Harlem Shake Becomes First No. 1 For Billboard’s New Hot 100 Era

Becoming a viral sensation is even more essential than before for a new artist. Under Billboard’s new rules for their all-important Hot 100 chart, YouTube streams are now included in the calculation. Previously, only radio airplay, sales, and various forms of streaming through services like Spotify and Rhapsody were used to tabulate what the biggest song was. Had this new formula been around when PSY’s “Gangnam Style” was at its peak, it certainly would’ve hit pole position instead of stalling at No. 2 for weeks.

Taking advantage of the new rules is Baauer. Even though “Harlem Shake” is receiving minimal radio airplay, the single skyrocketed to No. 1 thanks to all those viral videos dominating YouTube and an impressive 262,000 downloads. The meme-of-the-moment knocks off Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” which has occupied the top spot the past five weeks.


New artists aren’t the only ones benefiting from Billboard’s new rules, established acts are as well. Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” jumps from 63 to the Top 10 thanks to a newly-released music video. The rapper’s “Take Care” duet partner, Rihanna, also saw her latest track take a leap due to a highly-viewed clip. “Stay” jumped all the way to No. 3 from No. 57.

Personally, I think these new rules are awesome. It puts the power in people’s hands and really gives a more accurate picture on what the country is listening to currently. Artists will no longer have to suck up to radio stations to have their music played. With this new criteria, record labels and artists will now have to time download releases to music video premieres to fully take advantage. Lyric videos which have become popular lately, will have even more importance now. Expect to be inundated with more unique and visually appealing lyric clips in the future.

What do you think of the new rules? Do you listen to radio anymore? Are you a fan of “Harlem Fever“? Sound off below.

  • justin

    no it actually DOES NOT because the fact is harlem shake isnt really a great song my opinion sure. its a good 30 second loop of beats. those videos are not even by the artist themselves. how does a song with less sales and little radio airplay become number one based on youtube hits. the harlem shake videos are not even official videos of the song. its also frustrating to see billboard make these changes that would have benefited another song in the previous months. this is not a good rule in no way what-so-ever. it just makes billboard look stupid, i understand radio, sales, and streaming but not youtube hits. billboard get your shit together. drake and rihanna also were able to mostly move up the ranking because of there sales. i dont think this new rule helped them out that much.

  • Mark

    I agree with Justin. The new rule should only apply to the OFFICIAL lyric & music videos of said artist.