Billboard (magazine)

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Billboard (magazine)
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{{short description|American music magazine}}{{good article}}{{italic title}}{{Use mdy dates|date=February 2018}}

| publisher = Lynne Segall| italic title = no| editor = Hannah Karp| editor_title = | previous_editor = Tony Gervino, Bill Werde, Tamara Conniff| language = EnglishBillboard Advertising)| frequency = WeeklyEntertainment industry>EntertainmentWORK=BILLBOARD, June 15, 2016, | company = Billboard-Hollywood Media Group(Valence Media, a unit of Eldridge Industries)| firstdate = | country = United States| based = New York City| issn = 0006-2510}}Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.Billboard was founded in 1894 by William Donaldson and James Hennegan as a trade publication for bill posters. Donaldson later acquired Hennegen's interest in 1900 for $500. In the early years of the 20th century, it covered the entertainment industry, such as circuses, fairs, and burlesque shows, and also created a mail service for travelling entertainers. Billboard began focusing more on the music industry as the jukebox, phonograph, and radio became commonplace. Many topics it covered were spun-off into different magazines, including Amusement Business in 1961 to cover outdoor entertainment, so that it could focus on music. After Donaldson died in 1925, Billboard was passed down to his children and Hennegan's children, until it was sold to private investors in 1985, and has since been owned by various parties.


Early history

(File:Billboard, November 1, 1894 first issue.png|thumb|left|upright|First issue of Billboard (1894))The first issue of Billboard was published in Cincinnati, Ohio by William Donaldson and James Hennegan on November 1, 1894.BOOK, Broven, J., Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock 'n' Roll Pioneers, University of Illinois Press, Music in American life, 2009, 978-0-252-03290-5,weblink November 5, 2015, 187, Initially, it covered the advertising and bill posting industry, and was known as Billboard Advertising.BOOK, Gussow., Don, The New Business of Journalism: An Insider's Look at the Workings of America's Business Press, 1984, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 978-0-15-165202-0, 32–33, registration,weblink {{efn|Some sources say it was called The Billboard Advertiser}} At the time, billboards, posters, and paper advertisements placed in public spaces were the primary means of advertising. Donaldson handled editorial and advertising, while Hennegan, who owned Hennegan Printing Co., managed magazine production. The first issues were just eight pages long.NEWS, Hall of fame. (history's top personalities in the live entertainment and amusement industry) (One hundredth-anniversary collector's edition), Amusement Business, November 1, 1994,weblinkweblink dead, December 24, 2015, November 7, 2015, The paper had columns like "The Bill Room Gossip" and "The Indefatigable and Tireless Industry of the Bill Poster". A department for agricultural fairs was established in 1896. The title was changed to The Billboard in 1897.BOOK, Nielsen Business Media, Inc., 98, International Directory of Company Histories, Ed, Dinger, 260–265, After a brief departure over editorial differences, Donaldson purchased Hennegan's interest in the business in 1900 for $500 (equal to ${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|500|1900|r=-2}}}} today) to save it from bankruptcy. That May, Donaldson changed it from a monthly to a weekly paper with a greater emphasis on breaking news. He improved editorial quality and opened new offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London, and Paris, and also re-focused the magazine on outdoor entertainment such as fairs, carnivals, circuses, vaudeville, and burlesque shows. A section devoted to circuses was introduced in 1900, followed by more prominent coverage of outdoor events in 1901. Billboard also covered topics including regulation, a lack of professionalism, economics, and new shows. It had a "stage gossip" column covering the private lives of entertainers, a "tent show" section covering traveling shows, and a sub-section called "Freaks to order". According to The Seattle Times, Donaldson also published news articles "attacking censorship, praising productions exhibiting 'good taste' and fighting yellow journalism".As railroads became more developed, Billboard set up a mail forwarding system for traveling entertainers. The location of an entertainer was tracked in the paper's Routes Ahead column, then Billboard would receive mail on the star's behalf and publish a notice in its "Letter-Box" column that it has mail for them. This service was first introduced in 1904, and became one of Billboard{{'}}s largest sources of profit and celebrity connections. By 1914, there were 42,000 people using the service. It was also used as the official address of traveling entertainers for draft letters during World War I.NEWS, Newsweek, April 4, 1949, New Boss for Billboard, 57–58, In the 1960s, when it was discontinued, Billboard was still processing 1,500 letters per week.In 1920, Donaldson made a controversial move by hiring African-American journalist James Albert Jackson to write a weekly column devoted to African-American performers. According to The Business of Culture: Strategic Perspectives on Entertainment and Media, the column identified discrimination against black performers and helped validate their careers. Jackson was the first black critic at a national magazine with a predominantly white audience. According to his grandson, Donaldson also established a policy against identifying performers by their race. Donaldson died in 1925.

