For example, according to the site, the two most popular songs on the Hot 100, "Harlem Shake" by Baaur and "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore are viral hits that have now translated into chart success. It's hard to say exactly how much the views account for chart position, considering sales, Spotify streams, and digital downloads are all factored in. However, the move does seem to solidify the notion that new media forms, which exist outside the presence of a physical copy, are rapidly becoming an essential barometer for popularity and success even though the data can be hard to track. So yes, there are some obvious implications of this change beyond data measurement. The flood gates are effectively open. Any oddball project, or aged-song-turned-viral hit a la Rick Astley can now find itself occupying the definitive list of popular music. Keeping all of this in mind, we decided to compile a list of the top 5 candidates for chart supremacy on YouTube right now.
(5) "Dancing On The Ceiling" by Lionel Ritchie
Since the 80s are making a big comeback, it's not outside the realm of possibility that Lionel's classic party anthem will have a huge resurgence at molly-fueled basement raves this year.
(4) "Domo 23" by Tyler The Creator
Okay, so the Odd Future online viral blitz has cooled off a bit, and they don't really make the waves that they used to, but Tyler's penchant for crafting zonky visuals for his songs may find relevancy once again. I guess Wolf Haley is getting jealous of all the shine his boy Frankie Ocean has been getting lately. How's progress on that Grammy goal going Ty?
(3) "The Reason" by Hoobastank
This song was EVERYWHERE when it came out, and if it was released today, it would most certainly be a viral sensation. Fortunately, everybody got so tired of this song that it would take a miracle and a half to bring it on to the charts once more. That is unless there is a sudden nostalgia for extremely played out songs of the early 2000s.
(2) "My Jeans" by Jenna Rose ft. Baby Triggy
The lamer conjoined twin to Rebecca Black's "Friday," became part of an internet wave consisting of "professionally made" video singles produced for children who wanted to become pretend pop stars on YouTube. I only include this as an example because it received a ton of views and might have gone on the Hot 100 if the current algorithm was in place. Is this the kind of music you want on the top 100? Is it?!
(1) "Crank That (Soulja Boy) by Soulja Boy
"Crank That" is probably the OG viral hit that started it all. In an era where ringtone sales could rake in millions, it was a pretty revolutionary concept. This song did actually chart at number one without the help of YouTube, and there is little doubt that it would have done the same now. Even though the clip has over 100 million views, Soulja's career quickly died out. He is still trying to revive it to this day. If lighting strikes twice, he could end up back on the chart. We all know how unlikely that is though.
In all seriousness, this change that Billboard is making, should ultimately be a good thing for bands without labels to support single and album releases. The potential to go number one is much more attainable. We're glad that the charts are adapting to the changing times, and you should be as well, even if that means that "Harlem Shake" will stay on the boards for at least another week. It's both a blessing and a curse.