There’s nothing subtle about it: Taylor Swift simply owns the Billboard country songs chart this week, partly because of sweeping changes just made in the trade magazine’s chart methodology.
Instead of reflecting radio airplay only, Billboard’s country songs chart now also incorporates digital download sales (tracked by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming data (from Spotify and others) to determine the weekly chart. One effect of the switch has been to slice the number of songs listed from 60 to 50.
Not only has Swift’s infectious “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” reached No. 1 after a brief eight-week sprint, her “Red” also debuts at a nose-bleedingly high No. 2 and her “Ronan” comes on at a very healthy No. 34.
And there’s one more of her sky-bound songs to note. Her “Begin Again,” which came aboard last week at No. 37, is now at No. 10.
Album wise, Little Big Town continue to make up for its agonizingly slow career start. The quartet’s Tornado CD continues as the No. 1 and best-selling country album for the fourth straight week.
The week’s other new albums are Blake Shelton’s Cheers, It’s Christmas (No. 6 and our first holiday title of the season), Jerrod Niemann’s Free the Music (No. 9) and Lindi Ortega’s Cigarettes & Truckstops (No. 71).
Snapping back into the albums chart are Now That’s What I Call Country Ballads (No. 72, a multi-artist package) and new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Ashes and Roses (No. 73).
There are three new songs in addition to the Swift ones already cited: Jake Owen’s “Summer Jam,” featuring Florida Georgia Line, (No. 35), Florida Georgia Line’s “Get Your Shine On” (No. 47) and Craig Campbell’s “Outta My Head” (No. 49).
The No. 3 through No. 5 songs are Underwood’s “Blown Away,” Hayes “Wanted” and Jason Aldean’s “Take a Little Ride.”
Our first new Christmas title and a torrent of Taylor make for a pretty exciting week, wouldn’t you say?