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Did Apple Music Prevent Drake's 'Hotline Bling' From Reaching Number One On Billboard Chart?

30 October 2015, 7:13 am EDT By James Geddes Tech Times
Drake’s exclusivity with Apple Music for his viral “Hotline Bling” video may have cost him the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 this week. Billboard doesn’t count Apple Music streams when calculating its music charts.  ( YouTube | Tech Times )

It appears as if Apple Music's exclusivity deal with Drake has prevented him from hitting the number one spot on Billboard's Hot 100 for the very first time. Drake's recently-released video for the track, which went superviral due to his questionable dance moves, was an Apple Music exclusive, and therefore, views of the spot were not considered for Billboard's tally.

The new video for Drake's "Hotline Bling" was released last week, and immediately, Web and social media reaction focused on his dance moves, which many described as the most awkward and out of rhythm since those of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. Tons of memes and stories surfaced regarding Drake's clip, where viewers could see for themselves that the rapper/singer has nothing on arch rival Chris Brown in the dance moves department.

While the track itself has been around for weeks, the apparently unintentional focus on Drake's dancing in the video appeared to be setting up the artist for his first number one song on Billboard's Hot 100. Even though the artist has hit the singles chart countless times in the past several years, his only brush with a Billboard number one was a featured spot on Rihanna's 2010 chart-topper "What's My Name?"

Billboard surmises that Drake missed the top spot due to the video's exclusivity with Apple Music. Because Apple Music video streams don't get reported to Nielsen Music, they can't count when calculating Billboard positions, the chart publisher explained:

"Drake holds at No. 2 on the Hot 100 with 'Hotline Bling.' The track rebounds 2-1 for a second week atop Digital Songs (153,000, up 29 percent), surely powered by attention for its official video, released Oct. 19 (good for top Digital Gainer honors on the Hot 100). The track drops 2-5 on Streaming Songs, however, down by 26 percent to 13.7 million, as the clip was released to Apple Music, which does not currently report its video streams to Nielsen Music."

While it's impossible to conclude that Drake definitely would have hit the top spot as opposed to The Weeknd's "The Hills," it appears he surely would have had a good shot had the video been released on YouTube, which does report streaming data to Nielsen, which is then calculated into Billboard's Hot 100 chart methodology. The video is in fact now available on YouTube, but it looks like next week's number one honors may go to Adele, who also has a superviral video with her flip phone-featuring new clip for her comeback single, "Hello."

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