Focus on music

Billboard{{'}}s editorial changed focus as technology in recording and playback developed, covering "marvels of modern technology" such as the phonograph, record players, and wireless radios. It began covering coin-operated entertainment machines in 1899, and created a dedicated section for them called "Amusement Machines" in March 1932. Billboard began covering the motion picture industry in 1907, but ended up focusing on music due to competition from Variety.BOOK, Bloom, K., Broadway: An Encyclopedia, Taylor & Francis, 2013, 978-1-135-95020-0,weblink November 6, 2015, 83, It created a radio broadcasting station in the 1920s.The jukebox industry continued to grow through the Great Depression, and was advertised heavily in Billboard,{{rp|262}} which led to even more editorial focus on music. The proliferation of the phonograph and radio also contributed to its growing music emphasis. Billboard published the first music hit parade on January 4, 1936,NEWS,weblink Sixty years of hits, from Sinatra to ... Sinatra, Jonathan, Sale, January 4, 1996, The Independent, January 3, 2017, and introduced a "Record Buying Guide" in January 1939. In 1940, it introduced "Chart Line", which tracked the best-selling records, and was followed by a chart for jukebox records in 1944 called Music Box Machine charts. By the 1940s, Billboard was more of a music industry specialist publication. The number of charts it published grew after World War II, due to a growing variety of music interests and genres. It had eight charts by 1987, covering different genres and formats, and 28 charts by 1994.By 1943, Billboard had about 100 employees.BOOK, Writers' Program of the Works Projects Administration in the State of Ohio, Cincinnati, a Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors, Best Books, 1943, 978-1-62376-051-9,weblink November 7, 2015, 184, The magazine's offices moved to Brighton, Ohio in 1946, then to New York City in 1948. A five-column tabloid format was adopted in November 1950 and coated paper was first used in Billboard{{'}}s print issues in January 1963, allowing for photojournalism. Billboard Publications Inc. acquired a monthly trade magazine for candy and cigarette machine vendors called Vend, and, in the 1950s, acquired an advertising trade publication called Tide. By 1969, Billboard Publications Inc. owned eleven trade and consumer publications, a publisher called Watson-Guptill Publications, a set of self-study cassette tapes, and four television franchises. It also acquired Photo Weekly that year.Over time, subjects that Billboard still covered outside of music were spun-off into separate publications: Funspot magazine was created in 1957 to cover amusement parks, and Amusement Business was created in 1961 to cover outdoor entertainment. In January 1961, Billboard was renamed as Billboard Music Week to emphasize its new exclusive interest in music. Two years later, it was renamed to just Billboard. According to The New Business Journalism, by 1984, Billboard Publications was a "prosperous" conglomerate of trade magazines, and Billboard had become the "undisputed leader" in music industry news. In the early 1990s, Billboard introduced Billboard Airplay Monitors, a publication for disc jockeys and music programmers. By the end of the 1990s, Billboard dubbed itself the "bible" of the recording industry.BOOK, Historical Dictionary of American Radio, Donald G., Godfrey, Frederic A., Leigh, 1998, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 978-0-313-29636-9, 45,

