Here’s why some Billboard charts mix genres

As artists continue to blaze the trail to explore multiple genres—often within a single song—the scope of sound can feel limitless.

Because not all songs fit perfectly into one category, Billboard offers some charts that measure a combination of several types of music to better encompass the broad range that currently defines hit music.

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

In the meantime, you can browse all Billboard diagrams here.

R&B / Hip-Hop

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

Billboard publisher too Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Top R&B albums and Top rap album diagrams.

Dating back nine decades, the combined R&B/Hip-Hop charts measure the consumption and popularity of these individual genres and celebrate the artists who create music and score success in both.

Both combined and separate format charts for R&B (both mainstream and adult) and hip-hop measure metrics covering streaming, airplay, and sales, as well as songwriter and producer accomplishments.

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs originated in 1942 as the New York-focused Harlem Hit Parade and became the genre’s all-encompassing song 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 the music takes new turns, Billboard has continuously sought industry feedback regarding chart menus and names. Sometimes Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs were known as Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles (1960s), Top 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 these updates in December. 11, 1999, Billboard number: “In four of the last five Billboard Years in the music spotlight, hip-hop titles were No. 1 in the Top R&B Albums category. The same label departments 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 also publishes the combined Hot rock and alternative songs chart, as well as the individualized Hot rock songs and Hot alternative songs lists, as well Hot Hard Rock songs diagram. These surveys measure streaming, airplay and sales using the same methodology as the Hot 100 across all genres.

Billboard publisher too Top rock and alternative albums, Top rock albums, Top Alternative Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums diagrams.

As with the combined R&B/hip-hop charts, the mixed rock and alternative results reflect the range of acts that excel in music that spans 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 Albumswhile billed as uniquely “Latin”, highlight titles that fuse any combination of Latin music, from regional Mexican to pop, tropical and rhythmic, along with individualized charts for the specific sub-genres.

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

The same applies to Billboard‘s Christian and separate gospel charts, although their artists cross-pollinate and work in other genres.

Other combined genres

Billboard similarly highlights artists, songs and albums on the combined dance/electronic charts, most prominently on the multimetric Hot dance/electronic songs and Top dance/electronic albums placements.

Plus, Americana/Folk album measures the top titles by acts that may lean more toward Americana or folk, or mix both. As with changes noted above, the chart, originally named Folk Albums in 2009, changed to its current name in 2016, again largely based 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 merely tools to help fans and industry stakeholders sift through data and are in no way intended to limit the endless creativity shared by the artists on all these charts. As the music evolves, Billboard continually evaluates and refines its chart offerings to best reflect the ever-changing landscape.

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