This Week In Music: Changes Afoot For Billboard Charts And Recording Academy, Taylor Swift Bites At George Soros

Taylor Swift

There are changes coming as the decade winds down and we head into the Roaring 2020s. The Billboard 200 charts, the standard for ranking of what’s doing well in music, will now recognize music videos as a regular part of the experience.

Also on the move is the Recording Academy. A 47-page report issued to a committee led by #MeToo head Tina Tchen is recommending that the voting methodology for the top four categories in the Grammys be changed, and that the organization become more diverse.

Then there’s the weekly Taylor Swift complaint about her back catalog. Surprisingly, she named liberal activist George Soros as one of the guilty parties who had a hand in exploiting the West…er, I mean, her back catalog.

This week in music:

TAYLOR BLAMES SOROS FOR TROUBLES: Taylor Swift spoke out against liberal causes investor George Soros at Thursday’s Billboard Women in Music. She blamed Soros and the financial giants The Carlyle Group and 23 Capital for funding the purchase of Big Machine Records by her arch-enemy, Scooter Braun. Swift called the increasing presence of private equity in the music industry a “potentially harmful force,” saying that the firms are “buying up our music as if it is real estate.” The statements continue her jihad against the label, which owns the masters to her early works.

YOUTUBE ROUNDS UP MOST-WATCHED: The most popular music video of the decade on YouTube was the Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee/Justin Bieber hit Despacito. The video had 6.5 billion views. In 2018, it was the first video in the world to reach 5 billion views.

BILLBOARD CHARTS IN FLUX: The charts are changing. The Billboard 200 will count official online music video plays from YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify and other services starting with the charts for January 18th, 2020 (covering the first full week of January). The move is being made to “more accurately reflect the changing landscape of music listening, said Billboard’s Deanna Brown said. 

ROXETTE SINGER PASSES:  Marie Fredriksson, the singing half of the Swedish power-pop duo Roxette, died this week at age 61 of cancer. The group was huge in the 1980s and 1990s with four songs – It Must Have Been LoveJoyrideThe Look, and Listen to Your Heart – each a No 1 in the US. Fredriksson’s short and spiky blonde hairdo was the group’s trademark, and often caused many to think her name was Roxette.

CHANGES PLANNED AT RECORDING ACADEMY: The Recording Academy is pondering a report that says it should rethink the way Grammy Awards are determined and implement significant structural changes to keep up with the 21st century, according to the final report issued this week by a task force assembled in 2018 to examine issues of gender and racial bias in music. The 47-page report recommended 18 changes ,including to the voting method the academy’s members use to determine the Grammy Awards for the four highest-profile categories — record, album, song and new artist.


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