Billboard Charts History
Ever wondered how the Billboard Charts became so popular? Although it’s very different today, Billboard and its various incarnations, have heavily influenced and propelled the music industry forward, for well over a century. Billboard began as a weekly American trade magazine devoted to the music industry. It’s one of the oldest trade magazines in the world, with their first issue published in the year 1894.
Currently, it maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories, on a weekly basis. The two most notable charts are the Billboard Hot 100, and the Billboard 200. The former tracks the sales of individual songs and the latter tracks sales of albums.
Originally titled Billboard Advertising it was a trade paper for the bill posting industry. Within a few years, it began to expand its content and carry news of outdoor entertainment shows, always a popular attraction. Billboard kept expanding and began to report on circuses, carnivals, amusement parks, fairs, vaudeville, and other live entertainment. Billboard was becoming an authority and resource on all genres of entertainment. They continued to branch out and started to include coverage of movies in 1909 and then of radio in the 1920s.
However, it wasn’t until the 1930′s that Billboard began to become the bastion of popular music that it would later be. It was due to the popularity of the jukebox, during this decade, that started Billboard down the road to publishing music charts. A few decades later, during the 1950′s, Billboard began including ratings charts for television programs. This was on top of the already jam packed magazine content it had been carrying since the late 1800′s.
This all changed in 1961 when the sections on amusement parks, carnivals, and circuses etc. were amalgamated to form a new weekly magazine called Amusement Business. Alas, while successful for several decades, the continuation of Amusement Business was not to be. The magazine sputtered for several years and became defunct in 2006. Interestingly, by the time Amusement Business magazine was created in 1961, Billboard formed yet another publication to accommodate the rapidly growing interest in television coverage.
1961 was a banner year for Billboard. With the development of the television and amusement spinoffs, the publication was now devoting itself entirely to the music industry. It was during these decades that Billboard sealed its reputation as THE music chart to watch and be heard on.
Through the first decade of the new millenium though, major acquisitions ensued. Billboard became a major trade magazine publisher, acquiring some of the biggest names in the American music trade publication industry. With their massive expansion, Billboard decided to allow itself to be acquired as well. Currently, Billboard is the property of Prometheus Global Media.
Billboard today, is a periodical magazine intended for music professionals. Designed to provide all the back door detail to artists, executives and roadies it’s still accessible enough to be found at many retail bookstores and magazine stands. If you love music, then Billboard magazine can help to deepen your appreciation and understanding of what makes music great. Get a copy today!