You appeared on the New York Times Popcast last week and were part of a really brilliant discussion centered on the new Billboard album ranking. It's a complicated issue, but the basic takeaway is that Billboard is a trade publication and so they're going to focus more on how much revenue a song is generating rather than how much people are listening to it. Is that about right? I've listened to the Popcast five times and I still don't completely understand -- just due to the complexity of the issue.
Yeah, so I'll say that is essentially what I'd argue that change signifies for the chart. Now this isn't a new ideal or motive of the chart, but this shifting in streaming weight is perhaps that most forward facing admission of this particular fact. Earlier this decade the Hot 100 chart was dominated by songs that did great on digital sales, because when it came to the two metrics of radio vs. digital, often it was digital sales that could be more immediate and reflect cultural shifts quicker than radio. The same is holding true to streaming at the moment, where a song can rise on streaming charts well before other metric, which gives reason for why Billboard streaming is weighed fairly heavily. What I argued and hoped made sense was that it feels like streaming was over-indexed in the last year and that resulted in rap all of a sudden taking over the charts, even though rap isn't doing amazing on digital sales, radio, or even in the live space. So, that's why I argued in favor of this change, because the Hot 100 should account for all of these factors and all of these fragmented listener bases and leaning too heavily on streaming can shut out certain genres while allowing others to be over accounted.
What have you worked on in 2017 that you're most proud of?
God, what am I most proud of. I think my favorite piece might be one that I did for this North Carolina publication Scalawag Magazine, which was a profile of this Greensboro, North Carolina radio station 102 Jamz. Part of me shutters reading it even now just cause I've learned so much about radio and the station since that was published that I wish I could already re-write it, but it was a joy to really dive into how radio works and discover that even though Spotify and other streaming services mention numbers that is how the music industry always works.
You post a new selfy in front of a mirror on Instagram most (every?) day(s). How did that get started?
Lol, I'll call spoilers on this cause I keep my Instagram private for the explicit reason to never give an explanation. But since you asked, it's simply a way to keep track of outfits and to refine an aesthetic. Personally I hate the bougie, aspirational vibe of Instagram and I enjoy the selfies because they tell you nothing really about my life and aren't really well shot. I even sometimes put filters on them to make the photo quality worse. This is so pretentious, but I guess I am a writer.