Changes in ownership

Billboard struggled after its founder William Donaldson died in 1925, and, within three years, was once again heading towards bankruptcy. Donaldson's son-in-law Roger Littleford took over in 1928 and "nursed the publication back to health". His sons Bill and Roger became co-publishers in 1946 and inherited the publication in the late 1970s after Roger Littleford's death. They sold it to private investors in 1985 for an estimated $40 million. The investors cut costs and acquired a trade publication for the Broadway theatre industry called Backstage.In 1987, Billboard was sold again to Affiliated Publications for $100 million.BOOK, Jackson, K.T., Keller, L., Flood, N., The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition, Yale University Press, 2010, 978-0-300-18257-6,weblink November 5, 2015, 638, Billboard Publications Inc. became a subsidiary of Affiliated Publications called BPI Communications. As BPI Communications, it acquired The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Marketing Week, and Mediaweek, and also purchased Broadcast Data Systems, a high-tech firm for tracking music airtime. Private investors from Boston Ventures and BPI executives re-purchased a two-thirds interest in Billboard Publications for $100 million, and more acquisitions followed. In 1993, it created a division known as Billboard Music Group for music-related publications.In 1994, Billboard Publications was sold to Dutch media conglomerate Verenigde Nederlandse Uitgeverijen for $220 million.WEB, Dutch Buyer Acquires BPI, The New York Times, January 15, 1994,weblink October 10, 2015, {{efn|19 publications according to the Chicago TribuneNEWS, Dutch Firm To Purchase Billboard, Film Magazine, Chicago Tribune, January 17, 1994,weblink October 10, 2015, }} VNU acquired the Clio Awards in advertising and the National Research Group in 1997, as well as Editor & Publisher in 1999. In July 2000, it paid $650 million for the publisher Miller Freeman. BPI was combined with other entities in VNU in 2000 to form Bill Communications Inc. By the time CEO Gerald Hobbs retired in 2003, VNU had grown substantially larger, but had a large amount of debt from the acquisitions. An attempted $7 billion acquisition of IMS Health in 2005 prompted protests from shareholders that halted the deal; it eventually agreed to an $11 billion takeover bid from investors in 2006.VNU then changed its name to Nielsen in 2007, the namesake of a company it acquired for $2.5 billion in 1999.NEWS, VNU to Buy Nielsen Media In Deal Valued at $2.5 Billion, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 1999,weblink October 10, 2015, WEB, Deliso, Meredith, VNU Changes Name to the Nielsen Co., Advertising Age, January 18, 2007,weblink October 10, 2015, New CEO Robert Krakoff divested some of the previously owned publications, restructured the organization, and planned some acquisitions before dying suddenly in 2007; he was subsequently replaced by Greg Farrar.Nielsen owned Billboard until 2009, when it was one of eight publications sold to e5 Global Media Holdings. e5 was formed by investment firms Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners for the purpose of the acquisition.WEB, Ives, Nat, Adweek Group Among Titles Sold to e5 Global Media Holdings, Advertising Age, December 10, 2009,weblink October 11, 2015, WEB, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard sold, Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2009,weblink October 12, 2015, The following year, the new parent company was renamed as Prometheus Global Media.WEB, What's in a Name?, Folio, October 15, 2010,weblink October 11, 2015, Three years later, Guggenheim Partners acquired Pluribus' share of Prometheus and became the sole owner of Billboard.NEWS,weblink Former Yahoo chief moves to Guggenheim, Steel, Emily, Financial Times, January 15, 2013, WEB, Numbers, the, Yahoo Exec Tapped To Head Prometheus Global Media, Folio, January 15, 2013,weblink January 11, 2016, In December 2015, Guggenheim Digital Media spun out several media brands, including Billboard, to its own executive Todd Boehly.WEB, Guggenheim Prepares To Sell Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions To Exec,weblink, December 18, 2015, December 17, 2015, WEB, Guggenheim Media Spins Off Money-Losing Hollywood Reporter, Billboard to Company President Todd Boehly (Exclusive),weblink The Wrap, December 18, 2015, December 17, 2015, The assets operate under the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, a unit of the holding company Eldridge Industries.WEB, Dodgers' Boehly Leads $100 Million DraftKings Investment,weblink Bloomberg, March 10, 2017,


