Billboard Hot 100

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Logo of the hit parade

The Billboard Hot 100 is a hit parade from the US American Billboard magazine that is currently published every Tuesday. They are the most important single charts in the USA.

Determination of the charts


The hit parade is based on sales, airplay and streaming for the respective week of coverage. The analysis of sales and streaming views starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. Airplay is measured from Monday to Sunday.


  • Friday, January 1st - Sales week begins, streaming recording begins
  • Monday, January 4th - “Airplay Week” begins
  • Thursday, January 7th - Sales week ends, streaming recording ends
  • Sunday, January 10th - "Airplay Week" ends
  • Tuesday, January 12th - the Hot 100 will be officially published, the first chart information will be available the day before
  • Sunday, January 17th to Saturday, January 23rd - Charts validity period, with January 23rd being the official chart date


  • Hot 100 Airplay - approx. 1000 radio stations in the USA
  • Hot 100 Singles Sales - the best-selling singles of the week (CD)
  • Hot Digital Songs - Top Selling Songs of the Week for Download (digital file)
  • Streaming songs - music and video streams on on-demand radios and video platforms such as Spotify and YouTube

1940s and 1950s

In the 1940s and 1950s, today's Hot 100 did not yet exist, so songs entered three different hit parades back then:

  • Best Sellers in Stores - the songs that have sold the most in stores (20 to 50 positions)
  • Most Played by Jockeys - the songs that were most played on the radio (20 to 25 positions)
  • Most Played in Juke Boxes - the songs that were most selected in the jukeboxes (20 positions). Since many radio stations didn't play rock 'n' roll at the time, this was the first port of call for young people who wanted to listen to music.
  • On August 4, 1958, Billboard first published a chart that united all genres, the Hot 100 .
  • From October 13, 1958, stores also oriented themselves to the Hot 100 and sorted the records according to their position in the charts.

More about the investigation

A special feature of the US charts is that songs are listed there and not sound carriers. It is possible that for a single with two equal songs (double A-side), both titles can appear in the hit list at the same time. Both receive the same sales figures, plus the respective radio deployments. In 1969, for example, the Beatles took first and third place with their double single Come Together / Something .

Radio / sound scan

To be precise, Billboard has signed contracts with radios and shops / online providers, which enables Billboard to include exact numbers of sales and the number of songs played by a radio station in the charts.

With the issue of March 24, 2012, on-demand songs were also recorded, i.e. the songs accessed on the Internet on audio-on-demand platforms such as Spotify and Rdio . The streaming songs charts have been part of the Hot 100 since March 2, 2013, and they also take into account the number of views of the video platform YouTube .

Publication period

Until the end of the 1980s, the music industry's publication cycle followed a weekly rhythm and new releases were available in stores from Monday. As the chart determination became more and more precise, it became noticeable that the delivery dragged on well into Monday because of the free Sunday. In order to have a uniform sales start throughout the country, the US labels agreed on Tuesday as the common release day from April 1989. In most other countries, Monday was the first day for new singles and albums. In the 2010s, some countries started to publish on Friday as the weekend days are the best-selling days and they wanted to concentrate the new publications there. Due to the increasing internationality of the market due to the Internet, a mess of competing dates arose, which is why the International Association of the Record Industry ( IFPI ) agreed to set a uniform worldwide publication date. With the New Music Fridays campaign , July 10, 2015 was designated the first “global release day”.

Until 2015, the chart determination for sales (and later for streaming) still followed the weekly rhythm, that is, sales from Monday to Sunday were evaluated. However, the airplay data was recorded offset by two days, i.e. from Wednesday to Tuesday. With the changeover of the publication day to Friday, the sales calculation was also adjusted to Friday to Thursday. The airplay evaluation was postponed to Monday through Sunday. By July 2015, the chart positions were completed by Thursday, the postponement of the dates meant that the chart publication could be brought forward to Tuesday.

The chart date has been continuously updated over the years. After the acquisition week, it took some time for the charts to be completed. With the publication of the charts the chart week began and the last day of this week determined the official date of the charts (“the charts for the week ending…”). Due to the faster chart determination, the gap between the announcement and the validity date increased. Due to the postponement of the release cycle, there are now 22 days between the release date of a song and the validity date of the charts in which it can be listed for the first time.

Bubbling under charts

Since 1959, a list of the songs that follow the First 100 has been published separately, but only those that had not previously been in the Hot 100. So they're not a continuation of the official charts, but a perspective list of songs that could make the Hot 100 in the future. In the first few decades the size of the list fluctuated and it was temporarily suspended. From the 1990s the Bubbling Under Hot 100 singles have established themselves with 25 seats.

History of the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100

The first number-one song was 1958 Poor Little Fool by Ricky Nelson . For a listing, see the list of number one hits in the US .

The Beatles (20) have the most number one hits , followed by Mariah Carey (19), Elvis Presley (17), Rihanna (14), Michael Jackson (13) and Madonna or the Supremes (12 each). Elvis Presley is listed on the Hot 100 with only seven titles, as most of his hits were released before August 1958.

The title Rock Me Amadeus by the Austrian musician Falco was the only German-language song to top the US Billboard charts.

Problems with boycotts of musicians by radio stations

With the breakdown of singles sales and the increasing weighting of radio broadcasts, the overall charts have become more and more dependent on the politics of the radio stations in recent years. This concerned not only musical decisions, but actually political ones, as in the case of Madonna and the Dixie Chicks , who, due to negative statements against George W. Bush in connection with the Iraq war, got a radio boycott from many stations and therefore hardly had a chance. to place in the top 40. The increasing trend towards music downloads has put this effect into perspective again.

See also


  1. Hot 100 Impacted by New On-Demand Songs Chart , Billboard, March 14, 2012
  2. Hot 100 News: Billboard and Nielsen Add YouTube Video Streaming to Platforms , Billboard, February 20, 2013
  3. Why Are Albums Released on Tuesday (For Now) in the US? , Keith Caulfield, Billboard, Feb. 27, 2015
  4. Five Burning Questions: Billboard Staffers Discuss Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' Finally Hitting No. 1 , Billboard, December 17, 2019
  5. Most Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits by artist . In: Billboard . ( [accessed December 22, 2017]).

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