Nicki MInaj Passes Aretha Franklin For Most Hot 100 Hits By a Female Artist; Why the Record is Bull

by VVN Music

It's time to get down and dirty. Time to talk about a hit today vs. a hit in the past. Time to call out Billboard and their ridiculous crowning of Nicki Minaj as the female artist with the most Hot 100 hits.

On Monday, Billboard declared Minaj as the female vocalist with the most Hot 100 hits ever. She placed three new entries on the list as of this week, giving her a total of 76 and breaking a tie she was in with Aretha Franklin who has 73.

The problem is, this is very much pitting artists from two different eras of chart history against each other on very uneven ground.

When Franklin scored most of her hits, they were for official "singles", songs specifically selected from albums to be promoted to radio and for sales to the public. Album cuts, no matter how popular, did not make the Hot 100. That's why Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, the Beatles' Yesterday and Elton John's Pinball Wizard never charted, because they were never issued as singles.

Today, the charts are open to any track that an artist releases. It is not unusual for an artist like Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift or Drake to place five, ten or more songs onto the Hot 100 in any one week as their popularity drives the downloading of individual tracks. It is specifically for this reason that the cast of Glee are the current champions with the most Hot 100 entries overall with 207.  The day after an episode aired, the songs would be made available on the digital download sites. Fans would flock to buy those tracks, sending them into the Hot 100 for one or two weeks and, except for a few breakouts, rarely in the upper sections of the charts.

Second, the concept of "Featured Artists" is relatively new. That's not to say that Franklin didn't occasionally get a boost from a second singer on a record as a true duet (George Benson, George Michael, Eurythmics) but the vast majority of her hits were solo efforts.

On the other hand, Minaj was the main artist on only 32 of her 76 Hot 100 entries. The other 44 were by other singers with Minaj in a "featured" role.

Head-to-head, as the main artist on a charting record, Franklin has more than double the number of true hits as Minaj.

Finally, there is straight out chart success. Aretha Franklin placed 17 records in the Hot 100 top ten over the length of her career. Nicki Minaj, as the main artist, has had four. She has also had ten more as a "featured artist".  Even adding in her "part time" hits doesn't bring her to Franklin's success.

It really is time for Billboard to start using the asterisk system, detailing when a record is enhanced by an era where chart and recording standards are vastly different from the time when veteran artists were recording.


1 comment

Ardy said...

When the song-performance royalty structure pertaining to online and satradio is able to pay every artist, living and dead, the money due to them, THEN we'll consider giving "featured artists" credit for appearance! Till then, sorry Minaj!

Ardy

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