Timothy White was appointed editor-in-chief in 1991, a position he held until his unexpected death in 2002. White wrote a weekly column promoting music with "artistic merit", while criticizing music with violent or misogynistic themes,NEWS, Timothy White, 50; Editor Revolutionized Billboard Magazine, Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2002,weblink November 5, 2015, and also reworked the publication's music charts. Rather than relying on data from music retailers, new charts used data from store checkout scanners obtained from Nielsen SoundScan. White also wrote in-depth profiles on musicians,WEB, Pareles, Jon, Timothy White, 50, Billboard Editor in Chief, The New York Times, July 1, 2002,weblink November 5, 2015, but was replaced by Keith Girard, who was subsequently fired in May 2004. He and a female employee filed a $29 million lawsuit alleging that Billboard fired them unfairly with an intent to damage their reputations.NEWS, Jurkowitz, Mark, Lawsuit is latest in list of tough hits for Billboard, Boston Globe, August 12, 2004,weblink November 5, 2015, The lawsuit claimed that they experienced sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and a financially motivated lack of editorial integrity. Email evidence suggested that human resources were given special instructions to watch minority employees.WEB, Grinberg, Emanuella, New motion details racial profiling claims against Billboard magazine, CNN, April 6, 2005,weblink November 5, 2015, The case was settled out-of-court in 2006 for a non-disclosed sum.WEB, Tsioulcas, Anastasia, Why Is 'Billboard' Asking Industry Execs If They Believe Kesha?, NPR, August 23, 2015,weblink November 7, 2015, In the 2000s, economic decline in the music industry dramatically reduced readership and advertising from Billboard{{'}}s traditional audience.WEB, Sisario, Ben, Leadership Change May Signal New Start for Billboard Magazine, The New York Times, January 8, 2014,weblink November 6, 2015, Circulation declined from 40,000 in circulation in the 1990s to less than 17,000 by 2014. The publication's staff and ownership were also undergoing frequent changes.In 2004, Tamara Conniff became the first female and youngest-ever executive editor at Billboard, and led its first major redesign since the 1960s. During her tenure, Billboard newsstand sales jumped 10%, ad pages climbed 22%, and conference registrations rose 76%.WEB,weblink Crain's New York Business, 40 Under 40, Tamara Conniff, 33, January 2006, Flamm, Matthew, In 2005, Billboard expanded its editorial outside the music industry into other areas of digital and mobile entertainment. In 2006, after leading Billboard's radio publication, former ABC News and CNN journalist, Scott McKenzie, was named editorial director across all Billboard properties.WEB,weblink Billboard Promotes Key Editors | Billboard, Conniff launched the Billboard Women in Music event in 2007.weblink, CBS News September 14, 2007 .{{failed verification|date=September 2018}}Bill Werde was named editorial director in 2008, and was followed by Janice Min in January 2014, also responsible for editorial content at The Hollywood Reporter.NEWS, Lewis, Randy, Billboard Shakeup puts Hollywood Reporter's Janice Min in Charge,weblink January 9, 2014, Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2014, The magazine has since been making changes to make it more of a general interest music news source as opposed to solely an industry trade, branching out into covering more celebrity, fashion, and gossip. Min hired Tony Gervino as the publication's editor, which was unusual, in that he did not have a background in the music industry.WEB, Sisario, Ben, Billboard Names Tony Gervino as Editor, The New York Times, April 7, 2014,weblink November 6, 2015, Tony Gervino was appointed editor-in-chief in April 2014.WEB, Steigrad, Alexandra, Billboard Names Tony Gervino Editor in Chief, Women's Wear Daily, April 7, 2014,weblink November 5, 2015, An item on NPR covered a leaked version of Billboard{{'}}s annual survey, which it said had more gossip and focused on less professional topics than prior surveys. For example, it polled readers on a lawsuit that singer Kesha filed against her producer alleging sexual abuse.Gervino was let go in May 2016. A note from Min to the editorial staff indicated that Senior Vice President of Digital Content Mike Bruno would serve as the head of editorial moving forward.WEB,weblink Billboard EIC Tony Gervino Exits on a High Note,, August 15, 2016, On June 15, 2016, BillboardPH, the very first Billboard chart company in Southeast Asia, mainly in the Philippines, was announced.WEB,weblink Billboard Partners with AlgoRhythm to Launch Billboard Philippines, Billboard, June 15, 2016, June 30, 2017, On September 12, 2016, Billboard expanded into China by launching Billboard China in a partnership with Vision Music Ltd.MAGAZINE,weblink Billboard Launches in China, Lyndsey, Havens, Billboard, September 12, 2016, August 10, 2016,

