Blockbuster pop songs are often major group efforts. In 2019, every No. 1 charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 has been the product of multiple songwriters and producers. The main exception is obviously Lil Nas X's currently dominating hit "Old Town Road," but even on that song, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are officially credited as co-writers due to producer YoungKio's sample of Nine Inch Nails' "34 Ghosts IV." Because there are so many under-appreciated, behind-the-scenes people involved in making the year's biggest tracks, Billboard has introduced a new chart highlighting their contributions.
The forthcoming Top Songwriters and Top Producers charts will debut June 15 via Billboard's print magazine and run weekly, a departure for the publication, which previously only highlighted them in year-end retrospectives. The rankings use data from the Hot 100 and other genre charts to track streaming counts, radio play, and physical sales numbers. In addition to listing the songwriters and producers behind the most popular songs in the country, it will also highlight two specific genres each week, alternating between "R&B/hip-hop, rap, R&B, country, rock, dance/electronic, Latin, Christian and gospel."
While the format of the actual charts has yet to be revealed, Billboard claims that the system is "based on total points accrued by a songwriter or producer for each attributed song that appears on the respective charts." Which means that someone like Louis Bell, who had a hand in three number one singles this year (Swae Lee and Post Malone's "Sunflower," Halsey's "Without Me," and the Jonas Brothers' "Sucker") could have a high spot on the charts. In a statement, Billboard SVP of charts and data development Silvio Pietroluongo said, “We’re extremely excited to acknowledge the top creative forces behind music’s biggest hits on a weekly basis. A songwriter or producer’s influence and importance within the industry and beyond certainly merits recognition beyond our yearly rankings.”
Though it remains to be seen whether or not these charts will have the same cultural cachet as Billboard's other rankings, the move to highlight songwriters and producer is a right step for equity in the music industry. Top Songwriters and Top Producers charts may not make songwriters household names, but it will highlight the necessary contributions of those working behind-the-scenes.