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YouTube chorus loop helps Post Malone to US number one

By | Published on Wednesday 18 October 2017

Post Malone

Post Malone’s new single ‘Rockstar’ went to number one in America’s Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on Monday. Which is nice. For him. But some are now suggesting that he got there by unusual, if not dubious means.

As The Fader points out, a YouTube account apparently operated by Malone’s label, Universal’s Republic Records, uploaded a video titled ‘Post Malone feat 21 Savage – Rockstar’ on 21 Sep. The thing is, the video isn’t quite what it initially appears. At three minutes and 38 seconds, it’s the same length as the track, but is actually just the chorus repeated on a loop. It’s missing all other parts of the song, including 21 Savage’s verse.

The video’s description and a pop-up within the video offer a link to stream the song in full on various other streaming services. However, due to the way Billboard’s singles chart is tallied up, and its inclusion of YouTube data in the mix, a play of this heavily edited version of the song could count towards the stats sweep that got the song to number one, as well as any subsequent plays on the other streaming platforms by people looking to hear it in full. With over 43 million plays for the YouTube video to date, and more than a million more coming in each day, that’s not insignificant.

It’s not clear what the exact logic behind the video was – a rep for Republic did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has been suggested that this is a deliberate attempt to double up streams and boost the track’s chart position, which has proven rather successful, if that is the case. Although, if you wanted to give the label the benefit of the doubt, it may also have been an experiment in driving listeners away from record industry enemy number one, YouTube, over to more profitable audio streaming services. Albeit, an experiment with a handy side-effect.

This news story surfaces at a time when there has been much rumour that Billboard is about to start counting YouTube plays in its albums chart, as well as the Hot 100 single’s chart. A source told Hypebot recently that negotiations between Billboard and the labels are ongoing, and no decision has yet been made.