After spending three weeks in second place under Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” Post Malone has finally topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “rockstar.” The hit has clocked almost 50 million views on YouTube and broke the Apple Music record with over 25 million streams.
But the new crowning hasn’t been without controversy. Post Malone and Republic Records have been accused of gaming the system in order to artificially boost their stream count. The label released a looped track of the chorus on YouTube instead of uploading the entire track, forcing listeners to click on a Spotify or Apple Music link in order to hear the actual song. With a classic bait-and-switch, Republic Records and Post Malone have effectively doubled their count.
The chorus loop runs for 3:38, the same length of the actual song, and the track is titled as if it is the song itself. It’s clear that the label is playing off the looped track as the actual song. The comment section has been disabled and the like-dislike ratio is hidden, which is never a good sign.
If trailer views don’t count as box-office sales, then why should teaser tracks count for the Billboard Hot 100?
If Billboard decides to alter the way they count streams for “rockstar,” the track will be stripped of its no. 1-status immediately. But if the chorus-only track continues to contribute to the stream count, then Post Malone will continue feeling like a rockstar.
The hit debuted at number two and remained under Cardi B for three weeks. Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” held the top spot for three weeks, as did the top track before that, Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.” Before the ladies took over, “Despacito” held the title for a record-equalling 16 weeks.
If Billboard doesn’t change the way they count streams then “rockstar” could hold the number one spot for quite a while. But if they decide to disregard the chorus-only track, Post Malone will be out by the end of the week. The end result will likely be somewhere in the middle.
The success of “rockstar” could encourage other labels and musicians to try similar tactics, releasing bait-and-switch tracks in order to bolster stream counts. That would be extremely annoying. Billboard can nip the problem in the bud by refusing to count streams of anything other than the actual track. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
Rivers Cuomo and Post Malone have an unlikely friendship, and the Weezer frontman is open to the idea of collaborating with the 22-year-old rapper. It may seem an unlikely collaboration, but Post Malone is known for experimenting with different genres.
Post Malone’s latest album, Beerbongs & Bentleys, is scheduled to drop next month. But its success may be hindered by Taylor Swift’s upcoming Reputation and Sam Smith’s The Thrill of It All.
Photo credit: The Come Up Show (Flickr) CC License
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