News publishing

Billboard publishes a news website and weekly trade magazine that cover music, video and home entertainment. Most of the articles are written by staff writers, while some are written by industry experts. It covers news, gossip, opinion, and music reviews, but its "most enduring and influential creation" is the Billboard charts. The charts track music sales, radio airtime and other data about the most popular songs and albums. The Billboard Hot 100 chart of the top-selling songs was introduced in 1958. Since then, the Billboard 200, which tracks the top-selling albums, has become more popular as an indicator of commercial success.BOOK, Anand, N., Charting the Music Business: Magazine and the Development of the Commercial Music Field, Lampel, Joseph, Shamsie, Jamal, Lant, Theresa, The Business of Culture: Strategic Perspectives on Entertainment and Media, Taylor & Francis, Series in Organization and Management, 2006, 978-1-135-60923-8,weblink November 5, 2015, 140, Billboard has also published books in collaboration with Watson-Guptill and a radio and television series called American Top 40, based on Billboard charts.BOOK, Hoffmann, Frank, Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, Taylor & Francis, 2004, 978-1-135-94950-1,weblink November 5, 2015, 212, A daily Billboard Bulletin was introduced in February 1997 and Billboard hosts about 20 industry events each year.Billboard is considered one of the most reputable sources of music industry news.NEWS, Radel, Cliff, Entertainment & the Arts: Billboard Celebrates 100 Years Of Hits, The Seattle Times, November 3, 1994,weblink November 6, 2015, It has a print circulation of 17,000 and an online readership of 1.2 million unique monthly views. The website includes the Billboard Charts, news separated by music genre, videos, and a separate website. It also compiles lists, hosts a fashion website called Pret-a-Reporter, and publishes eight different newsletters. The print magazine's regular sections include:
  • Hot 100: A chart of the top 100 most popular songs that week
  • Topline: News from the week
  • The Beat: Hitmaker interviews, gossip and trends in the music industry
  • Style: Fashion and accessories
  • Features: In-depth interviews, profiles and photography
  • Reviews: Reviews of new albums and songs
  • Backstage pass: information about events and concerts
  • Charts and CODA: More information about current and historical Billboard Charts


Billboard is known for publishing several annual listicles on its website, which recognizes the most influential executives, artists and companies in the music industry, such as the following:
  • 21 Under 21NEWS,weblink 21 Under 21 2017: Music's Next Generation, Billboard, December 30, 2017,
  • 40 Under 40NEWS,weblink 40 Under 40: Music's Top Young Power Players Revealed, Billboard, December 30, 2017,
  • Billboard Dance 100NEWS,weblink Billboard Launches Inaugural 'Billboard Dance 100' Ranking of Top Dance Music Artists, Billboard, December 8, 2018,
  • Billboard Power 100NEWS,weblink Billboard's 2017 Power 100 List Revealed, Billboard, December 30, 2017,
  • Dance Power PlayersNEWS,weblink Billboard Dance Power Players 2018: The Managers, Live Leaders & Tastemakers Shaping the Genre, Billboard, December 8, 2018,
  • Digital Power PlayersNEWS,weblink Revealed: Billboard's 2017 Digital Power Players, Guiding the Future in Music and Tech, Billboard, December 30, 2017,
  • Hip-Hop Power PlayersNEWS,weblink Hip-Hop Power Players 2017: The Heat Seekers, Billboard, December 31, 2017,
  • Indie Power PlayersNEWS,weblink Revealed: Billboard's 2017 Indie Power Players, Led by Big Machine's Scott Borchetta, Billboard, December 31, 2017,
  • Latin Power PlayersNEWS,weblink Latin Power Players 2017 List Revealed, Billboard, December 31, 2017,


Selected Billboard digital archives

See also





External links

{{Commons category|Billboard (magazine)}} {{Music industry}}{{Billboard}}{{USNumber1s}}{{USTop10s}}{{Top Hot 100 Hits}}

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