Beyoncé And The Struggle To Change The Music Charts

This Summer Solstice and Father’s Day weekend, the music charts remained remarkably unchanged compared to last week, or even the week before. In fact, according to Music Maven’s proprietary technology, which provides the most current and accurate data on the performance of all artists and songs in daily music charts, the charts changed even less this weekend than last. The only exception was Beyoncé’s release of her single “BLACK PARADE” on Juneteenth.

As reported by Music Maven over the last weeks, in response to the protests since the police killing of George Floyd in late May, labels like Sony and Warner have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in support of “social justice and campaigns against violence and racism.” They have done so following pledges by their artists, and similar to many corporations in other industries. At the same time, many artists and labels have explicitly withheld albums in response the protests. Others have simply refused to release new albums.

Since no major artist has released any major album that has substantially changed the charts over the last three weeks, the top five Most Streamed Artists this weekend — Lil Baby, DaBaby, the late Juice WRLD, Post Malone, and Travis Scott — are the same and in the same order as last weekend. The exception was Drake at fifth last weekend in Travis’s current position. The top five last weekend were the same as those the previous weekend, though in a slightly different order. The number of streams per artist in the top five has declined each weekend though, from 6-9M to 3.3-6.9M to 2.5-5.8M over the last three benchmark weekends. Compare that to earlier highs in recent times, like The Weeknd, whose After Hours debuted on March 20 with 34M streams, and Drake, whose Dark Lane Demo Tapes won him 35.5M streams on May Day.

The decline in supply in the form of new music is apparently driving down demand in the form of listenership at the top. As the music industry copes with the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and responds the struggles over race and justice, individual artists have sought to change the music charts on their own.

Last weekend, Lil Baby succeeded at this challenge when he released “The Bigger Picture,” a major song that speaks to the current moment and movement. Lil Baby was already in the top five, but the song raised him even higher, to the very top. With Lil Baby still number one as Music Maven’s Most Streamed Artist, and the other most streamed artists practically the same as before, the song charts also remain the same. The top five The Most Streamed Songs are now: DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, at 2.2M streams, followed by Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture,” with 1.57M, StaySolidRocky’s “Party Girl” at 1.5, SAINt JHN’s “Roses — Imanbek Remix,” at 1.39M, and Lil Mosey’s “Blueberry Faygo,” at 1.35M streams.

The only new song that has make any difference to the top fifty Most Streamed Songs chart this weekend is Beyoncé’s “BLACK PARADE,” which she released on Friday in commemoration of Juneteenth. Juneteenth celebrates the final abolition of slavery in the United States, after the end of the Civil War. Juneteenth derives from the order to emancipate the remaining slaves in Beyoncé’s home state, Texas. The order was released from Galveston Island, near Beyoncé’s home town, Houston. According to her website, “‘Black Parade’ benefits BeyGOOD’s Black Business Impact Fund, administered by the National Urban League, to support Black-owned small businesses in need.”

The audio and cover-art only version of “BLACK PARADE” is now the sixth highest trending video on YouTube with 1.8M views, even without a filmed music video. However, it only debuted as the thirtieth most streamed song with 776K streams, and raised Beyoncé just into the top fifty most streamed artists. The song has much potential, but so far has not competed with another song she is featured on, Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix,” at number eleven on the stream charts with 1.1M streams. Megan, also from Houston, is now the ninth Most Streamed Artist with 2M streams. Beyoncé’s release of “BLACK PARADE” on Juneteenth was a surprise. If the star of HΘMΣCΘMING from last year releases a full-length studio album this year, as a surprise or otherwise, she will likely reclaim her queen’s throne at the top of the charts.

By Vince, June 22, 2020