Billboard didn't ditch reggae sales chart
Afrobeats act CKay

Contrary to reports in some sections of the media, Billboard magazine did not scrap its Reggae Digital Song Sales chart for the newly launched Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart.

That's the word from a highly placed source at the US-based trade and music publication, who requested anonymity.

“That is totally incorrect. We did not ditch the Reggae Digital Songs chart and replace with an Afrobeats chart. The Reggae Digital Song Sales chart was discontinued by us years ago. Luminate (formerly MRC Data, the company that tracks sales and streaming numbers in the United States) still does have that report on their Music Connect Platform,” the source told Jamaica Observer.

“The new Afrobeats chart includes streaming and digital tracks sales, so it contains two metrics instead of one that the Reggae Digital Song Sales chart had when we carried it,” the source continued.

The source did not state the reason for the discontinuation of the chart on the magazine's website. However, there has been water-cooler discussion among industry insiders that the low numbers associated with the genre could be a reason.

When Billboard carried the chart on its website, it was only available to paid subscribers. Persons interested in accessing the chart can do so by subscribing to Luminate.

Last week, Billboard announced that the US Afrobeats Songs chart would go live on March 29. It is a partnership with music festival and global brand Afro Nation.

Billboard is excited to collaborate with Afro Nation on the launch of the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart,” said Billboard's SVP of Charts and Development, Silvio Pietroluongo in a release on Billboard.com. “As with much of the world, Afrobeats has grown tremendously as a genre in America and we are proud to showcase the top songs and artists with this new weekly ranking.”

Afrobeats sounds and influences have grown in the US market throughout the 2010s, through artistes such as Beyoncé and Drake, and now, the genre has yielded some of the biggest success stories of the young decade — including songs like Wizkid's Essence featuring Tems, CKay's Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah), and Fireboy DML's Peru.

The first number one on the US Afrobeats Songs chart is Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah) by Nigeria's CKay.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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